Nelson's Street Ambassadors patrol the streets during summer weekends from 9.30pm till 4am looking out for young people who might find themselves in strife while out partying, joining the Police, Māori Wardens, the Nelson Community Patrols and the Doormen’s Association who all work to keep Nelson safe.
Street Ambassadors look out for all people who are socialising in the Nelson CBD. Tourists, young people, and the general public report that the Street Ambassador service makes them feel safe in Nelson. Nelson City Council’s Safe City Adviser Ingrid Beach says, “Council has been involved in delivering this service since 2004. Our Street Ambassadors now have a very good rapport with the young people who are out partying over summer. Because of that, young people know there are people they can talk to if they are in need of help or advice throughout the night.”
The Ambassadors all receive training in youth work, de-escalation of aggression, and first aid. They work in pairs throughout the weekend nights, delivering safety messages, offering advice and assistance when needed and intervening when they spot potentially dangerous situations.
Feedback about the Street Ambassador service is that it plays an important role in reducing trouble on the streets over summer and keeping Nelson a safe place for everyone to enjoy. The Street Ambassadors work in pairs throughout the weekend nights, delivering safety messages, offering advice and assistance when needed and intervening with the aim to stop trouble before it starts. In past years, the presence of the Street Ambassadors has reduced conflict and aggression. They’ve helped to calm down situations that could have led to violence and in some cases, got police involved for an early intervention.
Street Ambassadors don’t work alone. They keep in touch via cell phones and radios with Police, Maori Wardens and Nelson Community Patrol volunteers, who monitor the closed circuit television cameras on the weekend nights. Street Ambassadors' Team Leaders are qualified to administer first aid.
Council is joined by the Ministry of Justice and the Canterbury Community Trust in funding the programme. The Ambassadors are out on the streets from mid-November through to the first week in March.
Contact the Community Services Team on +64 3 546 0200.