Caritas in Aotearoa New Zealand grew out of Catholic concern in the 1950s and 1960s for justice and a fairer distribution of the world's resources.
Committed lay people and New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have a long history of working for justice, peace and development, stretching back to the 1950s. Caritas carries on this role as the agency set up by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference to respond to poverty and injustice in the world.
The timeline below shows the history of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, from its origins in 1966 to the present day organisation.
1966 Bishop (later Cardinal) Reginald Delargey was appointed to establish a National Commission on Missions and Overseas Aid. This commission provided research on the range of New Zealand Catholic overseas aid and mission activity, feeding into a national conference in 1968.
1969 A national Catholic coordinating body for aid, the New Zealand Catholic Overseas Aid Commission (COAC) was established. It was directly responsible to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and lay people were included on the board. COAC worked in tandem with the recently formed Justice and Peace Commission.
1978 The organisation became the New Zealand Catholic Commission for Evangelisation, Justice & Development (NZCCEJD).
1988 The name was changed to New Zealand Catholic Commission for Justice, Peace and Development (NZCCJPD).
1992 The Catholic Office for Social Justice / Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand was established as a joint office.
1998 We became Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand - the Catholic Agency for Justice Peace and Development.
2019 Caritas marks 50 years since New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops established the Catholic Overseas Aid Commission, the National Commission for Justice and Peace and Catholic Overseas Volunteer Service (COVS). Today, all three strands are found within Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic Agency for Justice Peace and Development. A range of Diocesan Masses are being held at different times in the country. You can read more about Caritas’ 50 year history in the leaflet available for download below.