Russell Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Russell

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    Christ Church, Russell

    by Gillybob Written Jun 15, 2014
    Christ Church, Russell
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    Also known as Te Whare Karakia o Kororareka, Christ Church in Russell is New Zealand's oldest existing church. It is possible that it is also the oldest building still used for its original purpose.

    The beginnings of Christ Church go back to the earliest years of contact between Europeans and Maori in the Bay of Islands. Missionaries came from across the harbour, from the mission station at Paihia, rowing across to take services in private homes.

    In 1936 the church celebrated its centennial with an outdoor service, whilst in 1963 it welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. In 1986 the church marked its 150th. In 2000 Christ Church was extensively restored.

    The church is open to the public during daylight hours; admission is by donation.

    Services are held every Sunday at 10:30am and are conducted by a member of the local community who have taken over the role of a visiting priest, forming a Local Shared Ministry team that encourages the ministry of all.

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    Tutanekai

    by Gillybob Written Jun 15, 2014
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    Tutanekai is a whaleboat located at Russell Museum within a boathouse that is open, for free, to the public.

    Tutanekai is constructed in the American 'New Bedford' style of the late 1800s. It is of 'basket' construction, with its frames being from a species of oak which steamed well for bending and settling. Its planks are of light, pliable North American cedar and still has its original iron fastenings.

    It served originally as a whaler in Russell and later, when whaling was in decline, it was a utility ferry. By 1910 a motor had been added and Tutanekai had become a school bus, ferrying children from Waitangi, Paihia and Waikare to Opua School, down the coast from Russell. It also ferried visitors around the Bay and supply runs to Russell due to the lack of shops in Paihia (they were only to arrive in the 1930s).

    Although now dry-docked, Tutanekai was used in 1940 in a re-enactment of the landing of Governor Hobson.

    In the late 1880s, Thomas Samuel Joyce of Paihia receive Tutanekai in lieu of wages and in 1947, the Joyce family donated the boat to the Waitangi National Trust.

    In 1976, the Waitangi National Trust gifted the whaleboat, identified as Tutanekai, to the Russell Museum.

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    Russell Museum

    by Kate-Me Updated Dec 28, 2006
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    Also visited Russell Museum in my search for info on the early French in the region....very little on the French influence/history of the town, considering explorer Marion du Fresne was killed and eaten there by the Maori.

    Apart from a small ship model with French flag and 3 or 4 lines explanation, nothing about the French in the museum, really.
    Fortunately the entry charge for the museum was only $5 per adult to get in.

    The best part about the museum wasn’t the static displays, but rather the 10 minute video which traced the history of the beginnings of settlement (European) at Russell and life in the 1800’s, when it was known as the 'Hellhole of the Pacific' plus the history of the Maori tribes as well.
    1/5 size replica model of Cook’s Endeavour was the largest exhibit in the museum.
    Worth the visit anyway – much more lively than Pompallier.

    The museum is open every day (except Xmas day) 10 am - 4 pm (Feb - December) & 10 am - 5 pm in January.

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    Visit Pompallier

    by Kate-Me Updated Dec 23, 2006
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    Pompallier is a famous historic French Catholic Mission house, the original French bishop’s Catholic HQ of the Bay of Islands, and where the first bibles in Maori were printed (for the Catholics to get ahead of the Protestants on the other side of the bay to convert the Maori)

    It’s run by the NZ national trust and cost us $7.50 ea to get in – which in my view wasn’t worth it. It’s described on posters around the town as an ‘interactive museum, something for everyone’ where the machines are working and there are sometimes demonstrations so you can see how leather was tanned and the first books printed, but in fact that only happens in the summer or high season (December onwards or perhaps from after Xmas onwards) and when we were there, it was just static displays, with no explanation or side notes given downstairs, and a few simple info boards upstairs which weren’t lively at all – a recount of dates and facts and nothing more.
    Even the English woman selling the tickets and working in the gift shop wasn’t animated – between visitors she was just reading a book.

    Nothing even remotely like French culture or any anecdotes given (pity, since I'm a Francophile) – just a brief summary of where in France (Lyon) this order of priests (Marist Bros) came from.

    Good views from upstairs of the front flowering garden and the sea in the background (house is also on the waterfront)

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    Pompallier House.

    by worldkiwi Updated Jan 31, 2006
    Pompallier House, Russell.
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    In 2006, I finally got a chance to explore this picturesque building in Russell. It is a place you must visit when in Russell as it has been wonderfully restored and houses interesting working displays of the building's surprising industrial heritage. This building was actually NZ's first factory! Downstairs there is a working tannery. Upstairs there is a working print. The guides here are fantastic. The lady I spoke to was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
    If you are going to visit other historic buildings in the Bay of Islands, I think it would be cheaper to buy a special ticket that gives entry to a whole lot of places. Check to see what their validity is though.
    This building was the first Catholic Missionary in New Zealand and is named after the Catholic bishop from France, who first lived in it. It was NZ$7.50 for adult entry in 2006.

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    Pompallier House

    by IcemanNZL Updated Feb 2, 2004

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    Pompallier House, Russell

    Built in 1841 - 1842, Pompallier House is the only remaining building of the first Catholic Mission to Western Oceania.

    I didnt venture into the grounds, but it is definately worth a peak through the gate at the building and inside if you wish to know more.

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    New Zealand's quaintest police station?

    by worldkiwi Written Jan 25, 2004

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    Russell Police Station.

    Russell's heritage buildings have generally been well preserved and the old police station on the waterfront still serves its law and order function. "Business" started in 1870 and today the station is a charming feature as you walk along Russell's waterfront.

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    New Zealand's oldest church.

    by worldkiwi Written Jan 23, 2004
    Christ Church, Russell.

    Christ Church, in Russell, is the country's oldest and bears the scars of some turbulent times during the 1840s. Today it is a quaint little church, one street back from the waterfront in town. Explore the graveyard and learn a little bit of NZ's history from the tombstones and the stories related by them. Keep an eye out for the musket ball holes on the exterior of the church building itself.

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    Chist Church - NZ's oldest surviving Chruch

    by IcemanNZL Updated Jan 21, 2004

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    Christ Church, Russell

    Christ Church built in 1836 is the oldest surviving church in the country. As the only building of consequence in the town the church was used for many purposes. In 1840 immediately on Captain Hobson's arrvial in New Zealand the church was used as a public hall and the first official act was performed. Hobson read the Crown Proclamation which declared New Zealand to be a dependency of New South Wales and his commision as its first Lieutenant-Governor. The same year the church, while serving as a courthouse was the center of a trial in which a local Maori was charged with the murder of a European.

    During the 1845 attack on Kororareka (Russell) there was a clash on the southern boundary of the churchyard between seamen from the H.M.S Hazard and Heke's men. The six killed seamen are buried in the churchyard and the orginal headboard is inside the church. The church itself was badly damaged and some scars have survived the renovations. On the north-west corner a weatherboard has been chipped by a cannonball from the Hazard and holes from musket balls are seen near the south-east and south-west corners.

    Buried in the churchyard are some interesting graves, the oldest dating from 1836. Among them are those of Tamati Waka Nene (a Ngapuhi chief who was largely responsible for the Maori's acceptance of the Treaty of Waitangi and who fought for the settlers again Hone Heke). Hannah King Lethbridge (now known to be the second European girl to be born in New Zealand). Dr Samuel Ford (the country's first resident surgeon). Members of the Clendon family and the men from the Hazard who fell in the fighting.

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    Flagstaff Hill

    by IcemanNZL Written Jan 20, 2004

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    Whakakortahitanga, Russell

    On Flagstaff Hill is the site of the flagpole erected in January 1858. After being unceremoniously cut down not once but four times but Hone Heke and his men.

    On this spot was erected in the year 1840 the first official signal Flagstaff after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Owing however to misunderstanding between the two races the original Flagstaff was cut down by the Maoris on July the 8th 1844 by one of Hone Heke's chiefs (he himself having pledged his word to Archdeacon William Williams not to cut it down as he had threatened, and on this occasion refused to break his word) and another having been erected in its place this in turn was cut down on January the 10th 1845. A third was erected on January the 17th and this was laid low before daylight on the 19th. This again was replaced by a fourth and this time sheathed for the lower 20 feet with iron as a further precaution. However this proved no protection and the staff was again cut down in the early morning of March 11th 1845. Kororareka was sacked and destroyed during the fighting which followed and this time the staff was not re-erected by the British.
    However during 1857 as a voluntary act of those who were directly concerned in cutting it down (and organised by Maihi Paraone Kawiti, son of Kawiti one of the Maori chiefs) a noble spar was felled in the bush, towed to and prepared on the Kororareka Beach, dragged up the hill by four hundred men specially chosen to represent every section of the Maori tribes no "friendly" being permitted part or lot in the undertaking.
    For several weeks the band of willing workers toiled at their self-appointed task, and early in January 1858 the British Flag, amidst the general rejoicings of both races, again floated at the peak of a mast which recieved the somewhat imposing title of "Whakakotahitanga" (Being at one with the Queen) and through all the intervening years the peace which it commemorated has never been broken.
    The present staff is the remaining portion of the original "Whakakortahitanga".

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    Russell Police Station

    by IcemanNZL Written Jan 20, 2004

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    Russells Police Station and Fig Tree

    This historic house was designed by W.H.Clayton, the Colonial Architect in the late 1860's. First occupied in 1870. It served as a custom house until the 1890's.

    It became a Police Station and residence in the early 1900s and is still being used today.

    The adjacent Morton Bay Fig Tree was planted by the first collector of customs who served from 1870 to 1886.

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    Dolphin Watching

    by Dodo22 Written Sep 28, 2003
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    There are a number of tour operators offering dolphin watching trips around the Bay of Islands. There is something magical about dolphins and these ones in particular were very enchanting. There were 4 of them in total that spent their time surfing the bow wave or putting on this aerial spectacular. One even flipped its tail while riding the bow wave and gave me an unscheduled salt water shower!!!

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