Stephanie Buck listens to Doug Hill play the Richmond street piano at the piano’s opening in Sundial Square. Two community pianos are now coming to Nelson. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Community pianos for Nelson


Nelson shoppers will soon be serenaded by two public pianos in the CBD after three local music enthusiasts took the idea to the council.

Joe Gibbons, Joe Rifici and Neville Claughton have seen examples of community pianos all over the world and believed it was a great idea for Nelson too.

Last week Nelson City Council’s community services committee agreed to the proposal to allow two pianos to be put on the city’s streets. The pianos will be free for anyone to play and will be brought in at night and watched over by the Sprig & Fern on Hardy St and TSB bank on Trafalgar St.

The concept will be on trial for 12 months and councillor Pete Rainey says he thinks it’s a good idea. “Public pianos have proven very popular in cities all around the world. It’s great that members of our community want to bring them into Nelson’s streets. The council is happy to be able to accommodate their vision and I’m sure the pianos will bring a new dimension to our city centre that people will enjoy.”

Neville Claughton, owner of Mr Music, has provided the pianos and will continue to maintain them after they are made available to the public. “Anything that attracts tourists has got to be good,” he says. “I was in Melbourne a few weeks ago and if you go to the main street on a Sunday afternoon there’s music happening everywhere. It just brings a vibe and it’s fun as well.”

Nelson can expect to see at least one of the pianos out on the street within the next few weeks.