October 5 - 10, we host the national opening events, welcoming the Tuia voyage flotilla.

In our back yard you will find many opportunities to engage with the a nuanced, multifaceted, challenging story of the early encounters between Māori and Europeans – the views from the bay and the views from the shore – as we strive to bring to life our history in all its forms.

For those with a desire to understand the history of the country we live in, this is a rare moment in time to visit the places, take in the landscape, and let the stories unfold.

Open Day

Waka Hourua Tairāwhiti Excursions

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Get out on the water on the region’s own waka hourua – Tairāwhiti – for a journey that spans millenia. Journey back to a time when Māori voyagers ruled the seas and experience first-hand the ancient wayfinding vessel that survived epic journeys on water.

In a once-in-a-lifetime experience, discover how the historic waka of Te Tairāwhiti were built and how our tipuna Paoa, Kiwa, Maia, Ruawharo journeyed from Hawaiki using moon, stars, currents and birds to navigate through the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa.

Health & Safety (there will be a briefing before the tour) 

  • No high-heels
  • No toilet facilities on board 
  • Smoking and alcohol is not permitted at the port at any time. 
  • Please bring sunblock, sunhat and water.
  • All children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Unfortunately, at present there is no wheel chair access onto the waka.

Location:Inner Harbour (Outside Wharf Shed Three)

Times:9:00am Sunday October 6th
1:00pm Sunday October 6th
9:00am Wednesday October 9th
1:00pm Wednesday October 9th

Duration:Approx 3hrs

Ticket prices:Ticketing and booking details at wakavoyagers.com

Book nowBookings essential.

History on board NZ's oldest pilot vessel

History on the MV Takitimu

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Encounter the stories of our many arrivals as we explore places of national and international significance around the Bay.

Join local historians on a fascinating journey of understanding, exploring 1,000 years of seafaring tradition and navigating history. Visit the place where Cook anchored the HM Bark Endeavour in 1769, where Te Toka a Taiau once stood, where those first exchanges between the crew of the Endeavour and local Māori took place.

The MV Takitimu offers a relaxed encounter with our history, on what is believed to be the oldest pilot vessel in New Zealand still in operation.

What you need to know:

  • All children must come with a responsible adult.
  • There will be a full health and safety briefing before we begin each session.

Please note:
This event is weather dependent. If deemed too rough, the trip will be canceled and full refunds given.

Location:Inner Harbour (outside the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club)

Times:9:00am Sunday October 6th
11:00am Sunday October 6th
9:00am Wednesday October 9th
11:00am Wednesday October 9th


Ticket prices:Tickets $10 (bookings essential via Eventfinda)

Book now

Tuia 250 Te Moananui Flotilla Arrival and Pōhiri


The entire community is invited to join Tūranga iwi in a mass pōhiri as they welcome the Polynesian voyagers on the waka Haunui, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Tahitian va’a tipaerua Fa’afaite.

An evocative mix of on-water and on-land ceremonies that take in the entire Bay will honour the ancestors and local sites of significance, before crews come ashore at Te Waiohiharore (The Cut) for the formal on land pōhiri. When it comes to pōhiri - everyone is invited to participate, or you can take it in from one of several vantage points around Te Waiohiharore.

Location:Te Waiohiharore (The Cut)

Times:9:00am Saturday October 5th

Duration:9am - 12pm 3hrs

Ticket prices:Free

Tuia 250 Flotilla Arrival and FREE Breakfast


The Tuia 250 Flotilla comes together for the very first time out on the Bay. Witness history in the making as two great voyaging traditions meet and pay homage to this place we call home.

Bring the family to the beach, take in the spectacle of the Tuia 250 flotilla in the bay and enjoy a FREE breakfast, on us!

From 8am – 10am (or until we run out) food vendors will line the Oneroa walkway, with delicious plates of breakfast goodness. So come on down and share a meal together! Pick a favourite vantage point, and take in the spectacle as the Tuia 250 flotilla enters Tūranganui a Kiwa (Poverty Bay) and pays homage to the community and its history of migration and settlement.

Adding to the festivities, family-friendly activities will be scattered along the Oneroa walkway. Afterward, why not acquaint yourself with eons of history here in Gisborne, whether courtesy of the award winning Tūpapa heritage trail or at Tairāwhiti Museum, while the crews visit sites of significance and are hosted at a private civic reception.

Location:Waikanae to Midway

Times:8:00am Tuesday October 8th

Duration:8am – 10am 2hrs

Ticket prices:Free

Tuia 250 Te Moananui Flotilla Open Day


Meet the crews of our visiting waka and va’a in a fascinating programme of vessel tours, presentations and workshops. Hear the amazing stories of these incredible vessels, explore the voyaging and trading capability of Māori - the great fleets, and subsequent voyagers, who demonstrate the historic and current blue water sailing capability.

Learn more about the origins of our Pacific people and the connections refashioned by Tupaia - navigator on the Endeavour’s journey to Aotearoa and communicator between Māori and Cook.

In port, the hourua Haunui, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Tahitian va’a tipaerua Fa’afaite.

Location:Inner Harbour

Times:10:00am Sunday October 6th

Duration:10am – 4pm over 6hrs

Ticket prices:Free (register for the many activities on site, on the day)

Tuia 250 Flotilla Open Day

Get up close to the Tuia 250 Flotilla vessels – learn about Pacific voyaging, navigation techniques and histories with the waka hourua Haunui, Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Tahitian va’a tipaerua Fa’afaite.

Explore one of the world’s most accurate replicas – the HMB Endeavour – or board a gaff-rigged schooner – the R. Tucker Thompson – or imagine your next adventure sailing on the Spirit of New Zealand. Crew will host talks and activities.

Hear the stories of these incredible vessels. Crews will host a range of workshops and presentations that extend your knowledge of our Pacific voyaging traditions.

Location:Inner Harbour

Times:10:00am Wednesday October 9th

Duration:10am – 4pm over 6hrs

Ticket prices:Free (register for the many activities on site, on the day)

Tuia Mātauranga and Pacific Voyaging Education

Beneath the stunning Stardome, learn more about the practice of celestial navigation - the art and science of finding your way by the sun, moon, stars, and planets.

Join the crews of Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti and Haunui waka as they bring to life Māori astronomy and the navigation techniques of the earliest Te Moananui a Kiwa voyagers.

Look out for the Tuia Mātauranga Education Roadshow, which will provide an immersive experience for all ages. Take part in a journey of learning and storytelling that includes an activity book, mobile-app supported activities, and a virtual reality experience!

Location:Tonui Colab Wharf Shed Three and around the Inner Harbour

Times:10:00am Sunday October 6th
10:00am Wednesday October 9th

Duration:All Day 30-minute sessions

Ticket prices:Free (register on site, on the day)

Park and Ride with the WA165


Arrive at our open days in style on the WA165.

The Inner Harbour will be a busy pedestrian hub during our open days, so take our free park and ride option and enjoy a short trip on the WA165 from the railway station to the Inner Harbour

The WA165 was built at Dunedin’s Hillside Workshops in 1897, and is the only remaining WA class train. It spent most of its working life on the heavily graded railway line between Gisborne and Motuhora. Now the WA165 is retired but comes out for special steam trips and excursions.

Location:Railway Station in Grey St to the Inner Harbour (return)

Times:10:00am Sunday October 6th
10:00am Wednesday October 9th

Duration:Throughout the day From 10am - 4pm

Ticket prices:Free

Explore Waikereru Ecosanctuary

Waikereru Wild Lab Tiaki Taiao Workshop

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Led by the Waikereru Ecosanctuary Wild Lab Tiaki Taiao creative educators, Pete and Elle Jarrat, this is a creative outdoor education workshop, during which children will explore and celebrate rare and endangered species with a sense of wonder and fun. Through ancestral knowledge, science, art and immersive experience, children begin to understand the challenges faced by indigenous plants and animals, and how to safeguard their future.

Suitable for ages 8 to 11

Location:iSite on Grey St (return)

Times:9:00am Monday October 7th

Duration:9:00am - 2:30pm

Ticket prices:$10 per person

Book nowbookings essential

Explore Waikereru Ecosanctuary

Waikereru Ecosanctuary Small Group Guided Tours

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Escorted by Malcolm Rutherford and Graeme Atkins, enthusiasts will learn about the creation of the garden, how it is used today, and some of the stories that it holds through the design and species choices.

This tour includes an hour-long guided walk and talk. Guests will then drive the length of Longbush Reserve and walk around the figure 8 track in the Longbush bush.

Includes return bus transport from the iSite on Grey St. Note buses depart 9:30am (for a 10am start) and 12:30pm (for a 1pm start).

Location:iSite on Grey St (return)

Times:9:30am Thursday October 10th
12:30pm Thursday October 10th

Duration:2.5 hours

Ticket prices:$10 per person

Book nowbookings essential

Rangiwaho Ihu ki te Moana

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Ngai Tamanuhiri have developed Rangiwaho Ihu ki te Moana 2019 to embrace their cultural contribution to the histories of Aotearoa. Ngai Tamanuhiri descend from waka people the illustrious navigators who, for many centuries, journeyed across the vast Moananui a Kiwa - Pacific Ocean.

On the 12 October 1769, off the shores of Whareongaonga, a special tuku (gifting) took place between Rangiwaho rangatira, Meke, and Tupaia of Rangiatea, Tahiti on the Endeavour. Rangiwaho also traded with Banks, Cook and the crew of the Endeavour. These taonga are now home for 12 months. Rangiwaho Ihu ki te Moana 2019 honours the ancestors of Rangiwaho and their toi (arts). As their descendants we share 250 of years of resilience in whakakitenga (exhibition) and kōrero (stories). Rangiwaho Ihu ki te Moana 2019 runs for two weeks.

Includes return bus transport from the iSite on Grey St.

Times:9:30am Monday October 7th
1:30pm Monday October 7th
9:30am Tuesday October 8th
1:30pm Tuesday October 8th
9:30am Wednesday October 9th
1:30pm Wednesday October 9th
9:30am Thursday October 10th
1:30pm Thursday October 10th

Duration:9:30am (for a 10am start) and 1:30pm (for a 2pm start) daily.

Ticket prices:Free but registrations essential