We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“History you can see working in this day and age.”

Pompallier Mission and Printery
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Bay of Islands Day Tour from Auckland
Ranked #1 of 24 things to do in Russell
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Pompallier Mission, where Catholic missionaries translated religious texts into Maori, printed and bound them into beautiful books, was a saintly enclave in the most sinful site of the southern seas. In what is undoubtedly one of the best heritage tours in the country, our passionate guides will take you through the steps of leather and book-making as it was done by courageous pioneers living in this tiny outpost, over 150 years ago. Hear the stories of the lives and times of French missionaries caught up in British Treaty-making and war between Maori and European settlers. Delight in our award winning heritage gardens, take in the wonderful views across the Bay and browse our gift shop for a unique reminder of a special place.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“History you can see working in this day and age.”
Reviewed February 21, 2013 via mobile

Great value fun relaxing. Interactive history.

Really amazing to see how books are made in the 1800's in NZ! The working museum is simply amazig.

Thank Antarcticsailor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

387 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Very informative visit”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Exceptionally interesting guide who gave a great description of all the work involved in the early printing process.

Visited February 2013
Thank muskoka_canadaSwooze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
186 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Make a book”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

We enjoyed our visit here both for its informative content and the enthusiasm of the guides and the opportunity to assist in printing images – no Microsoft Word here though! Many sayings in general use today are identified as originating from early printing processes.

Established in 1842 with the foresightedness of Bishop Jean-Baptiste François Pompallier the Roman Catholic bishop for the Western Pacific who learned Maori the mission became the centre for learning. The bishop set about producing printed books and literature with the help and approval of the local chiefs.

The mission is constructed of rammed earth, has been extensively refurbished and is of architectural importance in Australasia, carefully preserving and indeed a working print shop, tannery and storehouse. Suitable for all ages and be prepared to get involved in all stages of the printing and book binding process but be warned the tannery is quite smelly; but not as it might have been as inorganic urea is now used instead of urine. The building contain, on display several printing presses, fonts of type and the impedimenta used to make and finish leather bound books.
The garden is also worth a look round as it contains an orchard and many plants that would have been imported from Europe. It is a place of excitement yet somehow tranquil and the views from the lookout above the mission by a winding path give excellent views across the bay.

Close to the jetty and along the sea walk give this interesting, fun place a visit the enthusiastic staff will be pleased to meet and show you round and answer any questions.

Visited February 2013
Thank Mic L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Excellent. Tour is a must.”
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Fantastic tour guide bought the house to life. It would be nothing without the guide. Excellent. So glad we visited!

Visited February 2013
Thank RetroPhotoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
63 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Great stories, steeped in rich New Zealand history.”
Reviewed February 6, 2013

We have been twice to Pompallier House and will go again. The story, the place, the staff make this a visit worth its weight. My wife and I have always been partial to earth buildings but this place has inspired us to build our future home in New Zealand of earth. Be sure to get a guided tour.

Visited February 2013
Thank brownprop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pompallier Mission and Printery also viewed

Russell, Bay of Islands
Kerikeri, Bay of Islands
Russell, Bay of Islands

Been to Pompallier Mission and Printery? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing