Bishop-Elect John Adams Announced

22 June 2023

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 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,

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’,”

Bishop-Elect John Adams

Bishop John Adams 2

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.

About Bishop-Elect John

Fr John Lewis Adams

  • Date of Birth: 18 November 1963
  • Place of Birth: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Priestly Ordination: 4 July 2003; Diocese: Christchurch


  • Northcote Primary School, Christchurch 1968 – 1974
  • Casebrook Intermediate School, Christchurch 1975 – 1976
  • St Bede’s College, Christchurch 1977 – 1981


  • Bachelor of Science Canterbury University, NZ
  • Diploma in Teaching, Christchurch Technical College, NZ
  • Bachelor of Theology, Auckland, NZ
  • Advanced Diploma in Theology, Sydney, Australia


  • Good Shepherd House, Christchurch 1995
  • Holy Cross Seminary, Auckland, NZ 1996 – 2003


  • July 2003 – February 2004: St Teresa’s Parish – assistant priest
  • 2004 – 2005: St Patrick’s Parish, Greymouth – assistant priest
  • 2005 – 2007: St Patrick’s Parish, Greymouth – administrator
  • 2008 – 2010: Christ the King Parish – assistant
  • 2011 – 2018: St Joseph’s Parish – parish priest
  • 2019 – current St Peter Chanel Parish – parish priest

OTHER APPOINTMENTS (all in Christchurch Diocese):

  • Tertiary Chaplain 2008 – 2010
  • Clergy Trust Fund 2011 – 2021
  • Council of Priests 2009 – current
  • Chair, Council of Priests 2015 – 2023
  • College of Consultors 2014 – still current
  • Episcopal Vicar for Education 2013 – current
  • Chair, Education Council 2015 – current.