January 14, 2013
Mass celebrates Catholic heritage in Hokianga
Catholics have completed a pilgrimage to Hokianga to commemorate what is believed to be the first Mass on New Zealand soil.
Bishop Jean-Baptiste Pompallier held the Mass on January 13, 1838, at the Totara Pt property of timber merchant Thomas Poynton and his wife Mary.
Bishop Pompallier had arrived three days earlier with several Marist priests and brothers, after being appointed in mid-1836 by Pope Gregory 16th to take responsibility for the lands of Western Oceania.
Two years later, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, Bishop Pompallier spoke and wrote Te Reo Māori.
His request to Lieutenant-Governor Hobson that the Catholic faith be protected resulted in what is sometimes referred to as the unwritten fourth article of the treaty.
Hobson authorised Henry Williams to read to the assembly: “E mea ana te Kawana ko nga whakapono katoa o Ingarani, o nga Weteriana, o Roma, me te ritenga Maori hoki e tiakina ngatahitia e ia. “(The Governor says that the several faiths of England, of the Wesleyans, of Rome, and also Māori custom shall alike be protected by him.)
After 30 years in New Zealand Bishop Pompallier returned to France, but in 2002 his remains were returned to the Hokianga for burial at Motuti, where the mass was celebrated on Sunday by his successor, Bishop Patrick Dunn, and the Pope's representative, Archbishop Charles Balvo.
Copyright © 2013, Uma Broadcasting Ltd