Tiki display


One of the special exhibits of this section is Ipipiri, a map of the Eastern Bay of Islands with its original Maori place names.

The research for this map was compiled over several years by Murphy Shortland, at the time a Russell Museum Trustee.

The beautifully carved Kauri frame (artist Anita Jones) depicts Maori with both traditional and introduced weapons. At the top and bottom are shown the traditional food sources of the area - ika (fish), pigeon (kukupa) and eel (tuna).

Copies of the map can be obtained from its compiler. Please contact the Russell Museum for further details.


The Bay of Islands was settled by Maori in voyaging canoes over a thousand years ago. Russell, known by its original name Kororareka, was one of a number of small coastal settlements, whose numbers increased seasonally as inland Maori came to the coast to fish.

Originally occupied by Ngare Raumati and later Ngapuhi, the settlement had a sheltered anchorage. Its name Kororareka, sweet penguin, came from a legend of a wounded chief calling for soup made from the boiled flesh of the Little Blue Penguin. "Ka reka te korora", he said (how sweet is the penguin).

This section of the museum pays tribute to the foundational Maori heritage of the town. There is a small family waka and stone anchors, traditional weapons like taiaha and tewhatewha, stone adzes, fishing lures and Maori weaving - cloaks, and kete.

One case contains fine pounamu (greenstone), adzes, heitiki (neck ornaments) and mere (clubs). A patu paraoa (whalebone club) is an example from one of the earliest bicultural families whose descendants still live in the area today.



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