A key to the development of the area, it provided the impetus for the growth of the pipfruit industry in the surrounding region, given that the road to the major port in Nelson was …er.. a challenge for motorised vehicles.
The current wharf was built in 1922 and Mapua gradually eclipsed Nelson as the port of choice for fruit.
Until the Waterside Workers Strike in 1951.
Mapua lost 6 months of aplee exports, Nelson resumed loadings first and picked up the Mapua trade. By 1957, Mapua was in severe decline.
30 years later, the Nelson Harbour Board announced that they were pulling down the wharf.
A group of locals formed a club (the Mapua Boat Club) , got a 14 year lease on the wharf and buildings and saved the wharf.
Over time, it became a tourist magnet, not least through Dennis Crawford’s Nature Smokefish outlet and the aquarium.
Fast forward to 2015 and we’ve still got the boat club, we’ve still got Nature Smoke plus a microbrewery, 2 restaurants, a dodgy bar, 2 bike hire businesses, a ferry to Rabbit Island, shops selling stuff that you mostly don’t need.
But no aquaruim.
That went up in sm0ke in a very suspicious manner in 2011.
Tasman District Council then went into the property development business in a big way, putting up a retail development called Shed 4 (opened yesterday) and at the same time decreeing that the place was waaay too busy, what with all the vistors coming down to sit in the restaurants and watch the marine activity and henceforth cars would be banned from the wharf.
“Hey, what about us” cried the boaties. “Where do we launch the boats that the tourists come to watch?”
“Oh shit” said the council “We seemed to have overlooked that small fact. But you can go down to Grossi Point which is totally unsuited and doesn’t have parking for your trailers anyway”
There was a meeting at the Mapua Hall the other night.
Standing room only.
Councillor Norriss said. “I have some ideas.”
However, he would not be drawn on those ideas, telling the meeting it was “not prudent” to reveal them at this stage.
Only in Nelson, I tell you…..