The area's creativity is on show

The picturesque top of the South Island is already known for its laidback vibe, scenic trails and award-winning wineries, but did you know the area is a haven for the arts?

More than 300 creatives call the Nelson Tasman region home, with studio spaces and workshops in use by everyone from painters and sculptors, to potters, glass blowers, and jewellers.

And this October, the arts come alive as the region plays host to a range of festivals, exhibitions and performances, to show off the HeART of Nelson.

With so much going on, you're bound to find something that takes your fancy, whether you're an art appreciator, eagle-eyed collector, or just simply curious about all things creative.


Here are some upcoming highlights:

Nelson Arts Festival
On from October 12-24, the arts fest is a 13-day feast for the eyes and ears.
The line-up features music performances from Kiwi favourites including Don McGlashan, Shayne Carter and The Chills, as well as modern day troubadour Delaney Davidson and rockabilly "red-hot honky-tonker" Tami Neilson.

If cirque cabaret is more to your liking, don't miss The Goblin Market, the latest work from homegrown circus theatre company, The Dust Palace.

Other outings on offer include a Ben Hurley comedy show, a swashbuckling kids' play about a French pirate, workshops, PechaKucha, and theatre productions of The White Guitar, starring hip-hop artist Scribe alongside his father and brother, and Hinepau, a Capital E National Theatre for Children production at the Theatre Royal.

And don't miss the family-friendly masked parade and carnivale, where Nelson's main streets are taken over by colourful costumes and street performers.

Art Expo Nelson
More than 5500 visitors ambled the aisles of last year's expo, and this year's event looks set to be just as big, with 2000 pieces of art going on display from accomplished painters, ceramists, sculptors, jewellers, photographers and multimedia artists.

With many of the works on sale, the show attracts a range of collectors. Artists are on hand to talk people through their work, and the energetic vibe is contagious, says expo project manager Nic Foster. "Purchasing art is a very heartfelt, emotive process for an individual - it takes time to look, but just seconds to connect," Foster says. "Although it's calm, there's definitely a palpable excitement in the air."

The expo is on at Saxton Stadium throughout Labour Weekend, October 22-24.

WOW World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum
No Nelson arts experience would be complete without a visit to the city's best-loved museum. An architecturally designed space, it houses some 450 winning garments from the WOW show, with at least 70 on display at any one time.

The popular design show has a new home in Wellington but the museum is a proud nod to the original home of WOW, having launched in Nelson 27 years ago.

Classic car buffs will also be in their element, with one of Australasia's largest private motor vehicle collections on display. It includes restored and original condition classics, and represents years of sourcing from around the world.

Find out more about Nelson's upcoming events at