The birthplace of New Zealand, Russell is the oldest European settlement and first seaport.
Known by Māori as Kororāreka – ‘sweet blue penguin’ – this picture-perfect seaside town has an
extraordinary history. Situated on a peninsula across the harbour from Paihia, it can be reached
by passenger ferry, car ferry or by road.
In the early 19 th century, Russell was a wild town of scandalous repute where whalers and
merchants mixed with local Māori chiefs and their people. In desperate need of reform, the first
Church (Anglican) was built here in 1835 and still stands just behind the town. French
(Catholic) Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier, arrived in 1839, and the Pompallier Mission also
houses the country’s first printing press.
With its many beautiful bays, Russell-Kororāreka is a haven for boaties, has some of the region’s
best cafés and restaurants, and is a coffee lover’s paradise.