Father John Adams appointed as Bishop of Palmerston North

Published on 22nd Jun, 2023

The Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North is pleased to share the following good news with you.

Pope Francis has chosen Father John Adams to be the new bishop of Palmerston North.

Bishop-elect John is currently a priest of the Diocese of Christchurch and is based in Rangiora. Once ordained, he will be the third Bishop of Palmerston North.

We express our gratitude and warmest congratulations to Bishop-elect John as takes on this new role and a Mass of Ordination and Installation will be announced, once details have been confirmed.

Please pray for John during this time of preparation, leading up to his ordination.


Fr Craig Butler

Local Administrator
Diocese of Palmerston North


Pope Francis has appointed Father John Adams from the Diocese of Christchurch as the new Catholic Bishop of Palmerston North.


The appointment was announced in Rome at 10pm New Zealand time, Thursday 22 June.

Ordained as a priest in 2003, Christchurch-born Bishop-elect Adams is the parish priest of St Peter Chanel Parish in North Canterbury. He is a trained teacher who has served as the Christchurch Diocese Vicar for Education since 2013 and the chair of the diocesan Council of Priests since 2015.

“I was initially surprised but then joyful to hear, just over a week ago, about the invitation to become the next Catholic Bishop of Palmerston North,” says Bishop-elect Adams.

“Whilst I am saddened that my very happy and fulfilled days in the Diocese of Christchurch will soon come to an end, I have experienced God’s providence in my life enough to know that the power of his grace is not limited by location. Surely, we now live in a time that urgently needs to hear the ‘good news’ of the Gospel.

“To the people of the Palmerston North diocese, I want to say that my prayers for you have already begun, and I am looking forward to living and sharing with you that same ‘good news’,” said Bishop-elect Adams.

The President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop of Auckland Stephen Lowe, warmly welcomed the Pope’s announcement.

“We are delighted with Fr John’s appointment as the new Bishop of Palmerston North,” says Bishop Lowe. “Bishop-elect John is a loved parish priest who will bring a rich experience of pastoral and spiritual leadership to his new diocese. We look forward to sharing with the people of the diocese in the ordination of their new shepherd.”

A date is yet to be set for the ordination of Bishop-elect Adams, but it is likely to be by the end of September.

His appointment fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Bishop Charles Drennan as Bishop of Palmerston North in 2019.

Find out more about Bishop-elect John here.

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