Places of Marlborough

There are many places that are significant to Marlborough, known as Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka in te reo Māori.

Colour photo of the remains of the Perano Whaling Station in the Tory Channel, Marlborough Sounds.

Image: Old whaling station closed in 1964 - panoramio by DB Thats-Me on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

Here are some places in Marlborough you could find out about:

Arapaoa | Arapawa Island

Arapaoa | Arapawa Island
Second-largest island in the Marlborough Sounds, settled by Te Atiawa. A major base for whaling between 1827 and 1964.

Find out about Arapaoa | Arapawa Island
Wairau Bar | Te Pokohiwi

Wairau Bar | Te Pokohiwi
One of the oldest known settlement sites in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Find out about Wairau Bar
Maud Island | Te Pākeka

Maud Island | Te Pākeka
Wildlife sanctuary in Pelorus Sound which also has military installations built during World War 2.

Find out about Maud Island | Te Pākeka
Wairau Diversion | Taylor Dam

Wairau Diversion | Taylor Dam
Flood control.

Find out about Wairau Diversion | Taylor Dam
Mt Taupae-o-Uenuku

Mt Taupae-o-Uenuku
Marlborough's highest peak, a sacred place for the local iwi.

Find out about Mt Taupae-o-Uenuku
Waitohi | Picton

Waitohi | Picton
Settled by Te Ātiawa.

Find out about Picton

Tips: These are just some examples of places you could research. You may have somewhere different you're interested in finding out about. Just use the place name as your search terms in the resources below.

Marlborough resources

Here are some sources you could look at to find out about places in Marlborough:

The Prow

The Prow is a website featuring historical and cultural stories from Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough. It is a collaboration between the Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Libraries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and The Nelson Provincial Museum, so the information is reliable.

  • Choose Places to explore stories about Marlborough places of significance or interesting.

  • You can also enter keywords in the search box to do a specific search.

Marlborough New Zealand - Heritage, Culture & Arts

This tourism website for Marlborough has a section about Marlborough heritage. You can find out the history of local people and places.

  • Select a section eg Our Towns Or Historic Sites.

  • Choose a story to read.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have reliable information about the history of Marlborough.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. This means that the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • At the top right of the screen, search 'Marlborough'.

  • Choose Marlborough places and read about how the region was settled.

  • You can also search by place name.

Papers Past

This website is great for finding local primary sources as it has newspaper articles published in New Zealand.

  • Choose Newspapers and you will have the option to search by title, region or date. You can also choose Magazines, Letters and Diaries, or Books.

  • You can also search using keywords like 'Spring Creek' or 'Tuamarina'.

  • Then you can narrow down the dates and also choose newspapers from a local region.

Tips: Remember that places and events have changed their names over time. If you are looking up something such as 'The Wairau Affray' you should also try using 'Wairau Massacre', 'Wairau Incident' and 'Tuamarina' as keywords to find relevant material. Likewise, information on the Ōpaoa River will also be found using Opawa River as keywords.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources for students in a range of formats, (eg articles, books, images, videos, primary sources, websites) on a variety of topics. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.

  • Look down to The Wairau Affray 1843.

  • Explore the many articles, images and videos.

  • Check out the related topics on the right.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. This means the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • At the top right of the screen, go to Places.

  • Select Marlborough.

  • Choose a place name such as Kekerengu. You can also do a keyword search for a place name.


DigitalNZ is a website that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once. The results are grouped by type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers.

  • Use the search bar to enter the words 'Wairau incident'.

  • Choose from images, articles, newspapers and more eg Wairau incident memorial.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About DigitalNZ link on the website to find out what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Rārangi Kōrero | New Zealand Heritage List

This is part of the Heritage New Zealand website. It is a record of place-based heritage in New Zealand.

  • To browse places, under Local Authorities select Marlborough District.

  • Then select the Show listings button to see all the places.

  • You also have the option to use filters to search by keywords, list types or show listings.

ManatuTaonga - YouTube

This is the official YouTube channel for Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage. It create audio guides for road trips across New Zealand that tells the stories of places along the way.

Tips: When watching videos on YouTube, it's important to check that the information is coming from a trusted source. We know these videos will be well-researched and reliable because they come from Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage.


Your local or school library may have books about Marlborough history. Check out these titles:

More about Marlborough

People of Marlborough

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from Marlborough.

Learn about people of Marlborough

Events of Marlborough

Lots of events have had an impact on Marlborough. The recommended websites have information on these events and offer different perspectives.

Learn about events of Marlborough