North of the city
The Glen is the point where the Boulder Bank, which created the harbour of Nelson Haven, adjoins the mainland north of the city. The first telegraph cable from Australia to New Zealand came ashore just north at Cable Bay (known to Māori as Rotokura) in 1876. A small settlement of up to 30 people grew up around the station, but in 1917 the cable was moved to Tītahi Bay, north of Wellington.
Delaware Bay was the site of a Māori pā. In 1863 the brigantine Delaware was wrecked there. Local Māori, led by Hēmi Mātenga and his wife Hūria, managed to rescue all but one of the crew by securing a rope to the shore. Hūria was feted and referred to as ‘New Zealand’s Grace Darling’.1
Rocks Road, built by prisoners, opened in the late 1890s to provide easier access to the coastal Tāhunanui flats (access was previously via Bishopdale). In 1899 the Nelson City Council purchased ‘The Sands’ (as the beach was then known) and land behind it to ensure its continued recreational use. Tāhunanui is Nelson’s main beach. It is very popular in summer and offers safe, shallow swimming, a fun park with a hydro slide, and a large campground.
Hillsides above Tāhunanui were subdivided for housing in the late 1930s. Stoke and Tāhunanui became popular residential suburbs after the Second World War. Tāhunanui (often shortened to ‘Tāhuna’) became part of Nelson city in 1949, and Stoke, Monaco, Annesbrook and Enner Glynn followed in 1958.
In the early 1840s Stoke was known as Suburban South. It was renamed after Stoke-by-Nayland in England. Isel Place is a park set in trees around the homestead of early settler Thomas Marsden, and is home to Nelson Provincial Museum. The museum also has another gallery and educational facility, Town Acre 445, in Trafalgar Street in Nelson city.
The main roads from Nelson to Stoke are Rocks Road, which skirts the harbour to Tāhunanui, and Waimea Road, which crosses the low Bishopdale Saddle. The Nelson railway also crossed this saddle until it was ripped up in the 1950s. Nelson airport is north-west of Stoke; adjacent to it is a light industrial area. Stoke was the 1981 birthplace of McCashin’s Brewery, a pioneer of New Zealand’s boutique-beer revolution. The World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum showcases classic cars and wearable works of art.
The settlements of Richmond, Stoke, Tāhunanui and Nelson were once separated by farmland – but over time have merged into one greater urban area. There is little flat land, and as the city grew after the Second World War, newer suburbs such as Atawhai spread onto the foothills overlooking Nelson Haven. In the 2010s urban growth was forecast to continue. Infill housing was proposed in the inner city, along parts of Waimea Road, and in Tāhunanui, Stoke and Atawhai. New areas for suburban development were also proposed in Hira, Atawhai, the Stoke foothills and south Nelson.