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.....
Located only five minutes’ walk from the Russell wharf, on the waterfront in the stunning Bay of Islands, Pompallier Mission is New Zealand’s only surviving pioneer printery and tannery in New Zealand. Here French Catholics translated Church Latin into te reo Māori at the time the country was becoming a British colony.
Built in 1842 in a traditional French rammed-earth style (pisé de terre), it is within this unique building that you can get hands-on with history of the lives and times of pioneer missionaries caught up in British treaty-making and war between Māori and European settlers.
In what is one of the best heritage tours in the country, our knowledgeable guides will take you through each step of printing and book-binding as it was done by courageous French missionaries living in this tiny outpost, once known as the Hellhole of the Pacific, over 150 years ago.
Help us restore this treasure
Pompallier Mission urgently requires around $45,000 of exterior restoration to protect the fragile equipment and items that have endured for almost 200 years. Find out more about how you can help.
Help restore our oldest industrial building
A saintly sanctuary in the once-sinful southern seas.
- The Strand
- On the waterfront
- Daily, November-April, closed Christmas Day
- 10am - 5pm
- Daily, May-October
- 10am - 4pm
- Daily guided tours
- 10.15am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm*, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm* (* summer only)
Guided tours includes printery and garden
$10 adults, $7 tertiary students, accompanied school-age children free
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