Anglican Diocese of Dunedin

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Arms of the Diocese of Dunedin

The Diocese of Dunedin is one of the thirteen dioceses and hui amorangi[clarification needed] of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.[1] The diocese covers the same area as the provinces of Otago and Southland in the South Island of New Zealand. Area 65,990 km², population 272,541 (2001). Anglicans are traditionally the third largest religious group in Otago and Southland after Presbyterians and Roman Catholics.

Description of arms: Gules between a cross saltire argent, four starts argent on the fess point a Bible.

The diocese was established in 1869. The seat of the Bishop of Dunedin is St. Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin.

The diocese has a total of 33 parishes. The adaption of "Local Shared Ministry" has been a strategy by which local people are ordained to serve in a parish which cannot afford to support full-time professional clergy.

The diocese includes Anglo-Catholic, broad and Evangelical parishes.


The first person named as Bishop of Dunedin was Henry Lascelles Jenner. At the request of Bishop George Selwyn, Primate of New Zealand, in 1866 Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury, selected Jenner for Dunedin. Jenner was consecrated in 1866 by royal licence as "Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland in our colony of New Zealand". He was consecrated together with Andrew Suter (candidate as 2nd Bishop of Nelson) by Longley, Archibald Tait, Bishop of London (later Archbishop of Canterbury) and William Thomson, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol on 24 August 1866 at Canterbury Cathedral. In 1867 Jenner embarked on a fundraising tour in England for his new diocese. He was an enthusiastic Anglo-Catholic. When news of his "ritualist" activities reached Dunedin, anti-ritualist and anti-catholic sentiment was whipped up in the city and diocese. New Zealand's 4th General Synod (1868) asked Jenner to give up his claim to the see of Dunedin. In 1869 the first session of the Dunedin diocesan synod rejected Jenner's claim to the see. Jenner resigned the see of Dunedin in 1871, the same year that S. T. Nevill was consecrated and enthroned as the first Bishop of Dunedin.

In 1990 the diocese made history by electing Penny Jamieson as their seventh bishop. Jamieson was the first woman to become a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion and only the second woman consecrated bishop, the first being Bishop Barbara Harris. The eighth bishop was the Right Revd George Connor, who became Bishop of Dunedin in 2005. The diocese gained some publicity in 2006 when (with the support of the Diocesan Standing Committee), Bishop Connor ordained an openly gay man to the diaconate. A moratorium on ordinations in the diocese was declared until the New Zealand church achieved a common mind on the full inclusion of homosexual persons at every level of ministry in the church. Bishop Connor retired in November 2009. The ninth Bishop of Dunedin, the Right Revd Kelvin Wright, was installed in February 2010 and retired in April 2017.

List of bishops[edit]

Bishops of Dunedin
From Until Incumbent Notes
1866 Henry Lascelles Jenner Consecrated but resigned before enthronement.
1871 1919 Samuel Nevill Also Primate of New Zealand from 1904.
1920 1934 Isaac Richards
1934 1952 William Fitchett
1953 1969 Allen Johnston Translated to Waikato; later Archbishop of New Zealand.
1969 1975 Walter Robinson
1976 1989 Peter Mann
1989 2004 Penny Jamieson
2005 2009 George Connor Translated from Bay of Plenty, Diocese of Waiapu
2010 2017 Kelvin Wright

Social service organisations[edit]

  • The South Centre, Invercargill.
  • Anglican Family Care Centre, Dunedin.


University hall of residence[edit]

Homes for the aged[edit]

  • St Barnabas Home, Dunedin
  • Parata Home, Gore
  • Takitimu Home, Invercargill
  • North Otago Anglican Homes for the Aged, Oamaru


In the past the diocese operated St Mary's Orphanage, Dunedin.

Religious orders[edit]

  • The Community of Sisters of the Church was active in the diocese from the end of the 19th century until the 1930s. They were invited by Bishop Nevill to found a school for girls. They founded St Hilda's Collegiate School.
  • Brother Keith, a solitary religious with vows to the bishop, was active in the diocese in the 1990s.
  • From 2011 a friar of the Society of Saint Francis is residing in the diocese during his doctoral studies at the University of Otago.

Companion dioceses[edit]

  • Edinburgh
  • Eastern Zambia

Jenner controversy[edit]

The episode of Bishop Jenner's appointment to the See of Dunedin is part of the history of the Anglican Communion. It concerns the relationship of the Archbishop of Canterbury to that Communion and the development of synodical government within it. The Queen's mandate for his consecration referred simply to a bishop from the colony of New Zealand (it also authorised the consecration of Bishop Suter for Nelson) the request of Bishop Selwyn was for a bishop to be Bishop of Dunedin. Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop Selwyn personally addressed Bishop Jenner as Bishop of Dunedin.

While the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand is proud of its history and heritage there is a lingering sense of embarrassment and shame over what came to be known as "The Jenner Controversy" even though the affair took place over a century ago.[citation needed] In the interval, church historians have mulled over the events which led Bishop Jenner finally and very reluctantly to forgo his claims to the See of Dunedin and their conclusions are generally that something less than justice was accorded to the bishop by the diocese and the General Synod. Jenner participated in the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 as the Bishop of Dunedin.


  1. ^ Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. "About". Retrieved 8 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°54′10″S 170°25′43″E / 45.902907°S 170.428629°E / -45.902907; 170.428629