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Virtual Nelson Heritage Festival 2020

The Nelson Heritage Festival has been given a 21st century twist.

Nelson City Council has launched the Nelson Virtual Heritage Festival, bringing some elements of the original festival to a digital device near you.

This year’s Heritage Festival, due to take place over the month of April, was cancelled because of the risk to the community presented by COVID-19.

Organised by Council, the festival is made up of events primarily organised by community organisations and individuals. This year, 76 events were to take place under the Heritage Festival banner.

More events will be added to the schedule below in the coming weeks. Links to events will be here, and recorded events will go up on the Nelson Virtual Heritage Festival You Tube channel.

Check out a story on the five of the videos.

Nelson Virtual Heritage Festival Events

  • Nelson Public Library - celebration of Nelson's Pottery industry- information, sources, images and links giving the flavour of the event which was planned for the weekend of 18/19 April.
  • Nelson Provincial Museum - will be hosting a series of videos, with topics including preserving objects, May Davis “Crewanna” pottery and identification of photographs.
  • Voice Collective - Ngā Iwi e a live stream of Ngā iwi e and also create a virtual choir and video collage of a 12-multigenerational choir who learn their parts by Google Classroom tutorials, record them in their own homes and send them back to be audio and video produced.

Voice Collective - Virtual dance during Rahui – a live streamed virtual pub crawl around The Royal, The Vic Rose and Fifeshire House. People can virtually walk from one pub to another dancing along to tracks such as Hit the road Jack and Dancing in the Street. Upon arrival at the pub, they’ll be given some historical information and sing a pub song before moving along to the next one.

There is also a wide range of online and virtual heritage collections, tours and events for you to enjoy locally, nationally and internationally all year round.


Nelson City Council is offering a micro-grant scheme to help with virtual festival content creation.

Here are the key details/conditions:

  • Micro-grants are available for up to $500 per application
  • Micro-grants have to be spent /used and have a finished film screened by 20 May 2020
  • Micro-grants must support material that can be branded with Nelson Virtual Heritage Festival logos and be freely shared by NCC.
  • Micro-grants are non-competitive but will be granted on a first come, first served basis.
  • Micro-grants must only go towards activity that is in line with the Governments current COVID 19 restrictions.
  • Micro-grants have minimal paperwork. Simply return the completed Virtual Event Film Factsheet (available by emailing tom.ransom@ncc.govt.nz), and you will receive a reply via email to confirm if you are successful or not and sent payment instructions. You then send back a “final report” email after the project is completed.

If you are keen to get creating, email tom.ransom@ncc.govt.nz for the next steps.


Nelson City Council in collaboration with local kaumātua started a series of videos Tohu Whenua – Whakatū (Nelson) Place Names - This series discusses the heritage of different place names and landmarks within the Whakatū region; Te Pepeha o Whakatū (Tribal connections to Nelson)/ Maungatapu/Moketapu (Mt Maungatapu)/ Manukau & Omaio (Monaco & Stoke)/ Matangi Awhio & Aorere (Auckland Point & Tasman Bay)/ Whakatū (Nelson)/ Horoirangi (Glenduan)/ Mahitahi (Maitai River)

The Prow - stories from Te Tau Ihu: the top of the south. A celebration of the region's culture and heritage. Browse for stories (people, places, events, enterprise, Māori, arts and society), or search by keyword or on our map. Add your own story to the hundreds of Your Stories we have already collected.

Nelson Provincial Museum Collections Online - explore the world-class historical photographic collection and other collection objects.

Marlborough Museum Collections Online - a huge range of objects and curated collections.

Nelson Photo News - a pictorial record of Nelson life 1960-1972.

Journals of the Nelson Marlborough Historical Society

Maungatapu Murders - background information on the production for the 2017 Nelson Heritage Week. See a YouTube clip.

Nelson City Council Heritage Facilities Volunteer Newsletter April 2020 (2.7MB PDF) - snippets of information and ancedotes, about the facilities, links to videos displaying at Founders, recipes and more.


PapersPast - get lost in the stories from New Zealand's newspapers. Most are available from their first printing to around 1930. There is a comprehensive collection of Nelson's newspapers.

Te Papa Collections Online and The little page of calm - explore the digital collections, plus quizzes, activities and videos

Auckland War Museum Collections Online and the Auckland Museum at Home - virtual tours of the exhibitions, plus videos, articles and activities

Canterbury Museum Online exhibitions


Many museums and galleries already have wonderful virtual tours available for free, and more are being created. Check the Google Arts and Culture platform for what's on offer.

Some highlights: