St Colman’s, Coromandel is one of the oldest parishes in the Auckland Diocese. Before gold was discovered in the 18oo’s, Coromandel’s main trade was kauri. An American Catholic, William Webster established himself in Coromandel and was visited by Bishop Pompallier in 1841. After 1852 there was a minor goldrush and many Irish Catholic miners were there. Bishop Pompallier re-visited again in 1863 and then Coromandel parish was established in 1865. As well as a small chapel in Driving Creek a church was completed and blessed by Bishop Croke, Auckland’s second Bishop. He named it after his old parish in Ireland—St Colmans.
Archbishop Thomas William Croke, 1824-1902, was appointed Bishop of Auckland in 1870. In 1875 he returned to Ireland as Archbishop of Bashel and Emly in Tipperary and later became a powerful figure in Irish politics at the end of the 19th century. Croke Stadium in Dublin was named after him, and he was the first patron of the GAA.
St Colman became the third Abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne in 661 succeeding Sts Audan and Finan. He supported catholic customs in such matters as the dating of Easter. In 664 at the Synod of Whitby it was voted to follow Roman practices. Colman then resigned and returned to Iona with his Irish monks and 30 English monks. He then decided to settle in Ireland at a new monastery in Irishbofin and island off the coast of Galway. He settled a dispute between the English and Irish monks be establishing a new foundation for the English on the mainland. He died in Irishbofin in 676. his feast day is in October.