Euloge Reignier

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Fr EULOGE REIGNIER, aged 31 (on arrival in New Zealand in Group VI in 1842).

After a brief stay at Kororareka he was sent to Opotiki to learn Maori. In July 1843, he went to restart the station at Maketu but by the end of the year had shifted his base to Ohinemutu (Rotorua) where he built up a thriving Catholic centre. Because of the delay in his replacement arriving at Rotorua, he did not join the Viard Marist exodus to Wellington, but arrived there on 11 July 1851. In September he went to Hawkes Bay to relieve Jean Lampila at Pakowhai. In 1857, with the loss of Maori patronage, he transferred the mission station to nearby Meeanee. From both places he ranged widely through Hawkes Bay, and at times even to Gisborne and Taupo, ministering to Maori and settler alike till aging slowed him down. He had the vision to recognise Suzanne Aubert's potential, and provide her with a home and the space she needed to pursue her personal apostolate, especially among Maori. Reignier died at Meeanee on 28 October 1888, aged 77 and is buried in Taradale cemetery where a public subscription raised a monument in his memory. Another monument is the Providence he founded in 1867 which still continues as St Joseph's Maori Girls' College, Greenmeadows.

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