We left Australia for New Zealand on 7/11/18 for a general sight seeing holiday. The plan is to stay a week in North Island with my cousin in Gisborne and then take two short flights from Gisborne to Nelson in South Island and stay in Nelson, Abel Tasman area and Picton for just over a week and then take a flight to Queenstown and see the beautiful south of the South Island. The flight from Gisbourne was interesting as at the airport there appeared to be little of the security we accept these days. The process at the airport was to input your booking reference in a self check-in machine, print boarding pass and bag tags then wait at the one and only gate. When called we then just scanned our passes and went on to the plane - like a bus. The missing bits were - not showing ID, not having to X-ray hand baggage, no body search / body scan etc. None of that. We asked my cousin why not and just got “sure this is New Zealand, you don’t need to do that here”.
Gisbourne is a slightly sprawling city with a colonial feel. The tree lined ‘main street’ had some slightly Art Deco style buildings along it. It has a population of around 9,000 and is a the confluence of 2 rivers before they enter the ocean at Poverty Bay. This bay was named by James Cook who was the first known European to set foot in New Zealand. He did so on 7th October 1769. Unfortunately this first landing led to the deaths of 6 Maoris when there was a skirmish between his crew and the local people. Cook was able to take on some small amounts of provisions but not enough to continue too far. For that reason he named it Poverty Bay instead of Endeavour Bay as was perviously intended as a memorial to the ship’s first landing.
The area is quite fertile and grows fruit and vegetables along with grapes for the Chardonnay wine of the area.
Inland form the city is the locally famous gorge, the main route in and out of the area but often blocked by landslides and rock falls. There are large sheep farms into the thousands of acres supporting similar numbers of sheep. This is a very beautiful area and one of the few places I painted.
Gisbourne has a port which is used to transport ship loads of logs to Canada or China for export and milling. Those are from non indigenous trees grown in the area and the logging trucks are on the roads perhaps 24/7. Sadly while we were there a 19 year old Maori girl was killed in a car crash with a logging truck.
Near the port there are 2 statues to James Cook. One near the coast and one a little inland. One was given to the city by a business man who bought it in Europe and was sold it as a sculpture of Cook. It however isn’t the correct uniform and is not Cook and the wrong uniform. However it was dedicated or had a tree planted beside it by Lady Dianna from England and it appears the sculpture is here to stay. The second one closer to the beach side is correctly Cook.
The not James Cook sculpture.
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