Bell Rings for New Era at Cathedral

Friday 20 May 2022

At a splendid ceremonial service on Thursday evening, 19 May, the Right Reverend Di Woods was installed as the new Dean for Waiapu Cathedral, Napier.

Waiapu Bishop Andrew Hedge officiated at the special service at the Cathedral with Pīhopa Ngarahu Katene, Te Manawa o Te Wheke, and many clergy from around the diocese were present to welcome Di to her new parish. 

Di Woods spoke her gratitude for the support from so many people and that she is looking forward to her new role as an exciting chapter in her life.  

“We have work to do here.  My intent is that the doors of this cathedral are open more often than not.  We are going to throw this place open to the people of Hawke’s Bay – this is your cathedral,” she told the congregation.

The large congregation included many people who Di Woods had worked alongside in previous parishes.  A large number of representatives of the New Zealand Defence Forces were present because for the last six years Di has been serving in Wellington as Principal Chaplain, Class 2 (Wing Commander) for the Air Force and previously served as chaplain for the army.   

The Mayor of Napier Kirsten Wise and the Mayor of Hastings Sandra Hazelhurst welcomed Dean Di, along with Councillor Martin Williams for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.  Other clergy welcoming her included the Dean of Auckland Cathedral Anne Mills and Father Barry Scannell from Napier’s Catholic churches, as well as representatives from her former parishes.The service included prayers for Di in her role as Dean and the presentation of the emblems of her office – baptism, preaching and prayer.

She rang the Veronica Bell as part of the ceremony.  The bell was gifted to the city by the Royal NZ Navy because their ship, Veronica, had been in Napier Port when the 1931 earthquake struck and the crew had been an essential part of the rescue team in the city. 

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Band played during the service and members of Wellington’s Bach Choir, which Di was a member of, joined with the Cathedral Choir to sing hymns and anthems, accompanied by the cathedral organist and the Cathedral Strings. 

Originally from the United Kingdom, Di fell in love with Hawke’s Bay on her overseas experience.  She describes Waiapu as her tūrangawaewae in Aotearoa, and the welcome from many people in the diocese reflected her connection.  She trained for the ministry at the Bible College of New Zealand in Auckland (now Laidlaw College) and has enjoyed parish ministries in Tauranga, Taradale and Remuera, as well as defence chaplaincy in Wellington, East Timor and Crete. 

The service sheet can be viewed here and the video is on the Waiapu Cathedral Facebook page –