The Wairau and its Forgotten Capital

It is the late 1840s and successful European settlement of the Wairau, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand, requires a port for the export of wool. The only viable possibility is the mouth of the Wairau River.

On the southern side of the river mouth, on the northern tip of the Boulder Bank, an informal settlement of hotels, wool stores and wharf structures has formed and has effectively become the CAPITAL of the Wairau and the surrounding pastoral lands.

The life of this capital, born of necessity, would run its course until seismic and other events would cause it to be rendered irrelevant and begin its inevitable decline.

The wonder is that in 2016 most people have never heard of this settlement and see no evidence of it having existed. Its establishment on top of what as to become the most significant archaeological site relating to Polynesian arrival and subsequent (‘Moa Hunter’) culture is another anomaly.

In order to bring the settlement to life, the writer has carefully canvassed the relevant historic and political events surrounding the establishment of the FORGOTTEN CAPITAL, giving a new insight into many of the wider Wairau and later Marlborough events of the time.

Barry Holdaway

Publisher: Barry Holdaway 2016

Soft Cover $40

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