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Come All Ye Tonguers

The port town of Russell, in the Bay of Islands regions is located on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Formerly known as Kororakeka, Russell was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand.

Situated in the southern Pacific Ocean, it has a sub-tropical climate. The warm, semi-tropical, ocean is abundant with marine life. The bay offered safe anchorage for sailing vessels. By the 1800s there were many American whaling vessels working here, due to reports of a staggering number of whale sightings. The indigenous Maori people recognized the opportunity for trade and began to supply food and timber. Whaling became an important economic activity. The ships' crews of men that were kept under tight discipline on board, and looked here for rest and recreation. This port developed a bad reputation, as a community without laws, and became known as the "Hell-hole of the Pacific."

To hear a clip from a song about shore whaling in New Zealand, click on the "play music" button above.

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