Nelson Tasman Culture and Heritage
Published: 12/16/2011 by Selena Murray
Maori culture Maori occupation goes back to the 14th century. There are six indigenous iwi of Te Tau Ihu (Nelson Tasman): Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia, Ngati Toa and Ngati Rarua. There are three marae (meeting places) in the region: Whakatu Marae in Nelson, Te Awhina Marae in Motueka and Onetahua Koriri Marae in Golden Bay.
European heritage Dutch explorer, Abel Janzsoon Tasman’s 1642 voyage of discovery is the earliest known contact between Maori and Europeans. A heritage-listed memorial in Golden Bay marks the tragic meeting which resulted in the death of four sailors and Tasman’s departure from the region now named after him.
European settlement of Nelson occurred in 1842. Evidence of the lifestyles these early settlers lived can be found at Broadgreen Historic House or Founders Heritage Park. 40 minutes drive from Nelson city is the historic village of Sarau – originally settled by German immigrants. Now named Upper Moutere, this is a charming village with historic buildings, now surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Golden Bay and Murchison were both productive gold mining sites, a fact which can be evidenced to visitors today.
- Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson: art deco style Anglican church built mainly of Takaka marble (at the end of Trafalgar St, overlooking the city centre)
- The historic St Pauls, Lutheran church in the historic village of Upper Moutere
- The Botanics Reserve – site of the first game of rugby in New Zealand on 17 May, 1870 (end of Hardy St, just below the Centre of New Zealand)
- South St: a protected historic residential precinct on the cusp of the city centre
- Mapua Wharf where the region’s prolific apple crop was once exported from. Today the wharf buildings and cool stores house galleries, cafes, specialty shops and more
- Town Acre 445 (cnr Trafalgar and Hardy Sts) is the location of the Nelson Tasman regional museum. Two main galleries showcase the cultural and natural history of Nelson Tasman, with a shop and rooftop garden also onsite
- Golden Bay Museum, Commercial St, Takaka
- Collingwood Museum, Tasman Street, Colingwood, Golden Bay
- Murchison Museum, 60 Halifax St, Murchison
- The Founders Heritage Park is a collection of historic buildings and transportation depicting early settlement in Nelson.
- Interpretative walking, kayaking and cruising tours showcase the Maori and European history of Abel Tasman National Park
Learn to weave harakeke (flax) or carve bone with a local artist
Pick up self-guided Heritage Walking Maps from Nelson City council Customer Service Centre to explore a variety of easy walks around the central city and greater Nelson.