7 km
2 hours
30-45 mins
Information for this trail was last updated June 2024

This easy trail, predominantly on concrete walkways, can be walked or cycled in either direction.  

The trail starts at the Puhi Kai Iti/Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve on Rakaiatane Road, which commemorates the first landing place of James Cook in New Zealand in October 1769. It also commemorates the Horouta and Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru waka (canoes) which carried Māori to the district. This is where Lieutenant James Cook and his crew landed after arriving on the HMS Endeavour. It is also the site where Te Maro was tragically killed in the first misunderstandings between European navigators and local Māori. 

The trail meanders around the rivers and beaches of Tūranga/Gisborne passing many landmarks, sculptures, and historic sites. The trail ends at Tairāwhiti Museum, 10 Stout Street.  

(Thank you to Monika Belikova for the image at the top of this page.)

Gisborne City / Tūranga Heritage Trail

History of the trail

The trail focuses on the European history of the region but touches on the deeper history of Māori tangata whenua who arrived on the Horouta and Tākitimu waka hourua.

Historic sites include:

  • Puhi Kai Iti/Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve, Kaiti Beach Road, at foot of Titirangi – Nick Tupara contributed mana whenua aspects
  • The Waikāhua historical site has an important Māori history (a spring was located here) and early European history (a former whaling station, and site of William L. Williams cottage in 1865
  • Te Maro sculpture, at foot of Titirangi, artist Nick Tupara
  • Te Toka-a-Taiau – revered tribal boundary marker that once stood in the channel of the Tūranganui River (information panel is part of the Tupapa Heritage Trail.)
  • Heritage Tairāwhiti signage at Inner Harbour telling story of the stealthy midnight visit of the German submarine U-862 in January 1945
  • Heipipi Park, with symbolic canoe prow Te Tauihi Tūranga Whakamana Gladstone  Road/Customhouse Street corner – designed by Derek Lardelli and Te Aturangi Nepia Clamp
  • In Pitt Street is a small park commemorating the treasured puna (fresh water spring) at the mouth of Waikanae Stream. It was given the name Te Wai o Hiharore, after the grandmother of Ruapani and was revered by Rongowhakaata, as it is the mauri for kaimoana such as kanae (mullet). 
  • Captain Cook monument, Tūranganui River Mouth Reserve – sculptor Anthony Stones
  • Young Nick statue, Tūranganui River Mouth Reserve – sculptor Frank Szirmay
  • Totem Pole, Alfred Cox Park, gifted by Canadian Government for the bicentenary of Cook’s 1769 arrival in the bay
  • Tairāwhiti Museum, Stout Street

Tips & Logistics

This easy trail can be walked or cycled in either direction, and can connect into a loop trail with an extra 2 km of walking.

Parking:  Inner Harbour, Port Road or Tairāwhiti Museum, 10 Stout Street.

If you park in the Inner Harbour, you can start or finish your trail with a walk to Puhi Kai Iti/Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve on Rakaiatane Road. As this is the entrance to the port, keep to the footpath and beware of trucks. If you choose to walk/cycle the full loop, the trail is 8.8kms.  

The Inner Harbour is home to several cafes and restaurants. Tairāwhiti Museum also has a cafe.