Kate Martin, the curator of Pompallier House, was awarded the medal of Chevalier dans l’ordre national des Arts et Lettres by the French Ambassador on Wednesday, 31 March in Wellington.
Kate’s award, Chevalier dans l’ordre national des Arts et Lettres, (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) is in recognition of her significant contribution in promoting French culture and heritage. She is just the fifth New Zealander to receive this recognition.
Kate Martin manages the historic Pompallier Mission at Russell, which was once the headquarters to the Marist Mission to the Western Pacific.
Pompallier House is the oldest Roman Catholic building in New Zealand and is New Zealand’s oldest rammed earth building and oldest industrial building.
Named after New Zealand’s first Catholic Bishop, Jean-Baptiste Pompallier, Pompallier House was sold by the Mission and passed through the hands of several private owners. In 1941 it was purchased by the New Zealand Government and in the 1990’s was fully restored.