Nelson Terminology

Brent Palmer
Published on February 21, 2017

Nelson Terminology

You can tell a true Nelsonian by the way they refer to our geography.  Not always logical but generally consistent, we refer to directions of up and down, over and out, and once you’ve lived here for a while you’ll find yourself doing it too.

If you’re not sure what I mean, we tend to say things like “we’re going over the bay for Christmas” (meaning Golden Bay which is actually over the hill).  Or “We’re heading down the Bay for the weekend” (the Marlborough Sounds, which I would have actually thought was up or over at least).  It tends to be “up the lake to tramp or chase the snow” (Lake Rotoiti, which I thought was down as it’s south).  Or we are inclined to say “out to Cable Bay” – but that’s not really much further out than other parts of the region. In reality, do we class North as up and South as down?  In that case, what is over and out?  Or does the up and down relate to the hills we have to go over, up or down?


I’m sure this must be something other regions do too?  It’s been a while since I’ve lived elsewhere so I can’t really remember and it’s not something one usually thinks about.  It must be awfully confusing for visitors, though.  Especially when we say… down to Christchurch, down to Murchison, or up to Auckland (which are North & South right?).  But then we say… over to Blenheim, over to Takaka, over to Wellington (which are east and west and north with the same reference).

Not only do we use this for directions, but we use old school names for reference points.  Three Brothers Corner (corner of Bateup Road, Appleby Highway & SH)  for example, isn’t actually on the map.  Yet it’s referred to in newspapers and council documents and its neighbourhood even has it’s own Facebook Page.  Just as a point of interest – I finally found out why it’s called Three Brothers Corner…This was named after three blue gum trees which were planted by Richard and Elizabeth Hyland in memory of three of their children (Henry, Mary Jane and Helena) who died. There was a fourth tree planted for another child who had died but this tree did not survive. The trees became colloquially known as the Three Brothers, hence ‘Three Brothers’ corner. The last of the trees was cut down in 1956.

And what about Burkes Bank? (the bank above Clover Road East) – this one even had its own wine named after it.  The name is an anglicised version of the name Borck. Lawitz Christianson Borck was a Dane who emigrated with his family, took land and set up a sawmill 1867 – 68. (Source: Sutton, Jean (1992). How Richmond Grew. p.269 & Hyland family page in the People File II, vol 2, G-K, in the Waimea South Collection, Richmond Library).

In some ways, it’s a bit of a shame that these old reference points are getting used less and less with GPS, Google Maps and other technologies.  My father used to rattle off all kinds of these references all the time.  Perhaps we need to take the time to discuss these with our older generations before they get forgotten.  For more interesting information on our Nelson’s history, browse The Prow

About the Author: The above article on Nelson Terminology was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media.

You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921. He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City.

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