Meticulously Researched Book on Marlborough Sounds History

Book Review: “One Hundred Havens -The Settlement of the Marlborough Sounds”  by Helen Beaglehole, published by Massey University Press. Price  $60. Due for release 8 September, 2022. Reviewed by Tony Orman.  


          A new book due out early September, “One Hundred Havens” traces the early Marlborough Sounds’ human settlement by both Maori and Europeans. It’s written by Wellington historian Helen Beaglehole traces the region’s human settlement by both Maori and Europeans.

          Helen Beaglehole has spent 40 years exploring the Marlborough Sounds by boat, bike and on foot. Ten years ago at the suggestion of a fellow historian, she began to research the Marlborough Sounds’ history.

           As she dug deeper she realised that it involved a mammoth challenge and a rich history of human endeavour. Little has been previously written of the Maori in the Marlborough Sounds. The land sales of the Marlborough Sounds had by 1856, resulted in Maori being relegated to inferior land and subsequent “poverty, illness and systemic racism.

          Before European settlement Maori lived in the Sounds as nomadic hunters and gatherers. Then came the wave of European migrants and would-be farmers driven by the image of fertile lands, ripe for development. 

          Axe, fire, herds of cattle and flocks of sheep slowly transformed the landscape, recounts Helen Beaglehole. “Whatever the prospect, the reality was invariably harsher.”           A history book runs the risk of being dry and tedious but the skills of both author and publisher adeptly avoid that. Many excellent historical photos enhance an excellent publication.

          This is a book that should appeal not only to Sounds residents but also those who frequent the Marlborough Sounds for boating, fishing, tramping and other outdoor recreation.








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1 Response to Meticulously Researched Book on Marlborough Sounds History

  1. W Bellcombe says:

    The Marlborough Sounds is a superb area but its being ruined by industrial activities while the Marlborough District Council sits on its hands. The salmon farming venture is an environmental detriment, mussel farms proliferate while clear felling forestry is wrecking the inshore ecosystem with silt runoff. There are over a dozen reports warning of the siltation. They go back to 1980 but successive councils have done nothing. In fact from its Environmental Plan MDC recently removed the description of the Marlborough Sounds as a jewel.

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