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Overview

Eastland (Gisborne) The Māori name for the Gisborne region is Tairawhiti the coast upon which the sun shines across the water. Gisborne is named for an early Colonial Secretary, William Gisborne. Eastland is the name of the region. On the e ast coast of of the North Island is an area also known as the East Cape, a secluded, natural place offering a unique experience for those want to see the true New Zealand. Kaiti Beach at Gisborne was where the Maori immigrational waka, Horouta, landed and the beach was also the first landing place in New Zealand for Europeans.

Eastland is a wild and enchanting place full of ancient stories. Catch the first sunrise of the world's new day and explore a coast that few people know well. Eastland reaches out to the Pacific Ocean, and is the first mainland place in the world to see the sun each day. Gisborne is one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand with average yearly sunshine of around 2200 hours. The city is the main centre of Eastland, which is known for its subtropical summers with the long hours of sunshine. Visitors can enjoy a fantastic combination of vibrant cafes and excellent surfing. There's a wonderfully fresh quality to the scenery of Eastland. It is a great base for visitors wanting to explore the bush and forest parks, with walks ranging anywhere from halfanhour to four days. One of the most stunning areas for hiking and trekking is in the Te Urewera National Park, the third biggest national park and the largest area of untouched native forest in New Zealand. This is a land of bushfringed misty mountains, lakes and beaches that has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. Even the region’s farmland and vineyards breathe the spirit of nature.

Gisborne is a city where you can indulge in gourmet dining and w ine tasting as the area is one of New Zealand’s largest grapegrowing regions with a number of awardwinning wineries and vineyards.

Local Employment

Within the East Cape region there are many different styles of hospitality and individual communities. The beachfringed promontory of Mahia Peninsula is one such holiday destination with a variety of accommodation and restaurants. In Gisborne itself there are many restaurants and cafes, with wonderful locations on the wharf and marina and also a great Art Deco restaurant. There is also a good music scene and a well known micro brewery and, with quite a number of h otels, this is a vibrant city. Gisborne is a handsdown North Island winner for its chardonnay. This is a major winegrowing area and specialises in stylish chardonnays, a wine for which NZ is rapidly earning an excellent reputation. Just over half the region’s 2000 hectares of vineyards are planted to chardonnay. A number of local wineries are open for cellar door tastings and several also serve meals.

A Mediterranean climate and suitable soils are the key f actors in the success of wine production in this region, which regularly produces unique, fullflavoured, awardwinning wines of international s tandard. Agriculture and horticulture are also important mainstays of the local economy with rich, alluvial river flats combining with mild temperatures to make this district an ideal area for the growing of maize, kiwifruit, citrus and subtropical fruits. Naturally this produce is well represented on the menus of local restaurants and cafes. Sheep, cattle, deer and goats are also farmed here. The East Cape is developing fledgling industries based on the unique antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the local manuka and these industries have been encouraged with assistance from the Government's Community Employment Group (CEG).

Population

The Gisborne region has been settled for over 1000 years, although Europeans did not arrive until late in the 19th century when the first whaling station was established in the area. The East Cape is very remote from the main centres of the North Island from which it is separated by the Raukumara Range and the impenetrable forest of the Urewera Range. The area has long been isolated.E uropean settlement proceeded slowly and around a quarter of the land still belongs to Maori, a reflection of the fact that the Maori population density here is the highest in the country.

It was in Gisborne, that Captain Cook made his first landfall on New Zealand soil in 1769, naming it Poverty Bay after deciding it had nothing to offer! A monument to Cook can be found at the foot of Kaiti Hill, near the spot he first set foot and a statue of ‘Young Nick’ sits at the rivermouth. Nicholas Young, Cook’s c abin boy, was the first member of the crew to sight land and Cook named the white cliffs across the bay ‘Young Nick’s Head’. The East Cape offers a serene existence to those like a relaxed lifestyle. The Cape had been isolated for many years until the road network was c ompleted. And even today, given the remoteness of the region, few people take the o pportunity to explore what seems to be one of New Zealand’s last frontiers. Inhabited predominantly by Maori, Gisborne and the Cape region place great emphasis on the retention of their culture and traditions it is here you will hear Te Reo Maori (the Maori language) being spoken fluently and freely.

Land area: 8,351(km² )

Main Centres: Gisborne, Opotiki, Wairoa, Mahia

History

This coast was the first view of New Zealand for the crew of Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour and it was here that Cook first stepped ashore on October 8, 1769, making this a mustsee location for those who love history. Up the coast in the tiny coastal settlement of Te Araroa, you'll find Te WahaoRerekohu— New Zealand's most ancient pohutukawa treat over 600 years old.

Nearby in Tikitiki is St Mary's Church, one of the most ornate Maori churches in New Zealand. Whaling flourished in this area before the arrival of missionaries and they were joined by more and more Europeans (dubbed Pakeha by the Maori). Continual Maori resistance inhibited the establishment of organised settlement and many battles took place. One of the country’s largest Maori meeting houses, Te PohooRawiri, has a richly decorated interior and is located at the base of Titirangi (Kaiti Hill). This hill is also home to the world’s easternmost observatory, the Cook Observatory. In 1940 the 16,712ton New Zealand Shipping Company liner MV Rangitane was sunk by two German armed merchant raiders, 300 nautical miles off East Cape. Seven passengers died. The lighthouse at East Cape was originally located on East Island, just off the tip of East Cape and was first lit in 1900. In more recent times the East Coast settlement of Whangara was the location for the successful movie hale Rider."

Activities: What to do there?

The superb beaches offer good swimming, fishing and surfing and attract a wealth of bird life, including stilts and oyster catchers. The visitor information centre has details on walks, horse trekking, fishing and hunting tours and other activities in the area there is certainly no shortage of things to do.

Beautiful beaches contrast dramatically with rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops, providing the perfect home to an a bundance of crayfish. The Gisborne museum houses displays relating to E ast Coast Maori and colonial history, as well as geology and natural history exhibits. Surfing is popular on the beaches north of Gisborne and the state forest parks of Ruatoria, Raukumara, Urutawa and Waioeka offer numerous walking tracks. The tracks afford wonderful views, ah ighlight for some being an overnight stay on Mt Hikurangi to see the first light of the new day. White water rafting is available on the Waioeke and Motu rivers, perhaps providing a thrilling finale to a relaxing holiday!

Between Gisborne and Rotorua, the Urewera N ational Park is the largest native forest area in the North Island. Most visitors walk the Waikaremoana (sea of rippling waters) Track, one of New Zealand’s great walks around an amazing lake of the same name. Birds, deer, trout and other wildlife are plentiful in the park take time to observe them by boat or on the walks, which vary from half an hour to several days. Kayaking is also available.

Entertainment

Gisborne and Eastland offer a top selection of events, festivals and shows to suit all tastes and budgets, capturing both Kiwi and international talents. For those into motor sports the options are endless with speedway one of thea ttractions. In the artss ector there is Women's Work Art Exhibition, which is Touted as the biggest womenonly art exhibition in the country. The Gisborne Wine & Food Festival is staged at Labour Weekend with a great atmosphere, live music, fine wines and gourmet cuisine. In December the a nnual Opotiki Rodeo features spectacular events and is commended by the competitors as one of the best in New Zealand. From 29 December 1 January, the Kiwi summer festival Rhythm and Vines is held at a Gisborne vineyard. For overseas visitors seeking a taste of Maori culture marae stays are an o ption. Tasks like food preparation are shared and then you eat together, enjoy an evening of kapa haka entertainment and sleep as a group in the meeting house. Toihoukura is the School of ContemporaryMaori Art at Gisborne Polytechnic. It offers a range of courses in contemporary Maori art and design, and work by the students is on sale at the school's gallery. For visitors exploring the Eastland region, an original work of art from Toihoukura is the ultimate keepsake. Galleries and museums are filled with artistic treasures, many influenced by a strong cultural feeling of the district.

Transport

Gisborne is serviced by daily passenger and freight, air and bus connections to other main centres in the North Island. There is also a rail freight service and a busy overseas shipping and local fishing port.

Airport: Gisborne has its own airport with services daily from Auckland and Wellington. Gisborne airport is unique in that it has a railway line, the Palmerston NorthGisborne Line, crossing the main runway., Other nearby airports are Wairoa 65km, Opotiki 94km, Galatea 110km, Whakatane 130km.

Roads: State Highway 2 passes through Gisborne and the coastal road is a winding tour of discovery providing spectacular views of a wild coastline interspersed with picturesque tiny bays, inlets and coves. One suggested drive is to take State Highway 35 at Opotiki and after rounding East Cape finish at Gisborne 330kms later. The average drive time is 6 1/2 hours but don't rush this spectacular journey. Take time to wander off the main road to beaches such as Omaio, Te Kaha, Lottin Point, Hicks Bay, Anaura Bay, Tolaga Bay or Waihau Beach.

Buses: For bus and train timetables nad Inter City bus timetables check out < a href = 'http://www.gisbornenz.com'>http://www.gisbornenz.com

Ferries: There are many charters available in this area for inshore saltwater fly fishing or for the more adventurous there is game fishing at Ranfurly Banks , one of New Zealand’s premier fishing areas.

Train: Gisborne is the northern terminus of the Palmerston NorthGisborne Line railway, which opened in 1942. Passenger services were provided until 1988, when the Endeavour express was cancelled north of Napier. Today, the railway carries solely freight. Cycling: The gruelling Gwaloop Cycle Challenge (as famous for its scenery as its physical challenge) is New Zealand’s longest oneday cycling event featuring the GisborneWairoa loop. www.adventureauckland.co.nz

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