Thomas Poynton (1802 – 1892) and Mary Poynton (1812 – 1891) and their children were among the first Catholic families to settle in New Zealand. They were instrumental in bringing Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier to New Zealand and were involved in the growth of Catholicism and Catholic missions in the Hokianga and later on in the North Shore of Auckland.
Thomas Poynton was born in Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland. In his earlier life he was educated in France and later convicted of "Whiteboyism".He was transported to Sydney in 1822. Later he met Mary Kennedy, who had been born in Sydney, and was also from an Irish Catholic background, and they married.
In 1828, they moved to New Zealand. They were based in the Hokianga and lived in Papakawau. They still resided there at the time of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. They had three children, Mary Margaret (born 1830), Edward (born 1832) and Catherine (born 1836). There was no Catholic parish in New Zealand at the time so they travelled to Sydney to have their first two children baptised.In 1835 Thomas Poynton travelled to Sydney to ask for a Catholic priest to serve the Catholic community in New Zealand. In Rome the wheels had already been turning and in 1833 a decision had been made to appoint a Bishop to serve New Zealand and the surrounding Pacific Islands. Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier arrived 10 January 1838 and stayed at the home of Thomas and Mary Poynton until his own house was established in Kororareka. With the Poynton family in the congregation, Pompallier celebrated the first Mass in New Zealand on 13 January 1838 at Totara Point, Hokianga.
Thomas Poynton had made a very good income from the timber industry as a sawmill owner in the Hokianga. Later on Thomas and Mary Poynton owned a large amount of land in Takapuna and donated some of it to Bishop Pompallier in 1867.In 1899 a large plot of land was purchased by the Sisters of Mercy from Catherine Shea, the youngest of the Poynton children. The land owned by the Sisters of Mercy would eventually be used to build two Catholic schools, St Joseph's Takapuna primary school and Carmel College girls' secondary school, which sits on the edge of Lake Pupuke in Milford. Thomas and Mary Poynton are both buried in O'Neill's Point Cemetery on Auckland's North Shore.
On the North Shore there is a Crescent named after Mary Poynton and there is a large retirement facility on Shakespeare Road named "The Poynton" after the family who had originally owned the land it is built on.
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The Hokianga is an area surrounding the Hokianga Harbour, also known as the Hokianga River, a long estuarine drowned valley on the west coast in the north of the North Island of New Zealand.
The Catholic Church in New Zealand is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope in Rome, assisted by the Roman Curia, and with the New Zealand bishops.
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Carmel College is a Catholic secondary school for girls located in Milford on Auckland's North Shore. It was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1957 starting with a student roll of only 15 girls. The College's brother school is nearby Rosmini College.
Pompallier Catholic College is a Catholic co-educational secondary school located in the suburb of Maunu in Whangarei, New Zealand. It is one of nine secondary schools within the Marist network. Pompallier Catholic College is named after Bishop Jean Baptiste Francois Pompallier who led the first group of Catholic Missionaries from Lyons, France, to New Zealand. The patron saint of the college is John the Baptist. Students of Pompallier Catholic College are colloquially known as Pompallians.
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Sancta Maria College is a co-ed Catholic School in Auckland, New Zealand. It is named after the schooner on which Bishop Pompallier travelled around New Zealand.
Philippe Joseph Viard was a French priest and the first Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Wellington, New Zealand.
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The following lists events that happened during 1838 in New Zealand.
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Louis Catherin Servant was a French priest and missionary to New Zealand.
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