Picton Marina sits at the south-eastern head of Picton Harbour, in an area originally known as Kaiaua Lagoon.
The origin of this name stems from the large number of fish, including herrings, mullets and pilchards once found in the area.1
Aua is Māori for yellow-eyed mullet and kai means food.2
Kaiaua Lagoon, along with the rest of Picton Harbour has a long history of human settlement. It was an important food gathering area for Māori particularly for shellfish and sardines.3
At least eight iwi (tribes) are associated with the area, including Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngati Kuia, Ngati Apa, Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, and Ngati Tama.4
In 1828, Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui migrated in to the area taking Tōtaranui / Queen Charlotte Sound from resident iwi and establishing mana whenua (territorial authority) over Picton Harbour by right of conquest.5
In 1850 Picton or Waitohi, as it is known in Māori, was purchased from Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui by the Crown, to provide a port for land recently purchased in the Wairau Valley.
The negotiations for the site took over two years to complete. They involved the relocation of the resident Māori population to the neighbouring bay of Waikawa.6
During the 1950s the Kaiaua Lagoon was partially filled in to create Victoria Domain War Memorial Park and in the following decade, the remainder of the lagoon was turned into the Picton Marina.7
The Snout, is the ridge of land that separates the Waikawa valley and bay from Picton Harbour. It rises up beside the Marina and is the site for much of Victoria Domain. It is a recreational area with popular walking tracks.
The area was also a traditional food gathering site for Māori and was known by several names including Te Ihu Moeone, referring to a worm, Te Pahoahoa referring to a snout and Te Tungara, the name for the highest and most southern point on the ridge, which refers to a taniwha.8
Since the early 1900s, pedestrian access to the Kaiaua Lagoon, Victoria Domain and later the Marina, has been provided by a footbridge joining the area to the town centre. Initially built in 1907, the Victoria Domain Bridge was replaced during the 1950s with the current Coathanger Bridge.9
1. E. Newcombe and O Johnston, “Picton Bays Environmental Information and Health Assessment, Cawthron Report No. 2805”, accessed, July 30, 2019, http://envirolink.govt.nz/assets/Envirolink/1606-MLDC-106-Picton-Bays-Environmental-Information-and-Health-Assessment.PDF
2. “Aua”, Te Aka Māori Dictionary, accessed, August 2, 2019, https://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?idiom=&phrase=&proverb=&loan=&histLoanWords=&keywords=aua
3. Marlborough District Council, Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council, “Te Tau Ihu Statutory Acknowledgements 2014”, accessed April 2, 2019, http://www.nelson.govt.nz/assets/Environment/Downloads/TeTauIhu-StatutoryAcknowledgements.pdf
4. Newcombe and Johnston, “Picton Bays Environmental Information and Health Assessment”.
5. Te Ātiawa Rohe Management Office, “Waitohi and Waikawa Streams Characterisation Study, 2018”, accessed July 30, 2019, https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/repository/libraries/id:1w1mps0ir17q9sgxanf9/hierarchy/Documents/Environment/Waitohi_and_Waikawa_Streams_Characterisation_Study.pdf
6. Julie Kennedy, “Sir Thomas Picton (1758-1815) and the naming of Picton”, the Prow.org.nz, accessed July 23, 2019, http://www.theprow.org.nz/yourstory/sir-thomas-picton/#.XTbGG-gzbIU
7. Julie Kennedy, “Picton and World War II”, the Prow.org.nz, accessed July 23, 2019, http://www.theprow.org.nz/yourstory/picton-and-world-war-ii/#.XTbDdegzbIV
8. Marlborough District Council, “Victoria Domain”, accessed April 28, 2020, https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/recreation/parks-and-open-spaces/parks-and-open-spaces-plans-and-reports/victoria-domain
9. Julie Kennedy, Chronology of Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound, (Picton, Picton Historical Society, 2009) 47-48.