Historical step back in time
Nelson City Council arts and heritage adviser Debbie Daniell-Smith says she uncovers "all sorts of things" in the run-up to Heritage Week, and is constantly inspired by other people's stories.
The public will have a chance to listen to a handful of them as they wander around Founders Heritage Park's Port Museum exhibit. Mrs Daniell-Smith has voiced a 25-minute audio track telling the stories of objects and exhibits, including tales about relics from the first ships and crew to visit Nelson.
"Yes, there are signs up on the wall, but if you've got little anecdotes that go with them, and that extra stuff that you haven't got room to put on your signs, it makes it quite fun," she says. "The idea is to have something you can stop and start."
The audio will be available for download on theprow.org.nz/audio-walks at the beginning of Heritage Week. Those who do not have internet access will be able to access it through Founders.
If the idea works, Mrs Daniell-Smith says they might trial the audio tracks at other areas in Founders Park.
The project is just a tiny part of the programme for the third annual Heritage Week, which begins this Sunday.
Mrs Daniell-Smith says the programme has activities that will appeal to a wide number of people. It includes some for kids, such as the week-long Heritage Quiz, a treasure hunt that has participants searching for landmarks at Tahunanui to win prizes including a bike, sports shoes and swim passes.
"That's proved popular with families, and even older people on their own will go off and do some orienteering," Mrs Daniell-Smith says.
For creative littlies, there's Velvet the Giant Eel, a travelling tapestry telling the story of New Zealand's endangered long-fin eel, to which children from all over New Zealand have already added appliqued "friends".
It's a project instigated by United States author, teacher and scientist Stephanie Bowman, who visited Nelson, fell in love with eels and wrote Velvet and Elvis, a well-received picture book on the lifecycle of the long-finned eel.
A disassembled Velvet will be on display at the Nelson Provincial Museum and the Elma Turner Library all week, with children able to add their own touches.
"I take my hat off to Stephanie, because she's been passionate about it and dreamt up this idea, and [Velvet] is well over 70 metres," Mrs Daniell-Smith says.
For those who are a little older and perhaps like their history with a dose of activity, there are scheduled heritage walks, including tours of Nelson Cathedral, Nelson Baptist Church and St John's Methodist churches, which Mrs Daniell-Smith says are all the more valuable now that Christ Church Cathedral lies in ruins. "They're churches we could potentially lose," she says.
Other walking tours include Queen's Gardens, and Nelson's original shoreline, before the reclaimed land of the present-day port and Trafalgar Park were added.
All week there will be lunchtime speakers, designed so that working people can turn up with their lunch, enjoy a free tea and coffee, and eat their sandwiches as they listen.
Mrs Daniell-Smith believes the Tuesday session with Cindy Batt and Sue Pryde explaining the histories of two legendary Maori women, Rangi Hanigan and Janice Manson, will be particularly interesting. The stories will appear on The Prow, Nelson's online heritage archive.
There is a sad lack of stories about Maori women, Mrs Daniell-Smith says. The only one on The Prow is about the 1863 wreck of the Delaware at Wakapuaka, when Huria Matenga, her husband, Hemi Matenga, and Hohapata Kahupuku rescued the crew in extremely stormy seas.
"But it's not necessarily colonial stories. We're looking at more modern stories [too]," she says.
This year is also an important one for the Elma Turner Library, which celebrates its 170th anniversary. It will host a week-long exhibition of the people who shaped the library.
That includes some of those earliest settlers, who laid the foundations for a local society of learning on those first few ships, before they even reached New Zealand's shores.
- Heritage Week launch: tea and cake at the Elma Turner Library Activity Room, Halifax St, Nelson, on Sunday at 1.30pm.
- Bring your curios and antiques to Melrose Historic House, 26 Brougham S, on Sunday to be valued by antique valuer Bob Souch, of Soucheby's Antiques. Valuations $10 per item, with all proceeds donated to the preservation of Melrose Historic House.
- Join a guided tour every day from April 16 to 20 at the Nelson Provincial Museum, corner Trafalgar and Hardy streets, visiting the regional heritage collection at 10am and Cawthron's Extraordinary Frontiers at 11am.
- Follow Nelson's hidden shore on a guided walk, discovering the history and artwork of Nelson's original shoreline. Meet at 10.30am on Monday, April 16, at Civic House, Halifax St entrance.
- Find out more about the Ancestors' Attic, an extensive community resource designed to help you trace your family history. Monday April 16, 1pm to 4pm, 67 Trafalgar St.
- The Woven Story The Granary, Founders Historic Park, 87 Atawhai Dr, will trace the history of two legendary Maori women, Rangi Hanigan and Janice Manson. Cindy Batt and Sue Pryde will speak. Bring your lunch and try weaving afterwards.
- Tuesday, April 17, at 12.30pm. Nelson artist, historian and architect Christopher Vine will speak on his favourite Nelson landmarks at the Fairfield House boardroom on Wednesday, April 18, at 12.30pm. His local sketches will be on display at the boardroom all week.
- Judith Fitchett will help you create a record of your family history. Bring your lunch to Nelson's Elma Turner Library audiovisual room on Thursday, April 19, at 12.30pm.
- Founders Heritage Park is holding Lest We Forget for the fifth year. Local theatre trust Dramatix Theatre Development will bring wartime history to life with music, gunfire, explosions, drama and more from April 21 to 22, 10am to 4pm. Entry $2.
- Meet at Nelson Cathedral on Sunday, April 22, for Steps and Stories, a guided walk of the history in the Nelson area, hourly from 1pm to 4pm. For Heritage Week's finale, celebrate our history in the cathedral. Heritage Evensong at Nelson Cathedral, 6pm.
DONATIONS SOUGHT Founders Heritage Park is looking for donations of working MP3 players to use in its audio guided tours. If you can help, phone 03 548 2649.
- © Fairfax NZ News