Historical Timeline of Marlborough
By: Christopher Cookson
Last Modified: 18-3-2023 17:53
A historical timeline of a selection of significant events in the history of Marlborough.
- ~14,000 years ago, end of last ice age and formation of Marlborough Sounds
- ~1300AD First Polynesian settlers arrive in New Zealand at Wairau Bar.
- 1642 December Abel Tasman spends a week in Cook Strait.
- 1770 Captain James Cook makes his first visit to the Marlborough Sounds and Ship's Cove.
- 1774 Cook's second visit to the Marlborough Sounds
- 1777 Cook's third and final voyage to the Marlborough Sounds.
- 1826 Captain John Guard establishes the first land based whaling station in the South Island at Cloudy Bay.
- 1828 Te Rauparaha captures pa at Kaikōura
- 1828 Te Āti Awa migrants from Taranaki establish settlement at Waitohi (later to become Picton).
- 1829 August. Colonel Edward Gibbon Wakefield of the New Zealand Company arrives at Meretoto/Ship Cove to begin a survey for subsequent colonisation.
- 1838 Eurpoean discovery and exploration of Pelorus Sound (Te Hoiere) by Lieutenant Chetwode aboard HMS Pelorus.
- 1840 Reverend Samuel Ironside establishes mission station at Ngakuta Bay
- 1840 17 June. British sovereignty proclaimed over the South Island at Horahora Kakahu Island, by Major Bunbury.
- 1842 Whaling station established at Kaikoura by Robert Fyfe.
- 1842 5th August Opening of first permanent church by Reverend Ironside.
- 1843 17 June "The Wairau Incident" at Tuamarina as a result of conflict over land.
- 1846 first mob of sheep driven into Marlborough over Tophouse by Nathaniel Morse and Dr John Cooper
- 1848 Earthquake estimated at magnitude 7.5 centred in the Awatere Valley
- 1850 Blenheim founded. (Originally known as 'the Beaver')
- 1850 Land at Waitohi purchased from Te Āti Awa to establish town of Picton.
- 1855 Following a magnitude 8.2 earthquake in the Wairarapa, the Wairau Lagoons subside sufficiently to enable navigation of the lower Wairau and Ōpaoa rivers by small ships.
- 1858 Surveying to establish town of Havelock.
- 1859 1 November. Marlborough established as a province after separating from Nelson province.
- 1860 Marlborough elects first Provincial Council.
- 1864 Gold discovered at Wakamarina.
- 1864 April - Taupae-o-Uneuku, Marlborough's highest peak climbed for the first time.
- 1865 Blenheim becomes provincial capital
- 1866 The first telegraph cable accross Cook Strait to Whites Bay.
- 1866 First Roman Catholic church built in Blenheim.
- 1866 Marlborough Express begins publication.
- 1866 Molesworth cob cottage built by John (Cornelius) Murphy.
- 1870 First lighthouse built at Cape Campbell.
- 1875 Picton railway opened.
- 1887 Wairau Hospital established on current site.
- 1888 Gold discovered in Cullen's Gully near Linkwater.
- 1900 Marlborough High School opens.
- 1900 Freezing works opens in Picton.
- 1905 Flaxbourne Station acquired and subdivided by the government establishing the town of Ward.
- 1916 Pollard Park (formerly Waterlea Park) established.
- 1917 Opawa River Bridge completed.
- 1918 Blenheim Amateur Operatic Society (Now Blenheim Musical Theatre) formed.
- 1927 Waihopai hydro-electric power station began generation.
- 1928 First flight from New Zealand to Australia by Charles Kingsford Smith in 'Southern Cross' departs from Woodbourne.
- 1929 Marlborough Aero Club begins flying operations.
- 1945 Main trunk line linking Picton to Christchurch by rail opens.
- 1949 Production of salt begins at Lake Grassmere.
- 1954 January 16th, Queen Elizabeth II visits Blenheim.
- 1957 July, French Pass road opened
- 1961 NAC begins Fokker Friendship flights to Woodbourne.
- 1962 First roll-on roll-of interisland rail ferry, the Aramoana begins operation across Cook Strait.
- 1962 Private road to Tennyson Inlet opened.
- 1962 November 20. First successful swim across Cook Strait by Barrie Devenport.
- 1965 Taylor Dam flood protection completed (Largest earth flood protection in NZ).
- 1967 Tru-Jen sets a new New Zealand water speed record of 126.74 mph on 18 March.
- 1968 Brayshaw Park established.
- 1973 First commecial vineyard plantings by Montana.
- 1973 Marlborough wins the Ranfurly Shield
- 1979 10th January Farmers fire
- 1979 Queen Charlotte Track developed.
- 1983 Branch River hydro-electric generation begins operation.
- 1983 July. Tuamarina flood results in evacuations from Tuamarina, Spring Creek, and Renwick.
- 1985 Inaugural Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
- 1986 Mikhail Lermontov Soviet cruise ship sinks in Port Gore on February 16 after hitting rocks in the Marlborough Sounds.
- 1986 Sounds Air begins passenger operations.
- 1989 Formation of Marlborough District Council as a result of local government reforms.
- 1990 Safe Air ceases flying operations after 40 years.
- 1990 Blenheim Riverside Railway officially opens.
- 1992 Strait Shipping begins freight service across Cook Strait.
- 1996 Sounds Air Cessna Caravan crashes into Mount Robertson in heavy cloud, killing 5 passengers
- 1998 January 1. Ben Smart & Olivia Hope disappear in the Marlborough Sounds.
- 2000 Boxing Day fire on Wither Hills
- 2001 Inaugural Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka.
- 2006 December 9. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre opens.
- 2007 Marlborough Convention Centre and combined Clubs of Marlborough opens on former RSA club site.
- 2010 Crown settlement with Te Tau Ihu tribes.
- 2012 Joseph Sullivan from Picton wins gold in men's double sculls at 2012 Olympics in London
- 2013 Magnitude 6.6 earthquake centred at Lake Grassmere on August 16.
- 2014 April, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine visit Blenheim.
- 2016 Magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14, with epicentre near Culverdon in north Canterbury, ruptured multiple faults up Kaikōura coast.
- 2016 ASB Theatre opens beside Clubs of Marlborough beside Taylor River
- 2022 Clubs of Marlborough goes into receivership and closes
AA Historic Places of New Zealand 1990 Hodder and Stoughton.
A Pictorial History of New Zealand Shirley Maddock 1988 Heinemann Reed
Old Marlborough T. Lindsay Buick 1900 - reprint 1976 Capper Press
The First Hundred A. Beverley 1969 Blenheim Borough Council
Cite this page
Cookson, C. (2023). Historical Timeline of Marlborough. Retrieved December, 2, 2023, from https://www.marlboroughonline.co.nz/marlborough/information/history/historical-timeline