Tama Waipara, CEO and artistic director of Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, on the best things to do in Gisborne.
We are a coastal community and I think that means our whole perspective is outward facing.
Whenever I want to feel earthed in our place, I like to go to the place where I can see our coastline most clearly and reflect inwards.
When you fly to Gisborne, which is the most stunning airport to fly in to, the view from the plane follows Te Kuri a Pāoa and the bay of Tūranga-nui-ā-Kiwa.
When on the ground, the other place I like to gather perspective is from the peak of Titirangi Maunga, for the same reason. You can look back to the land, at 360 degrees, and see our people in context.
Visitors should visit Waihīrere Domain. Ten minutes from town and nestled at the base of Ahitītī (named after the song of the kōmako - bellbird), Waihīrere is an idyllic domain - one of our region's destination reserves.
Waihīrere is a renowned Māori community; home to Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki and Parihimanihi Marae.
The domain is a naturally occurring amphitheatre in which the sweet birdsong of the kōmako is as resplendent as the famous Waihīrere Kapa Haka, whose legacy in performing arts and taking the stages of the world is legendary.
Next, an icecream at Waikanae.
It doesn't matter what flavour. I'm a fan of a fruit flow, but am not averse to a bit of goodie goodie gum drops either. The view from Waikanae Beach is stunning, even on a bad day.
Tairāwhiti Museum and its Exhibit Cafe is always lovely, but especially at moment thanks to the Tū te Whaihanga exhibition — also online — made up of 37 taonga that left on the HMS Endeavour after its first voyage to Aotearoa in 1769. Usually residing at museums in the UK and Germany, the taonga have returned home for this stunning exhibition and one of the benefits of Covid is that they're now grounded at home until the borders open up. Personally, I think they want to stay here.
People always talk about Te Tairāwhiti being isolated but I don't see that as a negative, particularly in recent times. We've seen how alive our community is in looking after each other – whether protecting our border or our whakapapa.
We innovate from within. Our location has grown many interesting thinkers who create potent ideas, and there are many innovative plans in the making. We flourish in this area because we have space and time to develop ideas – ideas that only being in this part of the world has allowed.
The best places for views are Titirangi Maunga, Wainui and the wharf at Uawa (Tolaga Bay), which feels like you could walk the length of and then step off into another world.
With a bit more time, driving for Paua Pies at Tokomaru Bay is vital to life. And Kaitī's London St Fish Shop is bangin'.
The programme for Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival will be announced tomorrow evening at https://tetairawhitiartsfestival.nz/
The festival will run from 2 to 11 October at theatres, venues, marae, and pop-up locations across the region.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com