Nelson, New Zealand: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Whakatū (Māori)
Nelson flag.svg

Flag of the City of Nelson

(June 2009 estimate[1])
Urban Area
Extent: from Glenduan to
the Wairoa River
Unitary authority
Name: Nelson City
Mayor: Kerry Marshall
Extent: from Rai Saddle to
Land Area: 444 km²

The city 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 region.

Nelson is a centre for arts and crafts, and each year hosts popular events such as the Nelson Arts Festival. The annual Wearable Art Awards began near Nelson and a museum, World of Wearable Art, is now housed close to Nelson Airport showcasing winning designs.

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.

Nelson 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.

Nelson's Māori name, Whakatū,[2] means 'build', 'raise', or 'establish'. Nelson is one of the few New Zealand cities to have its own flag.



Nelson seen from the air (facing more-or-less South-SouthWest), showing its close connection to Richmond towards the top.

The Nelson 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. It is between Marlborough, another unitary authority, to the east, and the West Coast 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,[3][4][5] exemplified by similar action in the creation of Nelson Tasman Tourism,a jointly owned tourism promotion organisation.[6]

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 drift. 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 called Fifeshire Rock in memory of this disaster) in 1842 proved the difficulty of the passage.[7] 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[8] 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 sand dunes) 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 grow.


National Parks

Nelson is 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 hemisphere.


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.[9]

Weather data for Nelson
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22.4
Average low °C (°F) 13
Precipitation mm (inches) 72
Source: NIWA Climate Data[10] 1971 – 2000
Weather data for Nelson, New Zealand
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 74 75 70 66 60 56 54 56 63 64 68 71 65
Average low °F 54 54 51 48 42 39 37 38 42 43 48 52 46
Precipitation inches 2.9 2.8 2.9 3.1 3.2 3.5 3.4 3.2 3.4 3.5 3.0 3.0 37.9
Average high °C 23 22 21 18 15 13 12 13 17 17 20 21 18
Average low °C 12 12 10 8 5 3 2 3 5 6 8 11 7
Precipitation cm 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 7 96
Source: Weatherbase[11] Aug 2007

Geographical Centre of New Zealand

The marker at the "Centre of New Zealand".

The geographical "Centre of New Zealand" allegedly lies in Nelson;[12] 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: 41°30′S 172°50′E / 41.5°S 172.833°E / -41.5; 172.833 (Geographical Centre of New Zealand).[13]


Early settlement

A view of Nelson from the "Centre of New Zealand".

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

Christ Church Cathedral on Church Hill, central Nelson.

The New Zealand Company in London planned the settlement of Nelson. They intended to buy cheaply from the Māori 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 Arthur Wakefield. Arriving in New Zealand, they discovered that the new Governor of the colony, William Hobson 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.

The Company secured a vague and undetermined area from the Māori for £800 that included Nelson, Waimea, Motueka, Riwaka and Whakapuaka. 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.

Notably, the early settlement of Nelson province included a proportion of German immigrants, 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 moved away.

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 Wairau Affray, 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.

Nelson Province

From 1853 until 1876, when provincial governments were abolished, Nelson was the capital of Nelson Province. The provincial anniversary date for Nelson Province is 1 February and a public holiday is celebrated on the nearest Monday.[14]


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.[15]

Figures 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 [5] - the highest proportion of residents from the United Kingdom and Ireland in New Zealand - with another 9.5% born overseas. 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 district.


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 region. The Institute has been providing high quality tertiary education in the Nelson-Marlborough region for the last 100 years.

Nelson Airport

Nelson Airport (IATA: NSNICAO: NZNS) 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 trilogy was designed.[16]

  • Nelson is a popular visitor destination and year-round attracts both New Zealanders and international tourists.[18]
  • The Saturday Nelson Market is well known and you can buy direct from local artists.[19]
  • Art organizations include the Suter Gallery[20] and Nelson Arts Festival.[21]

The first rugby match in New Zealand took place at the Botanic Reserve in Nelson on May 14, 1870, between the Nelson Football Club and Nelson College, and an informative commemorative plaque was renovated at the western edge of the grassed area by Nelson City Council in 2006.


Music lovers may attend the biennial Nelson School of Music Winter Music Festival, the Adam New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music [6] and the annual Jazz Festival.

The Taste Nelson festival at Founders Heritage Park highlights this region's gastronomy, the Festival of Opportunities features alternative health and lifestyle possibilities,[22][23] while the Suter International Film Festival screens 20 non-Hollywood films in late May to June every year.

The Nelson Kite Festival takes 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 many Victorian buildings in 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[24].

Natureland Zoological Park is a small zoological facility close to Tahunanui Beach. The facility was popular with children, where they could closely approach wallabies, monkeys, meerkats, llamas and alpacas, Kune Kune pigs, otters, and peacocks. There are also turtles, tropical fish and a walk through aviary.[25] Although the zoo nearly closed in 2008, the Orana Wildlife Trust took over its running instead.[26]

Sister cities

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2009". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  2. ^ "NZ government Māori Language Commission". Retrieved August 25, 2007.  
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ Nelson - the early years
  8. ^ Paul C Denton, Mike R Johnston, Soils & Foundations Ltd, Nelson (12 May 2002). "Housing Development on a Large, Active Landslide: The Tahunanui Slump Story, Nelson, New Zealand". Geo-Logic Ltd.  
  9. ^ "Mean Monthly Sunshine". NIWA. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  
  10. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved November 2, 2007.  
  11. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Nelson, New Zealand". Retrieved August 21, 2007.  
  12. ^ "The earliest version of this article first appeared in NZ Science Teacher 71 21-23 1992". Retrieved August 27, 2007.  
  13. ^ "Nelson City Council website: graviational centre". Retrieved August 27, 2007.  
  14. ^ Department of Labour - NZ public holiday dates 2006–2009
  15. ^ By the Numbers
  16. ^ Are you lord of the rings obsessed? Own the Movie Ring by Jens Hansen
  17. ^ "Fibre Spectrum".  
  18. ^ Nelson Tasman Tourism - Visitor Information
  19. ^ The Nelson Market
  20. ^ "The Suter Gallery home page". Retrieved August 25, 2007.  
  21. ^ "Nelson Arts Festival". Retrieved August 25, 2007.  
  22. ^ "Opening minds and eyes". The Nelson Mail. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23.  
  23. ^ Festival of Opportunities web site
  24. ^ Nelson City Council - Reserves and Parks
  25. ^ Natureland Zoo, Nelson, New Zealand
  26. ^ Bright future ahead for Natureland and its staff

External links

Coordinates: 41°17′S 173°17′E / 41.283°S 173.283°E / -41.283; 173.283

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NELSON, a seaport of New Zealand, the seat of a bishop and capital of a provincial district of the same name; at the head of Blind Bay on the northern coast of the South Island. Pop. (1906) 8164. The woods and fields in the neighbourhood abound with English song-birds, and the streams are stocked with trout; while the orchards in the town and suburbs are famous for English kinds of fruit, and hops are extensively cultivated. The town possesses a small museum and art gallery, literary institute, government buildings, and boys' and girls' schools of high repute. The cathedral (Christ Church) is finely placed on a mound which was originally intended as a place of refuge from hostile natives. It is built of wood, the various native timbers being happily combined. Railways connect the harbour with the town, and the town with Motupiko, &c. The harbour, with extensive wharves, is protected by the long and remarkable Boulder Bank, whose southern portion forms the natural breakwater to that anchorage. The settlement was planted by the New Zealand Company in 1842. The borough returns one member to the house of representatives, and its local affairs are administered by a mayor and council.

<< Nelson, England

Nelsonville >>


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address