Christchurch Bishop and former Hawke's Bay schoolboy Paul Martin has been appointed to a new Catholic Church role which is likely to see him become head of the church in New Zealand.
The appointment of Bishop Paul Martin, 53, as coadjutor - Archbishop of Wellington has been confirmed by Pope Francis.
In the role he will assist Metropolitan Archbishop of Aotearoa Cardinal John Dew. A church statement says co-adjutors usually succeed when the incumbent retires.
Bishop was born in Hastings and attended local Catholic schools St Joseph's and St John's College, before entering the formation for the Society of Mary in 1985.
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In 1991 he worked in an Aborigine community in Australia's Northern Territory and in 1993 completed a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology at the Angelicum University of Rome.
Ordained a priest in that year, he was to serve several teaching roles in New Zealand, and in 2014 took up a position of Bursar General in Rome, before being appointed Bishop of Christchurch late in 2017 and consecrated the following March.