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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Jerusalem (Hihuharama)

page 1457

Jerusalem (Hihuharama).

Jerusalem, or Hihuharama, as the Maoris pronounce the word, is situated fifty-one miles north from Wanganui on the left bank of that grand river. It is in the Electorate of Patea and the County of Waitotara. The settlement is considered the most picturesque on the Wanganui River. As the steamer rounds the bend nearing the settlement, the picture unfolded to the eyes of the tourist is that of a grassy knoll studded with Maori whares, quaintly constructed and carved, surrounding a very prettily designed Roman Catholic Church with a tall wooden spire. The Maori pah at Jerusalem has a population of about 200, and on the occasion of the writer's visit a large and motley gathering greeted the return of the “queen of the settlement,” Mother Mary Joseph Aubert. Jerusalem is best known as the headquarters of a French Roman Catholic Mission to the Maoris. Mails are received and despatched twice weekly in the summer months by the river-steamers, the post-office being at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Mission. A few miles lower down the river is the settlement of Ranana (London).

Jerusalem Foundling Home was established in 1886 by Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, a member of the Roman Catholic Mission, and Superior of the Order of Our Lady of Compassion. Receiving outcast infants from any part of New Zealand, at the time of writing some thirty of these infants were housed in a comfortable home and attended by the lady superintendent and fifteen Sisters of her order. The home is maintained from the proceeds of a 700 acre farm and orchard, owned by Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, and from the sale of her well-known herbal remedies. Gifts of money or cast-off clothing are, however, thankfully accepted from charitably-disposed people, visitors being welcomed at all times. The children are well cared for, and educated when old enough for instruction.

Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, Superintendent of the Foundling Home, came to Auckland in 1860 from Lyons, France, with Bishop Pompalier, to enter mission work among the Maoris. She laboured eleven years in Auckland, and in Hawkes Bay for twelve years, starting a native school in 1883 on the Wanganui River. Having had opportunities of testing the medicinal value of many New Zealand herbs, and finding medicines expensive, she commenced to manufacture remedies for use among the natives. So wonderfully successful were her home-made remedies in dealing with difficult cases of affliction, that she was persuaded to put them on the market, and by the proceeds assist her foundling asylum. She has now five herbal remedies before the public, viz., “Marupa,” for chest affections; “Karana,” a nerve tonic; “Karamo,” a liver and gout remedy: “Wanena,” for wounds and page 1458 sores; and “Natanata,” for stomach, scrofula, and skin disorders. Two buildings are devoted to the manufacture of the remedies at Jerusalem. Samples of the remedies were sent for trial to the French soldiers engaged in the Madagascar war, and to the Pasteur Institute for inspection, and wholesale agents have been appointed in different parts of the world.