Br Emery Roudet to Henry Garnett, Kororareka, 2 Nov 1843
Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, July 2005 See Clisby's translation of this same letter
APM Z 208 2 November 1843
The commissioning of the printing press has vastly improved things – progress being made in conversions in many places. A naval band played on All Saints’ day – very impressive.
Henry Garnett was an Englishman from Liverpool who worked for the Catholic mission – as a carpenter in 1840 and a schoolteacher in 1841. In 1842 he went to Lyons to begin studies for the priesthood, but was ordained as a diocesan priest and came out with Pompallier in 1849. Whether he got as far as New Zealand is uncertain. If he did, he left soon after arrival and may have gone to Australia.
According to Girard "Ordained a priest, he came back to Oceania with Pompallier – arrived Sydney 9 February 1830 where Pompallier, being ‘very unhappy with him’, left him." See footnote to Girard0152.
Text of the Letter
- Kororareka 2 November 1843
- J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph)
- Very dear friend
- I am taking advantage of this fine opportunity to write a few lines to you. I will be very brief, because the ship is leaving tomorrow and I am beginning at 9 o’clock in the evening.
- Ah, if you knew how the mission is now progressing since we have had some books, you would come back straight away. You know when you left, it was making no progress at the Bay of Islands or anywhere else, but now the Bay of Islands is quite changed. At Waikare we had only a few Catholics, now they are all Catholic, and very fervent. The Bishop went there lat Sunday. He brought back a big wakapakoko [sic: whakapakoko – statue] which was in their pa, and they are going there to put up a cross in its place. At Te Puna several great chiefs have joined [the faith], at Kawakawa as well, and many others at Waimate; at Taiamai  there has also been a big change; at Hokianga almost everyone is Catholic. In the south a great change has occurred as well. The Protestant missionaries are in their final fury against the Bishop.
- The chapel is being built at Kororareka. The foundation stone was blessed with great ceremony. The whole town, Catholic and Protestant, was there, and a great number of natives were present as well. The Bishop made a fine speech in English about the foundation stone of the Catholic Church [sur la pierre fondamentale de l’Eglise Catholique]. The dedication will take place in about two months, with still more ceremony, because, perhaps, we will have with us the band of a French naval ship which should return. This ship is the Rhin, and it arrived in the Bay on the evening before All Saints’ Day. It was Brother Luc and myself who took the Bishop’s letter of greeting to the commanding officer. He asked us if the band could play at Mass tomorrow, and if the crew could attend. We said that that would really please the Bishop, and the next day he sent it [the band], and came himself and all his officers. The band really impressed the natives, who had never heard anything like it. There were about thirty natives who received communion that day.
- Now our place is always full of natives, especially since we have built two big houses for them behind our big house. Now it is a very fine sight. Every evening these good Maori can be heard singing their hymns, reciting their catechism, their rosaries or other prayers. They learn very quickly. They know their catechism from one end to the other.
- I am a printer, with dear Brother Luc, and M Yvert is our instructor. We have already printed two books. The Maori are now very proud of theirs [les Maori font maintenant leurs fiens avec]. They make fun of the Protestants who always said that they would not have any.
- You must still call to mind the danger we were in when we went to look for the two Fathers at Mangonui. I have not had any other [experience] as [bad] as that one.
- My very dear Mr Henry, pray a lot for me please, and for all of us, for you know what mission life is like, how much one risks both body and soul. Strongly encourage your companions to come and share our crosses. They are many, but they are also very pleasant.
- Please present my deep respects to Reverend Father Epalle. Tell him that I am even poorer than I was when he left, and that he should bring back a lot of clothes and material to make them, because I have nothing more in my box, and our Fathers are all in rags.
- My respects as well to Reverend Fathers Popinel [sic: Poupinel] and good M Perret, and also to dear Brothers Luc and Aurelien.
- All the Brothers at the Bay of Islands send you their best wishes: dear Brother Pierre-Marie “Theologian”, Brother Luc – printer, Brother Basile – jack of all trades, Brother Claude-Marie who was here about a week ago. Dear Brother Marie-Augustin is in Wallis. I am very sleepy. Goodbye. I am going to bed.
- Your very humble servant.
- Brother Emery, Marist.
- Your very humble servant.
- Kororareka, 2 November 1843
- I had forgotten to tell you that Mr Finton is no longer here. He has gone to Valparaiso. Mr Oliffe is well; he is conscientious in attending services. His children are growing up well. Mr Waterstol [sic] has gone to Sydney to live off his private income.
- near present day Ohaeawai - translator’s note
- I wonder what the locals’ reaction would have been to a Highland pipe band! - translator’s note, being naughty!