Events of Tasman

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about events from Tasman's histories.

Which events can I learn about?

Here are some events related to Tasman you could find out about:


Ngāi Tara iwi and others develop large kūmara gardens in Waimea | Waimeha.

Find out about Māori gardening
1825 - 1834

1825 - 1834
Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa establish themselves in the area, displacing Ngāti Kuia, Rangitane and Ngāti Apa.

Find out about Māori migration

The New Zealand Company makes an agreement with four iwi creating the 'Tenths Reserves' or 'Nelson Tenths'.

Find out about land purchases and European settlement

Apples and hops start to be grown in the district.

Find out about Tasman industries

Tasman becomes one of New Zealand's main pip fruit producers.

Find out about horticulture

Sit-in at Kiwi Station to protest against the closure of the Nelson to Glenhope railway line.

Find out about the railway protest

Tips: These are just some examples of events you could research. You may have something different you're interested in finding out about. Just use words related to the event as your search terms in the resources below.

Tasman resources

Find information about these and other Tasman events on the following sites:

The Prow

This website was created for local intermediate and secondary school students and has lots of great information about events in Te Tau Ihu - Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough. As well as articles about local events, people, places, and industries, the Prow also links to other websites, books, and articles for each topic, so it's the perfect place to start.

To find information:

  • enter keywords for an event eg Queen Bee sinking or Aorere gold rush in the search bar at the top of the page, or

  • select the Events tab to browse a list of articles about events, or

  • select the Māori tab for histories related to iwi in the rohe.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Wakatū Incorporated

Wakatū Incorporated was set up to manage the land of customary Māori landowners - the whānau of the Nelson/Whakatū, Motueka and Golden Bay/Mohua rohe. It has concise information about the Nelson Tenths and the events that led to the loss of this land.

  • Select the Our History tab near the top of the page.

  • Select Nelson tenths from the drop-down list.

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 us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Tasman Heritage

Tasman Heritage has photographs, maps, interviews and diaries about the history of Tasman, mainly focusing on the Waimea South area (Richmond, Brightwater, Wakefield, and Spring Grove). The results are organised by format, with images, documents, people & families, and audio (sound recordings) separated out.

To find Tasman events:

  • Enter keywords for the event in the search bar in the middle of the page eg 'Tasman Fires'.

  • Or go to the Events tab to browse some local disasters and more.

Tips: photographs and newspaper articles can be good for looking at how things have continued or changed over time. Remember, stories can be told in different ways so it’s helpful to look at multiple information sources to find different perspectives.

Tasman District Libraries

Tasman District Libraries is a great place to start for local historical information. All of the libraries (Motueka, Murchison, Richmond and Tākaka) have Local History Collections, with books, journals, published family histories and other items from around the Tasman district.

  • Phone the library a few days before you plan to visit, this will give library staff time to get books and other items ready for you to look at.

  • Te Noninga Kumu - Motueka Public Library branch has an amazing collection of local Māori art throughout the library.

Motueka District Museum

Motueka District Museum has exhibitions and collections on Motueka's history. It also contains the records of the Motueka Historical Society.

  • Crozier Room, District Museum, Motueka.

  • Look to the top of the page for opening hours.

Murchison Historical and Museum Society

This collection is held in the Murchison District Museum and has family histories and journals, photographs, and more about Murchison. It holds lots of photos and information on the Murchison Earthquake and World War One.

  • 60 Fairfax Street, Murchison.

  • Open daily 10am to 4pm.

General New Zealand resources

These sites are a great place to start as they cover lots of different topics about Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa including Tasman events. If we look down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

To find Tasman events:

  • Enter your keywords such as Murchison Earthquake or 'first Germans arrive' into the search box at the top of the page.

  • You should get a page of results.

  • You could read two or three of the articles on the list, as they may have different information about the event, or explain it from different perspectives.

  • Or browse for information about Tasman events under the Stories A-Z tab.

  • Select the letter N (for Nelson Province) and then Nelson Places or Nelson Region.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


Radio New Zealand, or RNZ for short, has articles, news reports, podcasts, and documentaries about events in Aotearoa New Zealand. Try The Aotearoa History Show podcast on RNZ. It has some great animations that cover important events in New Zealand history.

To find other Tasman events:

  • Select the word Search near the top right of the page to open the search page.

  • Enter in keywords for the event you are looking for.

  • Try adding a place name to your keywords to improve your search results, eg Cyclone Gita Tākaka or 'Murchison earthquake survivors'.

  • Look for the words Listen or Video in the search results list, these show if the story is just text (written), has an audio recording you can listen to, or a video you can watch.

Tips: It’s worth checking out what the other major news sites have on a topic too: CNN (American), PBS News (American), ABC News (Australian) and our own Television New Zealand. They will all have links to world news.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision contains old documentaries, movies, news footage, posters and audio recordings. The archive goes back to the 1800s and includes original (primary source) news footage of the damage caused by the Murchison earthquake.

Many of the news clips were filmed when Tasman District was still part of the Nelson. Don't use the word 'Tasman' when searching. Use the keyword 'Nelson' or a specific place name to your keywords instead eg 'Murchison'.

To find Tasman events on this site:

  • Select the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the page to open the search bar.

  • Enter your keywords and select the magnifying glass again to start the search.

  • In the panel on the left, tick the box beside Moving Image to narrow your results down to films and documentaries (if you are using a phone or tablet you may need to open the menu to see the filters panel).

  • Select Apply filters.

  • Select the watch online link or title of a result to watch it.

Tips: Stories can be told in different ways. It’s a good idea to look at multiple information sources about a topic to help you put together your own narrative.


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, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

To find events specific to Tasman:

  • Enter keywords for the event into the search bar near the top of the page.

  • Or browse by selecting the Places tab near the top of the page.

  • Then select Nelson from the list of regions.

  • Then select the town or area you are interested in.

  • Depending on what town or place you've chosen, you'll see some of the events that have happened in that place, related keywords, a map and photos of the place.

Tips: Historical sources like newspapers, diaries, articles, artworks can be useful for finding different perspectives on a topic. Keep in mind that they may not fairly show a wide range of views or experiences.


DigitalNZ is a search site 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 lots of New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and it has lots of primary sources.

The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, interviews, newspapers, articles and research papers. Here are some tips for using DigitalNZ:

  • If you look down the results page you'll see there are lots of options to limit your search by format, place, date or content partner

    (organisation). Lots of organisations outside of Tasman have photos and other information on Tasman, so be careful not to limit your search too much at first, or you'll miss some great resources

  • In the search results list, select a tile or image to see the item at full size and read more about it.

  • In the About this Item section there is a URL link. If you select this link it will take you to the website the item is originally from. This site may have lots more information on the topic

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘at’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg. 'Whale strandings Farewell Spit'. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Papers Past - Newspapers

This is a searchable collection of early NZ newspapers (19th and 20th centuries) by the National Library and its partners.

  • Search using keywords related to an event.

  • Or you can browse newspapers from Tasman by going to the tab By Region.

  • Then select Nelson-Tasman.

  • Select a newspaper to choose one to read or search within.

Tips: If your keyword doesn’t work, try thinking of other words you could use. Sometimes there are different names or spellings for words. Or they could have changed over time.

Te Arawhiti | The Office for Māori Crown Relations

This government website has information about Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

  • Select Te Kāhui Whakatau (Treaty Settlements).

  • Then choose Find a Treaty settlement.

  • Look down the page to find the Deeds of Settlement for the iwi you're looking for.

  • The summary documents are good to start with and have an overview and historical background.


If you live in Nelson or Tasman your school or local library will have lots of books, journals and other information about Tasman's local history. Here are a just a few:


SCIS no: 5496544

More about Tasman

People of Tasman

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

Learn about people of Tasman

Places of Tasman

The Tasman region has lots of wonderful places including geographical features, townships, buildings, and historical sites that can help you understand its history.

Learn about places of Tasman