Nelson Province was constituted in 1853 under the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, and originally covered the entire upper South Island, including all of present-day Buller, Kaikoura, Marlborough, and Tasman districts, along with Nelson City, Grey District north of the Grey River, and the Hurunui District north of the Hurunui River. It was reduced in size by the creation of Marlborough Province in November 1859, then abolished in 1876, along with all the provinces of New Zealand.
The Nelson Province as constituted in 1853
Palmam qui meruit ferat Latin Let him, who has earned it, bear the palm
|Provinces of New Zealand||Nelson Province|
|Named for||Horatio Nelson|
|Nelson Provincial Council||Nelson|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
- For the current top-level subdivision of Nelson in New Zealand, see Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson Province initially covered the entire upper South Island. The Marlborough Province split away from the Nelson Province on 1 November 1859 because the majority of the income of the Provincial Council came from land sales in the Marlborough region, but the funds were mostly used in the Nelson region. Land sales in Nelson and Marlborough netted the Nelson Provincial Council £33,000 and £160,000, respectively. Of that, £200 were expended benefiting the Marlborough region. There was considerable conflict between Superintendent John Perry Robinson's policies of supporting smaller land holders, and the objectives of the large pastoral run-holders in the Wairau Valley. The New Provinces Act 1858 allowed for parts of a province to break away if the area was large enough, and enough voters supported such a move. The petition was signed by almost all settlers in the Wairau; only six withholding their support for a split. The new Marlborough Province was gazetted on 4 October 1859.
For perspective, the Marlborough Province took with it the areas of Nelson Province that would later form five administrative areas when the provinces were dissolved in 1876: Blenheim Borough, covering 17.7 km2 (6.8 sq mi); Picton Borough, covering 4.2 km2 (1.6 sq mi); Kaikoura County, covering 2,348 km2 (907 sq mi); and Marlborough County, covering 10,478 km2 (4,046 sq mi), which includes the former Sounds County, the area immediately surrounding the borough of Picton, which amalgamated with Marlborough County prior to 1913 due to insufficient population to ever form its own county council.
The Nelson Provincial Council was established with fifteen members, and the Province was divided into seven Electoral Districts for the election of the Superintendent and members of the Provincial Council. These districts were: Town of Nelson, five members; Suburban Districts, one member; Waimea East District, two members; Waimea West District, one member; Waimea South District, two members; Motueka and Massacre Bay District, two members; Wairau District, two members.
The election of Nelson's first superintendent was contested by three candidates; Edward Stafford, Francis Jollie and John Waring Saxton. The election took place on 1 August 1853 and resulted in Edward Stafford being Nelson's first superintendent. The final results for the election were: Stafford (251), Saxton (206) and Jollie (130). Edward Stafford will be remembered for his free, secular and compulsory education system became the model for New Zealand, with this ‘Nelson system’ introduced to all state primary schools in 1877.
Nelson was the designated seat of government and Superintendent John Perry Robinson laid the foundation stone for the Provincial Government buildings in Nelson on 26 August 1859. The building was in Albion Square in Bridge Street. It was designed by visiting architect Maxwell Bury and he modeled it on Aston Hall near Birmingham. Whereas Aston Hall was built from stone, the Government buildings were from timber. The buildings were run down and had stood empty for some years when they were demolished in 1969, amidst much controversy. The Nelson District Court building now stands on the site.
During the First Taranaki War in 1860 nearly 1,200 Taranaki settlers including women and children were relocated to Nelson. The Nelson Provincial Council funded the building of cottages known as the "Taranaki Buildings" for the housing of these refugees. Upon the cessation of hostilities the war refugees were offered free passage back to Taranaki, the majority took advantage of this offer but some elected to remain in Nelson.
During the period 1853 to 1873, the area that would become Grey County was administered as part of both Nelson Province and Canterbury Province (the Canterbury portion was transferred to a newly created Westland Province in 1873). The boundary between the provinces had been set as a straight line from the head of the Hurunui River to Lake Brunner at a time when the area was virtually uninhabited, but the West Coast Gold Rush then straddled that boundary, with a population boom also straddling the boundary. In 1866, there had been a proposal for the portions in Canterbury Province, including the urban area of Greymouth and the rural area south, to be annexed and solely administered by Nelson Province.
Nelson Province was abolished under the Abolition of Provinces Act 1875, with its former area then being administered by a number of newly constituted boroughs and counties, effective January 1, 1877.
|Borough / County||Established||Disestablished||Area||Headquarters||Notes|
|Amuri County||1876||1989||11,000 km2||Culverden||Merged into Hurunui District|
|Buller County||1876||1989||15,000 km2||Westport||Merged into Buller District|
|Cheviot County||1876||1989||847.28 km2||Cheviot||Merged into Hurunui District|
|Collingwood County||1876||1956||In 1903, the Government of New Zealand voted to reduce the original Collingwood County to its western Aorere area, with the eastern area being constituted as Takaka County, effective April 1904. The two counties were re-amalgamated in 1956 to form Golden Bay County, which merged into Tasman District in 1989.|
|Grey County||1876||1989||4,091 km2||Greymouth||Merged, along with Greymouth Borough, to form Grey District|
|Inangahua County||1876||1989||2,440.8 km2||Reefton||Merged into Buller District|
|Motueka Borough||1900||1989||47.9 km2||Motueka||Merged into Tasman District|
|Murchison County||1 April 1909||1989||Murchison||Merged into Tasman District|
|Richmond Borough||1891||1989||10.52 km2||Richmond||Merged into Tasman District|
|Takaka County||1904||1956||Takaka||Created from eastern portion of original area of Collingwood County in 1904. Re-amalgamated with Collingwood County to form Golden Bay County, which merged into Tasman District in 1989.|
|Waimea County||1876||1989||7,547 km2||Richmond||Merged into Tasman District|
|Westport Borough||1873||1989||3.44 km2||Westport||Merged into Buller District|
New Zealand law provides for a provincial anniversary day.
|Provincial district||includes||Actual day||Observance day|
|Nelson||Nelson, Tasman, Buller and parts of North Canterbury||1 February||Monday nearest to the actual day|
The Nelson Province had four Superintendents:
|1||1 August 1853||Sep 1856||Edward Stafford|
|2||12 December 1856||28 January 1865||John Perry Robinson|
|3||Mar 1865||4 February 1867||Alfred Saunders|
|4||Apr 1867||1 January 1877||Oswald Curtis|
- Nelson Education Act 1856
- Nelson Improvement Act 1856
- Nelson Institution Act 1859
- Nelson Waterworks Act 1863
- Nelson Waterworks Act Amendment Act 1875
- "Superintendents Of Marlborough". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company Limited. 1906. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "The separation of Nelson and Marlborough". The Prow. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- Rice, Geoffrey (2005). "Black November: the 1918 influenza pandemic". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. University of Canterbury Press. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- The Jubilee History of Nelson by L. Broad.
- Broad, Lowther (1892). The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892. Nelson: Bond, Finney, and Co. pp. 121–22. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- Explanatory panel next to a model of the Government buildings in the Nelson Colonial Museum.
- McLintock, A. H., ed. (23 April 2009) [First published in 1966]. "Westland Province and Provincial District". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Proposal to Join the Grey District to Nelson Province". Grey River Argus. 21 March 1866. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Unless otherwise noted, area is per 1986 boundaries
- "Collingwood County Bill 1903 (143-1) (Local)". Government of New Zealand. 1903. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Collingwood County Council". National Register of Archives and Manuscripts. Archives New Zealand. 4 August 2006. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "MOTUEKA". Teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Fraser, Bryce; McLauchlan, Gordon (1986). The New Zealand Book of Events. Auckland: Methuen Publishing. ISBN 978-0474001239.
Note that dates given in this book appear to be the date of the first municipal corporation (city, borough or town district)
- Cyclopedia Company Limited (1906). The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts. Victoria University of Wellington. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Provinces 1848–77". Rulers.org. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- "Papers Past — Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle — 29 March 1856 — EDUCATION ACT. [March 26, 1856.]". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Papers Past — Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle — 26 April 1856 — NELSON IMPROVEMENT ACT". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Papers Past — Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle — 23 July 1859 — NELSON INSTITUTE ACT". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Nelson Waterworks Act 1863". Legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Nelson Waterworks Act Amendment Act 1875 (N)". Legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Education in Nelson 1842–2002". Theprow.org.nz. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Nelson Board of Works". Retrieved 27 February 2015.