by PETER GRACE
The Vatican’s diplomatic mission in New Zealand (the nunciature) moved to Onslow earlier this year after many years at 112 Queen’s Drive, Lyall Bay, in Wellington.
The Apostolic Nuncio to New Zealand and Oceania, Archbishop Martin Krebs, explained to NZ Catholic that the Lyall Bay house was built in 1929 and was initially a home for a family of industrialists.
“When it became a home for the Apostolic Nunciature,” he stated, “several compromises had to be made.” Also, some years ago, the building was declared to be earthquake prone.
Earthquake strengthening was considered, but the money for that work was not available. In the end, it was decided the best option was to move to Khandallah.
The Holy See pays the expenses of nunciatures, Archbishop Krebs said.
But at the same time the funding of the Holy See is mainly covered by the contributions of local churches.
Archbishop Krebs stated that the pope’s diplomatic envoys help him mainly in his ministry to lead the Church, and also to represent him as a head of state.
“Therefore, the head of a Holy See diplomatic mission is not called ‘ambassador’ but ‘apostolic nuncio’.”
To serve its purposes, as a residence and chancery, a nunciature needs to be not only large enough, but also to be functional. The building accommodates the nuncio, the diplomatic secretary and a group of religious sisters who live and work there — as in most nunciatures throughout the world.
Archbishop Krebs stated that although the nunciature, now at 178 Onslow Road, receives guests to maintain personal contacts, most of the New Zealand nunciature’s responsibilities are the local churches and Pacific Island governments.
“The nuncio maintains a big part of his personal contacts not in the nunciature, but by his frequent travels to the Pacific.”