'We had no money so we had to think,' said Lord Rutherford, one of the most illustrious world scientists of all time and the region's most famous son. And therein lies the story of Nelson Tasman business. Once an isolated region with land that was neither fertile nor flat, our entrepreneurs relied on their wits and grit to survive. The ordinary is extraordinary in Nelson Tasman.

The outcome today is a clever economy, built on research, science and technology that creates added-value enterprise. Our boutique cuisine and artisan beverage producers, such as Neudorf or Pic’s Peanut Butter, are brands that fetch a premium in the market. We’re the only New Zealand region that grows hops for large-scale commercial and export use, making us the home of craft brewing. We are a producer of outstanding boutique wine varieties that are a perfect match for our extraordinary seafood cuisine. As one of the two main pipfruit-growing regions in the world with cider makers to match, National Geographic named us Top Cider City in the world.

Or take our horticulturalists and foresters, who didn’t just grow crops but pioneered the processing to create export brands, like Nelson Honey, which has turned its Royal Nectar skin care into one of New Zealand’s largest exports to China; or Nelson Pine Industries, now one of the largest MDF manufacturers in the world.

It was grit that helped us create the largest fishing port in Australasia and become a global leader in aquaculture and deepsea fishing, with companies like New Zealand King Salmon, Talley’s and Sealord choosing to base themselves here. Our very own Kono is one of New Zealand’s largest family-owned Māori food and beverage companies, with aspirations to be the world’s best indigenous food and beverage companies. And the port has spawned companies such as Coppins Para Sea Anchors, makers of the world’s strongest sea anchors; SnapIT, creator of a fisheries management camera system; and SeaDragon, the Omega-3 supplement company.

Our heritage of intelligence is on display at the Cawthron Institute, New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation and a global leader in aquaculture and food safety, employing hundreds of scientists. From the Cawthron Institute, clever business is generated, including natural astaxanthin producers, supplying the world. Nearby is Plant & Food Research, co-creator of Precision Seafood Harvesting, a revolutionary fishing net technology.

We are also the home of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), which is a Category 1 Institute (the highest), offering a wide range of respected qualifications preparing young people from the region and the world for the workforce. NMIT is a leader in aquaculture training, while also providing specialist programmes that support the region’s strengths in Aviation, Conservation, Maritime Tourism, Viticulture and Winemaking, but also small and friendly enough that your tutors know your name!

We’ve turned our location to our advantage with Air New Zealand’s regional maintenance facility, employing hundreds of aviation experts.. With the country’s fourth busiest airport, we have honed our aviation technology expertise, exemplified by Flightcell, the inventor of the world’s first cellphone-toheadset interface, and CORE Transport Technology, a world leader in transportation chain management and logistics.

In the spirit of Rutherford, Nelson Tasman has turned its initial adversity to prosperity, creating an extraordinary business story.

  • Birthplace of Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics.
  • Global leader in aquaculture, including research, education and businesses.
  • Home to three of the largest fishing companies in New Zealand and the largest fishing port in Australasia.
  • Home to the world’s largest boysenberry crop; the only New Zealand region to grow hops on a large commercial scale for export; and one of the two main pipfruit growing areas in New Zealand.
  • Cawthron Institute, a global leader in aquaculture, marine and freshwater research, and the largest independent science research organisation in New Zealand.
  • NMIT is the only New Zealand tertiary institution with a Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation.
  • NMIT has the only bridge simulator in the country for pilot, skipper and mate training.
  • Base of Air NZ regional maintenance facility.
  • Nelson Pine Industries, one of the largest MDF factories in the world.
  • Kono, one of New Zealand’s largest family-owned Māori food and beverage companies.