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 Maui is the Māori name for the top of the South Island. Legend tells us that Te Tau Ihu was the prow of Maui'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

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 Maui.

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 Monday 21 September 2020

The Wairau Valley Cemeteries IMG 3008

The Wairau Valley Cemeteries

The Anglican and Catholic Wairau Valley Cemeteries tell many stories, in the headstones and histories of the people buried there.

Read More »

Recently Added Stories

  1. Richmond Park emergency hospital 1918
  2. 1918 Influenza pandemic in Nelson
  3. The Wairau Valley Cemeteries

Recently Added Comments

  1. 14 days ago
    Awesome knowing of your whanau and journey getting there. At least you know you belong... read more
  2. 16 days ago
    Why does Ngati Tumatakokiri have no oral history of this momentous event? read more
  3. 19 days ago
    I could offer several corrections and refinements to this story on 156 Nile Street and... read more

Find a Story in the Top of the South

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