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Posts tagged ‘gisborne’

East Cape 9: Some Gisborne tiki-touring

Finishing off this series is a gallery of our Gisborne explorations in the snippets of time between family gathering stuff. Read more

East Cape 8: Catching up with whanau

We’d just finished blasting around the East Cape but the main point of us being in the region was a family gathering in Gisborne over the weekend. Read more

Sun City without the sun

During the Gisborne weekend, Mike flew up on Saturday to (bravely) join the group of 60 or so of my immediate family, cousins, aunties and uncles. By then the weather had become very average. Rain in sunny Gisborne? Unfortunately yes.

After collecting him from the airport we were halted for a couple of minutes when the police closed the road. Mike knew he was in Gisborne when it became clear what the stoppage was for.

Nothing out of the ordinary in this part of the country

In amongst all the family stuff on Sunday we grabbed a bit of downtime for a little bit of local sightseeing.

You can’t really go to Gisborne and not go to the beach, it’s like an unwritten rule, even if the atmosphere is a tad damp. We took a drive out to Wainui and found a surf competition so stayed to watch it a while. Unfortunately the amount of time they spent bobbing around waiting caused my interest to wane.

Surfers heading for the water at Wainui Beach

Action from the surfing comp

Later we went in search of a cafe meal – we struck out on our first attempt at the marina, but found success not far away.

No food at the marina but a pleasant view

From there we took a drive up to Kaiti Hill which provides a great view over Gisborne and the harbour. Mum always talks in fond terms of this place as it was where dad proposed to her over 40 years ago (though said father will roll his eyes and give an exaggerated sigh should he be in earshot if this is mentioned).

From Kaiti Hill looking across to Midway Beach

Looking down over Eastland Port

Another view from Kaiti Hill

That was the end of our extra curricular activities on this particular trip – the weekend was about spending time with hoards of cousins, aunties and uncles after all!

In the name of family

These days large scattered families only get together for milestone events and sadly sometimes the effort is only really made for funerals. Recently I went to a gathering of my dad’s side of the family, held for no other reason than it was was long overdue.

The chief instigator was my mother who with her love of genealogy was the most motivated person to make it happen. Her efforts, plus the local coordination by a cousin and uncle, paid off as the weekend was a great success.

Mum and dad












Dad is one of 10 kids – clearly there wasn’t much to do in the remote east cape in the 1930s and ’40s – eight of whom are still alive. Unfortunately neither of my grandparents are here anymore.

I descend from mostly English blood, with small measures of Swiss and Polish via mum’s lineage, and from dad I have Maori with droplets of Scots and Spanish. Mum prepared some charts and it’s quite fascinating to see where and who you come from. All going well I’ll be meeting mum and dad in the UK next year to visit the places of family relevance.

Mum’s charts receiving a lot of interest












The weekend was hosted at my uncle’s place on the outskirts of Gisborne, ideally located and possessing that classic kiwi venue combo of garage with adjoining marquee. I’m sure the shed was admired by many of the men in attendance for it’s size and features! The adjacent paddock provided oodles of room for the keen family groups who wanted to camp.

Our family name is Grace 🙂

Our indoor/outdoor venue, perfect for the occasion























It wasn’t smooth sailing for the campers on account of the neighbouring rooster and also the rain. The weather was a bit of a bugger, especially as we assumed the typical Gisborne sunshine would Grace us with its presence. However the rain was light and was really only an inconvenience when we came to organise the group photos, and didn’t affect the outcome of the weekend.

It was worth the effort of going just to see dad and his five brothers in action. All of the stories, joking and ribbing is a crack-up to watch – they’re not unlike a bunch of cheeky misbehaving children. I also saw cousins for the first time in years. I have about 22 first cousins on this side of the family and 13 made it along. Most of them have families of their own and so the extended family is now pretty big.

Back L-R: Uncles Les, Olly, Elliot & Barry; Front L-R: Aunty Audrey, Uncle John, Aunty Hazel & Dad

The disorderly bunch of first cousins
























The weekend was mostly informal though there was one focal point after everyone had arrived where a speech or two got wheeled out. Then, having got everyone in one place, we corralled, coaxed and pleaded people into groups for photos. Another semi-organised feature was visits to the main cemetery, just down the road, where a few graves of relevance had been marked.

Some of us visiting Taruheru Cemetery












Saturday culminated in a hot dinner prepared during the afternoon in ‘kai cookers’ – stand alone portable ovens that produce the equivalent of a traditional hangi. A trailer full of cold beverages ensured that no one went thirsty… and some tended to their thirst very well indeed!

Me with my brother Kyle










After Saturday night people gradually slipped away with the last of us departing on Monday morning. The plan is to do it all again in three years.


The joy of driving: Welly to Gizzy

Last weekend was spent in Gisborne and I made the 7-ish hour drive on Friday. I love open road touring especially on my own and especially on days when most of the population is at work!

The TomTom took a ride as well and for me the most value in having it was its more accurate speedo – I reckon it saved a few minutes. However it failed for the second time by freezing up repeatedly later in the weekend. It first happened not long after we got it in January and we may have to apply a three strikes policy.

Laybys off SH1 provide clear views across to Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is conservation land which you can visit though I've not yet organised myself to do this in the 8+ years I've lived down here!

The route taken was up State Highway 1 cutting through back-roads to the outskirts of Palmerston North, through the Manawatu Gorge and onto SH2. Highway 50 in the Hawkes Bay is a brilliant road, long straights and little traffic. Between Napier and Gisborne the road winds more and, provided you don’t come across too many camper vans, trucks or roadworks, is arguably more fun.

The Manawatu Gorge between Palmerston North and Woodville

After the gorge I detoured up to the Te Apiti Wind Farm, the first wind farm in NZ to feed into the national grid

Then there are the times where you come across a vehicle to keep good pace with, or which keeps pace with you (noting that this is not by any means ‘racing’). Rarely do I feel more present and alive than during those periods of driving.

I stopped at a couple of places for photos but passed by many other opportunities. After overtaking traffic the overwhelming temptation is to keep going lest you get stuck behind the same camper van, truck etc again. I especially love the old dilapidated buildings and I often think that I should revisit these rural primary and secondary roads with more time to stop and take photos.

The town of Wairoa, roughly half way between Napier and Gisborne

On the food front: Norsewood is a little settlement with Scandinavian origins just off SH2 in the Tararua region. It has a great little cafe and has become a regular stop on occasion when we’re passing through. I personally recommend their brownie!

Often I like to drive without any aural accompaniment but I did plug in and crank up the ipod for a couple of hours… until my conscience butted in. I have a project management exam in June and had foolishly put some related audio books on my ipod, so subjected myself to a couple of hours of that also.

View from the top of the Wharerata hills looking north to Gisborne

I reached Gisborne late afternoon and made contact with family members in town for the family gathering, which I will describe in the next post.

Gisborne weekend preview

We’re spending next weekend in Gisborne, NZ’s eastern-most city. It is around seven hours drive north of Wellington and while it is serviced by Air NZ, given the choice I much prefer to drive. Road trips rule!

Driving isn’t exactly an economical way to travel these days with fuel being so expensive (and to be honest, my driving style doesn’t help). The distance being travelled does mean taking a couple of days off work so it will be a four day weekend.

The reason for the trip is a gathering of family from my dad’s side – nothing too formal, that wouldn’t suit this particular bunch! Dad was born around the east cape and being one of 10 children there is still a lot of family scattered around the region. Despite the connections to the area I don’t get to Gisborne often. To be going there for the second time in three months is unusual.

It always feels quite remote, somewhat in the middle of nowhere, but like the Hawkes Bay to the south, Gisborne is famous for sunshine and winemaking. It also has some great beaches which makes it a popular summer holiday destination. When the year 2000 dawned, Gizzy was one of the places on earth to be. Since then the Rhythm & Vines new years music festival has started up and really taken off. Our last visit coincided with this, but we made the stopover on our way back to Wellington after Christmas to meet a freshy hatched baby cousin.

While the main focus of next weekend is catching up with family hopefully time and weather will oblige for a bit of local sightseeing too.

Wainui Beach, near Gisborne

Fireworks display on 1/1/11 above the rivers that run through Gisborne

Baby Grace, just a few days old when we met her at New Year

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