28 Nile Street, Nelson

  • House, Nelson.
    Copyright: John Warren. Taken By: John Warren. Date: 16/07/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1575 Date Entered 25th November 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Sec 487 City of Nelson (CT NL56/293), Nelson Land District and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 487 City of Nelson (CT NL56/293), Nelson Land District


The house at 28 Nile Street is a timber late Victorian bay villa, located in the heart of Nelson. It has local historic importance because of its association with Bishop Andrew Burn Suter (1830–1895), Nelson’s second Bishop, and the well-known Richmond family. It has architectural value because it is a characteristic late nineteenth-century residence. The local community has also demonstrated esteem for the house.

Nelson was the New Zealand Company’s second settlement. The site for the city was chosen by Captain Arthur Wakefield (1799–1843) in 1841 and Trafalgar and Nile Streets were the first roads surveyed. Wakefield intended Trafalgar Street as predominantly a commercial area and Nile Street to be residential in character. Naturally, the house lots in central Nelson were among the earliest built on.

Unlike later planned settlements in Canterbury and Otago, Nelson was not founded on denominational lines. However, Church of England affiliations were the most common, which was recognised in the late 1850s when Nelson became the seat of the Anglican diocese. There was an Anglican church on the hill in central Nelson from 1851, which evolved into Christ Church Cathedral. This is the focal point of a group of properties associated with the diocese in the central Nelson, including Marsden House and Bishop’s School, on the opposite side and slightly further up Nile Street from the house at No. 28.

According to Suter’s wishes many of his properties were gifted to the diocese after his death in 1895. His wife also worked to ensure that his dream of establishing a public art gallery in Nelson, known as the Suter Art Gallery, was achieved. The house’s section at 28 Nile Street, immediately east of the Cathedral, was among the gifted properties. Suter obtained it in 1891 shortly before he resigned due to illness, but it is not known if the house was built for him or if he lived there. The house is thought to have been constructed in the mid-1890s, but it has also been suggested it could have been built for lay officer Edward William Pasley, who leased the property in 1902.

Over the years the house was leased to a number of Christ Church parishioners, including Anna Selina Richmond (1837–1912) and Edith Mary Richmond (1864?–1941) who lived there successively from the early to mid-twentieth century. The Richmonds were a well-known Nelson family who had been prominent in early national and local politics and were active in the Church.

The house is a typical late Victorian double bay villa with finials, ornamental bargeboard woodwork, and an entrance verandah supported on turned posts either side of the doorway and substantial brackets attached to the bay windows. In 2002 the exterior and interior were described as ‘very authentic in design, materials, craftsmanship...’

Aside from residential use, the house was a doctor’s surgery in the 1960s and is currently a vintage clothing and collectables and giftware shop. This change in use and owner happened in 2003 and was the outcome of a locally highly publicised ‘property development controversy’ over the proposed relocation of the building to make way for townhouses. There were a considerable number of submissions against the Resource Consent application to do so, and the house remains in its original location.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1895 -

Completion Date

27th April 2016

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Dominion Post

Dominion Post, Wellington

‘Tula and Niles – a fairytale beginning’, Dominion Post,, 15 December 2010 update.

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

McLintock, A.H. (ed.), ‘Richmond, Mathew, C.B.’, An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, 1966, in Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,, 23 April 2009 update.

White & Edwards, 1995

White, Jeanie & Phillip Edwards, Windows on the Past, South Street residents, Nelson, 1995.

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand