164 Nile Street East, Nelson

  • House.
    Copyright: Paul Thornton. Taken By: Paul Thornton. Date: 19/03/2008.
  • .
    Copyright: Paul Thornton. Taken By: Paul Thornton. Date: 19/03/2008.
  • .
    Copyright: Paul Thornton. Taken By: Paul Thornton. Date: 19/03/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1576 Date Entered 25th November 1982 Date of Effect 25th November 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 10775 (RT NL6B/615), Nelson Land District and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 10775 (RT NL6B/615), Nelson Land District


This house is a timber two storey late Victorian or Edwardian bay villa, located near the eastern end of Nelson’s Nile Street. It has architectural value because it is a characteristic late nineteenth or early twentieth century residence which is distinctive and prominent within its streetscape. It also has some historical significance within Nelson because its construction seems to be associated with a local building boom which triggered greater density housing in previously semi-rural, fringe, areas of the city.

Nelson was the New Zealand Company’s second settlement. The site 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.

164 Nile Street is located near the far end of Nile Street, towards the Maitai Valley. Understandably, Nelson’s centre featured greater density housing from an earlier period than this end of Nile Street, which remained semi-rural until the twentieth century. For example, properties near to the house included substantial market garden greenhouses. In 1889 there was a cottage on the property and when Harry Thetford, a nurseryman, sold it in 1903 it was advertised as featuring a five-roomed house and various hothouses. This suggests that the current house was formed by adding a second storey onto the existing building or was a new construction early in the twentieth century, probably when Ellen Millar and John Warnock owned the property. This coincides with a building boom in Nelson spurred by growing commercial and manufacturing sectors.

This area of Nelson was the gateway to the picturesque Maitai Valley and had a number of attractions easily accessible for town recreation seekers, including ‘fine gardens’ and the Botanical Hill behind. One side of the house’s prominent triangular section also fronts the Maitai River, popular for bathing. Because the house has two-storeys, with full height bay window facing Nile Street, it has historically been an imposing structure compared with its single-level neighbours. Being situated next to a well-known river crossing has also contributed to making it a local landmark building.

The house appears to have retained much of its original or early exterior detailing, which includes modestly decorative bargeboards on the bay/gable section, corbels beneath the upper level eaves and verandah fretwork and geometric designs on the balcony balustrade wrapping around its north and west facades. The prominence and scale of the building is not matched by its near neighbour contemporaries, some of which are included as Category 2 historic places on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero (‘the List’) and are interspersed among a range of other twentieth century houses. The house is architecturally comparable to only a few other contemporary Nelson houses of this type on the List.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Completion Date

29th April 2016

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies

Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies

Spear, Aubrey, ‘Childhood memories of Sleepy Hollow’, Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies vol.2, no.4, 1990, pp.21–6,

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Walrond, Carl, ‘Nelson region - European settlement’, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,, 13 Jul 2012 update.

White & Edwards, 1995

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

McAloon, 1997

McAloon, Jim, Nelson: A Regional History, Cape Catley, Whatamango Bay, 1997.

Newport, 1991

Newport, Jeff, A Short History of Nelson Province, Nikau Press, Nelson, 1991.

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