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Marlborough

Marlborough’s history is layered with rich stories, as significant for Aotearoa New Zealand as they are fascinating around the world.

It’s a province full of inspiring stories, says Steve Austin, chief executive of Marlborough Museum. “Heritage is a thread that runs through every aspect of our landscape and community.”

The country’s first kno...
Marlborough’s history is layered with rich stories, as significant for Aotearoa New Zealand as they are fascinating around the world.

It’s a province full of inspiring stories, says Steve Austin, chief executive of Marlborough Museum. “Heritage is a thread that runs through every aspect of our landscape and community.”

The country’s first known Polynesian settlement site was at Te Pokohiwi o Kupe/Wairau Bar in the late 1200sAD, with more being learned through ongoing archeological research and the people whose whakapapa (geneology) have been linked to these first arrivals.

Captain James Cook’s favourite anchorage at Meretoto/Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds, too, was an important site, this time for the meeting of two cultures. The Sounds were later to become home to some of New Zealand’s first European settlers, largely through the whaling industry.

Meanwhile on land, hardy farmers, loggers, sawmillers and gold miners sought to make a living from the natural resources of the hills and valleys.

In South Marlborough, farming landscapes including Te Karaka/Cape Campbell and the vast Molesworth Station in the upper reaches of the Awatere Valley still hold remnants of their earliest settlers, while sacred Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku, 2885m high and steeped in Māori legend, stands sentry.

Feauring history from across the world as well as at home, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre has become an iconic visitor destination in Marlborough, with its world-class display of aircraft including from both world wars.

You can explore these places, and so many other stories of our heritage at the Marlborough Museum, Havelock Museum, Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum or visit historic sites like Meretoto/Ship Cove and the Perano Whaling Station in Kura te Au/Tory Channel.
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