In 1841 three sailing ships, The Willwatch, Whitby and Arrow, under the command of Captain Arthur Wakefield, sailed into Astrolabe bringing the first immigrants to establish the settlement of Nelson.
While anchored, a boat was sent ashore from the Whitby to explore the coastline and search for fresh water. Onboard, a young man named Tommy Rowling, was the first person to step ashore at Kaiteriteri and in doing so took the first of many steps he and his family would make into the history books of Nelson and Tasman Bay. Tommy subsequently bought land in Riwaka, which he farmed, but it wasn’t until 1912 that the Rowlings became involved again with Kaiteriteri.
In 1912 Tommy’s Grandson, Sydney, purchased Kaiteriteri and surrounding land (for the price of a motorcar). Subsequently Sydney and his son Athel were largely instrumental in creating Kaiteriteri into the holiday camp phenomenon it is today. In 1948 Athel and his wife Alva established the first holiday cottages at Kaiteriteri on the land given to them by Sidney. Those cottages were the forerunner of the first motels in the bay.
Now Athel’s son Tom and his wife Alison are the proud guardians of the Rowling heritage as they continue the work of their forebears in promoting Kaiteriteri and the surrounding district.
Kaiteriteri Beach is a “wonder” of New Zealand. Its potential was recognized over 150 years ago by one of its first setters and his family. Its many pleasures are still enjoyed today.
This foresight whether in community involvement, national politics, or local commerce, has made the Rowling name synonymous with Nelson and Tasman.