As one of Aotearoa’s earliest settlements, Whakatū Nelson has an extensive heritage and creative legacy to draw from as we transform the city centre. Achieving miharo - the extraordinary - in the design and delivery of future precincts, streets, places and developments in the central city will require new ways of collaboration across our cultural and creative communities. This is not something we import or purchase off-the-shelf but a reflection of us as Nelsonians – Seeing ourselves.

Collaboration with our iwi partners to draw the stories, names and meanings into the City Centre narrative is essential. Through the application of the Te Aranga core values and design principles, the ara – pathway for this journey – can begin. As specific projects in Te Ara ō Whakatū go forward, we will need to identify the Te Ao Maori artists who can bring these works to life.

Public art, from all of the groups in our community, needs to be a key component of our civic expression – whether through sculpture, murals, or art that encourages play. Art designed for people at play.

Celebrating art festivals like Te Ramaroa, Matariki, Arts Festival, New Years and 4 Lanes into the central city enables people to celebrate Nelson’s creativity and talent in our special place.


  1. Local arts and artists will be integral to achieve the unique outcomes of design and expression that reflect Nelson and its people through public art such as sculpture, murals, light displays, playful furniture, etc.

2. Iwi and Te Aranga principles

Te Aranga Principles provide an iwi partnership framework to reveal stories, history, names, landmarks and enhance environmental qualities inherent in our unique place. Te Aranga will be applied at both the core values and project design levels.

Te Aranga design principles include:

  • Mana – Growing employment and a resident population in the city centre, close to essential services such as food, education and employment. Social and affordable housing are opportunities Council can achieve in partnership with others including Kāinga Ora.
  • Whakapapa – Naming possibilities for new places and links exist at the specific project level, including a cultural laneway.
  • Taiao - Implementation of low impact stormwater design through rain gardens and collection systems to treat stormwater prior to releasing back into our healthy waterways.
  • Mauri Tu – Measures related to city centre greening will grow 1000 new street trees to enhance biodiversity amongst a mix of exotic and native tree species. Biodiversity will mean renewal to bird habitats within our city.
  • Mahi Toi – Opportunities to reveal narratives are captured and expressed creatively and appropriately.
  • Tohu - Opportunities to reveal significant sites and cultural landmarks within the city centre are acknowledged.
  • Ahi Ka – Access to natural resources such as weaving species, mahinga kai, waterways, etc are enhanced by improved accessibility to the Maitai/Mahitahi River and the implementation of city centre greening measures.