A range of newspaper clippings, dating years back, sits spread across local man Patrick McMahon’s dining room table.
While they may seem random at a glance, there’s one thing that the various stories have in common.
They all refer to Richmond, as Nelson.
Whether it’s a story about a Waimea College Student that has done well in their sporting career and grew up in Richmond, or a new building development in Richmond, each article refers to Richmond as Nelson.
“I’m a proud Richmond resident, I raised our three children here, and I think Richmond is a great place to live. I think Richmond doesn’t get a fair crack.”
Patrick points out that Richmond is treated like a suburb of Nelson.
“We’re our own town. We have 15,000 people. That’s bigger than most towns in the South Island, so I get confused when we are treated like a suburb of Nelson.
“Motueka gets its recognition. If someone lives in Hokitika, would the say they’re living in Greymouth?”
Patrick thinks that Richmond needs to carve out its own identity.
“Everyone knows where Westport is, but we’ve got a bigger population than they do. It’s amazing to me how many people in New Zealand don’t know where Richmond is.”
Patrick has been making a note of when Richmond is referred to as Nelson.
One example is an article about the construction of the Warehouse on Queen Street in Richmond, but the headline reads, ‘Innovation starts in Nelson.’
“This is on Queen Street, Richmond. If it was on Trafalgar Street Nelson, would they write ‘Trafalgar Street, near Richmond?’ I don’t understand why people want to refer to us as Nelson.”
Patrick says that Richmond residents need to be a bit more passionate about claiming Richmond’s identity as separate from Nelson.
Richmond has not been part of the Nelson Province since 1876, when the Waimea County was created.
“Where are the people who are meant to be promoting Richmond? Sometimes I think it’s just laziness.”