A locals guide: Street art in Nelson Tasman

A locals guide: Street art in Nelson Tasman

Posted on Tuesday 26 May 2020

Art is discoverable at every turn here in Nelson Tasman. The region is home to a number of passionate artists and artisans, and their talents are celebrated in many ways – from our richly vibrant markets and boutique shopping experiences, to the intricate sculptures and spectacular murals that can be found around our city, neighbourhoods and townships.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to arty experiences here, and nobody is better placed to guide you around our boutique, little city than a local. So, whether you’re a visiting Nelson Tasman from afar, or if you’re just looking to indulge in an art tour of your backyard, we asked our locals to share their favourite street art locations and have collated them into this handy guide.  

Aotearoa Mural by Chris Finlayson | Wakefield Quay


Photo: www.nelsontasman.nz

“I always enjoy this one... as do many locals and passing tourists. Along the waterfront towards Tahunanui. I love its location and how it has some trickery in it.” – Karen Carppe

The Aotearoa mural on the waterfront has become somewhat of an icon, and a viewing platform nearby is the perfect place to observe this artwork in all it’s glory. The bold and beautiful mural was created by Chris Finlayson in 1984 on what was then an electricity building providing power to Nelson City. Showcasing some of New Zealand’s stunning natural landscapes, the mural is also bordered by a motif inspired by the carved ornamental panels from whare whakairo on marae throughout the country.

Raise – Nelson youth, Charles and Janine Williams | Stoke

Stoke Mural taken by Oliver Weber credit www.nelsontasman.nzPhoto: www.nelsontasman.nz

“Raise in Stoke, gorgeous bird and so dramatic! Young people helped create it.” – Laura Bruce

A soaring kākā against a sea of green illuminates the side of the basketball building in Stoke, but underneath the surface is an inspiring story of collaboration. Renowned artists Charles and Janine Williams worked with a group of Nelson youth to create this masterpiece, in which fourteen artworks created by the youth surround the bird’s wings to symbolise the collaboration and depict their individual stories.

Arohanui by Chris Finlayson | Takaka, Golden Bay

Art in Golden Bay credit cjmaddockPhoto: @cjmaddock

“The Arohanui mural in Golden Bay is my favourite. The rainbow colours are obviously very eye-catching, but there’s just something else about it that draws you in and makes you want to stand there for a while just to take it all in.” - Anonymous

The Arohanui “lots of love” mural in Golden Bay speaks to the spirit of the area – vibrant, welcoming and artistic. Created by Chris Finlayson, an artist based in Golden Bay, the mural also includes a series of art segments which were spray-painted by 28 pedestrians using a selection of ready-made stencils. Taking centre stage in the photographs of many locals and visitors, the mural attracts those from near and far looking to capture a memento from their time in the area.

Tui by Charles and Janine Williams | Neale Park

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“This one is beautiful too. On the pump station at the end of Sovereign Street just up towards the city from the Neale Park Skate Park. There are so many lovely murals it’s too hard to choose a favourite.” “We are really lucky to live in a region which has embraced art and there is so much to see. I put together a photo book for my own use just as a memory of this time“ – Anne Chase

This mural was produced by Charles and Janine Williams as part of a six-piece collaboration with Nelson City Council to brighten up unused spaces around the city, and it’s certainly done just that. The beautiful artwork on a building at the end of Sovereign Street portrays a tui sitting on a harakeke, with cabbage trees in the background to tie in with the natural surroundings of the Nelson Haven. This mural is easily accessible via a short stroll or bike ride from the city centre.

Street Art Tours

Purple App Phone Mockup Sales Marketing PresentationPhotos: Emily Parker

“We loved these three on our walk up to Walters Bluff via Milton Street and back down to Centre of New Zealand - makes the walk go quicker if kiddies are trying to spot new artworks!” – Emily Parker

Each piece of art is unique in its own way, but nothing quite compares to the joy of discovering a mural when and where you’d least expect it. As you indulge in the many cycle and walking trails around the region, you’ll often come across masterpieces on the side of buildings, phoneboxes, pavements and walls. Numerous self-guided walking and cycling tours are designed around the discovery of our most iconic murals and sculptures, and Amanda Sears, one of our locals has even contributed content to an online map to make this easy for you!   

The essence of the Nelson Tasman region is inspired by the surprisingly diverse artistic community that resides here, and is celebrated through public displays of art, a vibrant year-round events programme and weekly markets. Take a look around, you’ll find many artistic gems hidden all over the region.