Nelson Haven and Trafalgar cycleway


In pre-European times the Haven and the Maitai River formed a mahinga kai or food gathering destination for Maori. Seasonal camps were occupied to gather nature’s bounty.

Charles Heaphy sketch (1852) Maitai River showing hop gardens and windmill. Nelson Provincial Museum. AC815
Click image to enlarge

At that time the tidal mudflats extended much further inland than is the case today. In later years, properties on Wainui and Weka Streets were washed by high spring tides. Weka Street was named after the wetland birds once common in the area. The flats were used for target practice, with permanent rifle butts built in the 1890s, and they provided a great playground for childhood boating activities.

Reclamation in Nelson Haven. (1885)Note Trafalgar Park at Maitai River mouth. Nelson Provincial Museum, Misc 1/2 47
Click image to enlarge

From the 1950s this area was gradually reclaimed, using spoil taken from adjacent hillsides and town refuse, providing an area for active and passive recreation. In 1983 a new road entrance to the city came with the opening of Queen Elizabeth II Drive, forming the boundary of recreation zone land along the Haven (now Neale Park, Founders Park and Miyazu Gardens). 

In 2005 the Trafalgar Cycleway/ walkway was opened, running from  Trafalgar Street to Atawhai Drive, adjacent to Neale Park and Queen Elzabeth II Drive. This was extended to Clifton Terrace School in 2008, to become the Atawhai shared pathway.

Places along theTrafalgar shared pathway:

Grove Station
Constructed in 2004 as a town stop for the Founders Park Railway Line. A plaque there commemorates the start, in 1960, of a proposed railway to Blenheim which did not proceed.

Looking across the tidal estuary to Nelson from Cemetery Hill at high tide (1890). The area covered by water has all been reclaimed. Nelson Provincial Museum Tyree 8X10 279. Click image to enlarge

Peace Grove - Kia Hora Te Maungarongo
Planted to commemorate the United Nations International Year of Peace.

Guppy Park
Syd Guppy was an active participant in a great number of different sports and then gave his time in local and national sports administration.

Neale Park
Named in honour of ER (Gar) Neale, descendant of a pioneer family, who became deeply involved in the Nelson community. He served as Mayor and local Member of Parliament and had strong sporting interests, particularly cricket.

Wakapuaka Cemetery showing the tide covering the area now reclaimed (1893). Nelson Provincial Museum. AC295
Click image to enlarge

Newman Grove
Sir Jack Newman, a descendant of the pioneering Newmans transport family, carried on its traditions. He was a prominent figure in the community and gave strong support to the establishment of Founders Historic Park. Rotary Club members planted Newman Grove in natives as a backdrop to the Miyazu Gardens in 1990.

Haven Holes Esplanade Reserve
This area adjacent to QEII Drive  was created in the late 1990's/ early 2000's, from council deposited dredgings from the Nelson Marina development. In 2005 it was planted and managed to create a habitat for coastal and marine birds. The area has significance for Iwi as a traditonal food gathering place, a habitat for taonga species and is of spritual significance.

This information is taken from a Nelson City Council heritage plaque, 2006

Do you have a story about this subject? Find out how to add one here.

Comment on this story

Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

Further sources - Nelson Haven and Trafalgar cycleway


  • Haven Holes - Esplanade Reserve management plan : a partnership between Tangata Whenua, Department of Conservation and Nelson City Council. (2005) Nelson, N.Z.: Nelson City Council
  • Lash, M. (1992) Neale Family of Nelson. In Nelson Notables. Nelson , N.Z. : Nelson Historical Society, p. 113
  • North, M. (2007) The story of the friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay. Nelson, N.Z.: Friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay
  • Warren, K. (2009) Rolling Stones: Nelson's Boulder Bank. Nelson, N.Z. : Nikau Press


  • Cycleway approved (2004, September 3). Nelson Mail, p.3
  • Nelsonians turn out to party on the path (2008, September 22). Nelson Mail, p.1
  • Opening a pathway to Nelson's past (2005, October 10) Nelson Mail, p.3
  • Parr. H. (1955)  The Port in the early days. Nelson Haven in 1843. Nelson Historical Society Journal, 1(1)

Web Resources