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The Nelson Library has its origins in the Nelson Literary and Scientific Institute, founded on the Whitby en route to the new colony of New Zealand in May 1841.  By September 1842 a library and reading room was open for fee-paying members in Trafalgar Street, near the Church Steps.  The Examiner newspaper commented in October 1842 that “If the tastes likely to be encouraged by such institutions were not kept alive in some way we should become altogether barbarous, unrefined and with the worst species of unrefinement, that of relapse.”  It was clearly felt that the Institute would provide, for some at least, relief from the rigors and realities of pioneer life.

The Nelson Literary, Scientific & Philosophical Institute continues to this day (albeit usually referred to as simply ‘The Nelson Institute’), a proud reminder of the hopes and aspirations of those early settlers.

Still relevant today?  We think so… and we are looking for more members.

What do we do?  We arrange regular excellent speakers usually at the Nelson Library on typically the first Sunday afternoon of the month.


Elma Turner Library
Halifax Street


(03) 548 3101


Nigel Costley
[email protected]

Open Hours

Monthly talks - generally the first Sunday of the month

Elma Turner Library Halifax Street

Elma Turner Library Halifax Street, Nelson City, Nelson, New Zealand

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