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CUP book

Living Among the Northland Māori: Diary of Father Antoine Garin, 1844–1846

17 October 2023

Translated and edited by Peter Tremewan and Giselle Larcombe


April 2019
620pp, including 20pp illustrations, casebound
258 x 190mm
ISBN: 978-1-98-850302-8

‘I love this sort of life: visiting the Maori, sleeping at their places, organising my house, etc.’

A French Marist priest, Father Antoine Garin was sent to run the remote Mangakāhia mission station on the banks of the Wairoa River. A French Marist priest, Father Antoine Garin was sent to run the remote Mangakāhia mission station on the banks of the Wairoa River. Living Among the Northland Māori is Garin’s diary recording his experiences from 1844 to 1846 as he gets to know the Māori in the region.

Living Among the Northland Maori_cover

The diary provides vivid accounts of contemporary events, as Garin came dangerously close to the action of the Northern War, and wrote of such prominent figures as Hōne Heke and Kawiti as they opposed the new colonial authorities. Above all, the diary is an intimate record of life in a Māori community in which Garin describes the close relationships he formed with his new neighbours – from his young followers and local families to the chiefs who offered him protection while he lived among them.

This is the first full English translation of Garin’s surviving Mangakāhia journals and letters. Frank, open-minded and often humorous, Garin’s diary is a major contribution to the early history of European settlement in Aotearoa and a compelling insight into Māori customs, values and beliefs of the time.

Peter Tremewan is a retired University of Canterbury academic who has written widely about the French in New Zealand and the Pacific in the 19th century. He was awarded the John Dunmore Medal (1991) and J.M. Sherrard Award in New Zealand History (1992) for his research in this area. His publications include French Akaroa (CUP, 1990, revised 2010). In 2007 the French government made him a Chevalier de l’ordre des Palmes académiques.

Giselle Larcombe is a historian whose publications have focused on the French in New Zealand, especially the written records in French of the early French missionaries; her doctoral thesis, completed in 2009 under the tutelage of Peter Tremewan, was on Antoine Garin. She was awarded the John Dunmore Medal (2010) for her contribution to the study of the French in the Pacific.

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