Our exciting tour to Gisborne Tairāwhiti, in summertime the first city in the world to see the sunrise, promises a fabulous mix of art, history, Māoritanga, gardens and landscape design, farming, along with fresh, local food and good companionship. The visit will include seeing several private gardens and properties which are being especially opened for us.

On the Thursday evening there will be a welcome dinner in the beautiful garden setting of the Bushmere Arms. We are delighted that Dame Anne Salmond has agreed to be our guest speaker.

Friday visits within the town will include the Toihoukura School of Maori Art and Design, which has special links to the carvings and art work of the Marae at Te Papa, and Tairāwhiti Museum, to view its important collection of local taonga and excellent displays of the town’s history, and the museum’s stunning new C Company gallery, which pays tribute to the men of the 28 Maori Battalion.

Later that day we will visit a magnificent private garden, where we will have the chance to see a distinguished art collection, and then enjoy a dinner of delicious French cuisine, at the Marina Restaurant in the historic Lysnar home across the river from our hotel.

On Saturday morning we will visit the Manutuke Marae and Meeting Houses, where we will be hosted by our good friends from Rongowhakaata Iwi, Te Papa’s current Iwi in Residence. In the afternoon we will explore the magnificent botanical collections at Eastwoodhill National Arboretum, the creation of Douglas Cook.

The evening will be free, so you can enjoy your own choice of dinner – perhaps in the historic Works building, or watch the sun go down from one of several eating places along the water front at the former wharf.

On Sunday we will have an exclusive day-long visit to Nick’s Head Station to see the farm and its award-winning landscape and wet-land restoration project, which was recently awarded the Supreme Award of the NZ Institute of Landscape Architects. We will enjoy a delicious picnic lunch and return to Gisborne in time for the flight home.

Our accommodation for the three nights will be in the modern Emerald Hotel on Gladstone Street, in the centre of town alongside the river. Daily breakfast is included.

The tour cost, which is currently being finalised, will include three nights’ hotel accommodation, daily breakfast, two dinners, two lunches, entry costs for all programmed visits and coach travel from arrival at the airport to departure on the Sunday.

Tour group members will need to find their way to Gisborne independently. At present there is a daily Air New Zealand flight that leaves Wellington at 8.55am, arriving in Gisborne 10.10 am.  On Sunday the return flight to Wellington leaves at 4.30pm, arriving at 5.45pm. In view of these flight times, our tour will commence on arrival at the Gisborne airport on the Thursday through to departure on Sunday afternoon. You may however wish to extend your stay or take the opportunity to travel by road to Gisborne and further explore the East Coast region. Please let us know if you would like any extra nights of accommodation.

To register your interest in the Friend 2020 tour to Gisborne, contact the Friends office phone (04) 381 7051 or email friends@tepapa.govt.nz.

Feature image: Detail from: Gisborne lookout on Titirangi-Kaiti Hill.