Heritage, Culture & Arts

Marlborough’s rich history runs wide and deep, from the earliest Polynesian settlers on Te Pokohiwi-o-Kupe/Wairau, Bar to the European pioneers who built towns and planted our first grapevines.

These people, the way they lived, and how they dealt with history’s major events has shaped Marlborough into what it is today.

Those stories are all here, waiting to be discovered all over again in the places where they happened or in our galleries, museums, art and theatre productions.

Te Rae o Karaka/Karaka Point Heritage

Karaka Point near Picton was once a fortified pā where early Māori were perfectly positioned to see potential invaders coming down Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound.

In 1827 to 1830, members of the Ngāti Toa tribe established themselves at several locations around the Marlborough Sounds, including a number of pā sites in Tōtaranui. This included Te Rea o Karaka pā, at Karaka Point, which was attacked by Ngāti Toa rangatira (chief) Te Rauparaha, his men armed with muskets, in the early 1830s.

An easy 15-minute walk from the carpark at the top of Karaka Point, off Port Underwood Rd, leads through the pā site. Historic earthworks including ramparts and whare (house) pits from possibly the early 1700s can still be seen.

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