Bishop Peter Cullinane

Bishop Peter was the first bishop of the Diocese of Palmerston North which was created in 1980. After many years of service, he retired in 2012 but still continues to be an active member of the Diocese. Bishop Peter is a respected writer and leader of retreats who, in his retirement, is still busy at local, national, and international levels.

To view a collection of Bishop Peter’s writings on various topics over the years, click here.



Bishop Peter’s logo echoes Jesus’ greeting to his disciples after his resurrection:  “Peace be with you”.  It was at Easter, 1980, that the Diocese of Palmerston North came into being and Pentecost became its Patronal Feast.

Email contact: [email protected]


  • Born: 29 November 1936, at Oringi, near Dannevirke
  • Primary Schooling:  Waiaruhe (district school);  St Joseph’s Dannevirke
  • Secondary School: at Marist Brothers’ High School, Palmerston North
  • Seminaries: Holy Name Seminary, Christchurch, 1956-58;  Genoa, 1958-62
  • Ordained Priest: 23 December 1961, Genoa
  • Degrees: Licentiate in Sacred Theology, Angelicum, Rome, 1964, Master of Theology, Otago, 1980
  • Appointments:  Basilica of the Sacred Heart Wellington., 1965-72; Pastoral Centre Staff, Palmerston North, 1973-80; Part time lecturer in Theology, Holy Cross College, 1969-77
  • Appointed first Bishop of Palmerston North, March 1980
  • Ordained Bishop: 23 April 1980
  • President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference between 1997 and 2003
  • Member of the Episcopal Board of ICEL between 1983 and 2003
  • Awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community

Have a question? We can help. Get in touch with the Diocese.