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What Really Happened - Waitangi


Bishop Pompallier played by Edwin Wright

Edwin Wright as Bishop Jean Baptiste Francois Pompallier

Thirty-eight at the time of the signing of the Treaty, Pompallier was a forceful, confident and somewhat arrogant Frenchman who was absolutely convinced of the right and might of the Catholic Church and his mission to convert heathens.

Although he did have a reasonably enlightened view of the Maori (by the standards of the time) it was also quite patronising.

Pompallier had a 'gentleman's education' and an impressive stature (over 6 feet tall). He was also said to be capable of great charm.

Edwin Wright on Pompallier

"Pompallier is a man that's very aware of the importance of status among the Maori people and uses his own mastery of appearance and ceremony to not so much manipulate people but to work things to his ends. He uses the alliance he has with Rewa to try and gather more people to the Catholic faith. I don't think he's particularly interested in the Treaty as such, more how he can use this occasion to bring more people to Catholic faith...that's how I see him."