Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#1388 Gisborne To East Cape: Multilingual Mayor, Beautiful Beaches, NZ’s Longest Wharf

The latest version of this transcript has been moved here:

We left the camping ground before 5am on day 27 and drove to Wainui Beach to watch the sunrise.

We ate breakfast while watching the beautiful morning waves.

Wainui Beach Sunrise

Then we headed back into town to meet Gisborne’s multilingual mayor.

Meng Foon’s parents immigrated to New Zealand from China. He speaks two dialects of Chinese - and is currently learning a third. He also speaks English and the local dialect of Te Reo Māori which is Ngāti Porou.

Their greeting for “How are you?” is “Kei te aha?” In other places “Kei te aha?” means “What are you doing?” but in Ngāti Porou “Kei te aha?” is “How are you?”
Meng Foon
Gisborne District Council

The mayor said he switches between English and Māori in his daily life.

Most of it’s still in English. I think about maybe 30% will be in Māori. So, as you go along the street you’ll be speaking to different people and Māori speakers will speak Māori to me. And it’s actually quite inspiring that there’s a lot of Europeans and other people are learning Māori so they sort of converse with me. Try it out sort of thing without criticism or embarrassment.

He’s been the Mayor of Gisborne since 2001 and is now in his fourth term. I asked him why he decided to get into politics.

I was asked my very good friend, Hemi Hikuai. And he said, “You might make a good councillor.
How about joining the team?” And I said, “What do you fullas do?” Because I didn’t have a clue. And he said, “Lunches are pretty good.” And I said, “We’ll give it a go.”

Meng Foon also told us why he loves this area.

Great people, great environment, lots of space, five minutes to anywhere and, yeah, it’s just a fantastic place to live.

We loved Gisborne too and found it hard to leave. The beaches are so beautiful.

Waikanae Beach, Gisborne Gisborne Sign

Skate Park Waikanae Beach Sign

Before we left Gisborne, we filled up with diesel. We bought some postcards at the information centre and had some coffee. I sent postcards to Spain, Germany and Japan.

Gas Station Espresso

We left Gisborne just before 4 o’clock and headed north towards East Cape. We saw lots of people surfing along the way.

Surf Check Gisborne

We stopped at Tolaga Bay to see the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere. Tolaga Bay Wharf is 660m long and was built in the 1920s when there was a port here. The port closed in the 60s and vehicles were banned on the wharf in 1977. These days people walk along the wharf, take photos of it and jump off it.

Tolaga Bay Wharf + Postcard

It was so cool watching the waves go under us when we were standing on the wharf.

We left State Highway 35 briefly to check out a small town called Ruatoria. They have lots of beautiful murals.

That night we stayed at the closest camping ground to the easternmost point of the main islands of New Zealand.

Credit to: studio tdes |


Meng Foon - Facebook
Meng Foon - YouTube
Meng Foon on Asia Downunder (from 3:59)
Meng Foon on Asia Downunder

Whale teeth sculptures

Tolaga Bay wharf history

thanks to:
starting track
artist: Eric Elvendahl

track 1
artist: david
track: Elle est ainsi
album: Soft Slow
licence: CC BY 3.0
from: vallauris, France

track 2
artist: sebteix
track: clap those thangs
album: Musiques for Pictures Vol.01
licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
from: Paris, France

track 3
artist: El Perez
track: Rumba Alemana
album: Por rumbas
licence: CC BY 2.5
from: Barcelona, Spain

track 4
artist: Blik
track: Guitar Mix (Rain)
album: 2004
licence: CC BY 3.0
from: Moscow, Russia

track 5

artist: Still Playing Guitar
track: Grünes Land VIIb
album: Grünes Land
licence: CC BY 3.0
from: Heidelberg, Germany
album at Jamendo

track 6
artist: SpaceMonk
track: Movie Theme
album: Things Stuff
licence: CC BY 3.0
from: Warrensburg (MO), United States

camera - Richard Frohlich

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