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“Worth a visit”

Pompallier Mission and Printery
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and up
Bay of Islands Day Tour from Auckland
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in Russell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Pompallier Mission, where Catholic missionaries translated religious texts into Maori, printed and bound them into beautiful books, was a saintly enclave in the most sinful site of the southern seas. In what is undoubtedly one of the best heritage tours in the country, our passionate guides will take you through the steps of leather and book-making as it was done by courageous pioneers living in this tiny outpost, over 150 years ago. Hear the stories of the lives and times of French missionaries caught up in British Treaty-making and war between Maori and European settlers. Delight in our award winning heritage gardens, take in the wonderful views across the Bay and browse our gift shop for a unique reminder of a special place.
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
75 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
Reviewed 2 April 2014

Interesting, historical, sympathetically restored and staff are very knowledgable. Includes working examples of leather-tanning.

Visited March 2014
Thank Jennifer H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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388 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
91 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Pompallier house and Pompallier mission are one and the same”
Reviewed 30 March 2014

This was a very interesting tour of about 45 minutes. From the tannery to the printing press to the bindary itself, there was a lot of information available about the time and how the french published the bible in maori. Clever dudes

Visited March 2014
Thank Ojairc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yealmpton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
139 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“It depends on your expectations”
Reviewed 27 March 2014 via mobile

Definitely a lovely shell of a building but you can see that from outside without paying. We had been to Kemp House and were hoping for the equivalent Catholic missionary story here but were very disappointed. Instead it is a working description of various crafts including leather making, book binding and printing. If these are your interests it would be great but if you think you are hearing about the early catholic French missionaries you will be disappointed both by the lack of description about this and the lack of period furniture and fittings. We would not go again

Visited March 2014
Thank StaresDevon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
55 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“Don't miss it!”
Reviewed 27 March 2014

Rarely have we had such an articulate and informed tourist guide! One might expect a history of tanning and printing to be tedious, but given the historical context, the knowledgable demonstrations and the superb site, it was fascinating! Don't miss this.

Visited March 2014
Thank An0ther0pini0n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plattsburgh, New York, USA
Level Contributor
223 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Very interesting small museum focused on printing in the mid-1800's”
Reviewed 25 March 2014

The museum is named after the first Catholic bishop, who came to Russell, NZ in 1840. At the house which is now the museum, the priests printed books in the Maori language. As I understand it, until then the Maori did not have a written language, and the French priests worked with Maori leaders putting their oral language into writing. So Father Pompalier had a very significant impact on the Maori people.

We shared our guided tour with a student group, and the expert guide was outstanding in engaging the students, allowing them to hold and use items which were part of the many stages of turning animal hides into book covers, printing, gluing, stitching and binding the pages.

Many people visit Paihia and take the ferry to Russell, or stop in Russell after a cruise to the Hole in the Rock, as we did. It is definitely worth a visit to Pompalier House for anyone interested in history.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank Penelope C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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