It’s been more than a hundred years since anyone actually was punished by being put in the pillory. In some cases, offenders had their heads shaved. These days, the town of Russell uses their pillory on the boardwalk as a great tourist attraction. And, by the way, Kororareka means “how sweet is the penguin”. Kororakeka was the name of the colony that eventually became Russell.
In today’s modern society it seems almost impossible that the pillory was once a form of corporal punishment. The sad truth is that when we consider what’s been happening to society in recent years, we haven’t progressed nearly as much as we think we have. The physical pillory of days gone by has been replaced by a virtual one on which a cyberbully can castigate or dehumanize another at will. Let’s face it, there are plenty of 21st Century citizens who are still living in a 19th Century world.
Let’s hope 2021 brings with it an incremental move toward a more enlightened world in which the pillory, both the physical and the virtual ones, are a thing of the past. (Oh, and just in case you’re curious—I did not try out the Russell pillory!)
Check out the history of Russell, New Zealand here. Want to see more photos from our trip? Here’s a link where you can check out all the entries in our travel journal.