Story: City history and people



Kororāreka was originally a Māori settlement. It became a base for European traders and whalers in the early 19th century. Many built houses and shops, and by the mid-1830s Kororāreka resembled a small town – New Zealand’s first. This view shows the settlement around 1836, with waka (canoes) and sailboats beached or lying offshore. By this time the settlement was notorious for drinking, fighting and prostitution. In the early 1840s the town’s name was changed to Russell.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0115-1-front
Aquatint after a drawing by Joel Samuel Polack

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Thorns and Ben Schrader, 'City history and people - The first towns', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 September 2023)

Story by David Thorns and Ben Schrader, published 11 Mar 2010