Pompallier Mission and Printery

Pompallier Mission - a saintly enclave in the most sinful site of the southern seas, where Catholic brothers translated religious texts into Maori, printed them, and bound them into beautiful books. Learn how to tan a hide, bind a book and more.....

Garden at Pompallier Mission

In what is undoubtedly one of the best heritage tours in the country, our knowledgeable guides will take you through each step of leather and book-making as it was done by courageous French missionaries living in this tiny outpost, over 150 years ago. 

Hear the stories of the lives and times of pioneer missionaries caught up in British Treaty-making and war between Maori and European settlers. The gardens will delight while a walk up the hill is rewarded by magnificent views.

Built in 1842 in a traditional French rammed-earth style (pisé de terre), Pompallier’s printery is unique in Australasia.  A working printery and tannery, this place offers an authentic slice of life during one of the most tumultuous times of New Zealand’s history.  

Pompallier’s printery is New Zealand’s only surviving pioneer printery and tannery. Here French Catholics translated Church Latin into te reo Māori at the time the country was becoming a British colony.  

With a highly-rated heritage garden, a magnificent beach-side setting and wonderful views across the Bay to Waitangi, a visit to Pompallier Mission will surprise, inspire and enrich.

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NZ Gardens Trust
A saintly enclave in a once-sinful southern seas site - where you get hands-on with history.


  • The Strand
  • On the waterfront
  • Russell
  • 0202

Contact Information

Opening Hours

  • Summer: daily, November- April, closed Christmas Day
  • 10.00am - 5.00 pm
  • Winter: daily, May-October
  • 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Daily guided tours
  • 10.15am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm (summer only)


Guided tours includes printery and garden $10 adults, $5 school-age children, $7 tertiary students Access to the printery is by guided tour only to help preserve this precious building. Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events