Ernest Chitty was the first blind New Zealand University. He subsequently had a distinguished and remarkable career in both the academic and theological world. He was never ordained as a priest, possibly due to Archbishop Averill views although there was no canon law or precedent obstacle to his ordination. Chitty entered the Methodist Prince Albert College in February 1900, passing his matriculation exam after two years. He attended Auckland University College, graduating BA in 1906 – the first blind graduate in New Zealand.
Chitty had been raised a Baptist, but he was baptised at the Anglican pro-cathedral in Auckland on 20 July 1902. He offered himself for the Anglican ministry in 1906. Although there was some doubt whether canon law permitted ordination of those with a physical disability, the governors of the College of St John the Evangelist nevertheless gave him a Marsh scholarship.
He was at the college from 1907 to 1909 and completed the Board of Theological Studies exams with a first-class pass and in 1911 was awarded a licentiate in theology. In 1909 Chitty graduated MA in Classics and was ordained a deacon.Ernest Chitty died at Auckland on 8 June 1948, survived by his wife and daughter. Described as ‘One of the most loved and admired ministers of the Church’, he was respected for the way in which he had faced the challenge of blindness and become a good scholar and teacher, a proficient musician, and, as a visitor and deacon, a friend to many.
Died 08 June 1948
aged 65 Years
Serial # 14895
Block H Row 7 Plot 91