The first landing site of James Cook's crew at Gisborne was commemorated with the erection of a monument in 1906.
This reserve is surrounded by a garden of the plants Joseph Banks collected on his first voyage. The memorial no longer has a sea view. This site is recognised as the landing place of the Horouta and Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru waka which brought Maori to Aotearoa several centuries before European explorers. When Cook made land on 8 October 1769 the district was occupied by Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tahupo (Ngai Tamanuhiri), Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and te Aitanga-a-Hauiti iwi. In 1990 the reserve was designated a National Reserve and placed under the guardianship of the Department of Conservation.