Styles of
Reginald Delargey
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Wellington

Reginald John Delargey (10 December 1914 - 29 January 1979) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland and later the Cardinal Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand. His title was Cardinal-Priest of Immacolata al Tiburtino.

Early life

Reginald Delargey was born in Timaru, one of six children. The family moved several times during Delargey's early years, and Delargey was sent to Auckland to receive his secondary education as a boarder at Sacred Heart College. His mother died in 1929, three years before Delargey commenced his studies for the Priesthood at Holy Cross College in Mosgiel. During his studies he was recognised as having considerable academic potential and, as a result, was sent to Rome to complete his studies at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.


Delargey was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Auckland in Rome on 19 March 1938. After returning to New Zealand, he worked in the parish of Takapuna and at St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland. From 1940 to 1947 he was Director of Catholic Social Services for the Diocese of Auckland. He also served as director of the Catholic Youth Movement and was the chaplain at St Peter's College for 18 years.[1]

Bishop of Auckland

Delagrey was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Auckland on 25 November 1957. During his time as Auxiliary Bishop he attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II). Twelve years after his appointment as Auxiliary, Delargey was appointed as Bishop of Auckland on 18 September 1970 following the retirement of Archbishop James Michael Liston. As bishop, he adopted a humble and open style of leadership, putting into practice the ideas and principles of Vatican II. After four years as Bishop of Auckland, and after the death of Cardinal Peter McKeefrey he was translated to the Metropolitan See in Wellington and became its Archbishop on 25 April 1974.

Archbishop of Wellington

Although not from Wellington, Delargey built a strong relationshiop with the people and clergy of the Archdiocese as a result of his openness, humility and sincerity. As Archbishop he continued to promote the work of the Catholic Youth Movement - as he had previously done in Auckland - and was particularly conscious of the needs of minority groups both in the Archdiocese and throughout New Zealand. Delargey was created Cardinal priest on May 24, 1976 by Pope Paul VI and received the title of Inmmacolata al Tiburtino. From 1976 to 1979 he was head of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference and played a key role in the negotiations with the government and teachers' unions that culminated in the integration of Catholic schools into the State funded system in New Zealand. Despite failing health, he participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978. He died in Auckland in 1979 and was buried from Wellington's Sacred Heart Cathedral.


  1. Forward by R J Delargey, St Peter's College Magazine 1970, p. 3: "For years, St Peter's was my second home. Mass in the morning for the Brothers, and classes for the boys was the routine for over eighteen years".

Main Sources

  • St Peter's College Magazine 1970, St Peter's College, Auckland.
  • Felix Donnelly, One Priest's Life, Australia and New Zealand Book Company, Auckland, 1982, pp. 7-17.
  • E.R. Simmons, In Cruce Salus, A History of the Diocese of Auckland 1848 - 1980, Catholic Publication Centre, Auckland 1982.
  • Thomas J. Ryder, Following all Your Ways, Lord - Recollections of Fr Thomas J. Ryder (transcribed and compiled by Margaret Paton) (Privately published, no date - perhaps early 1990s).
  • Rory Sweetman, A Fair and Just Solution? A History of the Integration of Private Schools in New Zealand, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 2002.
  • Nicholas Reid, James Michael Liston: A Life, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2006.
  • Nicholas Reid, The Life and Work of Reginald John Delargey Cardinal, Catholic Diocese of Auckland/Pindar, Auckland, 2008.

External links

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