Despite its relatively small and scattered population, the Marlborough province has a surprisingly vibrant and vital community. The region has numerous service clubs such as Rotary and the Lions, churches and religious organisations, operatic and dramatic societies, as well as thriving sports clubs for all age groups.

Even the smallest communities in the province have public parks and recreational areas, and many places have a community library and museum. Blenheim is particularly well-endowed, with a museum, parks, gardens and several art galleries, among other facilities. Near the centre of town, The Marlborough Centre provides a venue for a variety of cultural events, including local and visiting theatrical productions.

The people of Marlborough have always been keen on sport and outdoor activities, encouraged by the warm, sunny climate and varied terrain of the province. There are numerous sports clubs and a whole range of opportunities for recreational activities, from sailing or boating in the Marlborough Sounds to climbing Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku, playing rugby, cricket and soccer, or swimming in one of the region's numerous rivers.

Marlborough has had a long association with culture and the arts, and is home to a number talented artists. The repertory and operatic societies were established early last century, and continue to flourish and stage regular productions. Creative Marlborough co-ordinates and promotes the arts in Marlborough, staging summer schools, courses and arts events.

There is a local arts society that has a gallery near the centre of Blenheim, and runs regular classes for adults and children. The Millennium Art Gallery provides an accessible and informative forum for the arts in Marlborough, with two gallery spaces featuring work by local artists and exhibitions from outside the region.
It's a Fact...
THE GRASSLANDS
In 1847 Frederick Weld landed 2,500 sheep at Port Underwood. Driving them south, he crossed the Awatere River arriving at Flaxbourne, where he established the first extensive Merino sheep run in the South Island. Within three years the grasslands as far as the Kaikoura Ranges had been occupied by squatters. A decade later, control of the grasslands by a mere 50 or so run-holders was confirmed with leaseholds at nominal rentals.
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