Nelson's Italian history honoured

In early July, a two-sided panel was unveiled on Tasman Street, Nelson, including information about the history of The Wood and, in particular, the contributions made by members of the Italian community.

The panel, jointly funded by the Nelson City Council and Nelson Civic Trust, included excerpts from Karen Stade and Karen Price’s history of the Italian community in Nelson – Pasta, Prayer and Promise.

Pictured with the new heritage panel

While Italian emigration to Nelson extends back as far as the 1860s, it was during the early decades of the 20th century that the main bulk of migrants came to the area.  The epicentre of the Italian community settlement was The Wood, which with its frost-free environment, was the ideal location for Italian market gardeners to set up shop.

The Italian Club Chairman, John Esposito, said the panel was a timely reminder of the extraordinary deeds carried out by very ordinary people when they came to New Zealand.

The Italian Ambassador, Fabrizio Marcelli, on his first visit to Nelson, said it was great to see the recognition of the contributions these Italian families had made to the city.

“I am really pleased with the way you have kept the Italian fire alive over all these years,” he said.

Image: Pictured with the new heritage panel, from left, City of Nelson Civic Trust trustee, Karen Stade, the Italian Ambassador, Fabrizio Marcelli, and Nelson City Councillor, Gaile Noonan. Image credit: Martin De Ruyter Nelson Mail /Stuff.