The link between Russell's shore and wharf is now smoother, safer and smarter thanks to hard work by locals and financial support from Far North District Council.

The Russell Wharf and Waterfront Trust has built steps from the wharf to the beach, created a seating area on the beach wall and widened the approaches to the wharf, an upgrade boosted by a $130,000 council grant.

Trust chairman Riki Kinnaird said the improvements make getting on to the beach from the wharf easier.

"Before, people had to jump down on to the beach, and the seats provide an amphitheatre for people to watch the boats and events such as the Russell Birdman," he said.


The project originated in a town upgrade 25 years ago. Stage 1 included planting, beautification and lighting on Cass St but budgetary issues meant Stage 2, linking the wharf and the town, was never started.

Mr Kinnaird said Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board chairman Terry Greening played a key role in reviving the project.

"Terry brought people together. He had the plans from 25 years ago and he worked with the council to release $35,000 of renewals money."

FNDC company Far North Holdings Ltd played an important role as project manager and in obtaining resource consents without charge.

Local builders donated their time and businesses provided materials at discounted prices. Mr Kinnaird is delighted with the effort everyone put in, which resulted in the project coming in $120,000 below budget.

Far North Mayor John Carter will officially open it on Saturday at 12.45pm.