Maori Bibles, and A House of Worship

2 Jun

At the suggestion of our group leader, I purchased a one-year membership to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which not only supports New Zealand’s efforts to protect their historic buildings, but also affords free entry to many trust properties located throughout New Zealand as well as Australia, England, and even a few Historic sites in the USA. For more information, visit their website.

I first used my membership in Russell, touring the Pompallier Mission which purports to be the oldest surviving industrial building in New Zealand.

Images by RJM

Pompallier Mission, Russell
(New Zealand Historic Places Trust)

Named for Bishop Pompallier of the French Marist mission, the French Provincial-style building in Russell was built in 1842 as a printery, tannery (for bookbinding) and storehouse. Nearly 40,000 books in Maori were printed here. Interactive printing, tanning and book-binding activities are very popular while a stroll in the colonial garden suits others. (Visitor Guide, prepared by Historic Places Trust)

Images by RJM

Pompallier Mission garden

Images by RJM

Pompallier Mission garden

After a few minutes spent enjoying the garden, a small group was gathered for a tour of the building. After giving us some historical information about the Mission our guide, Lydia, showed us the tanning area (in the lower part of the building) and then took us upstairs for a hands-on printing experience.

Images by RJM

Entrance to Pompallier Mission

Images by RJM

Tannery, Pompallier Mission

It is unfortunate that the upper floor is not wheelchair accessible, as I found the printing process to be very interesting — and learned the origin of some common phrases as they are used in the printing world.

Images by RJM

“Quoin a Phrase”

For instance, to “quoin a phrase” is to use a wedge-shaped piece of wood or metal [quoin] to tightly hold (or immobilize) a typeset block of text [phrase] in place so that it can be inked.

Images by RJM

Inking the phrase.

Images by RJM

“Cut to the Chase”

A “chase” is a rectangular iron frame in which composed type is secured or locked for printing [quoined]. After the phrase is secured and inked, a piece of paper is attached to an opening [“cut”] on the hinged upper portion of the contraption. This is then brought to the inked phrase on the chase [cut to the chase], where it is pressed and, hopefully, “makes a good first impression.”

Images by RJM

“Making a good first impression”

Images by RJM

Final product
(Lydia and Francine)

Images by RJM

Bay leaves help keep the bugs away.

Images by RJM

Maori translation

Obviously, the Pompallier Mission made a very good impression on me!

We then walked a few blocks to the oldest surviving Angelican church in New Zealand, Christ Church.

Images by RJM

Christ Church, Russell, NZ

The churchyard, with its many headstones, was a delightful piece of history, and the pews inside were softened by needlepoint cushions created by the parishioners.

Images by RJM

Needlepoint pew cushions

Images by RJM

Christ Church, Russell, NZ

(Special thanks to my friend and traveling companion, Francine, for allowing me to photograph her as she “made a good first impression” at the Pompallier Mission!)


3 Responses to “Maori Bibles, and A House of Worship”

  1. Francine Freitas June 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Thanks for the memories and the “lasting” impressions of NZ. It was a trip of a life time and you have captured the essence of our experience. Thank you my dear friend.

    • Ted Hess June 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      I enjoyed the great photos — particularly of the Mission garden and the interior of Christ Church. I felt like I was right alongside you.

  2. Jeri June 6, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    I emailed the headquarters for the NZ Historic Places Trust, asking about wheelchair accessibility in this (and other) trust sites we visited. Priscilla Pitts, General Manager Heritage Destinations, was kind enough to respond and she provided this information:

    Pompallier Mission (Russell)

    With assistance, people in wheelchairs can access the ground floor of the Printery building and some parts of the grounds. We are developing the cottage on the adjacent site: this will be our new entrance and will provide visitor toilets, a larger shop and small café. The ground floor will be wheelchair accessible (the upper floor is staff offices)

    Unfortunately we are somewhat limited in the changes we can make to these buildings – for example, installing lifts would be very detrimental to the heritage fabric in most cases. However we are looking at ways to improve accessibility through ramps or visual media.

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