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Bay of Islands - Russell - Flagstaff Hill - A little history, courtesy of the net.
After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 the new colony of New Zealand now needed a capital but Kororareka (Russell), although used briefly was considered unsuitable partly because of its unsavoury reputation and the administration was moved to Auckland.
As a result much of the shipping started bypassing the Bay. Local Maori were unhappy as they had been claiming a five pound charge on every incoming ship and became upset at their loss of power and authority, and the economic downtown. A local chief Hone Heke led a faction to express their discontent by cutting down the flagstaff and the British Union Jack on Maiki hill above the town.
The flagstaff was restored but cut down again three more times, the last on the 11 March 1845 involving another chief Kawiti and local hapu Kapotai in a three pronged attack on the town. The Battle of Korareka was won by Maori (helped by the accidental explosion of the town's ammunition store) who sacked and burnt the town sparing only Christ Church, Pompallier House and a few buildings at the south end of the beach. The settlers evacuated and fled to Auckland and it was years before any settlers returned.