New Zealand Catholic Education Convention 2024

Held for the first time since 2018 due to Covid-19, the NZCE Convention more than lived up to everyone’s expectations.  The 700 plus delegates from all over the motu were uplifted and inspired by being together as one faith community and by the quality of the international and local keynote speakers and workshop facilitators.  It was wonderful to see so many Principals, DRSs, teachers and Board members from across our Diocese attend.  Dr Sandra Cullen,the keynote speaker from Dublin City University noted that the attendance of all six Bishops showed their commitment to and support of Catholic education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Woven throughout the convention were opportunities to be Tūturu Māori, tūturu katorika:  authentically Māori, authentically Catholic.  This was unpacked in more detail by Manuel Beazley, Vicar for Māori in the diocese of Auckland.
The convention began with acknowledgment of tikanga from mana whenua Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui.  Manuhiri were supported by whānau members of Betty Brown, tumuaki of St Joseph’s School Central Hawkes Bay, at the opening whakatau.
MC for the convention was Hato Pāora College old boy Sonny Ngatai who enabled the kaupapa of the event to flow using his wonderful humour and relatability.
This gathering also gave the opportunity to launch and bless the new Religious Education curriculum Tō Tātou Whakapono – Our Faith. The Catholic Bishops thanked all those who had been involved in the development of this taonga and all those who would teach it. It is hoped that this RE curriculum will be a living source of direction, knowledge, and inspiration for deeper encounter with our loving God. 

Dr Sandra Cullen, Associate Professor of Religious Education and Head of the School of Human Development at Dublin City University engaged delegates in the following sessions;

  • Pieces of a Jigsaw – The Religious Education of the Educator, 
  • We Teach Who We Are drawing on the Curriculum as a source of Wisdom for Ourselves 
  • Learning to Hope: Engaging with the global compact on education – to get an overview of Pope Francis’ vision watch this short clip 


Jo Paprocki, National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press United States, focused his keynote and workshops on what makes us Catholic.

A further keynote was Tim Wilson, well known TVNZ US correspondent, and now Executive Director, Maxim Institute.  The Maxim Institute is an independent think tank working to promote the dignity of every person in NZ, by standing for freedom, justice and compassion.  They help leaders make wise decisions using peer reviewed research.  Tim engaged the audience sharing his journey of Failure, Faith and Fortitude.
Bishop John gathered all of his people for a time of fellowship and connection after the welcome function on Wednesday evening.  There was gratitude by attendees for + John’s manaakitanga.
We acknowledge the team at NZCEO especially Rosalie Connors and Karen Raitt for their exceptional organisation, commitment and passion to gathering us together as one faith community at this time.  

We look forward to the next convention and how we will take the messages we have been gifted back to our faith communities.