Arts & Artisans
Extraordinary depth of heritage, artists and artisan businesses.
- One of New Zealand’s largest number of working artists and galleries from the city to the bay.
- Jens Hansen Studio, who made the rings for The Lord of The Rings™ and The Hobbit™ trilogies.
- Home to the world's largest boysenberry crop.
- Top cider city (Nat Geo magazine).
- The only New Zealand region to grow hops on a large commercial and export scale, recognised as a premium supplier internationally.
- Craft brewing capital using Nelson Tasman hops.
- Home to a number of award-winning artisan wineries including Seifried, the South Island's oldest winery, and 28 cellar doors.
- Birthplace of World of WearableArt® and home of National WOW® Museum.
- Largest chamber music festival in New Zealand (Adam Chamber).
- New Zealand’s only full-year woodworking school.
- Home to many artisan food and beverage producers that have grown to be successful and recognisable brands both nationally and globally.
The Arts & Artisans Story
We love our art in Nelson Tasman. Whether it’s visual arts, ceramics, music or food, we like creating our own stuff. Take our craft beer, because we may as well make use of the fact we’re the only place in New Zealand to grow hops on a commercial scale. And alongside some of our famous brands like McCashins and Old Mout Cider, we’re also the home of artisan cuisine such as the award-winning Hogarth chocolate, and Pic’s Peanut Butter, which has turned a humble spread into an extraordinary success story. Living an extraordinary life is an everyday experience in Nelson Tasman.
Our retail and gallery scene is filled with working artists, like the jewellers at Jens Hansen Studio, who made the rings for The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit™ trilogies, and glass workers and ceramicists at the Höglund Art Glass studio. And who hasn’t heard of Dame Suzie Moncrieff, whose World of WearableArt® competition and show and the world’s only wearable art museum here in Nelson are one-of-a-kind?
Our historic city is home to three of the oldest cultural establishments, The Suter Art Gallery, which houses works from celebrated artists who lived here, like Colin McCahon, Rita Angus, Toss Woollaston and Jane Evans; the Theatre Royal, the largest wooden performing-arts centre in New Zealand; and the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts. Today’s buildings are no less remarkable, with the award-winning NMIT Arts and Media Building the first of its kind in the world, designed by Nelson architects.
Making glorious wine, olive oils, sheep cheese and traditional cider from real cider apples is all in a day’s work for our region-wide artisans, celebrated, for example, by the Moutere Artisans. Just down the road is the Moutere Inn, the country’s oldest pub, and a place for artisans to gather amongst the many visitors to the region.
The Adam Chamber Music Festival and Nelson Centre of Musical Arts are international drawcards. The Light Nelson Festival, Marchfest craft beer festival, New Zealand’s first and only Cider Festival and our annual Nelson Arts Festival attract thousands of visitors each year.
Such depth of talent, heritage and passion for the arts, from buildings and glass to jewellery and beer, wine, cider and food, makes Nelson Tasman exceptional. You might even say extraordinary.