Visit of William Massey
Original photo © Russell Museum

This photo shows a politician’s visit in 1922. The Russell wharf is decorated with flags and a welcoming fern arch. The local men dressed in their best suits and hats and a few small boys form a guard of honour. There is no sign of any women or girls. Perhaps they were preparing the banquet for their illustrious guest Premier William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925.

Mr Massey had been North before in 1914 when he opened the Kaikohe railhead. With unsealed roads and no road access to Russell, travel would have been difficult. Mr Massey’s party the Reform League had a Russell Branch formed in 1912 which had a dinner at Allan Bisset’s in May 1912. It included Massey pudding (whatever that was).

Today television and the internet give us easy access to our political leaders but we still enjoy the chance to see them in the flesh. And pose our questions.