27 March 2007
On the 13th of January, 1838, at Totara Point on the northern side of the Hokianga Harbour, Marist Father Jean Baptiste Pompallier, first Vicar Apostolic to the newly-created Vicariate of Western Oceania, celebrated Mass. This was on the third day after his arrival in New Zealand and was the first Mass to be said here. On Sunday the 14th of January, 2007 Susan and I – with a number of other persons – went to Mass in the Hokianga. We were actually at a marae near Totara Point due to weather issues. The Hokianga, like the east coast of the North Island, is one of the places where the Māori language is definitely alive and well. The Mass was over two hours long, was mostly in Māori, and was followed by a meal at the marae. My children will be interested to know that we stayed the Saturday night with the Van Boxels who now live in Opononi on the Hokianga, and the Sunday night on the way home with Irene Farrell’s sister in Dargaville. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and if we can, I think we will go again next year.