Paul Reeves: Wikis


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The Right Reverend and
The Honourable

 Sir Paul Alfred Reeves

In office
22 November 1985 – 20 November 1990
Prime Minister David Lange (1985 - 1989)
Geoffrey Palmer (1989 - 1990)
Mike Moore (1990)
Preceded by Sir David Beattie
Succeeded by Dame Catherine Tizard

Born 6 December 1932 (1932-12-06) (age 77)
Wellington, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Spouse(s) Beverley Watkins, QSO
Profession Anglican Bishop

Sir Paul Alfred Reeves, ONZ, GCMG, GCVO, CF, QSO (born December 6, 1932) was Archbishop and Primate of New Zealand from 1980 to 1985 and Governor-General of New Zealand from 22 November 1985 to 20 November 1990.



Reeves was educated at Wellington College and at Victoria College, University of New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington), where he graduated a BA in 1955 and an MA in 1956. He went on to study for ordination in the Church of the Province of New Zealand at St John's College, Auckland, receiving his Licentiate in Theology in 1958.

Ministry as deacon and priest

Reeves was ordained deacon in 1958. After serving a brief curacy at Tokoroa, he spent the period 195964 in England. From 1959 until 1961 he was an Advanced Student at St Peter's College, Oxford (BA 1961, MA 1965) as well as Assistant Curate at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. He was ordained priest in 1960. He served two further curacies in England, first at Kirkley St Peter (196163), then at Lewisham St Mary (196364).

Returning to New Zealand, Reeves was Vicar of Okato St Paul (196466), Lecturer in Church History at St John's College, Auckland (196669), and Director of Christian Education for the Anglican Diocese of Auckland (196971).

Ministry as bishop, archbishop, and primate

In 1971 Reeves was appointed Bishop of Waiapu and consecrated to the episcopate. He was Bishop of Auckland 197985 and Archbishop and Primate of New Zealand 198085.


Involvement in politics

During this time he also served as chairman of the Environmental Council (197476); he was a supporter of Citizens for Rowling (the campaign for the re-election of Labour Prime Minister Bill Rowling); and he served as president of the National Council of Churches in New Zealand (198485).


In 2004 Reeves attracted controversy by making a statement in support of New Zealand becoming a republic, stating in an interview, "...if renouncing knighthoods was a prerequisite to being a citizen of a republic, I think it would be worth it."[1] However, he subsequentially stated that he did not want to partake in a debate on the matter.

Police Tasers

Reeves has recently been involved in a campaign against the New Zealand Police being armed with Taser guns[2].


On the advice of Prime Minister David Lange, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Reeves as the 16th Governor-General of New Zealand on 22 November 1985. His appointment was met with some scepticism due to his previous political involvement in Citizens for Rowling, opposing the 1981 Springbok Tour, and the fact that he was an ordained Bishop. The Leader of the Opposition, Jim McLay opposed the appointment on these grounds,[3] stating "How can an ordained priest fulfil that [constitutional] role?". However, many Maori groups welcomed the appointment, with Sir James Henare arguing "It must be a fruit of the Treaty of Waitangi to see a person from our people".[3] He was the first (and up to the present day the only) cleric to hold the post. Moreover, as a member of the Puketapu Hapu of the Te Atiawa of Taranaki, he was the first (and again, only) Governor-General to be at least partially of Māori descent (although not the first to be fluent in Te Reo Māori).

During his term, Sir Paul joined the Newtown Residents' Association, and invited members of that association to visit Government House.

Reeves remained in office until 20 November 1990.


After his retirement from the vice-regal office Reeves became the Anglican Consultative Council Observer at the United Nations in New York (199193) and Assistant Bishop of New York (199194). From 1994 until 1995 he served briefly as Dean of Te Whare Wānanga o Te Rau Kahikatea (the theological college of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, and a constituent member of St John's College, Auckland). He was also Deputy Leader of the Commonwealth Observer group to South Africa, Chair of the Nelson Mandela Trust, and Visiting Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.

Reeves went on to chair the Fiji Constitution Review Commission from 1995 until 1997, culminating in Fiji's readmission to the Commonwealth, until its suspension in 2000. On 12 December 2007 it was reported that Reeves was involved with "secret talks" to resolve Fiji's year-long political crisis, following the 2006 Fijian coup d'état[4].

He is currently the Chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology.

Honours and other awards

Reeves was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), he was appointed a Chaplain of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in April 1982,[5] Knight Bachelor in the New Zealand Birthday Honours 1985, a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George on 6 November 1985, a Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1986,[6] and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on 2 March 1986.[7] In 1990 he became a Companion of the Queen's Service Order. He is also a Companion of the Order of Fiji.

There was some concern regarding Reeves' using the title Sir, as members of the clergy in the Church of England do not usually receive this title when knighted, and the same rule presumably applied to the Anglican Church in New Zealand. To avoid placing the Queen in an awkward situation (Governors General would by tradition be knighted by her in person at Buckingham Palace), the Prime Minister of the time, David Lange, made Reeves a Knight Bachelor before meeting her. Consequently, when Reeves went to receive the GCMG from the Queen, he was already Sir Paul.

On Waitangi Day 2007 he was awarded New Zealand highest honour, being admitted to the Order of New Zealand.[8]

The University of Oxford conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Civil Law in 1985 and his college, St Peter's, appointed him an Honorary Fellow in 1981 and a Trustee in 1994. A Fellowship of St John's College, Auckland followed in 1989. He has received other honorary degrees, including an LLD of Victoria University of Wellington (1989), a DD of the General Theological Seminary, New York (1992), and the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Edinburgh (1994).

Recent changes allow him to use the style The Honourable for life.[9]


Religious titles
Preceded by
Norman Alfred Lesser
Bishop of Waiapu
Succeeded by
Ralph Vernon Matthews
Preceded by
Eric Austin Gowing
Bishop of Auckland
Succeeded by
Bruce Carlyle Gilberd
Preceded by
Allen Johnston
Archbishop of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Brian Davis
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir David Beattie
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Dame Catherine Tizard

External links


  1. ^ "Ditch Queen, say former Governors-General: New Zealand Herald". Retrieved 2006-08-02.  
  2. ^ "Campaign Against The (CATT)". Retrieved 2007-04-26.  
  3. ^ a b Gavin Maclean (November 2006). The Governors - Governors and Governors-General of New Zealand. Otago University Press. ISBN 1877372850.  
  4. ^ Michael Field (11 December 2007). "Reeves holds secret Fiji talks". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 48959, p. 5422, 22 April 1982. Retrieved on 2008-03-20.
  6. ^ London Gazette: no. 50416, p. 1373, 30 January 1986. Retrieved on 2008-03-20.
  7. ^ London Gazette: no. 50488, p. 5191, 15 April 1986. Retrieved on 2008-03-20.
  8. ^ The Dominion Post, 6 February 2007, Four recruited to ranks of greatest Source
  9. ^ Beehive - Changes to rules around use of title


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