by NZ CATHOLIC staff
RUSSELL — A new book reflecting on the early French Catholic presence in the Far North of New Zealand was launched by the Ambassador of France to New Zealand, Francis Etienne, in Russell on October 13.
The French Place in the Bay of Islands is a series of essays by a number of eminent authors, including Fr Michael O’Meeghan, SM, Br Edward Clisby, FSM, Anne Salmond, Pa Henare Tate and Jessie Munro. The book tells of conflict, ambition, struggle, success and failure, shedding new light on Maori-Pakeha relations at the time of Treaty-making at Waitangi and of the founding of modern New Zealand.
It centres on the enduring French and Catholic influence in Korororeka-Russell and the Bay of Islands, specifically the work of Bishop Pompallier and of the Marist missionaries whose South Seas headquarters and printery were there.
Kate Martin, editor of the book, and manager of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust property, the Pompallier Mission, said she was delighted to have published more on 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.
• For more information see www.thefrenchplaceinthebay.com