The City of Nelson is situated very close to the centre of New Zealand. It lies at the southern shore of Tasman Bay, at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand, and is the administrative centre of the whole Nelson region.
Nelsonn is a centre for arts and crafts, and each year hosts popular events such as the Nelson Arts Festival. The annual Wearable Art Awards began in Nelson and there is a Museum of world of wearable art showcasing winning designs close to the Airport.
Nelson is the birthplace of Lord Rutherford, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose image appears on New Zealand's one hundred dollar banknote (the largest denomination in circulation in New Zealand).
Nelson received its name in honour of the 1st Viscount Nelson and Admiral of the fleet that defeated both the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Many of the roads and public areas around the city are named after people and ships associated with that battle and Trafalgar Street is the main shopping axis of the city. Inhabitants of Nelson are referred to as Nelsonians.
Nelson's Māori name, Whakatū, means 'build', 'raise', or 'establish'.
Nelson has beaches and a sheltered harbour. The harbour entrance is protected by a natural breakwater known as the Boulder Bank, which also reduces the effects of the tide on Nelson city's beach, Tahunanui where a recent project to protect the silver sands from tidal scouring and the coastal dune system from erosion has proved a great success. This allows for some of the safest sea bathing in the country.
Many people believe Nelson has the best climate in New Zealand, as it regularly tops the national statistics for sunshine hours, with an annual average total of over 2400 hours.