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.

Photo of Hodgsons Store, Murchison. A truck is parked on the street in front.

Image: Hodgsons Store Murchison by Teresa Besley on Tasman Heritage.

Which places can I learn about?

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

Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit
In Golden Bay | Mohua. A hotspot for whale and dolphin strandings.

Find out about Farewell Spit
Golden Downs

Golden Downs
Near Tapawera. Known for forestry.

Find out about Golden Downs

Was one of New Zealand most contaminated sites because of pesticides in the soil.

Find out about Māpua
National Parks

National Parks
The three national parks in Tasman are Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park.

Find out about National Parks
Te Waikoropupū Springs

Te Waikoropupū Springs
Largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. The sacred home of kaitiaki taniwha Huriawa.

Find out about Te Waikoropupū Springs
Waimea Plains

Waimea Plains
Farmed by Māori, these ancient garden sites are the most fertile soil on the Waimea Plains.

Find out about the Waimea Plains

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.

Tasman resources

These local sources have information about the history of places in the Tasman District.

The Prow

This is a local history website that was created for intermediate and secondary school students. It has lots of great historical and cultural stories from Te Tau Ihu (Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough) about places.

  • Enter the name of the place in the search bar at the top of the page. This will bring up articles that are available.

  • Or, go to the Places tab to browse a list of stories.

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.

  • Enter the name of the place in the search bar in the middle of the page.

  • Or, look through the Featured and Places menus.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the ‘About Us’ link on the website for more information.

Project Janzoon

Project Janzoon is a public trust set up to restore and preserve Abel Tasman National Park’s wildlife. It's website includes a short history of the park from 600 years ago, as well as what the park is like today. It includes information on how the plants and animals in the park have changed over time and how our attitudes to them have changed as well.

  • Go to the tab The Park.

  • Choose History.

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.

  • It's best to contact the library a few days before you visit, so staff can help you find useful books and other items.

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

Te Kura Whānui | Cultural Mapping

This site from the Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Trust has information about places of significance for the iwi.

  • Select a marker on the map to find out about a place.

  • A small pop-up will appear on the left of the screen.

  • Select the more information link at the bottom of the pop-up.

Higgins Heritage Park

This park has exhibitions for heritage, different types of transport, logging, and farming equipment.

  • 222 Pigeon Valley Road, Wakefield.

  • Go to When to find out when the park is open.

Willow Bank Heritage Village

This is an interactive museum where you can experience what life was like in the past.

  • 79 Wakefield-Kohatu Highway, Wakefield.

Motueka District Museum

Displays objects from Motueka's past. Also holds records from the Motueka Historical Association.

  • 140 High Street, Motueka.

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

Golden Bay Museum

This museum has displays about Māori and European history, minerals and shells from the region.

  • 73 Commercial St, Takaka.

  • See the Home page for opening hours.

Murchison District Museum

The main focus of the museum is the effects of the 1929 Murchison Earthquake. You can also find the Murchison Historical and Museum Society collection.

  • 60 Fairfax St, Murchison.

  • Open daily from 9:00am.

Collingwood Museum

A small museum in Collingwood looking back at the development of the district.

  • 2 Tasman Street, Collingwood.

  • Open daily 9:00am-6:00pm.

Golden Bay Machinery and Settler's Museum

This museum displays lots of objects about farming and the lives of early European settlers.

  • 869 Collingwood-Bainham Road, Rockville.

  • Admission by donation.

General New Zealand resources

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

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation, or DOC for short, has lots of information about parks and places.

  • Enter the name of a place into the search bar near the top right of the page.

  • Or browse by selecting the Park & recreation tab at the top of the page.

  • Select a region from the drop down menu or select the Nelson area from the map of New Zealand.


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.

  • Enter the name of a place into the search bar near the top of the page.

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

  • Places are listed in alphabetical order, you will find Tasman places under Nelson.


Radio New Zealand, or RNZ for short, has articles, news reports, podcasts, and documentaries, including lots about special places in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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

  • Enter the name of the place you are looking for.

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

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. 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.

  • Enter the name of the place you are looking for in the search box.

  • Results are displayed as parts of a story, to understand the topic completely you may have to read the whole story.

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.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is an archive of historic Aotearoa New Zealand films, documentaries, and sound recordings. This is an excellent site for primary sources of historic events, industry, people and places.

To watch films and documentaries 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 the video to watch it.

Tips: You may see a message about cookies on this website. Cookies are a kind of data collector that is used by some websites to collect information about their users.


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.

  • As the site covers all of New Zealand, remember to add a Tasman place name to your keywords to narrow down the search results to that place eg Māpua wharf or Ngātimoti war memorial.

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.

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 Region select Tasman Region.

  • 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.


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 few:


SCIS no: 5496543

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

Events of Tasman

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

Learn about events of Tasman