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Gisborne, situated in the Poverty Bay region of New Zealand, the first city in the world to see the sun each day, is located on the sunny East Coast of the North Island. Gisborne enjoys a relaxed lifestyle, beautiful beaches, great fishing, yachting, surfing and golf.

The Maori name for the district is Tairawhiti which means “The coast upon which the sun shines across the water”. Gisborne is famous for it’s surfing beaches, Makarori Point being well known for its great surfing breaks.The Gisborne region includes Lake Waikaremoana, a haven for trout fishing.

Kaiti Beach, near the city, was where the Maori immigrational waka, Horouta, landed; and is also the first European landing place in New Zealand. Captain Cook first set foot here in 1769. European settlement was established in 1831 and the town which developed was named after Hon. William Gisborne, the Colonial Secretary, in 1870. Prior to this the settlement was known as Turanga but confusion with Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, led to the name change. To the early Maori the Poverty Bay area was known as Turanganui-a-Kiwa, “The stopping place of Kiwa”. Gisborne became a borough in 1877 and a city in 1955.

The Gisborne district (population 45,000 with about 30,000 residing in the city) generally has warm summers and mild winters. Gisborne is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand with average yearly sunshine of around 2200 hours. The region’s annual rainfall varies from about 1000mm near the coast to over 2500mm in the higher inland country. Temperatures of 38°C have been recorded and an average 65 days a year have a maximum of over 24°C.

Gisborne’s temperate climate, clean and green lakes, forests, streams and beaches have become a tourism bonus. Tramping, hunting, white water rafting, canoeing, fishing, surfing, golf yachting, and all types of wilderness activities are catered for.

When it comes to business and employment, Gisborne is rich with opportunity.
Agriculture, forestry and associated manufacturing businesses are the backbone of the district’s economy. Abundant natural resources and a stable, skilled workforce are attracting new businesses in these sectors. The relatively low overheads of a provincial centre, together with the benefits of modern communications are increasingly attracting niche market businesses. Wood processing is a growth sector – volumes of radiata pine are set to increase dramatically to a sustainable level of around 3.1 million cubic meters in the year 2016. Tourism related industries are also growing and attracting investment, as are enterprises on light manufacturing and food processing. Gisborne-based enterprises have shown innovation and excellence in a variety of areas including cheese, beer, wine, cider, popcorn, milk products, hosiery, surfboard production, truffles, plastics, cashmere fibre production, organic farming and oil extraction for perfume and health products from the native manuka tree.

Gisborne’s comparative seclusion from the more populous areas of New Zealand, once a barrier to visitor traffic, has become a tourism bonus. As the world yearns for clean and green spaces, and for wilderness experience, tourists have been looking increasingly to our uncrowded environment with its areas of lake, forest, streams and beaches.

Tramping, hunting, white water rafting, canoeing, fishing and all types of wilderness experiences are catered for by our tour operators. For photographers and plant lovers, the region is idyllic. Its 8300 square kilometres includes the North Island’s largest stand of native forest. It also embraces one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes,
Waikaremoana (a haven for trout fishing).

Only half an hour’s drive from the city there is Eastwoodhill arboretum which botanists have confirmed as the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere tree and plant species existing in the Southern Hemisphere. Further into the hills, but on a main road, is Hackfalls arboretum which includes a collection of 35 different varieties of rare Mexican oaks. Both arboreta host plant-lovers and botanists from throughout the world.

Our high proportion of Maori people adds a further dimension ‘ an opportunity to study their culture and tradition. Trails have been opened up to provide access to historic sites. Within the region are some of the finest examples of Maori meeting-houses with their elaborate carving.Our Waihirere Maori concert group was chosen to travel to London to perform in the concert at the Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 50th birthday of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who began her singing development in Gisborne.

Painters, poets and potters abound, attracted to the region both by the relaxed lifestyle and by the mystique of its Maori culture which influences much of the art.