New book on Pompallier mission

A new book on the work of Bishop Pompallier,The French Place in the Bay of Islands”, was launched recently by the Ambassador of France to New Zealand, Francis Etienne. The ceremony was attended by Church, Marists and other dignitaries from around the country,

The book is a series of essays by a number of eminent authors, including Fr Michael O’Meeghan SM, Brother Edward Clisby FSM, Anne Salmond, Henare Tate and Jessie Munro. It presents very human stories of conflict, ambition, struggle, success and failure, shedding new light on Māori-Pakeha relations at the time of Treaty-making at Waitangi and of the founding of the New Zealand we know today

The photograph show the Collector’s Edition, hand bound in leather with gold tooling. A limited number of the collector’s edition have been printed. These copies are hand bound in leather with gold tooling and hand made harakeke (flax) end papers. This acknowledges the original vision of creating beautiful books in the spirit of the New Zealand’s only surviving pioneer printery at Pompallier Mission.

These are stories centered on the enduring French and Catholic influence in Kororāreka Russell and the Bay of Islands, specifically the work of Bishop Pompallier and of the Marist missionaries whose South Seas headquarters and printery were then here.

Kate Martin, editor of the book and manager of the NZ Historic Places Trust property Pompallier Mission, said she was delighted to have published more on the work of the first Marist Priests and Brothers in New Zealand. “So little has been known about those pioneer French Catholic missionaries and their real contribution to forming our country”, she said.

The timing of this book launch could not be more appropriate as the Russell townsfolk have so much fun re-enacting “The Hell Hole of the Pacific”. That sensational reputation has long tended to mask another, more compelling narrative. Illustrating some of the commercial, religious and political rivalry amongst Māori hapu and between Western nations at the time, The French Place in the Bay of Islands highlights that narrative and makes persuasive reading for all.


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News category: New Zealand.

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