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
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.
Within the East Cape region there are many different styles of hospitality and individual communities. The
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
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,
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).
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
Land area: 8,351(km² )
Main Centres: Gisborne, Opotiki, Wairoa, Mahia
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—
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
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
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
time to observe them by boat or on the walks, which vary from half an hour to several days. Kayaking
is also available.
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.
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
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