New Gisborne airport terminal opens thanks to $5.5m grant

Published: Oct 8, 2020 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020

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  • Gisborne/Tairāwhiti

Gisborne’s new airport terminal has opened to travellers with a pre-dawn karakia and ceremony marking the welcoming gateway to the Tairāwhiti region becoming operational.

People in an airport terminal. Above them all is a large Māori ridgepole across the roof called a tahuhu.

As visitors arrive in the new Gisborne Airport terminal, they are greeted by the sight of a 42-metre tahuhu, or ridgepole.

The ceremony began at 4:30am on September 30, with the terminal doors opening to the public half an hour later as the first passengers checked into the early morning Air New Zealand flight to Wellington.

A Provincial Development Unit grant of $5.5m helped cover the $12.5m cost of the project, with the rest of the funding being contributed by the airport’s operators Eastland Group and Trust Tairāwhiti.

Ngai Tāwhiri, who hold mana whenua over the area, was closely involved with the development.

The terminal is described as being uniquely Tairāwhiti. As visitors arrive inside, they are greeted by the sight of a 42 metre long tahuhu, or ridgepole, spanning much of the roof inside.

The environment is also an important focus, with Gisborne Airport now being described as the country’s most sustainable. Innovative new features used in the construction include solar panels, rainwater harvesting and rammed earth walls.

Inside, the new terminal there is a re-vamped check-in space, a new baggage belt in the arrivals area, along with a new dedicated cargo and oversized bag drop off area.

Air links are important to the Tairāwhiti community and the new terminal means that during October, Gisborne services will recover to nearly 90% of pre-COVID-19 levels.

While the terminal is now operational, there are further finishing touches still to be made.

Over the coming months, more features will be included, along with important additional design and cultural elements which have yet to be revealed.

The official opening ceremony for the new terminal will be held in early November.