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. 

William Akersten. The Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio collection: 35574
Click image to enlarge
Akersten Street

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

Cross Quay

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/ Rotokura as the site for Nelson telegraph connection with Australia.

Low Street

Named for another harbourmaster, Captain J. P. Low who held the role from 1882-96.  

Carkeek Street 

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.

Graham Street

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.  

New Wharves

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!

Brunt Quay

John Brunt was a board member from 1931 and the chairman from 1967-71.

Kingsford Quay

Alfred Kingsford was a board member from 1935, and chairman from 1945-48.

McGlashen Quay Nelson (1960's). Nelson Provincial Museum. PhotoNews 1005 fr5
Click image to enlarge
McGlashen Quay

Maurice McGlashen was a board member from 1941 and chairman from 1958-62.

New Streets 

Several streets also represent shipping masters and staff of the Anchor Company, that dominated coastal shipping from Nelson for most of the 20th century.

Hay Street

Captain R. J. Hay was an Anchor Company master for over 40 years. He died in 1964.

Rogers Street

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.

Vickerman Street

Captain Frank Vickerman was an Anchor Company officer and master for 55 years, retiring in 1924.

Wildman Avenue

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

  1. Moore, B. (1985, October 29) Honour likely for little man who faced big jobs. [Port Watch column] Nelson Mail

Want to find out more about the Streets and Quays of Port Nelson ? View Further Sources here.

Do you have a story about this subject? Find out how to add one here.

Comment on this story

Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

Further sources - Streets and Quays of Port Nelson



Web Resources