Topic: Pierre Charles Potier (1815-1890)

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Pierre Charles Potier arrived in New Zealand on board the 'Bourdon' on 5 May 1839. In 1840 he moved to Tauranga, later farming at Te Puna. His grandchild would marry a son of fellow French settler Emile Joseph Borel (1814-1885). Pierre's last name was sometimes spelt 'Potea' to reflect his Pakeha Maori status.

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Pierre Charles Potier was born in Honfleur (Calvados), France on 17 August 1815.

In 1939 he deserted from the whaling ship 'Bourbon' in the Bay of Islands, his training as a harpooner cut short.

He married Porina (Pauline) Te Arapapa of the Te Pirirākau (Te Puna) hapu of Ngati Ranginui. She was the daughter of Puhi and Miria. Their children were:

  1. Heni/Jane Mata Potier (1835-1932). Born in 1835. She married Joseph Te Kira John Faulkner, son of John Lees Faulkner (1811-1882).  She died on 22 October 1932. 
  2. Charles Rotohiko Potier (?-1869). Charles worked as a lineman for the telegraph service at Katikati. He 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. Charles is remembered on the St George’s Anglican Memorial Church War Memorial in Gate Pā. Buried in the Opepe Military Cemetery in Taupo.
  3. Alfred Potier (c1849-1876). Employed repairing swamp tracks between Tauranga and Katikati. He married Rebekah. Alfred drowned off Kauri Point in Katikati on 27 August 1876 in suspicious circumstances. His son Francis also drowned four years after his father: POTTIER Funeral of Mr James Pottier’s son. Last Saturday there was a great assemblage of natives at Okimoki, Te Puna, when Francis (the infant son of James Pottier) who was drowned at Bowentown, Katikati, accidentally in a well, was conveyed to his last resting place. Immediately after two o’clock in the afternoon the large door of his grandmother’s (Pauline) tomb – the late great chieftainess of Te Puna who was married to Charles Pottier during the time of Bishop Pompalier’s French Mission here – was opened to receive her grandson’s remains, which were carried by his bereaved father. The body of the little chief was embalmed and put in two coffins and placed on top of where its grandmother lies. Both the father and grandfather stood in front of the coffins with two of their faithful friends (young Borell and Louis) inside the tomb, all the natives standing round about the tomb outside. After a while came Rebekah, the young mother of the child, accompanied by her husband’s sister, Heni, both of them dressed in deep black to the front of the tomb door and after a short pause the bereaved mother read the burial service over her son’s corpse with much solemnity in Maori. It was heart piercing to hear her when she said “I commit thy body to the ground; oh thou my loving son; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust &c. The father stood over his son’s coffin and wept quietly for a quarter of an hour as did also those present. The voice of the kind old Pottier was also heard with bitter sorrow when he said to his son in French “Ne pheure pas; mon fila, notre petit enfant n’est pas mort; mais il dort – Weep not, my son; our little child is not dead but sleepeth. There was a great crowd of natives among whom I noticed Elizabeth, Selina, Hemi Bidois and other members of the family. The scene was touchingly solemn and all seemed to be deeply sorry for the loss of their great chieftain’s little son. I join in sympathising deeply with our friend Pottier and his family in their bereavement and hope that the kind and merciful God who has sent the rod will soften it with blessing and comfort (Bay of Plenty Times, 20 November 1880, p.2). 
  4. James Potier (1850-1890). He married Rebecca Rosalie Borrel (1855-1947), possibly a daughter of Te Puna setter and trader Emile Joseph Borel (1814-1885). James died, aged 40, on 12 March 1890.

Pierre died in Te Puna on 18 August 1890.



Bay of Plenty Times (3 April 1878, p. 2).

Bay of Plenty Times (18 August 1890, p. 2).

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

McCauley, Debbie (2014). War Memorials: St George’s Church (Gate Pā).


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2016). Pierre Charles Potier (1815-1890)Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2016).

This page was archived at perma cc March 2017

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Pierre Charles Potier (1815-1890)

First Names:Pierre Charles
Last Name:Potier
Date of Birth:17 August 1815
Place of Birth:Honfleur, Calvados, Lower Normandy
Country of birth:France
Date of death:18 August 1890
Place of death:Te Puna, North Island, New Zealand
Date of Arrival:5 May 1839
Name of the ship:Bourbon
Place of settlement in Bay of Plenty:Te Puna
Spouses name:Porina Te Arapapa
Spouses date of death:dead by 1866
Place of marriage:New Zealand
Fathers name:Jean Charles Potier
Fathers date of birth:1791
Mothers name:Marie Anne Desiree Grin
Mothers date of birth:1788