After a few days in Auckland catching up with the parents again, we decided to head north for a couple of nights. First, we went to the beautiful Rawhiti, where we hadn’t been since our wedding. It was a bit grey and gloomy, but still a great break.

Matta and Rob got straight in the boat to go fishing. You can see the tiny dot of their boat in the distance of the bay…

Te Rawhiti

Matta caught a fish!

We weren’t having fish for dinner, though, but a big delicious home-cooked boil up with kamo, dough boys and kumara. Delicious!

Kamo in the Boil Up

Making dough boys Cooking the Dough Boys

Boil Up Feast!

It was also the first time Mum had seen the cousins since Christmas, so we brought their Christmas gifts as well.

The cousins open their Xmas gifts

cam8 570

It poured with rain most of the time we were in Rawhiti, but was lovely to see the whanau and catchup on the latest news. Thanks for having us! 🙂

The next afternoon, we were off to Russell to go to Rob’s cousin’s birthday. Most of the Bilkey family was there, which was awesome, and we had a great night of seafood, pizza and beer. Happy Birthday Emlyn!

More Whanau at Emlyn's Birthday

The next day, we were tourists in Russell and wandered around. First, we went to the Russell Museum (very interesting but small. A mix of Maori and colonial artifacts, with some interesting historical pictures of the Bay of Islands). You couldn’t take any photos inside, so you get this:

Russell Museum

We bought the Russel Heritage Trail guide at the museum and headed off. We went down to the Four Square, which is in the old Russell General Store. It was originally the site of a harbourmaster’s residence and office. The store was built in 1880 with sleeping quarters upstairs, reached by an outside staircase, with a single storey livingroom at the back. It still has the same pointed roof and windows from back in the day.

Russell General Store

There was the old cannon, which used to be at the north end of Russell Beach to defend the town before Heke’s last attack. We went up into the Swordfish Club, established in 1924, and looked at all the old photos of the various large fish landed over the decades. There are records there as well for the world-famous angler Zane Grey’s catches. (Why didn’t we take photos of these things??)

New Zealand flag

Christ Church was the highlight of the Heritage Trail. With its old graveyard and musketball holes in the wall of the church, it certainly has character. It’s the oldest existing church in New Zealand, built in 1836. Wonderful.

Christ Church in Russell

Musketball Holes in Christ Church Tamati Waka Nene Gravestone

Christ Church graveyard

On our way out of Russell, we drove up Maiki Hill to see the famous Flagstaff. The original flagstaff was felled 4 times by Hone Heke between 1844-5. The present flagstaff was erected as a peace offering in 1857 and named Whakakotahitanga (Being at one with the Queen). On 12 days of the year, the Maori Confederated Tribes flag of 1834 is flown.

Flagstaff in Russell

The final site to see (in the pouring rain) on our way back to Auckland was the Kawakawa public toilets. Yep. Some loos. For those in the know, they are of course the Hundertwasser toilets. Freidrich Hundertwasser, a world renowned Austrian artist, ecologist and architect, designed the toilets for his adopted home of Kawakawa. They are impressive, with colourful columns of stacked pots and different coloured glass bottles, tiles, shapes and corners all the way through. If you’ve never been, you should go and use these loos. No cement grey seats here, not at all.

Kawakawa Public Bathroom

Rawhiti and Russell, thanks for having us. Was wonderful to see you both again. Arohanui to our whanau and hope to see you all again soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *