A special evening service will be held in Hastings for Archbishop David Moxon, who leaves New Zealand next month to become the chief Anglican representative to the Catholic Church in Rome.
Mr Moxon was appointed curate, assisting the vicar, at St Luke's in Havelock North in 1978 and went on to be ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Waiapu.
He remained at Havelock North until 1981.
The 61 year old, who is now the head of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, has been based in Hamilton but will resign to take up a three- to five-year term as the Anglican Representative to the Holy See.
He will also continue to lead the Anglican side of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, an important role he has filled from New Zealand for the past two years.
Ngati Kahungunu Iwi chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said Archbishop Moxon's wife, Tureiti, was a well-known Hawke's Bay woman of Ngati Pahauwera (Mohaka district) descent. A special evening service was planned for the couple at a church at Waipatu Marae to recognise their connection with Hawke's Bay and Archbishop Moxon's post to Rome.
"It's a big honour to have Archbishop Moxon here and we're inviting people to attend the evening service.
"It's also a very special occasion for Ngati Pahauwera and the wider Hawke's Bay community as I believe he started his ministry work in Havelock North."
Archbishop Moxon has led the Pakeha part of the New Zealand Anglican Church since 2006 and has been Bishop of Waikato since 1993, when he was the country's youngest bishop.
He said moving to Rome was "a huge responsibility".
"People took the initiative in suggesting it some time ago. I have had to wrestle with it," he said.
"I do feel now that this is a genuine call on my life and that I ought to give it 120 per cent."
His wife, Tureiti, will stay in Hamilton "in the immediate future" because of her role as director of Te Kohao Health, which has recently opened a $4 million health centre at Hamilton's Kirikiriroa Marae.
"But fortunately this job has given me generous home leave and we expect to be a global whanau," Archbishop Moxon said.
He said the couple's four adult children were all starting to think about overseas experience and were "very excited at having a European base".
The international commission that he heads has worked in three separate phases since it was set up in 1967. Pope John Paul II pulled the Catholic side out of its work several years ago partly because of the appointment of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, the Anglicans' American branch. "The commission has been working on the doctrinal differences," Archbishop Moxon said.
The Waipatu service will be held on April 17.