Heritage trees of Nelson

The trees listed below were selected for their historic value, age, size or rarity in Nelson. Most are located on public land and are readily accessible.

Many are identified by number on this map, which opens into a new tab (77KB JPG).

 See Appendix 2 of Nelson Resource Management Plan for the full register of all listed trees.

Heritage trees

1.  Quercus robur, (English oak), on road reserve, 4 Seymour Avenue, Nelson. One remaining tree of two planted by Henry Seymour in 1842. Shortly after planting, the tree was washed away in a flood but found later on the Maitai River bank and replanted on higher ground. This tree is thought to be one of the first English oaks planted in the region. Find more information on this tree on the Notable Trees website.

2. Isel Park has many fine trees planted by Thomas Marsden that are now outstanding for their kind. Some are the earliest planted and largest of the species known in New Zealand. Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree), c.1850, one of the tallest in New Zealand. Pinus canariensis (Canary Island pine) c.1850 Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii var. corsicana (Corsican pine) c.1850, an outstanding example. Pinus radiata (Monterey pine) c.1850, one of a group of some of the first planted in New Zealand.

3. Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia, The Songer Tree) c.1900, 52 Britannia Heights, Nelson. A gift from nurseryman John Hale, planted by the City Council, Arbor Day 1900 under direction of William Songer, in memory of Captain Wakefield. Planted where the flagstaff was erected and the British flag hoisted to mark the landing of the expedition of the New Zealand Company in 1841. One of the largest specimens in the city is located a short distance away in Mt Vernon Place.

The branches of a dawn redwood tree. 4. Queens Gardens also has a number of outstanding trees. They include Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood) planted 1951, one of the largest in New Zealand. A 2009 NZ survey concluded that this tree has the second largest girth and is ranked fifth, combining height, girth and spread, in the country. Chamaecyparis funebris (Chinese weeping cypress), Prunus serrulata 'Tibetica' (black bark cherry), planting dates unknown. Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya Bunya), c.1892.The branches of a redwood tree.

5. Church Hill, Nelson, contains many old trees noted for their size. They include Sequoia sempervirens ‘Pendula’ (weeping redwood) c.1892, noted for its pendulous branches. Eucalyptus pilularis (blackbutt) c.1892 and nearby a Eucalyptus sieberi (silver ash). Cedrus deodara (Himalayan cedar), c.1892.

6. Albion Square, the site of the original Provincial Chambers and now the location of the Government Buildings and Courthouse has several notable trees. They include Quercus suber (cork oak) c.1866 an outstanding tree of its type. Taxus baccata (English yew), planting date unknown. Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia), four trees in a row thought to mark the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone in 1857. Pinus wallichiana (Bhutan Pine), planting date unknown.

7. Fellworth House, Milton Street, later the location of the Cawthron Institute, has many fine trees which were planted by John Sharp who bought the land as a block of bush and built his house "Fellworth". Fellworth House is now in private ownership at 193 Milton Street where many of Sharp's trees still survive. Access by permission of the owner.

The property is adjacent to the Botanics Reserve which also has many notable trees including several London plane trees (Platanus x hispanica ‘Acerifolia') among the tallest and largest recorded in New Zealand. There are some remarkable Populus nigra 'Italica' (Lombardy poplars).

The former location of the Cawthron Institute at 172 Milton Street has several large trees in the grounds including two notable conifers, Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya Bunya), and Sequoiadendron giganteum, (giant sequoia), all planted c.1870 by Charles J. Harley. 

8. Fairfield Park, an early settlers' cemetery established in 1851 was originally named Copenhagen Square, a military reserve, 1841. Notable trees include Sequoia sempervirens (redwood), Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo) and Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree), planting dates unknown. Also Cupressus sempevirens (Mediterranean cypress), planting date unknown.

9. Chapel of Holy Evangelists, Waimea Road, Bishopdale. This was built in 1877 for the Anglican Church Bishop and students of Bishopdale Theological College, now the Bishop's private chapel, and has a number of fine old trees in the grounds. They include Quercus robur (English oak), planted 1864 by Edmund and Walter, the young sons of Edmund Hobhouse, the first Bishop of Nelson, Pinus radiata (Monterey pine), planted about the turn of the century, Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya Bunya), Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Lawson cypress), planting dates unknown.

10. Broadgreen House, Nayland Road, Stoke, was built in cob for Edmund Buxton about 1855 and now has several larger trees in the grounds. They include Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus (Tasmanian blue gum) c.1860 by Edmund Buxton. Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia) planted by Edmund Buxton c.1856. 

11. Stoke School, Main Road Stoke.  Araucaria cunninghamia (hoop pine). A prominent tree located at the front of the second oldest continuous public school in New Zealand. Planting dates unknown.

12. Melrose House, Brougham Street, was built in 1876-7 for the Watts family and has a number of large, old trees, the most notable being a Sequoia sempervirens (redwood) planted by C. F. Watts at some unknown date. It towers above all other trees in the neighbourhood. It is the largest recorded tree (combination diameter, height & spread) of this species in New Zealand. Two further outstanding specimens are located at Wakapuaka, planted c.1856. Access by permission of the owner. Link 1 | Link 2

13. Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus (Tasmanian blue gum), entrance gates of Nelson College for Girls, c.1847 by Mrs. Adams, wife of Henry Adams who then owned the property.

14. Nelson Central School in Nile Street East has some large, old trees. One, Araucaria cunninghamia (hoop pine) and an avenue of fifteen Tilia x europaea (common lime), is said to have bounded the old horse cemetery. 

More information on trees

Further information may be obtained from the Parks and Recreation Department, Nelson City Council, by email or phone +64 3 546 0200.

You can also visit the noteable trees website, and even search for trees on that site through the tree search.