In the early 1840s French sailors Emile Borell and Louis Bidois settled in the Bay of Plenty and married Māori women. Many of their descendants still live in the bay. Tommy Wilson (right) is a descendant of both men and has been instrumental in keeping the French connection alive through the Te Puna Rugby Club, alongside fellow long-term club member Aiden Kuka (left). During the 2011 Rugby World Cup French rugby fans were hosted at the club and marae in the district, and in 2015 club members toured France.
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