Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier headed the French Catholic missionary efforts in New Zealand and arrived in the Hokianga district in 1838. He spent 30 years in New Zealand, returning to France in 1869 and dying there in 1871.
Pompallier was not well known in France but New Zealanders remembered him and visited and tidied his grave in Puteaux near Paris. Efforts to return Pompallier to New Zealand gained momentum in the 1990s. After gaining permission from the Pompallier family and French bishops, his body was disinterred in 2001 and returned to New Zealand in 2002. After being taken on a hikoi around New Zealand he was laid to rest beneath the altar of St Mary’s Church in Motuti in the Hokianga. This is the hikoi in Te Karaka, Northland.
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