Further information on future meetings of the Nelson Historical Society Inc.

2017 Jeff Newport Memorial Essay Prize

Winning Essays

For the first time in many years, an essay by a Nelson College student has won the Jeff Newport Memorial Essay Prize.
Congratulations to Matt Price for his essay, The Significance of Te Maatu-Iti to the people of Motueka Throughout History, which will feature in the 2018 Nelson Historical Society Journal. Matt's thorough research and well-written essay on a relatively unknown topic earned him a prize of $500 cash. Seirian Tranter of Nelson College for Girls was a clear second-place winner with her essay on The History of Surf Lifesaving in Nelson, taking home a $200 cash prize.

Entries for the 2018 competition will open with the start of the new school year. Check the website for the updated competition guidelines, entry form and checklist.
Jeff Newport Poster 2017

Further information on future meetings


Date: Sunday, 26 November 2017, 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Place: Suter Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Nelson
Speaker: Sally Burton [artist] A floor talk by Sally about her newly opened historical art installation, Pale History, which explores the opposing sides of the Wairau Incident. On 17 June 1843, 22 Europeans and four Maori were killed when an armed party of New Zealand Company settlers from Nelson clashed with Ngāti Toa over the purchase of land in the Wairau Valley. The installation showcases life-size figures and paintings depicting the major players on both sides, alongside historical artefacts, documents and artworks related to the incident. This was the first significant armed conflict between Maori and British settlers after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. COST: $10 each payable on the day (includes donation to Suter Art Gallery). Please bring a plate of finger-food cocktail-style nibbles to share with a festive glass of wine, beer or soft drink (provided)

February 2018.

Date: Monday, 12 February 2018, 7.30pm
Place: Nelson Masonic Hall, 109 Nile Street (next to Prince Albert Hotel)
Speaker: Gordon and Penny Taylor, with other members of Histrionics

Topic: Histrionics Theatre Group – Bringing history to life through theatrical dramatisations. You may have seen Histrionics at various events around the region throughout the WWI centennial and other heritage events. We’ll hear how the group came together, be treated to a short dramatization, and view a video clip highlighting the group’s education programmes.

March 2018.

Date: Monday, 12 March 2018, 7.30pm
Place: Nelson Masonic Hall, 109 Nile Street (next to Prince Albert Hotel)
Speaker: Darryl Gallagher, Curator Photographic Collection, Nelson Provincial Museum

Topic: National Treasure: The Nelson Provincial Museum Photographic Collection, conservation, digitisation, and application.

March 2018 - Feild Trip

Date: Saturday 24 March 2018, details to be confirmed in New Year
Place: Feild Trip to West Golden Bay, including a stop at Golden Bay Museum to visit the Whalery
Topic: Puponga Coal and other industries

Brief summary of Past Meetings with associated Resources

November 2017.

Date: Monday, 13 November 2017
Speaker: Gwyn Rees discussed the discovery of the sadly neglected Motueka memorial to South African (Boer) War soldier Len Tarrant, his research into Tarrant's life and medal, and the restoration and rededication of the memorial.

Topic: Trooper Leonard Tarrant and the rededication of the Tarrant War Memorial

October 2017 - SPECIAL EVENT

Date: Saturday, 14 October 2017
Place: Founders Heritage Park, Atawhai Drive, Nelson
Theme: Nelson’s Blackest Day: Passchendaele 12 October 1917

Presenters: The Nelson Historical Society and members Karen Price, Karen Stade, Peter and Myra Millward hosted a public information session and commemorative display at the Fernery (where the WWI commemorative wall is) about the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917, the day on which Nelson and New Zealand suffered the highest number of fatalities during World War I - 43 in all.

October 2017

Date: Monday, 9 October 2017
Speaker: Steve Bagley

Topic: Albion Square, Nelson: the historical seat of provincial government for the Nelson region, now a historic reserve.

September 2017

Date: Monday, 11 September 2017
Topic: Members Show and Tell

Speakers: Several members gave short presentations about a variety of intriquing sounding topics. We heard about: Nelson’s Money – The Hardy Street Connection; My Criminal Past – Escapades of an Irish Criminal and Whaler; Tiny Treasures – a Miniature Mobile Memorial; A Short History of the Mouse Trap; Bullseye Founders – The Centre of it All; and Old Nelson: a Postcard History.

MAY Meeting Resource


Speaker: Peter Millward described the process he used in researching WW1 veterans burried at Stoke's Marsden Valley Cemetery and what it can help to tell us about the phases of the war. What started out as a project to map the RSA area expanded to encompass an even larger number of veterans buried elsewhere in the cemetery.
Download the database here.
Marsden Valley database

JULY Meeting Resource

Speakers: Peter Millward & Karen Stade

Topic: The speakers outlined the project that saw the transcription of the war diaries of Cyril Saunderson Spear made available for researchers. Cyril was a journalist for many years with the Nelson Evening Mail.
Download the diaries here.
Cyril Spear WW1 diary