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Celebrations at Pompallier Mission

Celebrations at Pompallier Mission

It was time to celebrate for the team at Pompallier Mission – the Heritage New Zealand property in Russell – recently voted among the top 10 landmarks in New Zealand by visitors and tourists using the TripAdvisor website.

Pompallier Mission’s official TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence has now been framed and is proudly on show along with the promotional sticker that winners are permitted to display, advertising their achievement.

“We regularly get positive comments from visitors about their experiences at Pompallier Mission, and many people are kind enough to take the time to post their comments on the TripAdvisor website – which is really great,” says Airini Kingi, one of Pompallier Mission’s visitor guides.

“Our guided tours of Pompallier Mission have almost got to the stage where they have become a ‘must-do’ for visitors to Russell who hear great things about the experience that we offer.”

Tracey Rewiri, who grew up in Russell during the 1960s and has returned home to work as a guide at Pompallier Mission, agrees that strong local support in Russell helps funnel people through the distinctive Pompallier Mission gatehouse.

“Local motel owners, camp ground operators and others involved in the tourism industry here consistently recommend us to visitors, because they have experienced what we do first-hand, and know that their visitors will be in for a wonderful, memorable experience,” she says.

As well as being entertaining and informative, the guided tours are also rather special.

“Every one of our guides are passionate about this place in different ways, which is reflected in the way they interpret the Mission,” says Airini.

“We’ve had visitors come back more than once to experience the tour with a different guide – just to get a different flavour of Pompallier Mission. We don’t do ‘one-size-fits-all’ tours here.”

The reviews are literally rave ones, as a brief selection from the TripAdvisor website shows:

“What a great guide, very informative and she had a good sense of humour too with some much younger visitors....”

“One of the best guided tours I have ever experienced....”

“We took the guided tour and were fascinated with the history of Russell it presented. Well worth the stop...”

Pompallier Mission was joined in the top 10 by two other historic places cared for by Heritage New Zealand, including Old St Paul’s in Wellington (ranked third) and the Stone Store in Kerikeri (ranked fourth). Waitangi – another Bay of Islands tourist attraction – came in at eighth place.

Earlier this year, both the gardens at Pompallier Mission and the Kerikeri Mission Station, were awarded 5 Star status by the New Zealand Gardens Trust – another exceptional achievement.

Part-funded by the Crown, the work to maintain all 48 properties cared for by Heritage New Zealand is also reliant on grants and donations from supporters and the organisation’s members, who have free access to all properties.

“Community goodwill combined with the professionalism and commitment of the Heritage New Zealand staff and volunteers at our properties help to ensure we offer a world class visitor experience,” says Heritage New Zealand Chief Executive Bruce Chapman.

“The properties we care for are authentic heritage experiences for visitors, whether they’re New Zealanders or tourists from overseas. The comments and feedback we receive from these visitors is reflected in the TripAdvisor results.”

“The presence of so many significant places in this list reflects the increasing importance of New Zealand’s heritage in the domestic and international tourism market. Heritage is a significant drawcard for visitors and there are real opportunities for communities to use their local heritage to encourage visitors to come and spend time.”

Information about places to visit can be found at


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