The Prow Newsletter, Issue 6, Winter 2011

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Quiz Coming in August

What is the name of NZ's tallest peak outside the Southern Alps, and situated in Marlborough?  What did Nelson-born runner, Rod Dixon win at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich?

Look around the Prow, test your knowledge and go in the draw to win one of six $50 Booksellers book vouchers by entering the Prow's second quiz. The quiz will run from 1 August to 31 August, with fun workshops at local libraries for those who are not happy computer users. Ask at your local library, check out  or follow us on Twitter: for more information.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

Two new photographic and film resources add to the range of historic material now available to Nelson history students and enthusiasts.

Click to enlarge

The Nelson Photo News, a monthly magazine published between 1960 and 1974, provides an evocative photographic record of life in Nelson during this period. is a full-text archive of issues of the Photo News published between 1960 and December 1972. A link to this website can also be found in the resources section of the Prow.

You can browse the archive, read entire editions, search for individual articles, places and people- you might be surprised to find people you know in this feast of retro bathing beauties, wedding photographs, A&P shows, theatre productions, beauty spots, industries and events. The Friends of the Nelson Library Microfilm Subcommittee commissioned the digitisation with funds coming from several grants including a DigitalNZ grant, as well as donations from individuals.

Medianet has more than 500 films, documentaries and other filmed versions of Kiwi life and is now available at the Elma Turner Library in Nelson.  The medianet project is a computer-based digital video resource launched by the New Zealand Film Archive, to provide local access to some of the 150,000+ titles in their collection. These include feature films, documentaries, short films, home movies, newsreels, TV programmes and advertisements dating from 1895 to the present day.  Medianet can be found at libraries, galleries and museums around NZ. The top of the South has been one of the few regions with no access point until now.

Click to enlarge

Films available on medianet include: 1920's Through the Buller Gorge (Newman's coach trip from Nelson), 1955 Royal visit to Nelson, 1955 the last train (Nelson), 1997 WOW show, 1980 documentary on Jane Evans and television coverage of the 1984 Springbok Tour.You can search the catalogue, browse the collection by category, decade, title, or through descriptive tags, and view full length videos at full screen quality. Playlists provide specifically curated content of interest to local communities. It's fast and free and there are hours of footage to browse and enjoy. Available on the nine library member-only computers and  a dedicated computer in the Research Room at Nelson's Elma Turner Library.

Visitor Numbers Keep Growing

Prow site visits have increased by 44.56% from last year!

  • June 30 2010-June 30 2011 = 63,656 visits
  • June 30 2009-June 30 2010 = 44,033

The number of unique visitors has increased by 48.58%.

  • June 30 2010-June 30 2011 = 55,229
  • June 30 2009-June 30 2010 = 33,807

And - about 1500 people have visited the site more than 100 times during the year.

Prow suits Digital Generation

"I don't think we could do without the Prow now - it's really good. In the past it wasn't so easy to access historical information about Nelson.  The Prow is specifically about Nelson and is a great starting place," says Celia McKechnie, HOD, history at Nelson College for Girls.  

Ms McKechnie says today's ‘electronic'students will not bother with a website if it is difficult to get around. "The Prow is very easy to navigate. For the juniors the information is not too dense- it's factual and simple and they can find what they are looking for. This is particularly good for reluctant students."

Celia's history department encourages Year 12 students to do a research project on Nelson history, which fulfils NCEA criteria and can be entered in the Jeff Newport Memorial Award- and now can be submitted to The Prow.

"At the start of the year we print off half a dozen stories from the Prow and get the students to critique them and see what makes a good story. They like stories told in different ways, with different voices.

 "The girls  go out and interview people and have done all sorts of research on topics such as Ngawhatu Hospital and the Mount Robert Skifield. Once we have their research, we send the stories to Nicola Harwood (Prow project manager) and some of them get put on the website. It's an additional motivation for the girls - they like to see their work published on the website," says Celia.

So You're Thinking about Contributing to The Prow

Queen Street, 1880. Tasman District Archives. Click to enlarge

The Prow is now home to more than 250 history and heritage stories, with 77 of these contributed by members of the public. "Your Stories" feature a wide range of subject material such as Marlborough's first winery, fires in Nelson, tracks and roads on Takaka Hill and Sir Ernest Rutherford's boyhood in Nelson and Marlborough.

Sometimes people write about personal topics such as their school days or about their ancestors. Other stories cover more regional subjects such as Nelson's Theatre Royal, the Wairau Bar and a history of Nelson rugby. All contributed stories add to the Prow, whether it's a completely new topic, or additional information for an existing story.  As we continue to try to cover a broad range of history from Te Tau Ihu, some of our commissioned stories may have a wide focus to give a flavour and feeling for a broad subject.

This is an opportunity for potential contributors to the website.  Take the story on Early Richmond. The objective was to try and illustrate how the settlement was established and grew, with a few splashes of colour and ambience- but there is plenty of opportunity to develop this theme further. Here are a few potential ideas from this story alone:

  1. Pre-European settlement at Waimea East
  2. The Sutton family and other early Richmond families
  3. The origin of street names in Richmond
  4. Pubs (shops and businesses).
  5. History of A&P associations throughout the region
  6. History of Richmond's schools
  7. Fishing in Tasman Bay
  8. History of Rabbit Island
  9. Family stories about life in Richmond from its founding to more recent history.

"We try to publish the majority of contributed stories, but where we have a lot of repetition, we may feature it on a relevant page as a PDF, but it doesn't get the full Prow treatment with images and references. A well-written, unique story or angle will maximise your chances of having a story fully published on the Prow," says Nicola Harwood, Prow project manager.

If you're looking for inspiration or guidance, contact us at    We are happy to discuss story selection with teachers, and/or in a classroom session with students.

The most popular stories this year:

  1. Feeding the town’s dogs after the Murchison Earthquake. Image from Murchison Museum
    Click to enlarge
    Abel Tasman in Golden Bay


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