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"A Good Bloke - Gordon Nelson" By Te Mete

April 21, 2015

One year on after a legendary Opotiki icon was tragically taken too soon, Gordon Nelson aged 67 years, passed away in a devastating car accident on the Motu Road along with his mate Fred. A member of the Nelson family approached New Zealand Contemporary Maori Artist Te Mete, to commission a piece of artwork to commemorate the memory of Gordon for the family and the many generations yet to come.


The Artist spent over for months developing the artwork, he was provided a photo to work from, “This was a special piece I spent a lot of time on, it was challenging to paint someone I hadn’t met before” said the artist. Te Mete enlisted the help of family and friends of Gordon to build a feeling for who he was. “it’s one thing to paint something, it’s another thing to inject life into it” said Te Mete.



The artist had quickly developed the initial painting within the first couple weeks, and spent a large portion of his time working on the “wairua, mana and strength of Gordon” said Te Mete.


Gordon Nelson passed away on the 17th of April 2014 (one year ago) The funeral was one of the biggest farewells in Opotiki, attracting thousands of people from all over New Zealand and overseas, it was held in his shed on Bridge Street. An appropriate farewell to a big man with a big heart.


“Gordon was a well accomplished human being who loved his family and friends, I focussed and invested my time getting to know the attributes he possessed that I could relate too, strength, cheekiness, generosity, happiness, love, whanau and his mana, I was told that he didn’t suffer fools nor did he mince his words, perhaps one of the reasons that elevated his success, although I wasn’t concerned with his business and real estate empire… I wanted to connect with him as a human being, what I know for certain is the people who you love, and those who love you, and elevate you to be better, that’s what defines you – and he was loved very much… I could relate to that” said the artist.




Gordon was husband to Suzanne Nelson. Father of three children, Steven, Greg and Leanne.  Father-in-law of Joanna, John and Amy, and ‘Poppa G’ to Ella, Katie, Joshua, Lily; Sadie and Zoe; Hazel and another grandchild on the way.


The Gordon Nelson Rescue Equipment Trust has been set up for much needed rescue communication equipment in limited to no communication availability in areas such as the place Gordon and Fred passed away, to donate please message PO Box 428 Opotiki.




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