Streets and Quays of Port Nelson
What's in a Name?
Have you ever wondered about the naming of streets and quays around the port? Some names honour chairmen of the Nelson Harbour Board and early harbourmasters, but others go further back into our maritime history.
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Commemorates William Akersten who was sent to Nelson in 1855 to assess a damaged wool cargo, saw the opportunities here and stayed on, setting up a ship chandlery. He went on to build wharves, including the Government Wharf that became part of today's Main Wharf. He was a city councillor, and MP and a special constable involved in the arrest of the pirate and black-birder Bully Hayes and his vessel the Black Diamond at Croiselles in 1865.1
Named for Captain James Smith Cross who was the coxwain on the Deal boat with Captain Moore, that was first shown Nelson Haven by local Māori. He was the pilot at Port Nelson from 1842-47 and the harbourmaster from 1850- 82. He was involved in several rescues and helped to select Cable Bay as the site for Nelson telegraph connection with Australia.
Named for another harbourmaster, Captain J. P. Low who held the role from 1882-96.
Named for Stephen Carkeek, the first Collector of Customs in Nelson (1842-49) and harbourmaster from 1843-49, when he moved to Wellington. Carkeek arrived in Nelson from the Bay of Islands with his wife and family, three boatmen and the frame of a two roomed house that was set up as home and Customs' office. In the early days this office handled incoming mail, and Carkeek didn't gain popularity for his zealous efforts to stamp out excise evasion on the rather large amounts of hard liquor imported by the early settlers.
Gets its name from John Graham, the first Chairman of the Board, 1901-1911, and a member until 1914. John Graham was born in Nelson in 1843 and was by trade a plumber. He was very active on school boards and oversaw the making of new harbour entrance (the Cut) in 1906. Graham later became a Nelson MP.
When the big reclamation was made in the 1960's there were new facilities to be named, but the Harbour Board didn't go far in their search for worthy gentlemen!
John Brunt was a board member from 1931 and the chairman from 1967-71.
Alfred Kingsford was a board member from 1935, and chairman from 1945-48.
Maurice McGlashen was a board member from 1941 and chairman from 1958-62.
Several streets also represent shipping masters and staff of the Anchor Company, that dominated coastal shipping from Nelson for most of the 20th century.
Captain R. J. Hay was an Anchor Company master for over 40 years. He died in 1964.
William Rogers joined the Anchor Company as an office boy and went on to become general manager until 1928 and was a director through until 1940.
Captain Frank Vickerman was an Anchor Company officer and master for 55 years, retiring in 1924.
Captains William and Arthur Wildman (Senior and Junior) were a seafaring father and son who together clocked up 90 years as Anchor Company masters.
Note: this was first published in Port Nelson Unlimited Report, May 2008
Updated Feb 2021
Sources used in this story
- Moore, B. (1985, October 29) Honour likely for little man who faced big jobs. [Port Watch column] Nelson Mail
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Further sources - Streets and Quays of Port Nelson
Allan, R.M. (1954) The history of Port Nelson Wellington, N.Z. : Whitcombe & Tombs
- Cumming, L. Historic Russell Street, Port Nelson
- Kirk, A.A & Cannington, S. (1967) Anchor Ships and Anchor Men. Wellington, N.Z.: Reed
- Lash, Max (1992). Nelson notables 1840-1940: A dictionary of regional biography. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Historical Society, p.38.
- Moore, B. (1990) Shaping up and shipping out: the last years of the Nelson Harbour Board. Nelson, New Zealand: Port Nelson Ltd
- Nelson City Council (2007) Nelson by the sea. Nelson, N.Z.: Nelson City Council
Parr, W.H. (1979) Port Nelson - Gateway to the sea Nelson, NZ : Nelson Harbour Board
- The Port Focus: keeping an eye on Port Nelson Nelson, N.Z. : Port Nelson
- Port Nelson Limited. Nelson [N.Z.] : Port Nelson Ltd.
- Captain James Smith Cross death notice (1882, January 21) West Coast Times, p. 2
- Obituary Stephen Carkeek (1878, 30 November) Evening Post, P. 3
- Nelson [Stephen Carkeek] (1845, March 15) New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, p.3
- William Akersten obituary (1905, March 11) The Colonist, p.2