Visitor's Centre - Nelson i-SITE at Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa
The Nelson i-SITE is operated by Nelson Tasman Tourism - you can find out more including contact information and opening hours at their website.
Taha o te awa - 'Beside the water'
Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa, is Nelson's new Visitors Centre, the gateway building welcoming people to our city. The i-SITE Visitor Information Centre is located centrally in the complex.
The building also houses Nelson Tasman Tourism, the Department of Conservation front-line offices, the Economic Development Agency, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Arts Marketing, and the Nelson Tasman Business Trust. In addition you will find a gift shop, a car rental company, an art gallery, and a cafe sharing space at Millers Acre Centre.
In 1937 the Nelson City Council purchased the property from the family of Andrew Miller for 7,250 pounds sterling, following a city referendum. Thereafter it was named Millers Acre and served as a car park and the location of the former Visitors Information Centre (VIC). Nearly 300,000 visitors a year walked through the former VIC, but Council received regular complaints about the inadequacy of the buildings and toilets.
In March 2003 the Council's Finance and Administration Committee recommended that Council build, own and manage the tenancy of a new VIC complex to be constructed on the site. The proposal, including provision for a $2.8 million loan, was contained in the Annual Plan and open to public consultation in April 2003. The proposed building would generate income from tenants to fund the necessary loan.
Nelson architect Ian Jack of Irving Jack Architects designed the new building. The firm is widely recognised as a leading New Zealand architectural practice with a strong focus on environmental design. Laid out with attractive landscaping, art works and a riverside cafe, Mr. Jack achieved the vision of providing a gateway to the region and revealing the Maitai River as an attractive central city feature.
Vessel is the sculpture on the Trafalgar Street face of Millers Acre Centre. The work was designed by Nelson jeweller and sculptor Gavin Hitchings and constructed by Haven Marine and Engineering Solutions in 2005. Four metres long, and made of stainless steel, Vessel refers to Nelson's maritime heritage.
Reef Knot, by Nelson sculptor Grant Palliser, is on the Maitai River side of the building. The two strands of this steel nautical knot symbolically link the history of the past with that of the present. The grounded strand acknowledges the Tangata Whenua and the early British colonisation of the area. The free strand extends positively into the future, reflecting the independence that we now value. It was unveiled by HRH the Duke of York Prince Andrew in 2005.
Panels, cast class, carvings and weavings
Other works around the building include wooden panels and cast glass and concrete work by Motueka sculptor Tim Wraight; Tukutuku panels by Whakatu Marae weavers; Pou Whenua figures inside the doorway of the visitor centre by carver Mark Davis, and artwork in the Latitude Nelson foyer (during open hours only) by weavers from the Te Awhina Marae in Motueka.
Completion and blessing
Construction of the building finished in the autumn of 2005, including a cycleway and footpath from Trafalgar Street to Collingwood Street along the Maitai River bank.
On 5 May 2005 Nelson City Council's Corporate Governance Committee approved the naming of the building, Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa, following discussions with iwi who had active involvement in the project from inception.
The following week nearly one hundred people attended a moving blessing of the Millers Acre Centre, including the family of Andrew Miller who originally owned the land.
Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa
Joining two hundred people, Minister of Tourism Hon. Mark Burton and Minister of Conservation Hon. Chris Carter attended the opening ceremony on 19 July 2005. The ministers opened Nelson's new gateway buildings, with a welcome from Archdeacon Hawe Whakaruru, followed by words from Mayor Paul Matheson and MP Hon Dr. Nick Smith.
The Ministerial party, led by architect Ian Jack, toured the buildings and guests took morning tea while being entertained by the Nelson Symphony Orchestra and local Kapa Haka group Whatukura.
After the celebrations, Millers Acre offices officially opened to the public and the carpark reopened as well.
Creative New Zealand awarded Nelson City Council a Creative Places Award in 2006 for Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa. The award was presented at the Local Government New Zealand Conference in Wellington. Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson proudly received the award on behalf of the City.
"Teamwork and vision characterised the project. I congratulate everyone involved in the development of the Centre, from the initial conceptualization stages through to the finished product. The final result is innovative and classy, and successfully enhances the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of our community," then Mayor Paul Matheson commented.
Millers Acre Centre, Taha o te awa, Corner Trafalgar and Halifax Streets, Nelson
- Department of Conservation Offices - doc.govt.nz
- Nelson Tasman Tourism - nelsonnz.com
- Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency - eda.co.nz
- New Zealand Trade and Enterprise - nzte.govt.nz
- Nelson Tasman Business Trust - ntbt.co.nz
- Simply New Zealand Gift Shop - simplynewzealand.com
- River Kitchen - riverkitchennelson.co.nz
- MD Outdoors Sports
Please note all Nelson City Council facilities are smokefree.