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It’s not just the timbers that makes The Boathouse historically significant,
it’s the people that tread these boards

The modern day Boathouse owes it’s sustainability to ‘A few good blokes in the pub’. A true testament to Kiwi community spirit. Built in 1906 the Nelson Rowing Club used the building as a boating club, dance hall and the Iron Duke Sea Scout hall up until 1986. The building was in disrepair and in need of considerable financial input and perhaps a little love. A bevy of friends banded together and formed The Iron Duke Boat Club Society, later changing the name to The Boathouse Society.

Ever thought about joining?

Currently member numbers stand at over 240. This includes founding members, families, couples and all walks of life from the Nelson community and abroad. The Boathouse sustains itself as a part time cafe, function venue, live music venue, performance space, community hall and clubhouse.

Membership boasts many benefits….

  • Key access to the building

  • Members only Sunday

  • Entry to live music on Friday (Members night)

  • Cafe and bar discounts

  • Use of the boats and paddle boards

  • Hire discounts and benefits

The objectives of The Boathouse Society are to:

  • Provide recreational and social facilities for members

  • Restore The Boathouse

  • Involve children in activities

  • Provide for the storage of small craft belonging to The Boathouse Society

  • Provide a centre for theatre, music, dance and arts

  • Encourage recreational use of Nelson Harbour

  • Promote the conservation of the harbour

The Boathouse offers an unrivalled opportunity for families and individuals to invest in Nelson’s historic waterfront and take full advantage of the recreational attributes of the Nelson Haven. Our chair person, Malcolm Anderson, invites you to inquire with management for more information  on becoming a member of The Boathouse.

An Invitation to Join The Boathouse

For more information on becoming a shareholding member please email [email protected]

or phone 03 5487646 and we will get back to you at the first instance.

Please note that memberships are limited.


Members have access to two moorings: The Northern pink and white mooring is a two tonne block. The Southern white mooring is four tonne mooring.  The Boathouse invites non-members to make contact before making use of these. 

The Boathouse Society Ltd was incorporated in May 1987 under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1908. This Act provides a legal structure for its members to own The Boathouse.