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The Nelson Provincial Council, under the Nelson Improvement Act of 7 March 1856, established the Nelson Board of Works. The Board was responsible for public works in the town of Nelson and levied rates to finance its operations. Its members were elected annually by ratepayers. The functions of the Board were taken over by the Nelson City Council when it commenced operations in April 1874.
The rating records include details such as occupiers and owners of particular properties, description of land and buildings, and value of property and buildings in Nelson city.
Later rating and valuation records held in collection AG 248: Nelson City Council Archives.
Rating roll records