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Nelson City Whakatū

Nickname(s): Top of the South, Sunny Nelson

• MayorRachel Reese

• Territorial445 km2 (172 sq mi)

Population (June 2013 estimate)


Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay, and is the economic and cultural centre of the Nelson region. Established in 1841, it is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island and was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858. Nelson's Māori name, Whakatū, means 'build', 'raise', or 'establish'. Nelson is one of the few New Zealand cities to have its own flag.

Settlement of Nelson began about 700 years ago by Māori. There is evidence the earliest settlements in New Zealand are around the Nelson-Marlborough regions. Nelson was named in honour of the Admiral Horatio Nelson who defeated both the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Nelson city is bordered to the west and south-west by the Tasman District Council and the north-east, east and south-east by the Marlborough District Council. Nelson City has a population of around 46,437 ranking it as New Zealand’s 12th most populous city and the geographical centre of New Zealand.

The geographical "centre of New Zealand" allegedly lies in Nelson, on a hilltop near the centre of the city. This is the point "zero, zero" from which the first trigonometrical surveys were started in the 1870s by John Spence Browning, the Chief Surveyor for Nelson.

The Nelson Tasman economy is based on the ‘big five’ industries: horticulture, forestry, seafood, pastoral farming and tourism.. Port Nelson is the biggest deep sea fishing port in Australasia. There are also a range of growth industries, including art and craft, aviation, engineering technology, natural products, aquaculture, research & development and information technology.

The sub-national GDP of the Nelson Tasman region (Nelson City and Tasman District) was estimated at US$3.4 billion in 2010, 1.8% of New Zealand's national GDP.

Nelson hosts two Tertiary Education Institutions, the main one being 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 tertiary education in the Nelson-Marlborough region for the last 100 years.Nelson also has a University of Canterbury College of Education campus which currently has an intake two out of every three years for the Primary sector.

As the major regional centre, the city offers many lodgings, restaurants, and unique speciality shopping such as at the Jens Hansen Goldsmiths where "The One Ring" in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was designed.

Nelson has a vibrant local music and arts scene and is known nationwide for its culturally idiosyncratic craftsmakers. These include Potters, Glass Blowers (such as Flamedaisy Glass Design and Höglund Art Glass Studio & Gallery), Fibre Spectrum Handweavers & Fibre Artists' Studio[47] and dozens of Wood carvers using native New Zealand Southern beech and exotic macrocarpa.

Nelson is a popular visitor destination and year-round attracts both New Zealanders and international tourists.

The Nelson Saturday Marketis a popular weekly market where you can buy direct from local artists.

Several major events take place:Nelson Jazz & Blues Festival- January; Nelson Kite Festival- January; Nelson Yacht Regatta- January; Adam Chamber Music Festival- January / February; Evolve Festival of Opportunities- February; Marchfest beer festival- March; Winter Music Festival- July, Arts Festival - October.

Surviving historic buildings include Nelson Cathedral, Amber House, Broadgreen House, Cabragh House, Chez Eelco, Fairfield House, Founders ParkWindmill, Isel House, Melrose House, Nelson Central SchoolRenwick House, Victorian Rose Pub, Redwood College (Founders Park).

The Nelson region houses several museums. The Founders Heritage Park houses a number of groups with historical themes, including transport. The Nelson Provincial Museum houses a collection of locally significant artifacts. The World of Wearable Art houses a collection of collectable cars and a collections of works from the Wearable Art Awards.

Nelson has a Sister cities relationship with City of Huangshi, People's Republic of China and a Friendly Cities relationship with City of Yangjiang, People’s Republic of China.

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