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While famous for its beaches, Tairāwhiti Gisborne also offers first-class facilities for every sporting and cultural interest.

Tairāwhiti Gisborne is known for its laid-back, coastal lifestyle. But with sports and cultural facilities such as basketball courts, gyms, museums and art galleries, our region is a dream for athletes and culture buffs alike.

Since we started with the beaches, let’s talk about two of the crowning jewels in the surf scene: the newly-built Waikanae Surf Lifesaving Club and friendly rivals, Midway Surf Club. Both are set on Waikanae Beach, just minutes from Tairāwhiti Gisborne town centre. Waikanae Surf Club boasts a conference centre, a commercial kitchen for functions, a gym, and board, ski and IRB storage space. The Midway complex includes highly rated Peppers Beachfront Bar and Restaurant.  

On the subject of gyms, you can't go more than a block in the city centre without coming across one as there are at least 10 gyms, with the majority located in the CBD. Although it might be hard to choose which one to sign up to, lunchtime workouts have never been easier.

Find a sport

We do love our sport here in Tairāwhiti Gisborne and we excel in rugby, netball and anything to do with the beach. Head to Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti to select a code, coach and club.

As for the kids, just like gyms, you won't get far in Tairāwhiti Gisborne without stumbling across a park or a playground. The most recent development by Gisborne District Council (GDC) was the rebuild of the Botanical Gardens playground. The GDC held forums at the gardens and took submissions for the new digs, so what you see at the park is what the parents and children of Tairāwhiti Gisborne ordered.

Pool fun

If your little ones prefer the water, all city beaches are monitored summer-round by qualified and experienced lifeguards. However, the Olympic Pool Complex is not to be missed either.

The complex includes inflatable obstacle courses, diving boards, a rope swing, seven indoor and outdoor pools, a special kiddies area, barbecues, playgrounds and of course the world-famous-in-Tairāwhiti hydroslide. At 98 metres long, the slide picks up some serious speed. We challenge you to find a bigger and faster permanent structure in the country.

One-off wonders

If you’re just visiting or want to try out a sport before you commit to buying the gear, then don’t fret! There are plenty of places around town where you can hire a surfboard, stand up paddle board or kayak. The Waikanae Top 10 Holiday Park even hires out go carts if you want a faster way to see the boardwalk and river path.

Living history

Tairāwhiti Museum and Art Gallery has an excellent reputation for its rich collection of artefacts, photography, art and taonga Maori. If you want to get to know the region, our museum is a fantastic place to start. Of special note is the current exhibition celebrating Rongowhakaata.

Next door to the museum is the recently opened C-Company Memorial House. This beautifully designed building contains hundreds of photographs and memorabilia commemorating Tairāwhiti Gisborne’s contribution to C-Company in the 28th Battalion (the so-called Maori Battalion), which served in the Second World War and beyond.

The Maori Battalion has a special connection to Tairāwhiti Gisborne as it was formed following pressure on the government from Ngati Porou leader Sir Apirana Ngata. The battalion served in Greece, Italy and Africa and was recognised, by Allied and Axis forces alike, for its fierce and effective fighting. It still remains the most decorated battalion in New Zealand history.

The Memorial House commemorates C-Company along with other Maori contributions to New Zealand’s overseas wars, from the Boer War to Vietnam.