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The Gisborne Photo News



The Cook Landing Site is a place of immense public importance. Archdeacon William Williams presented a paper to the Auckland Institute in 1888 on the visit of Captain Cook to Poverty Bay and Tolaga Bay, to establish the exact first landing site of Cook and the circumstances surrounding initial contact with local Maori. A committee was formed in 1902 with the intention of erecting a memorial on the site of Cook's first landing and a nationwide appeal was launched with the aim of all school children contributing one penny, amounting to 203 pounds and the Government adding a grant of 500 pounds. By mid 1906, the granite monument was in place at a total cost of 1066 pounds. It was formally unveiled on Monday 8th October amid street parades, speeches and a maori haka party which welcomed naval personnel and MPs from the HMS Challenger and the SS Tutanekai. Sir James Carroll officiated at the unveiling in front of approximately 5000 people. At this stage the monument was about 80 feet above the high tide mark but by 1959 the distance was approx. 250 feet with harbour board and industrial development adjacent to the site. In 1966 a concerned Gisborne committee of the Historic Places Trust, after prolonged negotiations, were successful in having an area of 1 acre 22 perches declared an historic reserve. 1969 marked the 200th anniversary of Cook's landing and Gisborne became the focus of celebrations to mark the event The battle to preserve the site continued with the concept of a "Visual cone" mooted where the whole of Nicks Head was visible from the base of the monument. On October 8/9th the 225th landing celebrations will take place on this National Historic reserve.