Our Town – Gisborne

The first city in the world to see the sunrise each day is Gisborne, New Zealand, situated on the East Coast of the North Island.

You will not find crowded lecture theatres or queues here – just small classes and passionate, friendly tutors who ensure a combination of theory and practical experience in your chosen field.


We have been called a lot of things: First City of the Sun, the California of the South Pacific, the Chardonnay Capital – we just call it home sweet home! Gisborne is a landscape of sandy beaches, great surf, golden vineyards and palm-studded streets. It’s small enough to be friendly and welcoming, yet big enough to have all the amenities of the major centres, including shopping, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and entertainment, all with the relaxed lifestyle Gisborne is famous for.

Māori cultural heritage

The Tairāwhiti region is steeped in its Māori cultural heritage. Many Māori living in Tairāwhiti today trace their genealogy from the famed demi-god Māui. Others connect to the early Māori settlers who arrived on the Horouta and Tākitimu canoes. It is home also of the ancestor Paikea who rode on the back of a whale to settle in Whangara and Hinehākirirangi who brought the kumara to the region and grew them on Manawarū and Araiteuru at Manutuke. This heritage is kept alive today by the sharing of the many stories and history via the mediums of performing arts, traditional and contemporary Māori art, the practice of wānanga (sharing of knowledge) and the maintenance and growth of te reo Māori. EIT Tairāwhiti is proud to be part of keeping this heritage alive with our vibrant programmes.

Save money

Gisborne is a compact city – you can conveniently reach most of it by biking or walking. Rental and home-stay accommodation is cheaper here than most places in New Zealand. EIT Tairāwhiti fees are reasonable and many businesses in town are supportive of students, offering student discounts. If you are from this region, you can save a lot of money by starting your degree here, rather than attending university straight away.

Plenty to do

Tairāwhiti is a great place for all sorts of recreation. The covered Olympic Pools complex and indoor aquatic centre, one of New Zealand’s top golf courses, plus grounds for all major winter and summer team sports, make Gisborne a fantastic place for sport. There is also plenty of scope for outdoor pursuits like mountain biking, kayaking, hunting, hiking, bush walking, trout fishing and camping. If you love surfing, windsurfing, wave skiing, yachting, waka ama, rowing, sea fishing, snorkelling and surf lifesaving, there’s no better place than Gisborne!

Transport links

Gisborne is serviced by daily air and bus services to Auckland, Wellington and other North Island centres. The “Knowledge Shuttle” travels daily between Wairoa and EIT Tairāwhiti.

Helpful Links