Gisborne in the 1860s

Gisborne in the 1860s

View of Gisborne, c. 1860s.

Previously known as Tūranga, Gisborne was Poverty Bay’s first Pākehā settlement. In 1831 John Harris set up the first trading station in Tūranga. The founding of the town is attributed to G.E. Read, who settled on the eastern side of the river in 1852 and later built stores on the west bank.

The fighting with Pai Mārire in 1865 drew the government’s attention to the strategic position of the settlement. In 1868 the government bought 300 ha of land as the site for a town. The town was laid out in 1870 and named Gisborne to avoid confusion with Tauranga.


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