We are closed Sunday 25th and Monday 26th for ANZAC Day.

18 Mar 2021

History of the Week - our stories

Nelson celebrates its cultural diversity on 28 March – at the Multicultural Festival at Victory Square.


People from a wide range of cultures now call this region home, and many of these people’s stories can be found on the Prow:


In the Māori section you can find a selection of stories of manua whenua, mainly written by John and Hilary Mitchell. Te Tau Ihu has a complicated history, with eight tribes currently represented in the region.


Most of the early settlers were English, and many of their stories are told on the Prow. Settlers did come from other countries of course, and a large number of their descendants are still present in our community:

  • Italians – read about the early settlers in La Bella Vita or follow a memorial trail in Wakapuaka Cemetery
  • Germans – find out the origins of Ranzau area in Hope and Sarau, now Moutere, in the story of German Settlement, and related stories
  • Dutch – a number of people immigrated from Holland, escaping the upheavals of World War II.
  • Jewish settlers – there were a significant number of Jews amongst Nelson’s very early settlers. They established a synagogue, but the community did not stay long in Nelson.
  • Chinese – Appo Hocton was New Zealand’s first Chinese immigrant, jumping ship and settling in Nelson. The community remained small, relative to settlement in other regions, but by the turn of the new millennium he had 1600 living descendants throughout the country


 More recently, Nelson has welcomed a number of refugee communities, alongside other immigrants. In 2010 students from St Joseph’s School, Tahunanui School and Auckland Point School were invited to tell their stories of the immigration experience - in response to the Appo Hocton (Feb-Apr 2010) exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum. These immigration stories remain on the Prow.

 If the story of your community in Nelson, or your immigration experience is not told on the Prow – please do talk to us, or submit your story:  library@ncc.govt.nz


Image Credit:

Italian Club 1937, The Nelson Provincial Museum, Kingsford Collection 158636/6

Moutere InnThe Nelson Provincial Museum, Daroux Collection, 76955/5

Appo and Ellen outside their Thorpe home, Daroux collection, 76428/5