Uranium-series dating and stable isotope analyses of two speleothems from northwest Nelson, New Zealand, record changes in regional climate and local forest extent over the past 31,000 years. Oxygen isotope variation in these speleothems primarily represents changes in the meteoric waters falling above the caves, possibly responding to latitudinal changes in the position of the Subtropical Front in the Tasman Sea. Seven positive excursions can be identified in the oxygen isotope record, which coincide with periods of glacier advance, known to be sensitive to northward movement of the Subtropical Front. Four glacier advances occurred during oxygen isotope stage 2, with the most extreme glacial conditions centered on 19,000 cal yr B.P. An excursion in the oxygen isotope record from 13,800 to 11,700 cal yr B.P. provides support for a previously identified New Zealand glacier advance at the time of the Younger Dryas Stade, but suggests it began slightly before the Younger Dryas as recorded in Greenland ice cores. Carbon isotope variations in the speleothems record changes in forest productivity, closely matching existing paleovegetation records. On the basis of vegetation changes, stage 2 glacial climate conditions terminated abruptly in central New Zealand, from 15,700 to 14,200 cal yr B.P. Evidence of continuous speleothem growth at one site suggests that depression of the local treeline was limited to 600–700 m below its present altitude, throughout the last 31,000 years.