Sister moved from Auckland to Northland in 2012 to support Father Tate in researching the historical records of the early Catholic Church in New Zealand. Sister Magdalen received recognition for her secretarial services to Father Henare Tate while he was writing his book; ‘He Puna Iti I te Ao Mārama-A Little Spring in the World of Light.’
“Very special acknowledgement of, and deepest appreciation to, Magdalen Sheahan for her research skill, her tireless efforts of painstaking editing, and her attention to detail in preparing the material for publishing. Thanks to her Congregation, the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion, for their support through her.”
Raiātea Resource and Archive Centre was opened by Bishop Steve Lowe in April 2022. The centre’s museum collection comprises more than 10,000 items including carvings from Polynesia and Micronesia, Māori artefacts gifted to Pā Henare such as carvings, tukutuku panels, cloaks, and taonga pūoro (traditional musical instruments), and taonga from the beginning of the Catholic faith in Aotearoa. It is the first and only hapū-owned and operated museum, research, and learning centre in the country. A great deal of Sister Magdalen’s time is spent greeting people and groups who come to Hāta Maria to learn about the early history of the Church in New Zealand.


Sister Magdalen’s story on video.