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Gisborne ( ) is the name of the largest settlement within the Gisborne Regionmarker of northeastern New Zealandmarker.

Gisborne is named for an early Colonial Secretary William Gisborne. The council is located in the town of Gisborne (locally referred to as the City of Gisborne).


NASA satellite photo of Gisborne
The city of Gisborne is located at the north end of Poverty Baymarker. The white cliff headland of Young Nick's Head at the other end of the bay is visible from the city. The cliffs can be seen in the left hand side of the sat photo. The Māori name for the cliffs is Te Kurī-a-Pāoa, meaning The Dog of Pāoa, as this was what it was originally said to look like.

This prominence was the first part of New Zealand sighted by the crew of Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour, and was named for the crew member who first saw it. A memorial to Cook stands on the foreshore, marking the point where he first stepped ashore in New Zealand on October 8, 1769.

On the right hand side of the sat photo at the other end of the bay, known as Poverty Bay, is Kaiti Hillmarker. This hill overlooks the town and magnificent views can be obtained by driving or walking to the summit.

Central Gisborne viewed from Kaiti hill
The city maintains a rural charm and is a popular holiday spot. Local industries include agriculture, horticulture, farming and forestry. Wine production is also valuable to the local economy.It is sometimes known as the City of Rivers as the centre of town is the convergence of three different rivers.

Gisborne City has four main high (secondary) schools: Gisborne Boys' Highmarker, Gisborne Girls' Highmarker, Lytton High and Campion College. Campion College is a Catholic co-educational school.

The harbour was host to many ships in the past. A meat works was sited beside the harbour and meat and wool was shipped from here. Now the harbour is the home of many smaller fishing boats as well as ships loading logs for export.

Gisborne boasts being the first city in the world to greet the sun each day. Technically, however, this is only true for part of the year. Both Suvamarker, Fijimarker, and Nuku alofamarker, Tongamarker, are closer to the International Date Linemarker and therefore would seem more likely candidates for this title. Due to the earth's tilt on its axis, however, Gisborne does overtake their claim as New Zealand summer days grow longer. In the longest days of summer, though, it again loses the title to the hillier suburbs of Dunedinmarker in the South Islandmarker.

The city has the benefit of being very close to the white sand beaches of Waikanae and Midway. A short distance from the city is the surf beach of Wainui.

Two major annual events are the Dawn Raid Beach Day Out, which is an outdoor concert featuring many of the Dawn Raid Hip-hop stars held in January, and the Rhythm & Vines concert held every New Years' Eve which features a huge concert featuring well-known New Zealandmarker bands performing in a vineyard.

Gisborne had three sister cities in the Sister Cities International Program, two are in the United Kingdommarker (one in Walesmarker and Scotlandmarker), the third being Palm Desert, Californiamarker in the USmarker. The town of Gisbornemarker 50 kilometres north-west of Melbournemarker, Australia is now also twinned with it.


The Māori name for the Gisborne region is Tairawhiti - the coast upon which the sun shines across the water. The region is sheltered by high country to the west and has a dry, sunny climate with high sunshine hours.

The region has a yearly average of 2,200 sunshine hours. The annual rainfall varies from about 1000mm near the coast to over 2500mm in higher inland country

Frosts occur several times each winter.

Gisborne's mild climate, combined with rich alluvial soils, make this an ideal location for the growing of maize, grapes, citrus fruits, kiwifruit and subtropical fruits.


State Highway 2 passes through Gisborne and Gisborne is the northern terminus of the Palmerston North - Gisborne Line railway, which opened in 1942. Passenger services were provided until 1988, when the Endeavour express was cancelled north of Napiermarker. Today, the railway carries solely freight.

Suburbs of Gisborne

Gardens in and around Gisborne

Gisborne has its own botanical garden: Gisborne Botanical Gardensmarker

In the surroundings are two arboreta:


Famous residents

Sister cities


  1. "Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration" - 20 May 2008 - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  2. Gisborne Weather at
  3. Gisborne Weather at

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