Died 1957 91

The Most Rev. A. W. Averill was Bishop of New Zealand from 1925 until 1940. His tenure spanned a tumultuous time for New Zealand during which the apparent orthodoxy of the earlier Liberal Governments was replaced firstly by conservative, right wing leadership and eventually by Michael Savage’s ground breaking, social reforming Labour Government.

Bishop Averill had a long and distinguished career in the Church. He arrived in New Zealand in 1894 and held a succession of increasingly senior positions leading up to his appointment as Bishop of Waiapū in 1910. He became Bishop of Auckland in 1914 and Archbishop of New Zealand in 1925.

Archbishop Averill’s career, although firmly grounded in Anglicanism, was open to inter-denominational understanding and the possibility of Church reunification. He seemed to have an unending energy that led him to participate in many civic and religious community organisations. Bishop Averill was not neglectful of his primary calling in so doing as he supported his Christian beliefs through active participation in organisations supporting nursing, social services and help for the poor. Having lived through the First World War, he felt a strong sense of injustice at the undermining of institutions such as the League of Nations that had held the possibility of international peace and cooperation. Bishop Averill spent his retirement years in Christchurch where he had had held his early appointments after arriving in New Zealand.

Alfred Walter Averill
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