The French Place in the Bay of Islands

Essays from Pompallier’s Printery

Edited by Kate Martin and Brad Mercer

French place in the bay of islandsThe building, known today as Pompallier, is New Zealand’s sole surviving pioneer mission printery of
 any denomination. In 1841 printing presses and plant arrived from France at the Roman Catholic headquarters in Kororareka Russell. This impressive and elegant, two-storied French colonial building was completed in 1842 to house a print workshop and has been a landmark feature of the Bay of Islands ever since.

The seemingly disparate subjects presented in this book 
by authors from such a range of expertise reflects the widespread fascination with our country’s founding stories as expressed by all who visit or study the Bay of Islands, the Birthplace of our Nation. In turn, their diversity reflects something of who we as New Zealanders are today. Following an eventful history and now restored by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to its original state and function, Pompallier Mission stands as an embodiment of significant historic events and evolving attitudes that underpin New Zealand’s present influences explored in these essays.

– from the introduction by Kate Martin

“Hellhole of vice” was Kororareka’s early reputation at the time it became, briefly, New Zealand’s first capital in 1840. Now known as Russell, this small Bay of Islands’ settlement indeed had a lively history from the later 1820s when it developed as a port on the Pacific circuit – initially for whalers and 
then for wider commercial activity. The absence of legal authority attracted runaway sailors, convicts and debtors, a matrix completed by the prostitution and grog its sensational reputation rested on. Tribal and later missionary rivalry reinforced this anarchic impression, a colourful local story tending to mask another, more interesting narrative which also had a Pacific focus.

This book illuminates aspects of this other narrative, one centred on French influence in the Bay of Islands, and specifically the work of Catholic Bishop Pompallier and his Marist priests and Brothers who set up a printery in Russell to produce books for their whole South Pacific mission. These very human stories set at the time of the founding of New Zealand tell of conflict, ambition, struggle, success and failure, as well as shedding fresh light on Maori/Pakeha relations and the making of the Treaty of Waitangi.


ISBN 978-0-473-19231-0
304p 36 colour ill and numerous B&W ills, 225x240mm

RRP NZ$70.00 inc.GST

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Marion du Fresne––––––––––––Anne Salmond

Paihia versus Kororareka – Protestant versus Catholic, Bible and Prayer Book in Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Missionary Strategy in New Zealand––––––––––––Peter Lineham

Traditional Maori Spirituality in Encounter with Christianity–––––––––Pā Henare Tate

Growth and Dominance: Patterns of Approach–––––––––––––Hazel Petrie

Kororareka and the Emerging Entrepreneurial Spirit–––––––––––Ian Hunter

Francophobia in New Zealand–––––––––––––Garry Clayton

Bishop Pompallier and Te Tiriti––––––––––––––Peter Low

The First Wave of French Marists–––––––––––––Michael O’Meeghan SM

Upstairs/Downstairs. The Marist Brothers in the Life of the French Catholic Mission––––––––––––Edward Clisby FMS

Ko wai a Peata? Ko Hoki ia. Who was the woman‘of uncommon virtue’ and ‘great influence with the chiefs’?––––––Jessie Munro

Father Garin in Kororareka and Mangakahia, 1841-1847–––––––––Hélène Serabian, Giselle Larcombe Peter Tremewan

Jean-Francois Yvert: Pompallier’s Energetic Printer–––––––––––Ken Scadden

‘Errors of Rome’ and Protestant ‘Paper Pellets’–––––––––––––Phillip Parkinson

Maori Literacy and the Making of a Nation–––––––––––Manuka Henare

Lyon as a Capital of Catholic Printing in the 19th century–––––––––––––Dominique Varry

Kororareka Kiore and Russell Rats:History according to Pompallier’s resident rodents––––––Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith, Kate Martin

Conservation of the Pompallier Printing House––––––––––Jeremy Salmond