Topic: Louis Bidois (1821-1909)

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Frenchman Louis Bidois was an early Tauranga trader, arriving in the area in 1844. His adopted son, Pierre, would marry the son of Te Puna French trader Emile Joseph Borel (1814-1885), and another son, Charles, would marry the daughter of trader John Lees Faulkner (1807-1882), thus linking the three early trading families. Story by Debbie McCauley (still being researched).

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Louis Bidois was born in Bapaume, Pas-De-Calais in France in 1821.

He left Bordeaux, France on board the 'Justine' in 1837 and travelled before arriving in the Bay of Islands in 1839. He was connected with Bishop Pompallier's schooner 'Sancta Maria' during this time, visiting various places around New Zealand, Sydney and the Pacific Islands. He would become known as 'Ruia'. Louis was naturalised in Tauranga on 17 February 1840 (v.5).

In 1844 Louis settled in Tauranga. He married the twice widowed Irihapeti [Elizabeth] Whakamomori Mereana Warneri Kaumoana on 27 December 1844. They were married by French priest, Father Bernard.

Irihapeti was the daughter of Whakamomori and Te Kanohi and belonged to the Pirirakau hapu of Ngati Ranginui (Takitimu waka). She was the granddaughter of Tata and Urupare from the Ngati Ranganui iwi. Her great great grandfather was Takarua from Te Puna (Stokes, p. 148).

Irihapeti was the widow of Edward Warner, a whaler who returned to sea soon after their marriage and died. They had a son, Pierre [later adopted by Lois Bidois]. After Edward's death, Irihapeti married Frenchman, Michael Ottenon, who died soon after they married. It is thought that Michael worked for the Catholic Church. 

The children of Louis and Elizabeth Bidois:

  1. Pierre Peter Kanohi Warner Bidois (1843-1922). Born in December 1843 to Irihapeti and her first husband Edward Warner, later adopted by Louis Bidois. He married  Mereana [Mary Ann] Tangike in Te Puna on 13 July 1871. Mereana was the daughter of Te Puna French trader Emile Joseph Borel (1814-1885). Peter served as a despatch carrier with the British forces during the New Zealand Wars.He died in Te Puna, aged 84, on 31 May 1922 (reg. 1922/11470). His obituary appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 13 June 1922: VETERAN OF THE MAORI WARS. GALLANT SERVICES AS A SOLDIER. The death occurred at Te Puna near Tauranga, of Mr Peter Bidois, a very old resident of the district. He served with the British forces during the Maori war. He gained prominence as a very able despatch carrier and ran many risks during the performance of his duties. He leaves a grown-up family. A brother, Joseph Bidois, was slain at Opepe by Te Kooti’s men.
  2. John [Jean] Baptise Bidois (1846-?). Born on 1 June 1846.
  3. Jean Charles Bidois (1848-?). Born on 13 March 1848.
  4. Joseph Bidois (1850-1869). Born in 1850. Joseph was a member of the Tauranga and Bay of Plenty Volunteer Cavalry who died at Opepe on 7 June 1869. The incident was reported in the Evening Post on 10 June 1869. Joseph is remembered on the St George’s Anglican Memorial Church War Memorial in Gate Pā. Buried in the Opepe Military Cemetery in Taupo.
  5. Makaria Bidois (1850-?). Born in 1850.
  6. Henry Bidois (1851-1879). Born in December 1851. He died, aged 28, in 1879 (reg. 1879/4410).
  7. Adelaide Bidois (1854-1935). Born in Te Puna on 1 October 1854. She married Mr A. M. Davidson. Adelaide died, aged 82, on 25 October 1935 (reg. 1935/22356). Her obituary appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 26 October 1935: MRS A. DAVIDSON. The death occurred at Te Puna this morning of Mrs Adelaide Davidson, widow of the late Mr A. M. Davidson, who for many years was chairman of the Tauranga County Council, aged 82. Mrs Davidson was born at Te Puna and had lived there all her life. She was a daughter of the late Mr Louis Bidois, who was one of the earliest white settlers of Te Puna district. Mrs Davidson is survived by her only daughter (p. 16).
  8. Louis Bidois (1855-1876). Born in February 1855. He died in 1879.
  9. Charles Haare Bidois (1856-1932). Born on 17 December 1856. Charles married Pauline [Porina] Faulkner, daughter of another early trader, John Lees Faulker. Charles died in 1932.
  10. Louis Napolean Bidois (1860-1871). Born in 1860, Louis died at age 12 in 1871 (reg. 1871/8759).
  11. Jacques Hemi Bidois (1862-?). Born in December 1862.
  12. Makarita Bidois (1864-?). Born on 25 October 1864.
  13. Celina Bidois (1870-?). Born on 12 August 1870 (reg. 1870/18147) (Alternate birth date: 1 April 1869).

A letter dated 21 August 1860, written from Auckland and signed by Louis states: 'Sir, I have the honour to request that my name may be inserted in the next proclimation that may appear [?] with Letters of Naturalisation. My name is Louis Bidois, native of Brittany in France, 39 years of age, residing at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, Trader. I was in the service of the mission at Kororāreka [Bay of Islands - later renamed Russell] with Bishop Pompallier in 1840, and from the 17 February of that year I should feel obliged by your permitting the letters to take effect - I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient humble [signed Louis Bidois, witnessed ].

Elizabeth died in 1887.

Louis died at Kareti, Te Puna, aged 89, on 16 April 1909 (reg. 1909/2689). His obituary appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on 19 April 1909:

BIDOIS One of the oldest residents of the Bay of Plenty, in the person of Mr Louis Bidois, passed away at this residence Kareti, Te Puna, on Saturday morning, at the age of 89 years. Deceased was born in the northern part of France, which country he left in the year 1837 and arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1839. For some time he was connected with Bishop Pompalier’s ship, visiting New Zealand, Sydney and the Pacific Islands. Eventually he settled in the Tauranga district in 1844, where he married and is survived by a family of twelve, besides a large number of grandchildren. The funeral took place this afternoon, the interment being made at Te Puna. The last rites of the Roman Catholic Church were performed at the graveside by the Rev Father Van Dijk (p. 2). 


Aaron Bidois (personal communciation, 2015) - third great grandson of Louis Bidois, decended through his son Charles.

Bay of Plenty Times (19 April 1902, p. 2).

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Dunmore, John (Ed.). (1992). The French & the Maori (pp. 125-130).

Evening Post (10 June 1869, p. 2).

New Zealand Herald (13 June 1922, p. 8).

New Zealand Herald (26 October 1935, p. 16).

Steedman, J. A. W. (c1987). Nga Ohaaki o Nga Whanau o Tauranga Moana.

Stokes, Evelyn (1997). The Allocation of Reserves for Maori in the Tauranga Confiscated Lands (Vol. 1, p. 148). [Note: gives a list showing many of the dates of 9 of the children shown above are baptism dates].

Tauranga City Library: New Zealand Room Vertical File (Bidois Family).


This page was archvied at Perma cc March 2017

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Louis Bidois (1821-1909)

First Names:Louis
Last Name:Bidois
Date of Birth:1821
Place of Birth:Bapaume, Pas-De-Calais
Country of birth:France
Date of death:16 April 1909
Place of death:Kareti, Te Puna, Tauranga
Place of burial:Te Puna, Tauranga, New Zealand
First settled:Bay of Islands
Date of Arrival:1839
Name of the ship:Justine
Spouses name:Irihapeti [Elizabeth] Whakamomori Mereana Warneri Kaumoana
Spouses date of birth:c1821
Spouses place of birth:New Zealand
Spouses date of death:1887
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Date of marriage:27 December 1844
Place of marriage:Tauranga
Fathers name:Guillaume Bidois
Mothers name:Anne Christine Monij