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Nelson is situated in the Tasman District in the top north west corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The city is dotted with pleasant cafes and restaurants, and arts and craft galleries, amid golden sandy beaches and forested mountains. The Nelson region is famous for the production of world class wines and three of New Zealand’s splendid national parks lie on the city’s doorstep.

Nelson has a population af around 50,000 people. It is the geographical centre of New Zealand, and is a region renowned for warm sunshine, fine beaches, lakes, mountains and native forests. The City of Nelson is large enough to offer all the services and amenities of a large city yet is small enough to be intimate, welcoming and friendly.

Nelson is situated in the Tasman District in the top north west corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The city is dotted with pleasant cafes and restaurants, and arts and craft galleries, amid golden sandy beaches and forested mountains. The region is famous for the production of world class wines and three of New Zealand’s splendid national parks lie on the city’s doorstep. The Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s only coastal National Park, is renowned for it’s magnificent walking tracks, while the northernmost peaks of the Southern Alps create an attractive alpine setting in Nelson Lakes National Park. The last, Kahurangi National Park, is a wilderness of native forestry and marble and limestone caves, which emit trout and various rafting and kayaking rivers.

Nelson began its life as a planned settlement by the New Zealand Company whose first settlers arrrived in 1842. Their first task was to grow food for survival and from this an agricultural economy was born. By the 1850’s the seeds of Nelson’s horticultural future had been sown and the first ‘export’ apples were shipped out to Wellington.

Nelson enjoys sunny summers and clear crisp winters. Its setting in Tasman Bay with the backdrop of the Mount Arthur Range provides a wealth of recreational opportunities. The fertile Waimea Plain is used for horticulture and lifestyle blocks while the hillier country of the hinterland is planted in exotic forests. Port Nelson is Australasia’s premier fishing base. Nelson’s Tourism industry has grown rapidly from a traditional holiday spot for New Zealanders to a destination now visited by tourists from all over the world.

Nelson Region’s reputation as a great place to visit also attracts many people who move here permanently – from all over New Zealand and the rest of the world. The outdoors lifestyle and recreation opportunities, pristine natural environment, great wine and food and wonderful climate are not the only factors; Nelson Region also offers: Excellent primary and secondary schools Nelson Polytechnic, with a wide range of courses, from continuing education to full Bachelor degree courses Excellent sporting facilities and organisations A vibrant and innovative arts community region-wide A city and region that is safe & friendly, with a vibrant, growing economy that supports all the facilities of a modern city.

The people of Nelson are well known for being skilled and innovative artisans, especially in pottery, glass making, bone carving, knitting, basket making and jewellery. Local restaurants can tempt the most discerning palate with their superb seafood including: mussels, scallops, oysters, seasonal whitebait, geoduck and many fish varieties.

The Taste Nelson festival is held each year to celebrate these culinary delights. Another annual Nelson festival which has become internationally acclaimed is the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards – this is a celebration of local creativity when artisans produce and wear their own wearable art creations.

The Nelson fishing and seafood production sector employs more people in the region than any other industry and contributes about $200 million per annum to the Nelson economy. Nelson boasts the largest fishing port in the Southern Hemisphere. The Nelson port area caters for more than one hundred fishing vessels ranging from small local inshore vessels to large factory trawlers. The deepwater fishing fleets of three of New Zealand’s largest fishing companies, Amaltal, Sealord Group and Sandfords, can regularly be seen unloading their cargoes at the port. Smaller fishing ports are also found throughout the Nelson region and are home base for additional inshore fishing vessels and processing plants. Port Motueka, in particular, boasts a large processing operation owned by Talley’s Fisheries Ltd.

Spectacular growth in forest output occurred through the 1990’s and Golden Bay in the early 2000’s. This is based on the substantial plantings in the region in the 1920’s and ’30’s, and a later wave in the 1970’s. Nelson region has 94,000 hectares in plantation forest (as at April 1996, BERL report). About 87 percent of this is radiata pine, with Douglas fir making up most of the remainder. This represents 9.0 percent of Nelson’s total land area and 6.4 percent of New Zealand’s total area in plantation forest. Nelson enjoys competitive advantages in forestry due to the climate, stable soils, comparative lower costs of production, and proximity to processing and port facilities (virtually all of Nelson forests are within 50km of the city). Of the total volume of timber harvested in the region, 81 percent is exported in various forms.

The majority of pastoral production in the Nelson region is based on livestock farming: 145,200ha is used for sheep and beef farming, while dairy farming occurs on 17,579 ha. Export products from the Nelson agriculture sector include meat and small goods, dairy foods, other foods, and some wool scour, textiles and leather tanning. Dairy production is increasing by 5 percent each year, a rate of increase which is expected to double current production by 2008. Increases in farm production and dairy conversions are the main reasons for the predicted growth. The realignment of the New Zealand dollar exchange rate, and changes to Dairy Board payment systems were noted in the 1998 BERL report as likely to improve dairying prospects.

Horticulture is one of the Nelson region’s strong areas of specialisation, and is the second most significant economic sector (just behind fishing and seafood production). It now occupies 6,200 hectares of land throughout the region, and is centred on the fertile Waimea plains. Fruit growing dominates the horticultural scene (in terms of both income earned and numbers employed), and apples dominate fruit growing, contributing more income to the region than all other horticultural and agricultural sectors combined. Other major sources of Nelson horticultural income are other pipfruit, kiwifruit, boysenberries, hops and grapes. All these crops, except for kiwifruit) are considered to be Nelson specialties, adapted to the region’s climate and soils.

Tourism is our region’s fourth largest industry, and the biggest service industry. It is also growing rapidly, with for example overseas visitors to the region growing by 23% over the year to June 1999. The International visitors who come to Nelson are more likely to be; Independent travellers Longer stayers Higher total spenders Repeat visitors New Zealand visitors are split into the broad segments of; Summer season, traditional family holidaymakers Short break, higher spend year round visitors Meetings, conference & conventions visitors Business travellers Because of our visitor profile, while there are large hotels and excellent transportation around the region, most tourism operators located here run small, high quality, ’boutique’ operations. There is also a very high seasonality factor in Nelson Tasman tourism. New Zealand leisure visitors come to Nelson in large numbers in the peak months of December and January. The busiest months for international visitors are February and March, but spread more evenly throughout the year.