Nelson is a port city situated at the northern tip of the South Island. It lies on the coast of Tasman Bay and serves as the cultural and economic heart of the Nelson Region. Formally established as a city in 1841 it is the oldest city in the South Island and the second oldest in New Zealand. It was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858, giving it a proud history. 
Nelson Province EditNelson was once the provincial capital of the self-named Nelson Province. The province was established in 1853 under the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852 and is known to have covered the entire of the upper South Island. It incorporated all of Buller, Kaikoura, Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman as well as the Grey District north of the Grey River and the Hurunui District north of the Hurunui River.
The province was abolished, along with all other provinces, in 1876. It survives in name only in the form of the Nelson Provincial Museum. This historic province was divided into a number of counties and boroughs which were all subordinate to Nelson as the provincial capital. 
Nelson, also referred to as Nelson City, is bordered to west and southwest by the Tasman District and to the northeast, east and southeast by the Marlborough District. It borders, but does not incorporate, the town of Richmond which is the second largest urban area in the greater Tasman District/Nelson Region area. The city and its suburbs has an urban population of 65,700 and an additional territorial population of 50,600. This combined population has made it New Zealand's ninth largest urban area by population and the twelfth most populous city. 
It is also the geographical centre of New Zealand. The geographical centre of the country is located on the eastern outskirts of the city. 
The city is well known for its thriving local arts and crafts scene which serve as a matter of great civic pride. It hosts a number of annual events popular with locals and tourists alike, such as the Nelson Arts Festival, which frequently draw large crowds to the city. The annual Wearable Art Awards began, and was originally hosted, in Nelson with a World of Wearable Arts museum operated on the outskirts.
For a short time from 1989, the city was included in the now historical Nelson-Marlborough Region. But this larger region was later divided into the independent Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough Districts as unitary authorities with Kaikoura transferred to the Canterbury Region. Inter-council discussions led to an unsuccessful proposal to merge the Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council in 2011. This would have led to the creation of the Nelson Tasman District Council (NTDC) which was to be based in Richmond, but the proposal was ultimately rejected by voters in the Nelson Region and the Tasman District who were in favour of continued independence from each other. Voters in the Tasman District feared a significant rise in rates based on the current rates in Nelson and a lack of proper representation for remote communities in the district.
- Nelson is one of the only cities in New Zealand to have its own flag.