A 300 page book, The French Place in the Bay of Islands, which sheds new light on Maori-Pakeha relations in Northland at the time the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, has been launched.
France's Ambassador in New Zealand Francis Etienne attended the launch at Pompallier House at Russell, which was originally called Kororareka.
The book's editor Kate Martin says it brings to life people who would play an important part in the early history of New Zealand, such as Bishop Pompallier.
She says stories trace the colourful and often controversial life of French Marist missionaries who set out to not only convert Maori to Christianity but also to teach them to read.
Ms Martin says 18 of New Zealand's leading writers and historians contributed to the book, including Dame Anne Salmond, Henare Tate and Manuka Henare.