Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Historical Russell

This morning Mrs Tofas group, Miss Stones group and Michael from Adventure for Good headed to Russell town to explore some of the museums and historical sites there. We were looking forward to learning about what the area was like around the time the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.  At this time, the capital of New Zealand was in the Bay of Islands, so this was were most of the trade was carried out and where a lot of Europeans headed.

We first stopped off at Christ Church or  Te Whare Karakia o Kororareka which is New Zealand's oldest church! The church was built in 1835 by some of the early missionaries (European priests and Christians who wanted to teach the Maori about Christianity). It's first service was held in 1836 and the priests spoke both Te Reo and English. It was visited by lots of Maori and Europeans, including William Hobson and it is the Burial place of Ngāpuhi chief Tamati Waka Nene.

The church is still open and in use to this day and it was been visited by thousands of tourists and public figures over the years, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and then Prime Minister David Lange
After this we headed to Pompallier Mission. In 1839, French Catholic Bishop Pompallier bought land in Russell with the intention of building a print works that would create Catholic prayer books in Te Reo Maori. He was the first Catholic missionary to do this and had a difficult job in front of him, as there was a lot of Protestant Missionaries in the area who had already converted Maori and who attended Christ Church. In 1842 the building was operational and they created over 30,000 books until 1850 when the mission left Russell.

Inside Pompallier Mission we were taken on a tour of the building where we were shown how the books were created, from the leather hides that bound the books to the way the words were printed on the paper.

We then headed over to Flagstaff Hill where we visited the flag pole that Hone Heke chopped down three times to protest the Government moving the capital city from Okiato to Auckland. The view up here was stunning and rife with natural wildlife.

To conclude the trip we took a quick look around Russell Museum before we headed back to base camp for some kai.

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