Oh, What a Lovely Hell-Hole!


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.

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.

Koha collected on the day (which included American dollars from cruise ship visitors) will be donated to Russell School and the local St John’s charity shop. Local business owners and staff from Russell craft and Saturday market, Delish Coffee House, MacKiwi and Russell Swordfish Club dressed in appropriate garb for the weekend.

Director, Cris Aronson, said the cast of 31 for this year’s performances was also the biggest yet. Discussions are already under way regarding improvements for next year.


Images by Paul Rayner


Duel: New Zealand’s first duel between Joel Polack and Ben Turner is re-enacted on Russell’s foreshore.


Temperance: Temperance Women make their views known.


Constable Michael has a hell of a job to do!

Billy Goes to War: We Want You!

The streets of Kerikeri were the scene of a World War I recruitment drive last weekend for our next production. If you didn’t catch us, we’ll be out again this Saturday, seeking cast members, male and female of all ages over 14 years. Come and find us if you want to know more about claiming a part this acclaimed play. No experience necessary, enthusiasm and dedication essential :


Packhouse Market, Kerikeri – Saturday JAN 27  – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Turner Centre, Kerikeri – Sunday FEB 4 – starting at 2.30pm.

As a commemoration of the last year of the 1914-18 War, the Kerikeri Theatre Company is staging the acclaimed WW1 drama Billy Goes to War, on the eve of Anzac Day, next April

The production follows the wartime journey of young Kiwi soldier Billy Smith from the disaster of Gallipoli to the muddy, bloody trenches of the Western Front. It tells of the nurses who braved the casualty stations, the life of the families back home, and the progress of the war through the nations involved.

All this, accompanied by famous wartime songs.

Kerikeri Theatre Company already has a strong ensemble of actors for this show, but because of its special nature we’re looking for new people to join the cast, as young soldiers, nurses, civilians, and family members.

Performances will be at the end of April next year. Please be aware that, if you are given a part, you will need to be available to attend ALL your rehearsals.

If you want to find out more you can contact David Crewe, the writer/director, on my email endeavour.crewe@gmail.com or phone 022 0322 898.

Billy Goes to War 6


Russell: Hellhole of the Pacific

Next weekend, step back in time to when lovely Russell was a den of thieves, drunks, strumpets! Some of our Theatre Company members will be there to re-enact some notable moments of hellhole history. Lots of fun!

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January from 10.30 a.m.

Poster 3