Nelson New Zealand Information
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Nelson New Zealand.
||from Glenduan to
the Wairoa River
||from Rai Saddle to
The city of Nelson stands on the eastern side of Tasman Bay at the northern end
of the South Island of New Zealand. The hinterland formed the traditional
province of Nelson, now incorporated into the Tasman District. Nelson received
its name in honour of the 1st Viscount Nelson. Nelson is one of the regions of
New Zealand and is administered as a unitary authority.
Many people believe Nelson has the best climate in New Zealand, in that it
regularly tops the national statistics for sunshine hours, with an annual
average total of over 2400 hours.
Nelson has good beaches and a sheltered harbour. It lies close to mountains and
to Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park, and functions as
the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park and to the Kahurangi National Park.
The geographical "Centre of New Zealand" allegedly lies in Nelson; on a hilltop
suspiciously convenient to the centre of the city. This supposed "centre" in
fact simply marks the point deemed the "centre" for the purposes of early
geographical surveys. The *true* geographical centre lies in a patch of
unremarkable dense scrub in a forest on the Spooners Range.
Nelson serves as a centre for arts and crafts, and each year hosts popular
events such as the Nelson Arts Festival and the World of WearableArt Awards.
Nelson also has a good music scene, with bands such as Mother Guru, The
Housewives, Monkey Puzzler and Everthirst performing regular gigs around the
Nelson Province is the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford, and he attended Nelson
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.
The Nelson urban area, which includes the adjacent town of Richmond, has a
population of approximately 50,000 - and has recently increased in population
more rapidly than any other region in New Zealand bar one.
Early History of Nelson
The New Zealand Company in London planned the settlement of Nelson. They
intended to buy cheaply from the Maori some 200 00 acres (800 kmē) 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 purchase vast areas of land
from the Maori 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, less than one third of the area required by the Company plans.
The Company purchased from the Maori for eight hundred pounds a vague and
undetermined area, but including 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 first immigrant ships arrived
three months later they found the town already laid out with streets, some
wooden houses, tents and rough sheds. Within eighteen months the Company had
sent out eighteen ships with 1052 men, 872 women and 1384 children. However less
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.
After a brief initial period of prosperity the inherent problems, the lack of
land and the lack of capital caught up with the settlement and it entered a
prolonged period of relative depression. Organised immigration ceased until the
1850s and the laborers had to accept a cut in their wages by a third. By the end
of 1843 artisans and laborers 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 Maori owners stated
quite 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 Massacre
(euphemistically: the Wairau affray; even more euphemistically: the Wairau
Incident) wherein twenty-two settlers died. The subsequent Government enquiry
exonerated the Maori and found that the Nelson settlers had no legitimate claim
to any land outside Tasman Bay.