New Zealand is part of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, comprising two main islands and many more smaller ones. It is notable for its geographic isolation, 1250 miles from Australia. The population is in majority of European descent, with the Maori being the largest minority.
New Zealand is one of the last territories discovered by man: the Maori came between 1200 and 1300 AD, and in 1642 the islands were "discovered" by the Europeans. An ancient British colony, then a dominion in 1907, it became completely independent in 1947 while still maintaining close ties with the UK and Australia.
A witness to the colonial era and located on the South Island, Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican rite), in the city of Christchurch, capital of the Canterbury province, is one of the most ancient and visited monuments of the island, with more than half a million tourists each year. Its 13-bell carillon is the most well-known in the archipelago.
Churches and chapels
Churches and chapels dedicated to Mary are quite numerous, with names such as Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary Help of Christians, Our Lady of Good Counsel, OL of the Rosary, OL of the Assumption, OL of the Carmel, OL of the Angels, OL of the Woods, OL of the Snows, OL of the Alps, OL of Lourdes, OL de Fatima etc. Our Lady of Peace in invoked everywhere in the archipelago.
Eileen Duggan (1) composed a special poem to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, announcing for the whole world "like a cloak of hope," while the Son of the Virgin comes to save the earth. It asks Mary to: "Gather us in your hands in a peace which envelops all nations."
(1) Eileen DUGGAN, Our Lady of the Globe, in the Sacred Heart Girls' College Magazine, Christchurch, N.Z. 1953.
Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque continenti, Ed. Segno, Udine, 1997.