Welcome to our place…
Russell Museum grew out of a community project to mark New Zealand’s Centennial celebrations in 1940. The Baker family gave the land, and the community raised the funds to build a library, a council room, Plunket (baby) and rest rooms and finally, a museum which opened its doors in 1956. A larger museum was built in 1970 with the help of a Cook Bicentennial subsidy and an Auckland Savings Bank loan. In the same year, South British Insurance donated a one fifth scale model of Captain Cook’s Endeavour and a wing to house it. In 1990 further extensions were built to provide adequate work, storage and office space. In the following year a new gallery was added.
Our town’s original Maori name means “sweet penguin”. Legend says that a chief, wounded in battle, asked for penguin and after drinking some of the broth, murmured, “Ka reka te korora” (how sweet is the penguin). Kororareka was renamed Russell in 1844.
Russell has a varied past – as the Maori settlement of Kororareka, the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” when the whaling fleets of the world called, the sword-fishing “capital” made famous by American author Zane Grey, and now, today’s tourist-friendly town.
Haere mai ki Kororareka