Nelson is the Centre of New Zealand….. [officially it’s not actually at the hilltop point in town itself, but at, as Wikipedia puts it, “a patch of unremarkable dense scrub in a forest in Spooners Range near Tapawera, 35 kilometres south-west of Nelson”]
[2nd] Nelson is the 2nd oldest city in New Zealand 
[1st] We are the oldest city in the South Island
[1st] Our region has the clearest water in the whole world [Guinness Book of World Records says so] -look here to see why / how and now gazetted as such
[1st] Nelson holds the NZ record for highest amount of sunshine in one month, and also in 1 year
Looking out over Haulashore Island & The Boulder Bank to Tasman Bay
Nelson is NZ’s Sunshine Capital [recently other contenders have been trying to get an edge in, but historically Nelson is it]
[1st] NZ’s Oldest Yacht Club, and I’m sure, New Zealands first yachting cup
[1st] Nelson Rugby Club [est. 1870] is New Zealands oldest
[1st] the first rugby game in New Zealand, on 14 May 1870, was played between teams from Nelson College and Nelson Rugby Club
Nelson is the only major city in New Zealand without a rail connection
[1st] New Zealands largest, and obviously at Xmas, busiest Motor Camp [incidentally it’s also the largest motor camp in the Southern Hemisphere]
IMAGE - NIWA
[1st] Nelson has New Zealands highest tidal range
[1st] Stoke won 1st place in 2011’s inaugural Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards, in the suburb category
Stoke Panorama ~ CLICK FOR LARGE VERSION
[1st] Stoke, where I live, voted officially New Zealand’s best performing real estate suburb in recent years [but more importantly over the GFC timeframe]
Trafalgar Park Nelson being upgraded with the Worlds First Glass Rugby Field!
[1st] the worlds first Rugby playing field made of glass! That is after its recent multi-million dollar upgrade in preparation for the start of the 2011 Rugby World Cup matches. Italy will use Nelson as their home base. The country has many touches with our past and our present.
TNL Nelsons new transport depot adjacent the MDF factory in Richmond is also pioneering the way with the same LVL construction for its structure.
[1st] world first in Nelson’s new NMIT Arts & Media Building for utilizing laminated veneer lumber (LVL) primary structure in a multi-storied building [major advantage being its timber earthquake resistance design. NMIT state “The building is sustainable, environmentally sensitive and local, with the design and resources all being sourced within 100 kilometres of Nelson.”]
[2nd] Stoke School [Primary] is the second oldest continuous public school both in Nelson and the whole country.
[1st] Wakefield is the oldest continuous public school both in Nelson and the whole country.
The World comes to Nelson
Port Nelson is the biggest fishing port in Australasia.
[3rd] Nelson College is New Zealands third oldest [preceded only by Christ’s College and Wanganui Collegiate. Two New Zealand Prime Ministers, Sir Wallace Rowling, and Sir Geoffrey Palmer were educated here and the College’s most famous old boy is Nobel Prize winner Lord Ernest Rutherford, who was also born in the region]
[4th] Nelson airport is the fourth-busiest airport in New Zealand
Nelsons suburb / community of Victory voted NZ’s Community of the Year 2010
……….but wait and there’s more…….
NZ’s longest running annual Kite Festival is held in Nelson [2011 was its 20th anniversary] regarded by many as the best in NZ
Nelson is also unique in NZ with 3 spectacular national parks all nearby, NZ’s smallest in Abel Tasman National Park, then massive Kahurangi National Park, and Nelson Lakes National Park which contains the picturesque Lakes Rotoiti, and Lake Rotoroa
In Kahurangi National Park, the largest and deepest explored caverns in the southern hemisphere are located in the cave structure near Takaka Hill, Mt Owen & Mt Arthur
Nelson region is home to the South Islands most northerly Ski Fields, at Mt Robert near St. Arnaud
WOW [World of Wearable Art] was started here in Nelson
New Zealands first ground effects flying machine was “backyard built” in Nelson
The One Ring™ featured in Peter Jacksons The Lord of the Rings™ movie trilogy, was crafted by a local Nelsonian jeweler, Jens Hansen and replicas can actually be purchased from his store in Nelson.
Popular stop for those contemplating marriage proposals it would seem
very possibly the oldest commercial building still extant in NZ
New Zealands oldest Immigrant selected Nelson to live out his later years, originally from the UK, Eric King-Turner said;
“What’s important is that when I’m 105 I don’t want to be thinking I wish I had moved to the other side of the world when I was 102.”