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For other uses, see Brightwater (disambiguation).
Brightwater is located in New Zealand
Brightwater is in Tasman District
Coordinates: 41°23′0″S 173°07′0″E / 41.38333°S 173.11667°E / -41.38333; 173.11667
Country New Zealand
Region Tasman Region
District Tasman District
First Settled 1843
Named 1855
Elevation 33 m (108 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total 1,794

Brightwater is a town 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Nelson in Tasman district in the South Island of New Zealand.[1] It stands on the banks of the Wairoa River. Brightwater was named by Alfred Saunders, the owner of a local flax mill situated on the banks of the Wairoa River, after a popular song at the time "Bright Water", which was about choosing non-alcoholic drinks over spirits. The settlement was named in 1855, but the area was settled as early as 1843.

Brightwater was the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning scientist, the "father of nuclear physics", Sir Ernest Rutherford[2] and has an elaborate Lord Rutherford Birthplace memorial on the aptly named Lord Rutherford Road.


Brightwater had a population of 1,794 at the time of the 2006 census, an increase of 369 people (25.9 percent) since the 2001 census.[3]


 The sign outside Brightwater School.
Brightwater School

The town of Brightwater has one primary school, Brightwater School. This decile 9[4] school opened in 1888, and provides for children in years one though six, and it had 278 pupils, in 2010. Brightwater School is located on the main street of the village. The school is made up of six buildings - three blocks of three classrooms; a block of two classrooms; a reception area and library; a dental clinic and a reading recovery building; a sports / gear shed; and a boiler house. The school also includes two sports fields, two playgrounds, a hardcourt area, a large shade structure, an adventure playground, a swimming pool and dressing sheds.[5]


Brightwater is mainly an agricultural town. Because of its climate of little rain, it is hot from October through March, and it has common frosts during the winter. The main agriculture of the area is wine growing.

Food and recreation[edit]

Sprig and Fern
The HQ
Brightwater Motor Inn Bar & Restaurant
Loggers Shop
4 Square
Scissor Art (hair dresser)


There are many vineyards in and around Brightwater including;

Lightband Wines
Brightwater Vineyards
Seifried Winery
Kaimira Ventures Ltd.
Orinoco Vineyards

Artisan crafts[edit]

Brightwater also has a small artisan industry including;

Reco Wrought Iron
Royce McGlashen Pottery
Post Impressions


 A main attraction to the youth of the area
The Skatepark in the Brightwater Domain

Brightwater's main recreational area is the Brightwater Domain. The Domain includes the town hall, a skatepark, a playground, tennis courts and several playing fields.

Brightwater has a small number of sports teams (mainly rugby teams), the most famous of which being the Wanderers, the Brightwater rugby team.


  1. ^ Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4. 
  2. ^ "Rutherford, Earnest (1871-1937)". Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. 
  3. ^ Quickstats about Brightwater
  4. ^ "Ero report, Brightwater School 18/01/2010". Education Review Office. 
  5. ^ Brightwater Home