Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Taonga

Tourist Ware

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell has been a tourist destination for more than a hundred years. The museum has a range of souvenir china including plates, cups, vases, milk jugs. This shaving mug which is of white china with gold trim has a black and white transfer showing Russell looking south from Maiki Hill. The Methodist Church built in 1913 has its belfry (which was removed in 1932 because it was too heavy). The wharf has two sheds which were replaced by one big one when the wharf was rebuilt in 1927. So we can probably date the china to the 1920s. On the base is Royal Wilton china so they must have been imported. The catalogue entry says they sold for 12 shillings and sixpence. The mug held boiling water and the perforated top story held soap and shaving brush. A tourist might also buy a tour guide like Montagu Russell’s 1931 booklet and could stay in the new camping ground for 7 shillings and sixpence a...

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Shark!

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

A Great White shark jaw hangs on the wall in the ship wing at the Russell Museum. It comes from a shark caught near the Whangamumu whaling station in the 1927-8 season. The fish was cruising just off shore hoping for some tasty titbits sluiced from the slipway. Some of the station hands pushed off to interview him and he was harpooned. He measured 20 feet 9 inches and weighed half a ton according to Captain Bert Cook, head of the Whangamumu whaling operation, who gifted the jaw to the museum. As well Cook descendants have gifted whalebones, harpoons, lip knives, a blubber spade and whaleboat rowlocks to the museum. This specimen is still one of the largest caught in New Zealand waters. The photo shows Mr Munro, Russell’s baker in the 1920s, posing with the shark jaw hung up to dry in the garden of Cook’s Pacific Hotel...

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Ether Mask

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

This Ether mask is made of brass with decorative engraving and a nose covering of soft padded leather. Inside the round mesh covered part is a piece of sponge that held the ether when it was dropped through the funnel above. The round hole by the butterfly nut was covered and uncovered by thumb or finger to regulate the inhaling of air. Chloroform was discovered in 1831 and first used in 1847. Queen Victoria was given it for the births of her younger children in the 1850s. This mask belonged to Samuel Hayward Ford, New Zealand ‘s first resident surgeon who lived in Paihia, Te Wahapu and later Russell from 1837 until his death in 1876. He was highly thought of and obviously kept up to date with medical advances. However despite his skill only one of his large family survived childhood illnesses. Samuel, Martha, his wife, and some of their children are buried in Christ Church graveyard. Russell Museum also holds Samuel’s brass plate used to advertise his...

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Patu Paraoa / Whalebone Club

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Patu or mere were made in stone, greenstone or as in this case whalebone. This one was possibly made by William Cook, an English sailor who came ashore and married Tiraha, a relative of the chiefs Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone. Their children and grand children were involved in deep sea and shore based whaling. The family represents one of the many bicultural families common in the Bay from the early 19th century. A family reunion was held at Labour Weekend 2006 at Waikare Marae at which over 200 descendants were...

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China Dogs

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

These Staffordshire china dogs are bold and colourful, even if they look crudely finished. They belonged to Benjamin Wood, originally from Ireland who arrived in the Bay of Islands with his family on the Westminster 17 March 1840 to be Chief Constable. He had 6 policemen and members of the 99th Regiment to help him establish law and order. After the evacuation of the town in 1845 he went to Auckland but returned the following year staying until 1853. He moved back to Auckland to be court bailiff until his retirement in 1860. He died in 1870 and was buried in Symonds Street cemetery. As part of the Police centenary celebrations his grave stone was restored and a plaque unveiled to honour this country’s first policeman. The ceremony ended with the piping of an Irish jig. There is a family story that the dogs were presented to Benjamin by Governor Hobson. China dogs were produced in Staffordshire mainly between 1820-50. They were often in pairs with a flat side, so they went each end of the mantelshelf. Spaniels, like our pair were common, but hunting dogs like greyhound, pointers and setters were also popular. Our dogs stand on a pink cushion base decorated with green leaves. Their coats are curly and they gaze out with rather a vacant stare. A great-great-grandson brought them to the museum as he felt this is where Benjamin first did his policing in New Zealand. Sadly the family do not have a photo of him. Benjamin would no doubt have used truncheon and a bull’s eye lantern for night patrol – the Museum has examples on display. At the Russell Police Station just inside the front gate a plaque to remember the beginning of policing in New Zealand was placed in 1990. Benjamin’s dogs have pride of place among our china collection....

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Raupo Cape

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

Not all the treasures in the Russell Museum are historic. This beautiful rain cape was made in 2000 by Nikki Lawrence, a Far North weaver. It is a metre wide, .75 metre deep with plaited ties and made of Raupo (bullrush). Rain capes were one of the earliest types of cape, made for protection from the elements. They are relatively quick to produce as contrasted with fine korowai cloaks. Usually made of Harakeke, Ti or Kiekie, they were weather proof and durable....

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