Catherin Servant

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From THE FIRST WAVE OF FRENCH MARISTS by Michael O'Meeghan SM, 2008, 9.


Fr CATHERIN SERVANT, aged 30 (on arrival in New Zealand in Group I on 10 Jan 1838).


Apart from occasional visits to the Bay of Islands he remained in the Hokianga for four years becoming an accomplished Maori speaker and an acute observer and recorder of Maori custom. In April 1842 he left on the Sancta Maria on the first stage of his voyage to Ponape where he had been transferred. But at Wallis, Pompallier (visiting there) diverted him to Futuna to replace the murdered Chanel. Except for two years in Samoa, the rest of his life was spent on Futuna where he died 8 January, 1860, aged 52. Shortly before his death he completed formal affidavits from eye-witnesses to Chanel's “murder" these being vital to the Church's judgement on whether Chanel could be regarded as a martyr. His observations sent to France from the Hokianga were edited and published as Customs and Habits of the New Zealanders 1838-1842; (Reed, Wellington, 1973).


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