The head of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Archbishop David Moxon, has been appointed to represent the worldwide Anglican movement in Rome.
Hamilton-based Archbishop Moxon, 61, will resign from his New Zealand position in April 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, a role he has filled from New Zealand for the past two years.
He has led the Pakeha part of the NZ 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 Moxon, 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.