Wrecked on a Reef
Born and educated in Paris, France, Christiane Mortelier graduated from La Sorbonne with a Licence es Lettres and Diplome d' Etudes Supérieures in English literature. She came to New Zealand from 1956 to 1958 on a New Zealand government fellowship for post-graduate study on Katherine Mansfield, and toured the four university colleges in turn teaching French.
Back in France in 1958 she taught English while preparing for advanced French qualifications, which she gained in 1959. She came back to New Zealand and married in 1960. From 1965 until her retirement in 1994 she taught French language and literature as a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington.
Christiane Mortelier published several research articles on Katherine Mansfield's work and on French poetry. Her analysis of Paroles by Jacques Prévert (Hachette 1976) was followed by Anthoiogie Prévert(Methuen 1980), which was on the syllabus for years. Keenly interested in French writings on New Zealand, she has published articles on French doctors on whaling ships, the Maori in French writings of the 18th and 19th centuries, and Jules Verne. Her translation and edition of Dr Louis Thiercelin's 1866 journal was published as Travels in Oceania(University of Otago Press 1995), followed by her translation and edition of Leconte de Lisle's poem Le Dernier des Maourys(Wai-te-ata Press 1998).
Made an officer of the Palmes Académiques by the French government for services to education and the French language, Christiane Mortelier lives in Wellington close to her three daughters and grandchildren. She is currently completing an illustrated work on Jules Verne and New Zealand.