Antoine Séon

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Fr ANTOINE SÉON, aged 33 (on arrival in New Zealand in Group V on 15 Jun 1841).

Along with Michel Borjon and Louis Rozet, about a month after his arrival he sailed with Pompallier on the Sancta Maria and was left at Matamata for nearly three years from where he ranged into the Waikato. In April 1845 after a spell as bursar at Kororareka, he went to Auckland as Maori missioner moving around both harbours and the Hauraki Gulf. This wide-ranging apostolate was restricted near the end of 1847 when Viard appointed him chaplain to the Fencibles at Onehunga. He moved to Wellington with the Viard Marist exodus, and on 11 May left to re-start the mission at Akaroa. This was abandoned again in a little over a year after the Canterbury Association seized the mission property for resale. By September 1851 he was back with Viard at Thorndon. For the next eight years he maintained a mission to Maori around the harbour and the Wairarapa, while being a man the bishop relied on to travel to meet special needs. Over a decade he made five visits to Canterbury and Otago. In mid-1860 Viard sent him to Christchurch to help launch the mission there. About a year later he was appointed to take over the mission at Lower Hutt where he remained for nearly nine years, extending the mission in to Upper Hutt and over the Rimutaka range to the Wairarapa. By 1870 he was slowing down with the beginnings of a creeping paralysis which led to his retirement at Meeanee where he died on 31 July 1878, aged 71. He is buried in Taradale cemetery.

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