9 Jun 2024

Regional Wrap: Russell with Sue Fitzmaurice

From Culture 101, 1:20 pm on 9 June 2024

Each week, Culture 101 puts the spotlight on a different region in Aotearoa for the weekly Regional Wrap. This week we’re in Russell - Kororāreka.

A hugely popular base for tourists as they discover the Far North and the Bay of Islands, the town is significant in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history. It was the country’s first seaport and nearby Okiato was the first capital. The original layout of the town and names remain, with historic buildings open to the public. 

Sue Fitzmaurice is a writer, publisher and editor at Rebel Magic Books and also edits the local newspaper - giving her access to artists, businesses and locals. Although there’s a large sailing and fishing community, with the history and beauty in Russell, the creative engagement in the town is high. 

Fitzmaurice moved back to Wellington from overseas as the pandemic hit but found herself increasingly drawn to Northland. With both her mother and daughter as artists and a writer herself, Fitzmaurice has immersed herself in the cultural community of Kororāreka.

Maori make up 39.9 percent of the population in Northland - the second highest proportion in Aotearoa according to the latest census. With the region as the birthplace of the nation and surrounded by the extensive Maori culture and history, Fitzmaurice says she’s found herself extremely settled in the area. 

Sue Fitzmaurice spoke to Culture 101 for the Regional Wrap.