Thomas and Mary Poynton

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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.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country has two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.

Hokianga bight in New Zealand

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.

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. The most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. Auckland is a diverse, multicultural and cosmopolitan city, home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. A Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.


Early lives

Thomas Poynton was born in Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland. In his earlier life he was educated in France and later convicted of "Whiteboyism". [1] 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, [2] and they married.

Ballivor Village in Leinster, Ireland

Ballivor (pronounced:Bal-Eye-Ver) is a village in County Meath, Ireland. It had a population of 1,809 at the 2016 census.

County Meath County in the Republic of Ireland

County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath. Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044. The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Move to New Zealand

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. [3] In 1835 Thomas Poynton travelled to Sydney to ask for a Catholic priest to serve the Catholic community in New Zealand. [4] 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. [5] 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. [4]

Treaty of Waitangi Treaty between representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs

The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand. It has become a document of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand, and has played a major role in framing the political relations between New Zealand's government and the Māori population, especially from the late-20th century.

Baptism Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water

Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be performed by sprinkling or pouring water on the head, or by immersing in water either partially or completely. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.

Russell, New Zealand Place in Northland Region, New Zealand

Russell, known as Kororareka in the early 19th century, was the first permanent European settlement and seaport in New Zealand. It is situated in the Bay of Islands, in the far north of the North Island.

Later life

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. [6] In 1899 a large Lot 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 and Carmel College Catholic girls school which sits on the edge of Lake Pupuke in Milford. [7] Thomas and Mary Poynton are both buried in O'Neill's Point Cemetery on Auckland's North Shore.

Takapuna Suburb in Auckland Council, New Zealand

Takapuna is a central, coastal suburb of North Shore, Auckland, located in the northern North Island of New Zealand, at the beginning of a south-east-facing peninsula forming the northern side of the Waitematā Harbour. While very small in terms of population, it was the seat of the North Shore City Council before amalgamation into Auckland Council in 2010 and contains substantial shopping and entertainment areas, being considered the CBD of the North Shore.

Sisters of Mercy religious order

The Religious Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.) are members of a religious institute of Catholic women founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland, by Catherine McAuley (1778–1841). As of 2019, the institute has about 6200 sisters worldwide, organized into a number of independent congregations. They also started many education and health care facilities around the globe.

Lake Pupuke lake in New Zealand

Lake Pupuke is a heart-shaped freshwater lake occupying a volcanic crater between the suburbs of Takapuna and Milford on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. The heart shape is a result of its formation by the linking of two circular craters - a larger one forming most of the lake and a smaller one forming the arm in the northeast. Separated from the sea by less than 200 m at one point, it has a circumference of about 4.5 km and reaches 57 m in depth. It is popular for recreational activities and the lakefront property around it.


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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  1. Laracy, Hugh (1997). "Les Peres Maristes: The Irish Connection". Journal de la Société des Océanistes . 105 (105): 187–197. doi:10.3406/jso.1997.2028.
  2. Ballivor and Kildalkey Parishes. "Thomas Poynton". Ballivor and Kildalkey parishes. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  3. "Opening of New Catholic Church at Kaikoura". New Zealand Tablet. 4 June 1897. p. 28.
  4. 1 2 "Nau Mai Haere Mai, Welcome to Pompallier Hokianga". Pompallier Hokianga Trust. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  5. 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. A. H. McLintock (ed.). "Entry for "The Roman Catholic Church: Activities in the Pacific"" . Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  6. "The Catholic Church - Pastoral Visits". Daily Southern Cross. 15 February 1867. p. 4.
  7. Sotheran, Marvynne (2007). Carmel College A Fiftieth Jubilee History 1957-2007. Milford, Auckland: Carmel College. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-473-11963-8.