Nelson Maori Culture

Whilst the early tools and materials of Maori arts and craft work were limited to wood, stone, fibre and shell, good use was made of everything available. Today there are several well known Maori artists residing in Nelson, and their works span many media, from the newest technologies to the arts of their Maori forefathers such as whakiro (carving), kowhaiwhai (painting) and tukutuku (woven panels).

Each artist interacts within these styles in their own way, creating a fusion of indigenous and global, but a common theme exists in all works, an overriding and deep connection to the land. Examples of their works can be viewed by visiting local galleries and can also be seen on the street: keep an eye open for the intricately carved Pou Pou framework on display at the entrance to the Nelson Council Chambers, this was carved by artisans from Whakatu Marae.

Before moving on from your Nelson Motorhome road trip, check out the art works at the Nelson I-site centre including wooden panels by sculptor Tim Wraight, Tukutuku panels by Whakatu Marae weavers, and Pou Whenua figures by master carver Mark Davis. And visit Aratuna, the pathway of the eels, found at the Normanby Bridge, where modern architecture meets cultural history in its distinctive eel design, raising awareness of Maori customs and history of eel harvesting in the local area. Eels were once plentiful in the Maitai River, and it is considered a sacred resource by Maori for its role as a provider of a traditional food source.

Thanks to Tourism Radio for much of the content supplied about Nelson. Tourism Radio is like having your own tour guide - providing you with audio commentary of over 2000 points of interest in New Zealand. It is available for rental with any vehicle booked on

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