of Nelson is close to the centre of New Zealand. It lies at the shore of Tasman Bay, at the northern end of the South Island, and is the administrative centre of the Nelson
|Flag of the City of
||from Glenduan to
the Wairoa River
||from Rai Saddle to
Nelson is a centre for arts and crafts, and each year hosts popular
events such as the Nelson Arts
. The annual Wearable Art Awards began near Nelson
and a museum, World of Wearable Art, is now housed close to Nelson Airport showcasing
Brightwater, near Nelson is the birthplace of Lord Rutherford, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose image appears on New Zealand's
$100 banknote, the largest denomination in
circulation in New Zealand.
received its name in honour of the Admiral Horatio Nelson who defeated both the
French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Many of the roads and public areas
around the city are named after people and ships associated with
that battle and Trafalgar Street is the main shopping axis of the
city. Inhabitants of Nelson are referred to as Nelsonians.
name, Whakatū, means
'build', 'raise', or 'establish'. Nelson is one of the few New
Zealand cities to have its
Tasman or "Top of the South" region is administered as two unitary authorities by Nelson City Council and the (much larger
in geographical area) adjoining Tasman District Council,
headquartered in Richmond 15 kilometres to the south west.
between Marlborough, another unitary authority, to the east, and the
Regional Council to the west.
For some while, there has been talk about amalgamating the two
authorities in order to streamline and render more financially
economical the existing co-operation between the two councils,
exemplified by similar action in the creation of Nelson Tasman Tourism
,a jointly owned
tourism promotion organisation.
Nelson has beaches and a sheltered harbour. The harbour entrance
is protected by a Boulder
Bank, a natural, 13 km bank of rocks transported
south from Mackay Bluff via longshore
The bank creates a perfect natural harbour which
enticed the first settlers although the entrance was narrow. The
wreck of the Fifeshire
on Arrow Rock (now sometimes called
Fifeshire Rock in memory of this disaster) in 1842 proved the
difficulty of the passage. A cut was later made in the bank in 1906
which allowed larger vessels access to the port.
The creation of Rocks Road around the waterfront area after the
Tahunanui slump in 1929 increased the effects of the tide on Nelson
city's beach, Tahunanui, and removed sediment. This meant the
popular beach and adjoining car park was being eroded (plus the
) so a project to replace these
sands was put in place and has so far proved a success, with the
sand rising a considerable amount and the dunes continuing to
surrounded by mountains on three sides with Tasman Bay on the other
and the region is the gateway to Abel Tasman
National Park, Kahurangi National Park, Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park. It is a centre for both ecotourism and adventure tourism and has a high reputation
among caving enthusiasts due to several
prominent cave systems around Takaka Hill and Mounts Owen and Arthur, which
hold the largest and deepest explored caverns in the southern
Many people believe Nelson has the best climate in New Zealand, as
it regularly tops the national statistics for sunshine hours, with
an annual average total of over 2400 hours.
Geographical Centre of New Zealand
The marker at the "Centre of New
The geographical "Centre of New Zealand" allegedly lies in Nelson;
on a hilltop near the centre of the city. However, this supposed
"centre" was simply the convenient starting point for the original
trigonometrical surveys of the South Island. The
true geographical centre lies in a patch of
unremarkable dense scrub in a forest in
Spooners Range near
Tapawera, 35 kilometres south-west of Nelson: .
A view of Nelson from the "Centre of
Settlement of Nelson began about 1100 years ago by Māori. There is
evidence the earliest settlements in New Zealand are around the
Nelson-Marlborough regions. The earliest recorded iwi
in the Nelson district are the Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti
Tumatakokiri, Ngāti Apa and Rangitane tribes.
Raids from northern tribes in the 1820s, led by Te Rauparaha
and his Ngāti Toa
, soon decimated the local
population and quickly displaced them.
New Zealand Company
New Zealand Company in London planned the
settlement of Nelson.
They intended to buy cheaply from the
some 200,000 acres (800 km²)
which they planned to divide into one thousand lots and sell (at a
considerable profit) to intending settlers. The Company earmarked
future profits to finance the free passage of artisans and
labourers and their families, and for the construction of public
works. However by September 1841 only about one third of the lots
had sold. Despite this the Colony pushed ahead.
Three ships sailed from London under the command of Captain
. Arriving in New
Zealand, they discovered that the new Governor of the colony,
would not give them a
free hand to secure vast areas of land from the Māori or indeed to
decide where to site the colony. However, after some delay, Hobson
allowed the Company to investigate the Tasman Bay area at the north
end of the South Island. The Company selected the site now occupied
by Nelson City because it had the best harbour in the area. But it
had a major drawback: it lacked suitable arable land
; Nelson City stands right on the
edge of a mountain range while the nearby Waimea Plains amount to
only about 60,000 acres (243 km²), less than one third of the
area required by the Company plans.
Company secured a vague and undetermined area from the Māori for
£800 that included Nelson, Waimea, Motueka, Riwaka and
This allowed the settlement to begin, but the
lack of definition would prove the source of much future conflict.
The three colony ships sailed into Nelson Haven during the first
week of November 1841. When the four first immigrant ships arrived
three months later they found the town already laid out with
streets, some wooden houses, tents and rough sheds. These ships
were the Fifeshire, the Mary-Ann, the Lord Auckland and the Lloyds.
Within 18 months the Company had sent out 18 ships with 1052 men,
872 women and 1384 children. However, fewer than ninety of the
settlers had the capital to start as landowners.
the early settlement of Nelson province included a proportion of
who arrived on the ship Sankt Pauli and formed the nucleus
of the villages of Sarau (Upper Moutere) and Neudorf.
These were mostly Lutheran
Protestants with a small number of Bavarian Catholics.
After a brief initial period of prosperity, the lack of land and of
capital caught up with the settlement and it entered a prolonged
period of relative depression. Organised immigration ceased until
the 1850s and the labourers had to accept a cut in their wages by a
third. By the end of 1843 artisans and labourers began leaving
Nelson and by 1846 some twenty five percent of the immigrants had
The pressure to find more arable land became intense. To the
south-east of Nelson lay the wide and fertile plains of the Wairau
Valley. The New Zealand Company tried to claim that they had
purchased the land. The Māori owners stated adamantly that the
Wairau Valley had not formed part of the original land sale and
made it clear they would resist any attempts by the settlers to
occupy the area. The Nelson settlers led by Arthur Wakefield and
Henry Thompson attempted to do just that. This resulted in the
, where 22 settlers died.
The subsequent Government enquiry exonerated the Māori and found
that the Nelson settlers had no legitimate claim to any land
outside Tasman Bay.
From 1853 until 1876, when provincial governments were abolished,
Nelson was the capital of Nelson
.The provincial anniversary
date for Nelson Province is 1 February
and a public holiday
is celebrated on
the nearest Monday.
Nelson's total population rose from 41,568 in 2001 to 42,888 in
2006, while Tasman district's rose from 41,352 to 44,625, to exceed
that of Nelson for the first time.
released on 23 April 2007 by Statistics New Zealand showed that
3,774 people born in the United Kingdom and Ireland lived in the Nelson City Council area and made up
9.1% of its population  - the highest proportion of residents from the
Kingdom and Ireland in New Zealand - with another 9.5% born
Although Statistics New Zealand no longer keeps
statistics for numbers of residents born in Germany, the Embassy of
the Federal Republic of Germany in Wellington has stated that a
greater proportion German speakers live in the Nelson and Bays area
than anywhere else in New Zealand. There was a 23.7% rise in the
number of Asians living in Nelson and a 35.4% rise in Tasman
Nelson hosts one Tertiary Education Institution, Nelson Marlborough
Institute of Technology
. The institute has two main campuses, one in
Nelson and the other in Blenheim, in the neighbouring Marlborough
The Institute has been providing high
quality tertiary education in the Nelson-Marlborough region for the
last 100 years.
Nelson Airport is an airport in Nelson. Approximately 1 million
people use the airport terminal annually.In 2006, the airport
received restricted international airport status, and it has
handled international private jets since then.
Culture and the arts
As the major regional centre, the city offers many lodgings,
restaurants, and unique speciality shopping such as at the Goldsmiths
where "The One Ring" in The Lord of the Rings film
rugby match in New Zealand took place
at the Botanic Reserve in Nelson on May 14, 1870, between the
Nelson Football Club and
College, and an informative commemorative plaque was
renovated at the western edge of the grassed area by Nelson City Council in
- Nelson is a popular visitor destination and year-round attracts
both New Zealanders and international tourists.
- The Saturday Nelson
Market is well known and you can buy direct from local
Music lovers may attend the biennial Nelson School of Music Winter Music Festival
, the Adam New Zealand
Festival of Chamber Music 
the annual Jazz Festival
The Taste Nelson festival
Founders Heritage Park
highlights this region's gastronomy, the Festival of Opportunities
alternative health and lifestyle possibilities, while the Suter International Film
screens 20 non-Hollywood films in late May to June
The Nelson Kite Festival
advantage of the reliable sea breezes that blow inland from Tasman
Bay across Neale Park each afternoon with kite lovers arriving from
around New Zealand and from overseas.
A panorama over Nelson City
Unlike many towns and cities in New Zealand, Nelson has retained
its historic centre and a whole street has been designated as
having heritage value: South Street
Surviving Historic Buildings
The Nelson region houses several museums,.
Parks and Zoo
Nelson has a large number and variety of public parks
and reserves maintained at public
expense by Nelson City Council.
Natureland Zoological Park is a small zoological facility close to
Tahunanui Beach. The facility was popular with children, where they
could closely approach wallabies
, Kune Kune pigs
, and peacocks
are also turtles
, tropical fish
and a walk through aviary
. Although the zoo nearly closed in 2008, the
Orana Wildlife Trust took over its running instead.
References & Notes