Eight-year-old twins Lilly and Kaitlin Hippolite stand atop Twisty Twinz Jola and Nele Siezen as part of the Nelson Heritage Fair. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Nelson’s heritage standing up tall


Those who stepped through the gates of Founder’s Heritage Park on Sunday were transported to much simpler days where newspapers were printed manually, and circus acts were big entertainment.

Co-ordinator Giles Burton says the heritage fair was aimed at being a fun family day out with old time games like coconut shy and quoits, distorting mirrors and magicians.

“People are quite interested in the history, they are more interested in heritage, particularly in New Zealand.”

He says Nelson has a good handle on its heritage, but the way early events panned out are “probably not quite correct”.

He says many have Pakeha-driven version of historic events.

“But actually, if you look a bit deeper it’s not quite as crystal clean as that, but I think people are more interested in finding that out.”

Giles noted that a previous heritage event, the Wairau Affray, drew a lot of interesting comments from people who didn’t previously know the history particularly from Maori perspective.

After being entertained with circus performers could take a stroll through the heritage shops, many of which were manned by actors from the Histrionics. and military re-enactments attendants

It also let people try their arm at become circus performers themselves with twins Lilly and Kaitlin Hippolite getting a helping hand and shoulder from the Twisty Twinz.

At the print shop, people were able to get up close with the machines and print their own poster using the Albion press.

Colin Brown made his career after completing a six-year linotype apprenticeship. After moving to Nelson, he began volunteering at Founders Heritage Park and managed to get one of the previously static Linotype machines functioning.

He promises by next year the second machine – a 20-year-leap in Linotype technology, will also be in working order.