The Mangatapu Mountain Murders

Last Modified: 23-6-2017 15:14

Twenty minutes by car from Havelock, along State Highway 6 following the Pelorus River valley heading towards Nelson, is a little settlement called Canvastown. It is sited on the banks of the Wakamarina River which feeds into the Pelorus River.

One day in 1860 Mrs Elizabeth Pope was rinsing clothes in the Wakamarina River when she happened to see yellow specks gleaming in the gravel. It was gold all right! But her discovery aroused no great interest. A year later, however, gold was discovered in Otago at Gabriel's Gully. And Otago boomed as a result.

Meanwhile, Marlborough became envious of the profits from further discoveries in Otago and in Canterbury-owned Westland.
In 1863 the Superintendent of the four-year old Province of Marlborough offered a bonus of

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