Pompallier Mission - Heritage New Zealand. Roll up your sleeves and have a go at tanning leather or printing on a pre-Industrial Revolution press at Pompallier Mission in Russell in the Bay of Islands. Built in the traditional Lyons building style of pise de terre (rammed earth) Pompallier Mission is the only building of its kind in Australasia, and has been faithfully restored to its original function as New Zealand's oldest factory.

Pompallier Mission - Heritage New Zealand

Historic - Bay of Islands

Roll up your sleeves and have a go at tanning leather or printing on a pre-Industrial Revolution press at Pompallier Mission in Russell in the Bay of Islands. Built in the traditional Lyons building style of pise de terre (rammed earth) Pompallier Mission is the only building of its kind in Australasia, and has been faithfully restored to its original function as New Zealand's oldest factory.

History

Pompallier, is the sole surviving building of the French Catholic mission headquarters to the Western Pacific. This French factory was built in pioneer New Zealand to print Maori language books for the Roman Catholic Mission. Pompallier is also a uniquely French Provincial building that stands as witness to wider French influences in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Pompallier was established by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Pompallier as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic mission to Western Oceania in 1841, and in October 1842 the first Maori translations were ready and the printery, complete with bookbindery and tannery, began production. Bishop Pompallier and his Marist missionaries printed almost 40,000 religious texts in Maori here in eight years - a staggering achievement.

By 1850, disagreement between Bishop Pompallier and the Marist Society, together with the demands of the growing colony, had led to their moving to Auckland and Wellington respectively. Heritage New Zealand took responsibility for the building in 1967. Realising that its history had been misunderstood (it had never been a bishop's palace) and that it had been structurally degraded, in 1990-93 the situation was resolved by returning the building to its original form in a restoration project that was a milestone for New Zealand heritage conservation.

The site of the first Roman Catholic chapel is marked in the beautiful garden that was created around 1880 long after the mission was disestablished. The garden is restored to its full glory as the Victorian/Edwardian garden of the later lay owners of Pompallier.

Enjoy stories told by our trained Heritage New Zealand Guides of the peoples who lived and worked here, and who were witnesses to the Birth of the Nation.

Location and Opening Hours

The Strand, Russell, Bay of Islands

Daily 10am - 5pm 1 November - 30 April

Daily 10am - 4pm 1 May - 31 October

Closed Christmas Day.

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