Eastland is the first region in the world to greet the morning sun each day. It has so many enchanting features to offer to anyone who cares to visit the place.
The Gisborne District, or Gisborne Region, the largest settlement recently called Eastland, is located on the hilly northeastern part of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s fondly called the Coast of the Sunrise, or Te Tai Rāwhiti in Māori, because it’s the first region in the world to see the rising sun everyday.
Reaching out into the Pacific Ocean, this laid back and tucked-away part of New Zealand, where time seems to tick slow, is characterized by warm and dry climate. Its relaxed coastal lifestyle is typical of an authentic Māori culture. Horses and bare feet are still a common form of transport here; although, cars are also available.
If you are interested to know deeper about Māori heritage, then Eastland is the best place for you to go. It’s where a high Māori population is found. Set out along the Pacific Coast Highway and you’d readily notice Māori culture in every settlement, such as the carved meeting houses, and meticulously-painted Māori churches. You can also hear conversations in Te Rao.
And if you go up to the 1,754-metre high Mount Hikurangi, the sacred mountain of the local Ngati Porou people, you’ll hear enchanting stories and legend about the place as well as find massive carvings of figures derived from Māori folklore. But since it is sacred, you need to secure permission from Te Runanga o Ngati Porou, or the Tribal Authority, to climb Mount Hikurangi.
Likewise, Eastland is surrounded by world-class vineyards. In fact, it’s one of the country’s prime grape-growing regions, famous for its Chardonnay wine.
Other points of interest
Aside from the Gisborne Region Māori meeting houses and churches, and winery, you should not miss to visit these places when you come to Eastland.
- the community centre/meeting place, or Te Poho o Rawiri Marae
- Lake Waikaremoana at Te Urewera National Park
- Eastwood Hill Arboretum
- Captain Cook’s first landfall memorial
- Tolaga Bay Wharf, New Zealand’s longest wharf
- Mahia Beach
If you hadn’t done so yet, it’s time to include Eastland in your next tour destination. You won’t regret it.