Philippe Viard

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From THE FIRST WAVE OF FRENCH MARISTS by Michael O'Meeghan SM, 2008, 15.

Philippe Viard

Fr PHILIPPE VIARD, aged 30 (on arrival in New Zealand in Group III on 9 Dec Jun 1839).

In May 1840 he founded the Catholic mission at Tauranga. From July 1841 he was on the Sancta Maria with Pompallier, eventually travelling with him from Akaroa to Central Oceania. Viard retrieved Chanel's remains from Futuna, took them to Kororareka and by May 1842 was back at Wallis to stay. From Wallis in December 1843 he led the founding Marist group to New Caledonia, till he was appointed Pompallier's assistant bishop and consecrated as such in Sydney on 4 January 1846. He arrived back at Kororareka on the Rhin on 22 January and for four years stood in for Pompallier who returned to Europe to report on the New Zealand mission. Viard visited the established Maori mission stations methodically, using both Bay of Islands and Auckland as bases. Meanwhile, in June 1848, Rome divided the New Zealand mission into two dioceses, nominating Viard as bishop of the new diocese of Wellington. Pompallier returned to Auckland on 8 April 1850. Viard left Auckland on 20 April to arrive in Wellington 1 May. In his 22 years as bishop, his high hopes for a Maori mission were frustrated by a diminishing number of clergy, an increasing number of Catholic settlers and the mood of the 1860s land wars. He died in Wellington on 2 June 1872 and is buried in his cathedral. His tomb was retained in the replacement church which was built in 1901 and remodelled in 1984 as the cathedral.

1938 Newpaper account of Viard's career

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