The Brit-turned-Kiwi may be teaching the national Certificate in Horticulture Level 2 (introductory) but his background includes landscape, construction, tutoring and even TV appearances.
Before heading to New Zealand in 2006, Russell was for three years the foreman for a garden makeover programme, while also teaching landscapers and bricklayers.
When he hit his new home, he started back in bricklaying before establishing his own landscaping business. Two years ago he joined EIT Tairawhiti, and he loves it.
“The best part of my job is being able to transfer knowledge to others,” he says. “The course is centred around growing food for the family – good quality kai that can be enjoyed by the students and their whanau.”
A bit of a dab hand in the kitchen, Russell also shares a few tips on how to cook some of the produce too.
“It’s about getting them to try different things… and enjoying it. We can really make a difference to the lives of some of our students.”
The 20-week course is popular and fills quickly.
“Gisborne is well and truly our home,” says Russell, who with his wife and children is heavily involved in the world of BMX and has high hopes his two boys will make the next world champs – wearing a silver fern, of course.