A timeline for the Top of the South - based on our stories

pre-18401840-19001900-

c950

  • A local story tells of Kereopa escaping Kupe by causing the Boulder Bank to grow boulders in front of  Kupe's pursuing canoe. 

c1200

  • Maori quarry argillite stone from the eastern Nelson mineral belt

1642

1700s

  • Rangitane build a network of canals and channels to harvest fish in the Vernon Lagoons

1770

  • Captain Cook makes his first visit to Ship Cove

1805

  • The great victory of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar; after whom the town, later City, of Nelson is named in 1842.

1810

  • Ngati Apa establish themselves across the top of the south after Tumatakokiri's comprehensive defeat

1820

1824

  • Taranaki Alliance tribes start their conquest of the S. North Island and N. S. Island; Te Puoho ki te Rangi, part of the alliance, settles in northwest Nelson following their success.

1827

1838

1839

  • The Missionaries, Bumby and Hobbs, visit Marlborough, bringing Christianity to the Maori of the region.

1840

 1841

1842

  • The Fifeshire, carrying the first European settlers arrives in Nelson Haven (Feb 1) - and is wrecked
  • Charles Elliott opens NZ's first bookshop in Nelson and Nelson's first newspaper,  The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle
  • Nelson's first road is formed from the Haven to town; Saltwater Creek is bridged
  • "Native tenths" selected by the New Zealand Company
  • First sermon preached in Nelson by Bishop Selwyn in Nelson
  • First public school opened in Nelson on town acre 208
  • Nelson Literary and Scientific Institute opens its first reading room in Trafalgar Street (the forerunner of the Nelson Library and Museum)
  • The first publican's licence is issued in Nelson, the start of a boom in licencing in Nelson to house devotees of the demon drink.

1843

1846

  • Kehu, Brunner and  Heaphy explore the Buller River
  • Nathaniel Morse and Dr John Cooper bring sheep to the Wairau Valley

1847

  • James Wynen sets up the first business in the Beaver - what is to become Blenheim

1848

  • Thomas Marsden builds the first house at, what is now, Isel Park
  • Rev. Tudor opens a school conducted in English at Motueka for both Maori and Pakeha - part of the documented history of Maori and education in the region
  • Morrison & Sclanders issue private bank notes as the Nelson Bank

1850

1851

1852

1853

  • Nelson Provincial Council formed
  • Governor Grey transfers 918 acres of the best Maori-owned horticultural land in Motueka to the Church
  • Appo Hocton naturalised in Nelson - the first naturalised Chinese New Zealander
  • New Zealand's first Quaker Meeting house opened on Town Acre 667
  • Woodstock Homestead of Stoke is built. Its land becomes one of first commercial orchards in NZ and marks the beginning of orcharding in the region

1854

  • The town of Richmond, settled since 1842 as Waimea East, is named
  • Samuel Stephens elected to represent Nelson in the General Assembly
  • Completion of Sunnyside, later known as Warwick House
  • Motuweka flat is sold by Kurahaupo to the New Zealand Company - to become Havelock

1855

1856

1857

1858

1859

  • Marlborough becomes a Province in its own right, separating from Nelson Province
  • Appointment of Marlborough's first teacher - the beginning of education in the region
  • Ferdinand von Hochstetter, geologist, arrives in Nelson
  • Enclosure of Nelson's 'ditch' to create a proper sewer along Trafalgar St.
  • Opening of Picton Library - with Blenheim opening its Library the following year.

1860

1861

1862

1863

1864

1865

1866

1867

1868

1869

1870

1871

  • Birth of Ernest Rutherford at Spring Grove, near Brightwater
  • John Ribet opens his Upper Buller Accommodation House, before exchanging this for the Kawatiri Hotel

1872

1873

1874

1875

1876

1877

1878

1879

1880

  • Establishment of Freeth Winery - the first winery in Marlborough 

1881

1882

  • James Rutherford, father of Ernest, establishes a flax mill at Ruapaka, near Havelock.
  • Parihaka Prophets, Te Whiti and Tohu, under house arrest in Nelson

1883

1884

1886

1887

1888

1891

1894

1896

  • Lyell reaches its heyday as a mining town

1897

1898

1899

 1900

  • Formation of the Nelson Fishing Company and introduction of freezing to the industry in Nelson
  • Marist Brothers leave St Mary's Orphanage, Stoke, as a result of "scandal"
  • Charles Lowe arrives in Riwaka and transforms the raspberry and tobacco industries

1901

  • Takaka Sluicing Company is set up to mine for gold at Waikoropupu Springs
  • RIMS Dalhousie visits Nelson - the Indians come to town!
  • Henry Duncan buys Dodson's brewing company and enters a well established Nelson industry.

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

1907

  • First School Journal published -complete collection held at Renwick Memorial Library

1908

1909

1910

1911

1912

  • Thomas Cawthron finances the construction of the church steps in Nelson
  • The area bound by Haven, Halifax and Rutherford Streets is reclaimed. Miltons Acre Reserve is formed
  • Winearls Settlement in Nelson (Elliott Street) surveyed to create homes for workers. The beginnings of State Housing resulting from the Workers' Dwellings Acts of 1905 and 1910
  • The first fruit packing shed is installed at Mapua - marking the start of a thriving industry at  Port Mapua

1913

1914

1915

1917

  • Auctioning of Nelson's embroidered and autographed  Red Cross Flag to raise funds for NZ troops in WWI.

1918

1920

  • First Cook Strait flight arrives at Dillon's Point, near Blenheim
  • Onekaka Iron & Steel Company Ltd formed

1921

  • Cawthron Institute is founded
  • First plane lands in Nelson; a converted WWI trainer  which flew from Wellington and landed in Marsden's paddock at Stoke 

1922

1923

1927

1928

1929

1931

1937

1938

1939

  • New Zealand Hop Marketing Board is  established in Richmond

1941

1942

  • Jim Eyles makes his first archaeological discoveries on Wairau Bar
  • George Skellerup is granted a licence to manufacture salt at Lake Grassmere

1944

1946

1948

  • The first bach on the Ligar Bay road reserve is built

1951

  • Wellington to Lyttelton Yacht Race proves disastrous for most vessels; but is a triumph for the Nelson Yacht Tawhiri.
  • Opening of Whekenui School (it closed again in 1962)
  • The van Geldermalsen's arrive in New Zealand, one of many Dutch settler families to the region in the 1950's.

1955

1956

  • Nelson's first and New Zealand's first fulltime craft potter Mirek Smisek began working in Nelson 

1957

  • Stanley Whitehead becomes Nelson's Member of Parliament [Labour] - later to become Speaker of the House and earn a knighthood

1960

1960's

  •  Port land reclamation begins - reclaiming land from the haven

1962

  • Roll on Roll off ferry service Picton-Wellington starts - brainchild of Sid Harling who becomes Mayor of Blenheim the same year
  • Opening of Nayland Kindergarten

1965

  • New Zealand Sea Products Export Ltd. opens in Nelson (later to become Sealords)

1966

1967

1968

1972

  • Nelson born Rod Dixon wins the bronze medal in the 1500m at the Munich Olympics
  • Nelson gets a free public library service - the Library having been founded as part of the Nelson Institute in 1841

1984

1987

1988

  • Closure of the Griffins Factory, a Company which had been a feature of Alton Street since the 1860's

1990

1995

1996

  • Grant Palliser's first sculpture for Nelson City Council (the Oracle outside Stoke Library) is commissioned

2000

2005

2007

2008

2009

  • Reopening of the 1970's built Trafalgar Centre, after major renovations. Home to many local legends.

2011

  • Devastating floods hit Nelson and Tasman, causing numerous slips

2013