Jean Yvert

From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

MR JEAN FRANÇOIS YVERT, aged 44 (on arrival in New Zealand in Group V on 15 June 1841).

He was a layman who had separated from his wife and daughter about 1829. After he had become attached to the Society of Mary, in 1839 he did a short apprenticeship at Caen in printing and bookbinding. The Marist administration then deputed him to purchase, in Paris, a printing press and accessories to travel with him to Kororareka. He lived as a brother with the Marists, sharing their work including the building of the printery. The first book in Maori came off the press in October 1842. During the troublesome time of 1845 he took the press for safe keeping to Whangaroa. After its return to Kororareka, he seems to have divided his time between printing there and helping supervise (with Louis Rozet) Whangaroa catechists' training school. He went with Philippe Viard to Wellington in 1850, and remained with the Marist community in Thorndon, helping build and administer the parish plant there, even teaching when needed till he was too old to continue. He died there on 6 July 1867 aged 71, and is buried in Mount St cemetery.

Another Short Biography

Jean-François Yvert, a lay missionary, was born in Pleuville, a town south of Poitiers, France, on 10 June 1796. He married and then lived separately from his family, spending 10 years teaching in Caen.
When he proposed his services for the Marist Mission to Oceania, he was told that although he would remain a layman, he would be considered Marist ― in heart and sentiments.
Yvert offered to run the Catholic Mission printery to be based at its headquarters in Kororāreka (now Russell). He quickly trained in printing and binding practices becoming adept at both before selecting the presses and printing materials necessary to set up the operation. He left France in 1841 with the fifth group of Marist missionaries bound for Oceania.
At the printery, Church texts translated into te reo Māori were printed and bound. Between 1842 and 1847, Yvert and his two assistants printed at least eight publications totalling more than 17,200 copies. The Gaveaux printing press selected by Yvert is on display at Pompallier House.
In May 1847, Yvert started training Māori and European teachers at Whāngaroa in preparation for the opening of St Mary’s School on the North Shore, Auckland.
Yvert came to the new Diocese of Wellington in 1850 with Bishop Philippe Viard sm, and served the Bishop in various capacities, including teaching at the boys’ school. He died in Wellington on 6 July 1867.

See Letters of Yvert

Back to Biographical Notes