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WeddingWise Awards – Congratulations to Ida Birch, Bay of Islands Celebrant

Congratulations to Bay of Islands celebrant, Ida Birch, for being awarded the honour of being a top rated vendor in the 2016 WeddingWise Awards.  The WeddingWise Awards honour the ‘best of the best in New Zealand & Pacific weddings’, as chosen by the public and WeddingWise editors.

With her friendly professionalism, Ida has amassed outstanding testimonials from happy couples who have selected her to be their celebrant.  Five Stars every time!  She is most certainly a very popular celebrant with those married at the Russell Chapel On The Olive Grove.

If you are planning a wedding in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, contact Ida:

Ida Birch, Bay of Islands Celebrant

Read more on the WeddingWise Awards and Ida Birch at WeddingWise

Olive Harvest Day – Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 9.17.08 amHarvest Day Russell Chapel On The Olive GroveHarvest time Chaepl On The Olive Grove

On a partly cloudy day in May a team of twenty local friends gathered at our Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove at Uruti Bay for our annual olive picking day.

Olive Harvest Russell Chapel On The Olive GroveEnthusiastic pickers turned up eagerly awaiting instructions,  rearing to go.  Music oozed from the speakers in the chapel, wafting out and drifting up the hill as we all busied ourselves.  Everyone was focussing on stripping the trees of the yellowy green black olives.

It was a successful harvest culminating at dusk with a barbeque of scrumptious locally-made sausages and fresh salads, all washed down with our delicious Bay of Islands wines.

A wonderful day and as the sun went down we all toasted ourselves -acknowledging the fact that now in Russell in the Bay of Islands, we can produce stunning olive oil, beautiful wines and live in paradise.

Obviously everyone loves olive trees…..

KEIRA Knightley burst into fits of giggles when her new husband presented her with a £3,000 olive tree following their nuptials.

James Righton bought Keira Knightley a £3,000 olive tree for a wedding gift.
James Righton, 29, bought the 100-year-old tree as a wedding present for his new bride and even had their initials and date of the wedding carved into it.  As reported in The Sun,  “James had it planted in the back garden of her home in France on the day of the wedding,” a source said. “He had carved their initials in a heart and showed her in front of everyone. She collapsed into fits of giggles, it was very sweet.”

Concert at Russell Chapel On The Olive Grove

chapel on the olive grove concertConcert at Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove

It was a magical evening with Graham Wardrop and Suzanne Lynch –
at Russell Chapel On The Olive Grove

“In November 2012 I watched in wonder as Jo and Ross purchased an unused little chapel from it’s site in Kawakawa and floated it across the water on the car ferry to its new home on their Olive Grove in Uruti Bay, Russell.
Now their vision has been realised and lucky friends like me are invited to all sorts of occasions- carol singing on Christmas Eve, mid winter feasts and a fabulous concert with Graham Wardrop and Suzanne Lynch.
The creative lighting, special atmosphere and intimacy  made for a magical evening. Can’t wait for the next event!!!”
Jenny … Russell, Bay of Islands

From Kawakawa to Uruti Bay, Russell


On November 12th 2012 we woke at dawn anxious to get started on our new venture; transporting the St Francis Xavier Catholic church on the back of a house-moving truck to its new home on our Olive Grove at Uruti Bay, Russell, in the stunning Bay of Islands.

This little chapel will celebrate its one hundred and forty one year anniversary this year. It was built by miners who came from Ireland in the 1860s to mine the coal in Kawakawa- known originally as Irish town.

To enable the chapel to pass freely along the roads under the power lines to the Opua car ferry the roof had to be removed and transported separately from the main body of the chapel. We had a few anxious moments watching as huge saws sliced through the ancient kauri timbers. Then it was onto the truck and a 15 minute drive to the car ferry to sail across the Waikare inlet towards its new home and life as the Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove in the Bay of Islands.

We invited Father Damian from Okaihau to deconsecrate and welcome the little chapel to its new home. Many Russell residents came to help us celebrate its new future.….

Follow us as we make new memories and reveal more of past wedding ceremonies, live concerts, mid winter feasts, carol singing, olive picking and more……