Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand. It is situated in the Bay of Islands, in the far north of the North Island.
When European and American ships began visiting New Zealand in the early 1800s, the indigenous Māori quickly recognized there were great advantages in trading with these strangers.
The Bay of Islands offered a safe anchorage and had a high Māori population. To attract ships, Māori began to supply food and timber. What Māori wanted was respect, plus firearms, alcohol, and other goods of European manufacture.
Kororareka developed as a result of this trade but soon earned a very bad reputation, a community without laws and full of prostitution, and became known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific.”
Today, Russell is a quiet seaside village, with many seaside cafes, gift shops and B&Bs. It is easily reached by one of the many ferries that run between Paihia and Russell.
(The foregoing information is from Wikipedia.)
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel, New Zealand’s first licensed hotel, bar and restaurant, is also a popular wedding venue.