Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history Poverty Bay - taonga maori
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Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori

Interesting Facts

Historical Gisborne

Here are some of the interesting facts !!

  • At the Tairawhiti Museum we have thousands and thousands of items in our collection. But did you know the very first item to be recorded was a greenstone cloak pin. G.J.Black donated this pin in 1954. The accession number is 54/1.

  • The first mayor of Gisborne was William Crawford. He first came to Gisborne from Ireland to build a brewery so he might have enjoyed drinking a beer! At Tairawhiti Museum we have 5,500 glass plate negatives that William Crawford photographed, so he must have enjoyed taking photos as well.

  • The only Victoria Cross ever awarded to a Maori was for Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu. The C Company Trust have displayed this medal for bravery in the Price of Citizenship Gallery. The medal is very special as Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu was killed in action and the medal posthumously presented to his parents. (Posthumously means when the receiver of an award has died and usually their next of kin receive the award).
    UPDATE! The second Victoria Cross awarded to a Maori was presented to Bill Henry 'Willie' Apiata in 2007.

  • Graeme Mudge has exhibited many times at the Tairawhiti Museum but you can also see his work around Gisborne as he has painted over 6 murals. Why not go for a walk and find them.

  • In 1897 Gisborne had its first telephone book. It wasn't really a book as it was only 1 page long and had 60 names on it.

  • The first museum in Gisborne was a small room in Lowe Street Municipal Offices which were built in 1883.

  • In 1902 a railway line opened between Gisborne and Ormond. Two trains ran per day. This section of railway took two years to build. The plan was to build a railway line all the way to Auckland but only 80kms were completed before the project was stopped.

  • The Town Clock was built in 1934 for the memory of Mr Robinson. Who was Mr Robinson? His full name was Mr Reginald Deason Blandford Robinson. He loved rugby, rowing and athletics. He was Town Clark for Gisborne 46 years. So when he died in 1933 the mayor decided to dedicate his memory with the clock.

  • Wiremu Pere was a politician who fought to save Maori land. He is remembered with a memorial on the Taruheru river.

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Feature Fact



The very first item recorded in the museum collection, a greenstone cloak pin.




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