Stories from the Top of the South

Welcome to The Prow, a website featuring historical and cultural stories from Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough. 

Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Māui is the Māori name for the top of the South Island. Legend tells us that Te Tau Ihu was the prow of Māui's waka, or canoe, from which he fished up the North Island.

Join our voyage and discover more about the history and stories of Te Tau Ihu. Search or browse the theme pages, our timeline or the map location feature,  add your own story, comment on any story, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter. Contact us for further information or to provide feedback on our stories.

The Prow is a collaboration between the Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Libraries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and The Nelson Provincial Museum.  Images are supplied by supporting institutions, please check their terms of use.

Prow Features


You can comment on, or ask a question about, any Prow story - a comment feature is available on all stories. 

Tuku 21 - Heritage Month Whakatū

A month of exciting events celebrating Nelson's unique stories, people and places. Download the full programme.

Tuia 250

A commemoration to mark the onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans during the first voyage of James Cook and the HMS 'Endeavour' in 1769 to Aotearoa. The central event is the Tuia 250 Voyage with a flotilla of waka hourua, va’a tipaerua and tall ships sailing the coast from October to December 2019. The flotilla visits Waitohi/Picton 21-26 November. Find Prow stories which describe first encounters in Te Tau Ihu o te waka a Māui.

Top of the South Timeline

Find a story or an event using our timeline feature


Includes curriculum resources for teachers, Nelson Historical Journal, Nelson Photo News and more..


Find out more about the prow and its stories in this series of newsletters……

Story of the Day Tuesday 15 June 2021


Port Nelson timeline

Port Nelson has been integral to the development of Nelson, and has a long and fascinating history in its own right. This timeline highlights significant events in its development to 2001.

Read More »

Recently Added Stories

  1. The Wood
  2. Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki Te Tauihu
  3. COVID 19 and Te Tau Ihu

Recently Added Comments

  1. 18 days ago
    My father & his TWIN were put in a catholic orphanage , when they were... read more
  2. 21 days ago
    Wow Thank you....I have just found your comment.Iv e mailed my details to you and... read more
  3. 1 month ago
    Further to my comments from 3 years ago - 2017 . I spoke to the... read more

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