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. 

COVID in Te Tauihu

The story continues in 2021....

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 Saturday 28 May 2022

Novella sculpture daytime 20dec12 010 A547949

Nelson's gateway sculptures

Nelson's gateway sculptures greet people as they enter Nelson from the North.

Read More »

Recently Added Stories

  1. Te Tau Ihu and World War II
  2. Charles Harrington Broad 1872-1959
  3. Music and musicians in Nelson

Recently Added Comments

  1. 4 days ago
    I'd like to learn more about how Matangi Aawhio went from a Māori base in... read more
  2. 8 days ago
    How nice to read about my uncle ( his father was a brother of my... read more
  3. 20 days ago
    Hi my mother picked apples in 1963 on an orchard in nelson ...the owner was... read more

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