Gisborne harbour’s new-look waterfront will inject vibrancy into the area, says Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum ahead of Friday’s Pier Three blessing. [Friday 14 Sept].

The marina has had a facelift with the development of the area now called Pier Three. It includes better accessibility for cruise passengers and a tailored berth for waka hourua Tairāwhiti.

“A large number of groups and organisations have worked together to help realise this project and we’re thrilled to have high-quality infrastructure finally in place for everyone to utilise and enjoy,” says Mr Gaddum.

He says the improvements significantly enhance the harbour’s distinctive character. “With the nearby eateries, businesses and a working port right next door it’s become a vibrant place to spend time.”

In time the entire Inner Harbour will be enhanced through landscaping as part of Gisborne District Council’s Tairāwhiti Navigations project.

The upgrade, which started in May has seen a whole new pier added to the marina. It includes modern moorings, wide gangways, and pedestals with a range of water and power services. This will appeal to people wanting short and long term berths for their fishing and pleasure boats.

Before the upgrade the marina had four piers and basic wooden pile berths at Wharf 3. With the creation of Pier Three the marina now boasts five piers and 74 berths.

Mr Gaddum says the upgrade is particularly good news for the tourists arriving in Gisborne on tenders, the small boats that transport cruise ship passengers ashore.

“The new berthing area in front of Crawford Road Kitchen allows two tenders to embark or disembark passengers at the same time. In addition, a number of shoreside improvements have been made to streamline the transfer of passengers and safely accommodate wheelchairs.”

The upgrade took around five months and involved local contractors as well as industry experts.

Activate Tairāwhiti general manager tourism, Adam Hughes, says the new platforms and gangways are fantastic.

“When visitors come to the region first impressions count and this new custom-built tendering area will work well and looks great. We’re looking forward to a busy cruise ship season with 18 ships booked to arrive between November 2018 and April 2019.”

Mr Hughes says the region can be very proud of the investment by Eastland Port. “Cruise ship tourists provide the region with an economic opportunity and this infrastructure is crucial to its ongoing success.”

Right beside the tendering area is a bespoke berth for the waka hourua Tairāwhiti ensuring it’s easily accessible for crew and visitors. This floating classroom will play a pivotal role in the celebration of Polynesian, Pacific, and Māori voyaging and the Te Hā commemorations next year.

Tairāwhiti Voyaging Trust chief executive Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp says the trustees are very pleased.

“We’ve worked closely with the management and staff of Eastland Port to create a bespoke berth that has all the health and safety features that we require to operate a compliant and safe education programme in this floating classroom and museum.”

“We’re currently developing our tourism offering and corporate team building programmes so we’re delighted with the placement of our berth next to the cruise ship arrival area. It presents a unique opportunity to attract potential customers to engage with us in a waka hourua experience onboard Tairāwhiti.”

Pier Three will be blessed tomorrow in a ceremony led by kaumatua Temple Isaacs.

Image: A sneaky preview of the new Pier 3 infrastrucure