Camp Russell

Camp Russell

Camp Russell was the last of the three Paekākāriki Camp sites built in 1942. It was home to 4,850 men from the 6th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

The site, or heritage precinct, is now a hub for Marines-related ceremonial activities and story-telling in Kāpiti. It links to Transmission Gully and SH59 and attractive walking and cycling tracks also provide links to Camps Mackay and Paekākāriki. Its near neighbours are the Tramways Museum and the Ramaroa Park Centre.

Named after New Zealand WWI hero, Major General Sir Andrew Russell, the site is now home to the U.S. Marines Memorial, designed by landscape architect, Rob Pryor and built by Paekākāriki contractor John Mills, for the Wellington Regional Council in association with the Kāpiti Coast District Council. It was opened in June 1992 to mark the 50th Anniversary return visit of American servicemen.

In 2012, Camp Russell hosted Salute 70 a very moving service, led by Sir Jerry Mateparae to mark the 70th Anniversary of U.S. Armed Forces encampment in New Zealand 1942-44.

At this time, the Sailors’ Memorial was installed and opened to commemorate ten U.S. Navy seamen who died in a failed landing exercise off Whareroa Beach on our coast on June 20, 1943.

In 2017 the Trust installed a newly restored 4-man hut on the site as a focus for telling ‘the big infrastructure story’ about how Kiwis built the three camps in record time and in war-time conditions.