Its a small town, and the locals will be all out to welcome you. Larger Ships over 180 meters anchor and tender passengers to the marina next to the very small town.
Cruise ship's would be met by a number of Waka (Maori canoes) and other vessels, then one of New Zealand's top Kapa Haka (cultural) groups would entertain passengers as the ship docks.
Could be a call where its best to book a ships tour as the local infrastructure would not be geared up for handling that many people in one day. Other than that just wander ashore and look for a taxi, to give you an hourly rate and drive around.
It's relative isolation has helped it develop its own identity and it has the distinction of being the first city in the world to greet the new year.
The tender wharf is close to town. You can walk around town or take a public bus or rent a vehicle to look around Gisborne’s surrounding regions.
The descendants of Ngati One One (the Maori people) who met Cook that day still maintain Te Poho O Rawiri Marae (the meeting house) at the base of Titirangi Hill, approximately 1km from Port Gisborne where the ship will berth. Te Poho O Rawiri has over the years welcomed many famous dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana among others.
Gisborne City Vintage Rail have restored this famous steam train first built in 1896. It is the only one of its kind in NZ and with 3 restored carriages and makes for an exciting experience especially for rail enthusiasts.
Tairawhiti (Gisborne region) has one of the highest Maori populations in NZ and Maori is very much a daily living culture with many people speaking Maori. The descendants of the Maori people who met Cook in 1769 still live in the same area as they did when he first arrived. There is the opportunity to experience authentic Maori welcome and culture, visit superbly carved marae and listen to history from the Maori perspective.
Gisborne’s main street is an easy 10 minute flat walk from where the cruise ship would dock. Walk past the inner harbor marina, café’s, fishing club and wharf market. Alternatively free shuttles are available. Gisborne would feature special local arts, crafts and indigenous carvings to welcome the visitors.
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