An extract from the history of the Consulate of Belguim in Auckland:
History of the Consulate of Belgium in Auckland.
The records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels show that the Belgian
Consulate in Auckland was established just three years after the signing of the Treaty
of Waitangi when Charles De Witte was appointed as Consul in 1843.
King Leopold II displayed an interest in the South Pacific and the potential to
establish a Belgian community in New Zealand. Charles De Witte who had married
Adele Celestine Gillodtz, a young lady associated with the Belgian royal family, set
sail for New Zealand aboard the Mandarin arriving in Auckland in 1843.
He was accompanied by his wife, their two daughters and several retainers.
The family initially lived in Princes Street and moved later to St Georges Bay Road.
They also acquired a two hundred and seven acre block at Putike on Waiheke Island
and established an orchard, planted vines and built a cottage on this site which was
maintained by an old family retainer, Pierre De Norrie.
Their eldest daughter, Helen, married Laughlin O’Brien who was pursuing a legal
career and sat as a member of the House of Representatives in Auckland, the young
colony’s first Capital. The marriage was the social event of the year and the
ceremony was held in St Patrick’s Cathedral and conducted by Bishop Pompallier.
Adele died in 1864 and a requiem mass was held for her at the Church of St John the
Baptist in Parnell.
Charles De Witte resigned as Consul in 1870 and the management of the Consulate
was entrusted to Laughlin O’Brien. The Colonial Government however refused to
recognise this and the Consulate was closed down in 1873.