August 2020 was 180 yrs since the arrival of the Comte de Paris in Akaroa.

email webmaster@libeau-family.org & request the latest information for the 180yrs commemorations, March 2021.


Libeau Family in New Zealand 


A brief history:

On March 15 1840 the Comte de Paris sailed from Rochefort, France, heading for Banks Peninsula in New Zealand.

Joseph Libeau (1807 - 1883)

Joseph Libeau (1807 – 1883)

Passengers included Joseph Libeau (snr) and his wife Magdelaine as well as two children, Catherine Melanie and Joseph Lucien, aged 6yrs, with a third, Armand Isidore, born on the journey. He was named after the second captain Charles Armand Isidore Desprairies. He died aged two and is buried at the L’Aube Hill cemetery.

On August 17 1840 the anchor was dropped in Akaroa harbour.  An English ship (the Britomart) had  already arrived only three days earlier.

In Akaroa another six children were born to Joseph and Magdelaine, one child died only days after birth. At age 42, Magdelaine died 5 days after giving birth to Julia Eliza.

Joseph remarried in 1852 to Mary Ann Hedgman with an additional eight children being born. Mary Ann’s family had recently emigrated from Surrey in 1851 and were living in Lyttelton. She had been a school teacher and was fond of reading. Mary Ann died in Christchurch, 24th April 1901 and was buried in a paupers grave (unmarked) in the Sydenham cemetery. 105 years later a family member purchased the plot and in 2007 a headstone was erected on the grave.

Original home of Joseph Libeau 1899.

Original home of Joseph Libeau 1899.

  Some of the original buildings that were built   by Joseph Libeau still stand. He established a brick kiln in Rue Grehan and remains of the old stables, now with Heritage protection, are still there today. Society members are more than happy to point them out.

In Akaroa a number of the grave sites of the family who landed can also be found. Joseph sen. is buried in the Anglican Cemetery on Heppleman Dve and Joseph jun. at the Duvauchelle Cemetery on Okains Bay Rd 

On the weekend of August 17-19 1990 the 150 year commemoration was held in Christchurch and Akaroa, NZ.

Year 2020 is 180 yrs since the French and German settlers arrived. Commemorations are planned in March 2021.


“To the Wilderness”         SOLD OUT

“An important story for those interested in New Zealand’s colonial history and in particular the French settlement at Akaroa.”  
This book is written by Kevin Clark and Angela Pyke, sixth and seventh generation descendants of Magdelaine Chauvet and Joseph Libeau (snr).

It is the result of over 10 years of research and the compilation of stories, documents and photographs generously provided by family members who have collected, written about and recorded family history. The book also draws on research by other
writers, discussion with many people, documents discovered in archives and reports in old newspapers.


Libeau Book – revisedLibeau Book

The Libeau Family of Banks Peninsula – revised 2012.
Complete fully revised printing, now 975 pages of family history, a huge number of never seen before photo’s, then and now.
Previous book was printed in 1995 with 687 pages.
email webmaster@libeau-family.org for an order form.


French Akaroa by Peter TremewanJoseph Libeau (1807 - 1883)

Each month features Libeau family members from the first 2-3 generations after arrival in New Zealand in 1840, including photographs and brief biographical notes.
Book Review>>



Site last updated February 13, 2021 @ 12:59 pm; This content last updated February 13, 2021 @ 12:59 pm