Humour in a hell-hole

 (photographer: Paul Rayner)

Temperance Women make their views known. Local actors (above) reliving the infamous days of Kororāreka during Russell’s street theatre performances of the Hell Hole of the Pacific, Anniversary Weekend, January 2018.

Visit Russell, a beautiful town on the Bay of Islands in the north of the North Island of New Zealand, and you could be forgiven for thinking you have stumbled upon paradise. 

Today's town is about as delightful as anyone could wish. But it hasn't always been this way. In the early days it was a dissolute hard-living town, so bad it was dubbed 'the Hell Hole of the Pacific'. Read more about it here.....

But rather than hide the rather distasteful past, the locals chose to capitalise on it.

This year’s Hell Hole of the Pacific street theatre event in Russell has proved to be the most successful since it began during the Rugby World Cup in 2011. It has now become an established annual part of the Bay of Islands’ calendar.

On Anniversary Weekend, actors from Russell and Kerikeri Theatre Company brought back the unruly days of Kororāreka during the 1800s in a theatrical parody of the town’s most infamous years.

There were three performances daily and crowds were substantially up on previous years.  Visitors joined locals, those from Northland who made the journey especially and others from around New Zealand who were holidaying in the region.   

 (photographer: Paul Rayner)

New Zealand’s first duel between Joel Polack and Ben Turner is re-enacted (above) on Russell’s foreshore during a performance of the Hell Hole of the Pacific street theatre, Anniversary Weekend 2018.

Crowds for Sunday’s performances were boosted by cruise ship passengers from the Viking Sun. In an unusual move, passengers were ferried by ship’s tender to Russell wharf.  Their destination was signalled on board as a visit to Pompallier House and travellers took the opportunity to view Hell Hole of the Pacific street theatre performances while on the foreshore.

Discussions are already under way regarding improvements for next year.

More details....

(Photography: www.stephenwestern.com)

 
 

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