Friends of Nelson Haven & Tasman Bay Inc.

Society's History

Nelson Back BeachFriends formed in 1973 as a result of public concern over plans for extensive reclamation of Nelson Haven tidal flats.

Since then the Society has continued to take action to protect our increasingly threatened estuaries, shores and coastal waters. The work has extended to include the coastal environment of Nelson Province and Marlborough.

Beautiful scenery long with an equable climate make the area popular for recreation and tourism. There are large commercial fin fish and shell fish operations along the coast, and in the sea.

The population in Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and the Marlborough Sounds is expanding rapidly. This northern coast at the Top of the South Island has several large estuarine areas - each equal in environmental productivity to a tropical rain forest.

Over 30 species of local and migratory birds are known to use these estuaries of national and international importance to some wader species. Such an abundance of birdlife indicates a rich benthic community of invertebrate and plant life which supports not only thousands of birds but also commercial and recreational fish. These estuaries are used by the fish for feeding, breeding nurseries, passage to fresh water and as hospital blocks and are essential to the productivity and fishing of Top of the South coastal waters. At least 25 species of commercial and recreational fish use the Nelson and Marlborough estuaries for feeding, breeding, nurseries, passage to fresh water and as hospital blocks. These estuaries are essential to coastal productivity.

Check out the Friends of Nelson Haven & Tasman Bay's booklet to see just what we have done since 1973! and the Annual Reports will tell you what we have done recently.  

In 2014 the Friends celebrated, along with the Nelson Tasman branch of the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, a woman who was instrumental in the founding of both organisations.  A "standing room" only event at the Victory Communty Centre in Nelson commemorated ornithologist, writer, philanthopist and founder of the Abel Tasman National Park, Perrine Moncrieff. Guest speaker ornitholgist David Melville, currently engaged in research work in China,  gave a fascinating presention about our migratory species - skilfully weaving in references to Perrine's own ornithological work as well (as contributions in School Journals from the same period!) - demonstrating just how the science of ornithology has changed through the years, with for instance the tagging of birds, electronic tracking and captive breeding.