2 Jun 2021

True Crime in Nelson

In June we host Sunshine Noir featuring some of New Zealand’s top crime writers in the running for the Ngaio Marsh Awards. Nelson has its own tales of true crime.

MaungatapuMurderersComp

In June we host Sunshine Noir featuring some of New Zealand’s top crime writers in the running for the Ngaio Marsh Awards. Nelson has its own tales of true crime.

The best known of Nelson’s historical crime stories is of course the tale of the Maungatapu Murders, in which the notorious Kelly gang murdered a series of travellers along the Maungatapu road, on the way to and from Nelson in the 1860’s. This has been told in books, films and plays, and, once seen, who can forget the death masks of the gang in the Nelson Provincial Museum? A summary of the story, and the story of the execution of the gang, and links to many other sources of information can be found on the Prow: http://www.theprow.org.nz/events/maungatapu-murders

There are other early tales of true crime. For example:

  • The Tophouse tragedy of 1894 – http://www.theprow.org.nz/places/tophouse
    In which the brother-in-law of the owner of the Tophouse Hotel shot a man in the back of the head at the hotel, in a fit of jealousy over the local school teacher, and then went on to shoot the linesman. Perhaps trying to delay the telegraphic communication of his crime.

  • Murder/Suicide at Molesworth of 1867  – http://www.theprow.org.nz/yourstory/murder-and-suicide-at-molesworth
    The tragic tale of Ivanhoe Stanley Augarde (Ivy) the reserved but respected overseer of Molesworth station, who murdered German Charlie, after he had been humiliated by Charlie both in love and in a boxing match.

  • The Tetley Affair of 1868 - http://www.theprow.org.nz/events/the-tetley-affair
    When Marlborough was shaken by a scandal in which Joseph Tetley,  Member of Parliament and “gentleman’ landowner,  ran off to South America with £40,000 of investors’ money, and never returned.

 

And on the side of justice we have the stories of:


Image: The four murderers, The Nelson Provincial Museum, Museum Collection, LS9.3.7