first capital and the chief rendezvous of Maoriland's whalers. The first war between the colony and its natives was fought here; and on Christmas Day, 1814, Christianity was first preached to the Maoris by the Reverend Samuel Marsden.
On the south side of the harbor, between the encircling hills of a small bay, is Russell, once Kororareka, New Zealand's first capital. Now it is "the old town of Russell." The capital is more than five hundred miles away, and for at least ten years the New Zealand Official Year Book has dismissed it with the brief statement that it "has a good hotel, besides having a post and telegraph office." But Russell can always boast of having been for many years the most important port in the land. In early days its harbor was filled with whaling and trading ships, and on one Christmas Day about seventy-five years ago nearly thirty whalers were in the bay, and more than a thousand members of their crews were ashore at one time.
North of the Bay of Islands is the charming harbor of Whangaroa, celebrated for its delightful nooks and striking configurations. Among the best-known of its curious sculpturings are Mushroom Rocks and the Duke of Wellington's Head. This last-named cliff face is well denominated. It has pronounced eyebrows, a hooked nose, and firmly set lips.
As seen from the peaceful little port of Whangaroa the most prominent of the harbor's rock figures are St. Peter's and St. Paul's, each several hundred feet high.