The Trust was established in 2013 to produce the inaugural Light Nelson Event. It was formed by a collection of leading Nelson artists and business people who shared a common vision to establish a sustainable, unique event in Nelson during the winter months that celebrated the use of light in all its forms.
In 2021, with a shift in creative direction to respond to the event’s ongoing growth in size and popularity, the Trust adopted the new name Te Ramaroa, whose meaning reflects the concept of a beacon that honours the past, celebrates the present, and holds a light to a bright and positive future.


Te Ramaroa 2023 bought more than 50,000 people into the city streets, laneways, gardens and NMIT campus to enjoy over 40 light installations. The vibe for the event was relaxed and stress-free, with people marvelling at the spectacle, savouring the experience of being part of a crowd, and enjoying the festival atmosphere. One of the loveliest things about Te Ramaroa is that everyone can enjoy the installations at their own pace, with many returning over multiple evening, and it was also pretty special to have some performances that brought everyone together – the Community Stage was particularly buzzy this year, as well as performances at Cultural Conversations, above Selwyn Place.


Such a massive year! The new-look Te Ramaroa 2021 featured a stunning array of more than 30 light installations across Piki Mai / Church Hill, Nelson’s city streets, NMIT, Kirby Lane and Queen's Gardens. Well over 50,000 people came out on a series of clear and crisp mid-winter nights to enjoy the illuminations, take in the entertainment on the stage and roving throughout the precincts, and sample the delights of more than a dozen food trucks in Kirby Lane. The new Performance Precinct in upper Trafalgar Street boasted a diverse array of local talent, each night finishing with a DJ set. There were Flash Mobs, a Bike Rave and local choir Voice Collective performing an ode to the moon.


More than 40,000 people turned out to enjoy the spectacle of 66 light installations through Queens Gardens, Albion Square and NMIT campus. This year featured an enhanced Light Nelson Hub on Hardy Street, as well as the return of the Lightbulb Men and roving entertainers. Highlights included Flame Daisy’s giant neon Cathy Wheel on the old wooden bridge, aerialist Chloe Loftus high up in a tree in Albion Square, and in an international triumph, Nelson’s own Mr Science claiming a new world record for the world’s longest double helix structure, coming in at 68.5metres.

Ben Clegg, Rainbow in the Dark, Light Nelson 2013


We had an amazing 62 installations, and participation increased to over 55,000 people attending over four nights. Part of Hardy Street was closed off to create a hub with food stalls, children’s activities, entertainment; and the historic Arts & Media building was wondrously illuminated with appropriate moving imagery by Jon Baxter. The economic benefits to the city increased, thanks to the continuing marketing collaboration with the regional tourism organisation.


The Nelson City Council became our core funder, we entered a joint venture with other key arts, education and tourism organisations and attendance grew to 45,000 over three nights, attracted by 38 installations. We made the decision to go biennial, allowing better use of resources and more time for artists to work on their installations.

Fleur Stewart’s 'Glowing Sheep' and Anne Rush’s 'Lucent 11' were stand out installations.

Delainy Kennedy and Sam Hodgson-, United Intergalactic Network, Light Nelson 2014
Anne Rush, Lucent, 2013


The Light Nelson Trust was established to stage the first Light Nelson event in the Queen’s Gardens and Albion Square. The 23 projects were enthusiastically received by the artistic community and the public. Highlights included Sue Haydon’s 'Precipice' created with members of the migrant community and Ben Clegg’s 'Rainbow Bridge' which gave us one of the events most enduring images.


With the help of local artist Anne Rush and photographer John-Paul Pochin, a small group of diverse but like-minded people formed the Light Nelson Collective, forming an ‘engine room’ of support and creative opportunities for anybody wishing to get involved in the event.

Light Nelson Collective

The Collective is the birthplace of the Light Nelson event (now Te Ramaroa) and remains its creative engine. The Collective provides a supportive, educational and creative environment that is open to everybody. It's an opportunity to share ideas, skills and collaborate on projects, or just socialise with like-minded people. You can find out more at Light Nelson Collective Facebook page.
Ann Rush, Lucent, Light Nelson Festival 2016
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