Christmas Cheer At Pompallier Mission On Saturday December 23 At 6pm. (2017)




December 4


Christmas cheer at Pompallier Mission                                               

Christmas cheer will be coming to Russell once again this year at the annual Carols @ Pompallier concert at Pompallier Mission, the Heritage New Zealand property in Russell, Bay of Islands.

Every Christmas, Pompallier Mission and New Zealand’s oldest church, Russell’s Christ Church, come together to host community carols for locals and visitors alike. Local groups and soloists will perform traditional festive favourites as well as modern Christmas songs as part of the show, which takes place on Saturday December 23 at 6pm.

Concert-goers will also have the opportunity to sing along to some favourite Christmas Carols.

Carols @ Pompallier is an annual fixture for the Russell community and is a great way for the community to re-connect and kick off the festive season,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Elliffe.

People are invited to bring a picnic, rug and good cheer.

“Pompallier Mission has the only public gardens in Russell, so it’s a great opportunity for families to enjoy a very pleasant evening of festive entertainment in this beautiful historic setting,” says Scott.

Admission to Carols @ Pompallier is free to everybody. (Alternative wet weather venue – Christ Church in Russell).

Media Contact: Scott Elliffe, Ph 09-403-9015

“Northland’s WWII military spots to be recorded” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (2017)

October 20


Northland’s WWII military spots to be recorded

Two Northland volunteer researchers are banding together to undertake a heritage inventory identifying places in Northland associated with World War II.

Jack Kemp of Kerikeri and Dr Bill Guthrie of Doubtless Bay have had a long fascination with the strong military presence that was stationed in Northland during the conflict, and are undertaking an inventory of military camps and other sites before they are lost.

“During the early 1940s there was a proliferation of military camps in Northland associated with the US Marines who were going to be sent to fight in the Pacific,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards.

“The people associated with these camps have mostly passed on and the collective memory of these camps is disappearing. Evidence of these places is also often quite ephemeral – so it’s important to record them now.”

Jack has been involved at Santo with the proposed WWII museum there, while Bill Guthrie is a former professor at the University of Macau whose Father-in-law was a bomber pilot at Guadalcanal and whose father served in the Medical Corps.

Athough it’s still early days for the project, some of the initial research undertaken by Jack has already paid off.

“We were recently advised of a new subdivision planned for west of Kamo near Whangarei. We cross-checked against information that had already been gathered on the area and it turns out that the subdivision will be built on the site of what was the C1 Marine camp,” he says.

“The story of the Marines in Northland is not particularly well known, so this provides an opportunity to mark the history of the area through street names and possibly interpretation so that people will be able to understand the story of what went on here over 70 years ago, and the enormous impact that had on our history.”

The two volunteers are starting with military camps, though the inventory is likely to expand to include other World War II sites in Northland including airfields, bunkers and gun emplacements.

“The history of the Second World War is relatively recent, though in some ways that makes it all the more vulnerable to loss. We can’t take it for granted, and instead have to be proactive and record as much information as we can about this important part of our heritage,” says Bill.

“This project is timely and important.”

Anybody with any information about military bases in Northland during World War II, or other related information, can contact Bill Edwards on or Ph 09-407-0471.

“Sun, Sand, Surf – and a fascinating history of the Far North” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (02:10:2017)




October 2


Sun, Sand, Surf – and a fascinating history of the Far North

People wanting to learn about the heritage of the furthest reaches of the Far North can hop on a bus and explore the ‘top, top half’ of New Zealand in an exciting day trip.

The ‘Ninety Mile Beach and Inland Excursion’ leaves Kaitaia at 9am on October 14 and returns 5-6pm.

The Harrison’s chartered bus will drive up Ninety Mile Beach (a public highway) and explore some of the historic places of the area – including the Wagener homestead, the Waipapakauri Hotel with its colourful past, and the site of Norman ‘Wizard’ Smith’s shed – which once housed his world speed record breaking car Enterprise – and its connection to Charles Kingsford Smith’s sixth Trans-Tasman flight.

The tour will be led by Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager Bill Edwards and other Northland staff who will talk about different aspects of the Far North’s history.

The cost of the day-trip is $40 per person or $45 for non-Heritage Northland Inc members. Spaces are limited and bookings are essential with payment necessary by October 6. For more information phone Merle Newlove (09-439-7492) or Peter Williams (Ph 09-439-0822).



“Four in a row for Pompallier Mission” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (23.06.2017)

Scott Elliffe at Pompallier Mission. (Image sourced Heritage New Zealand




June 23


Four in a row for Pompallier Mission

One of the Bay of Islands’ favourite tourist destinations has won a Trip Advisor Certificate in Excellence.

Pompallier Mission, the historic building in Russell which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand, is the recipient of the coveted award for the fourth year in a row. Only one percent of visitor attractions world-wide received the award this year.

“I’m thrilled for the site, but most importantly I’m delighted for the Visitor Hosts who work here so tirelessly to deliver a great experience,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Elliffe.

“What the award signals is a consistently high level of visitor engagement. It really is a ‘people’s choice’ award – and the pinnacle in visitor endorsement.” (more…)

Opua “Heritage ‘detective’ work sheds light on true history of house” Heritage new Zealand Media Release (07.06.2016)

The house at Opua – archaeological research has shown that it was not part of the historic Te Wahapu Barracks.
(Image source Heritage New Zealand

"A house in Opua – widely believed to have been part of historic barracks that were established by colonial troops at Te Wahapu in 1846 – has another story to tell.

“Close inspection of saw marks on the stud timber, however, show that it was cut using a ‘Twin Break Down Saw’. This type of saw did not appear in New Zealand mills until the 1870s – which is a long time after the Te Wahapu Barracks was built. The timber is also kauri which means it was milled in New Zealand. Both factors strongly suggest that the house was not part of the original barracks.”

"The saw marks are a good example of how building archaeology techniques can provide insights into the construction method of historic buildings and their history according to Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Area Manager, Bill Edwards.

The Media Release is as follows: (more…)

“Fresh signage for Northland’s historic places” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (15.06.2016)

"Heritage Northland Inc is targeting six pre-existing signs around the Waimate North area for upgrading as part of a new project to improve historic interpretation signage at key places.

“The signs are getting rather worn so Heritage Northland approached the Rotary Club to see if they’d be happy for us to make some new ones. They were delighted and gave a generous donation towards the project,” says Kerikeri resident Grainger Brown of Heritage Northland.

“Initially we plan to put up six signs, and if the project goes well more may be added in Northland.  One of the signs will point to Arthur's Stone near Waimate North – a seven-foot basalt column which is also New Zealand's first traffic accident memorial, and listed as a Category 1 historic place by Heritage New Zealand,”

The Media is as follows: (more…)

“Restoration work coming up for Pompallier Mission” HNZ Media Release (11.04.2017)

The Pompallier Mission Coffee House will remain open until the end of April.(Image HNZ Medi Release)

“Work will be undertaken in the latter half of April, and is being funded from money raised specifically for Pompallier Mission by donations from Heritage New Zealand supporters at the end of last year. Many people around the country have a strong personal connection with this place, which came through in feedback from those who donated. We’re excited to see work begin, and perhaps meet some of those who helped fund the work so we can personally acknowledge their support.”

“We’re looking forward to seeing the printery at its best again,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Elliffe.

The Media Release is as follows: (more…)

Explore one of Northland’s oldest cemeteries: A HNZ Heritage Tip

Explore one of Northland’s oldest cemeteries

According to Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Area Manager, Bill Edwards:

“Northland has some great options where people looking for some open space, fascinating history and a pleasant walk will enjoy exploring stories of people from the past,” says Bill.

“As well as providing an oasis of calm away from the bustle of everyday life, historic cemeteries also enable people to reconnect with our shared history through a fascinating lens. They’re also wonderful places for reflection and contemplation while acknowledging the lives of those who have gone before.”

One of Northland’s oldest burial grounds is the Mangungu Mission cemetery at Horeke in the Hokianga. The simply laid-out cemetery is worth exploring with one of the oldest legible grave markers recording the deaths of Joseph Shepard and John Harris, who died by drowning in 1829.

“Other notable people buried in the cemetery at Mangungu Mission include James Reddy Clendon – the man who supported the British Resident, James Busby, in his efforts to unite the northern tribes to prevent the Frenchman Baron Charles de Thierry from establishing himself as a ‘Sovereign Chief’ based in the Hokianga,” says Bill.

“Clendon was also a principal witness to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. He was also our first US Consul in New Zealand.”

Another person with links to early New Zealand – and who is buried at the Mangungu cemetery – was Samuel Butler. The son of Rev John Butler, who oversaw the building of the Kerikeri Mission Station, Samuel Butler had come to the Hokianga in 1827 where he tried to make a living as a shipping agent and interpreter arranging cargoes for visiting ships.

Life was hard, as Samuel recorded:

“Times will not permit bread every day and drinkables are quite out of the question.”

He must have found some drinkables however as in 1836 he drowned after falling overboard while drunk, leaving his wife Ann to raise their five children.

Besides famous people in history, the cemetery is also the final resting place for many of the district’s earliest settler families.

“The cemetery at Mangungu is an important archaeological site in its own right, and is well worth exploring,” says Bill.

“People can enjoy a day trip exploring the historic cemetery and Mangungu Mission, and trying out the new cycle trail which begins at Mangungu.”

NB – Opening hours for Mangungu Mission vary; check for more details



“Guided tours of upper Hatea River for Archaeology Week” HNZ Media Release (27.03.2017)

"People curious about one of Whangarei’s earliest areas of settlement will be able to take part in a series of archaeological walks focusing on the history of Tawatawhiti on the upper Hatea River.

"The walks are part of New Zealand Archaeology Week and take place on Saturday April 8, with the first walk starting at 12 noon and the second starting at 1pm. The walks are approximately 40 minutes long.

The media Release is as follows: