The Prow Newsletter, Issue 7, Summer 2012

Korero from the Prow. In this issue:

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Three years old!

The Prow celebrates its third anniversary on 15 February 2012. The website, which started with 50 commissioned stories on historical people, places and events, now features 280 stories, which include 93 stories contributed to the Your Story section.

Nelson College Rugby team 1876, Nelson College
Click image to enlarge

We continue to add stories and have been delighted to see the way the warp and weft of each local story gets filled in with more detail through submissions and additional materials, breathing even more life into the people and stories from the top of the South's past.

Visitor numbers keep growing - 31,371 in 2009, 55,037 in 2010 and 72,364 in 2011). A total of 358,910 pages have been viewed during our first three years. And the most popular story of 2011? New Zealand's first game of rugby of course!

Your feedback on the site, as it continues to grow, is welcome. 

Collecting Flood Stories

Nelson's December 2011 floods are still fresh in people's minds, but there have been many major flood events in the Nelson-Tasman region, with severe flooding in 2010, 1986, 1983, 1970, 1957, 1947, 1929, 1904, 1895 (see NIWA's historic weather events catalogue:

The Prow has a role in recording and keeping the stories from the present for the future.  We plan to collect together as many media stories from the 2011 floods as we can, and add reference material about historic major flood events.

YOU can help! We would like your short accounts (including photographs and video) of experiences of the flood. We would like your short accounts (including photographs and video) of experiences of the flood, which will be stored on Kete Tasman (which includes Nelson) and linked to a cover story on the Prow.  For information on how to submit material, email or ask for assistance at your local Nelson or Tasman library. This could be a good project for school students- or anybody who has a story or images to share.

The Prow and Kete Tasman

The recently completed Prow story on Early Wakefield  features photographs from the Waimea South Collection, which have been sourced from Kete Tasman.

Funded by the NZ National Digital Strategy (as was the Prow initially), Kete are hosted by many libraries around New Zealand and offer people the opportunity to contribute material about local events, people and places - both current and historical.

The Prow also offers people the opportunity to share stories, but there are differences. Cathy Vaughan, Information Services Librarian at the Tasman District Libraries says that while Kete Tasman is a platform for people in the community to share material, the Prow aims to provide referenced stories on a theme or topic which are illustrated with images and enriched with contextual links to guide users to further resources.

"Kete are used by librarians to enable public online access to library heritage materials and capture heritage materials from private collections.  Content is not edited or checked for accuracy and members of the public can contribute content in many formats.  For example there are images from the Waimea South Collection, transcripts of interviews from the  Richmond Oral History project and material from the Tasman District Council Archives," says Cathy.

Wakefield School, 1913. Waimea South Collection
Click image to enlarge

The Prow is a more formal, authoritative  resource in that the main articles are professionally researched, written and referenced and linked together to provide context and Your Stories, contributed by the public, are moderated by Prow editors and enriched with images and bibliographies.

The interface between the two resources comes where we can share material, as was done in using images for the Early Wakefield story from Kete Tasman- and we plan to do more collaboration whenever we can.

Project Pelorus Jack

We're looking for Marlborough school children aged between 9 and 13, who are natural born story tellers, good writers and interested in history. We'll start with a workshop where children will learn skills about telling and writing personal history stories. The best students will be selected to go on to work on individual stories about Marlborough's most famous dolphin, Pelorus Jack, who from 1888, accompanied ships  from the entrance of Pelorus Sound to the surging waters of French Pass and back again. His legend still lives on.

The best writers of the Pelorus Jack stories will collaborate on writing the official Prow story on Pelorus Jack. Nothing will be wasted- all work completed during this project can be stored in baskets in Kete Marlborough.  

The project involves Marlborough children and young adults' librarian, Tania Miller, Prow writer, Joy Stephens, and a yet-to-be named author.

For updates, follow us on Twitter(@TheProwstories) or talk to Tania Miller at the Blenheim Library.

Digital enhancements to great outdoors

The Prow is now on the Top of the South Maps website, which shows property, recreation and services information in Tasman/ Nelson.

Top of the South maps:
Click image to enlarge

Once on the website, go to Quick Views on the left hand side of the page and select Recreation. Check that the Prow is ticked on the layer list. Then you can start navigating the map using the arrow keys and the zoom in/zoom out feature.  You will need to zoom in until you see the small Prow logo, which is located in the geographical vicinity of each story. While you're at it, you can also check out walking tracks, boat ramps, swimming pools, public toilets and more in the area.

For example, the Boulder Bank has four separate Prow logos and stories on it. First of all click on the ‘Info' icon in the top tool bar and then click on one of the Prow logos, where you might find the Prow story on Kupe and the Boulder Bank, information about the Boulder Bank walking track and a link to the DOC website where there is more information about the Boulder Bank Scenic Reserve. A little research at your fingertips can add information, stories  and enjoyment to your day out and about.

If you're planning a walk around Nelson, check out the Audio Walks tab on the Prow. The Prow hosts a range of heritage walks, put together by Nelson City Council, which include a map, both as printable PDF and GPS, a downloadable MP3 compatible audio guide and a list of related links and stories.

For example, the tour of the Huangshi Chinese Garden (located in Queens Gardens), featuring MP3 audio guides and PDF maps in English and Chinese, briefly tells the background of the gardens and then walks you through the various plants and design elements and their significance. Other subjects include a garden history tour of Melrose House, a Nelson Literary Ramble, and Tracing Nelson's Tideway: the original waterline.

The audio walks section also features information from Nelson City Council heritage panels. We'd like to feature material from heritage panels throughout the top of the South, so if you can help  facilitate this, please contact Prow project manager, Nicola Harwood, phone 03 546 0406.   

Our Stories On Air

Last year, the Prow received an email from Amelia Nurse, a producer for Radio New Zealand's long-running documentary series, Spectrum. The team was due to visit Nelson/Tasman in November and had spotted a couple of potential story subjects on The Prow, and asked if we could help with information and contacts.

Eelco Boswijk 19 Dec 1992. The Nelson Provincial Museum, The Nelson Mail Collection, C13423
Click image to enlarge

Amelia interviewed long time farmer, Harry Richards at Paturau  as well as  a number of people about the heyday of Chez Eelco and Eelco Boswijk himself.

The delightful Chez Eelco story was broadcast on Spectrum on January 22 and the Paturau story is due to be broadcast on RNZ's Country Life in February. We will add a link to the story once the programme has been broadcast.

Spectrum has also previously done a doco on Asbestos Cottage and the Chaffeys which can be heard at

Incidentally, the Paturau story first appeared in the Nelson Mail and the Eelco Boswijk story in Wild Tomato. This kind of sharing of material can only be a good thing in ensuring a wide range of people learn about our stories- we like it!

This newsletter was prepared by WordPower Communications,

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