The park is just north of central Nelson on five hectares on Atawhai Drive, next to Whakatū Marae and a short stroll to Miyazu Gardens.
Founders is a historic village of heritage and replica buildings from Nelson’s past. I recently participated in an awesome creativity workshop run by Murray Kyle as part of the Evolve Festival at St Peter’s Church (consecrated in 1874) and the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the stain glass window added to the magic of the day. There is a 1867 replica fire station, a 1879 replica legal office, a general store typical of the late nineteenth century and several residences, including Duncan House and Rutherford Cottage, a replica of the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford (a physicist who was born in Nelson and was the first to split the atom). There’s even a Merchant Buccaneer aeroplane, the last of the Bristol model freighters that flew in the Straits Air Freight Express (SAFE) fleet. An extensive historic collection of up to 20,000 items was also donated by Nelson residents, leading to the opening of Founders Heritage Park to the public in 1986.
I am sharing studio space in Rutherford Cottage with internationally renowned artist Lori Davis and my neighbours include the local community radio station Fresh FM, Founders Brewery & Cafe, the Nelson Railway Society, fashion designer Jill Alexander (MADCAT Skirts), jeweller Rinopai, furniture designer Roger Davies, furniture maker Tim Bleackley, Nelson Musical Theatre, the Vintage Car Club of NZ, the Mantis Workshop and Natural Living yoga studio - where I am joining the 6.30am Mysore-style Ashtanga class whenever I can wake up in time!
If you’re in Nelson you can find me in the studio (in the small room closest to the cafe) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The other two days, I will be writing at “home” (AKA our house bus, currently parked up in Marsden Valley), which is a very inspiring environment and, most importantly, has terrible WIFI (so fewer distractions!!)