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Fr Noel Delaney sm

Noel DelaneyFr Noel Delaney sm

Born in Nuhaka 12 October 1922

Professed 10 February 1942

Ordained 12 December 1948

Died at Silverstream 13 February 2016

Thanks to Fr Rodney Smyth sm for this edited version of his eulogy, with additional material provided by Marist Archives.

Father Noel was born in Nuhaka just out of Wairoa. One day he showed me around the area and his old family home and spoke of how the local Maori women would carry him as a baby on their back. The Maori people were really part of his family, his whanau, and he never lost his deep rapport with them.

In his first 17 years of ministry he taught in several colleges.

An old boy of Silvertream simply said, ‘Noel set standards and we walked with a degree of caution and wariness.’ The NZ historian Michael King was among his students and in his book “Being Pakeha” he described Fr Noel as one of the best teachers of English he had ever had.

Many of us will associate Fr Noel with his time as rector of Hato Paora College. Here he showed himself to be a skilful administrator, a gifted teacher and a true leader.

Fr Paddy Kinsella has provided this beautiful tribute: ‘Noel was a man providentially at Hato Paora at this time. Fr Gupwell left a great legacy and it was time to develop. Noel moved the college into technical, academic, and modern management systems. As many boys as possible came to accept careers that satisfied them and reflected their real capabilities and enabled them to live in two worlds. Noel gave kids huge encouragement, great generosity and an environment of appreciation. It was something very warm – often put in one word – aroha.’

To the Hato Paora College Old Boys he was not just an old teacher – he was the godfather that gave them a great life.

In the 60th Jubilee booklet for the College, there is this tribute: ‘Father Delaney always demanded a very high standard. The boys quickly realised his standards and responded to his challenge. His sense of justice was tempered with the charity and understanding of a father. He has a special quality of seeking out a boy with a problem and gladly spending hours with him trying to help him over it. He often brought a comfort that will not easily be forgotten.’

When he became Provincial I enjoyed three privileged years living and working closely with him as secretary to the Province. He was self disciplined, astute, and thoughtful in his decisions. He also enjoyed a game of tennis. He had compassion and patience with people who were sick or in personal difficulties and he combined this with a professional attitude in dealing with difficult situations. He provided careful steady leadership.

In 1992 he had to struggle with cancer and accept aggressive chemotherapy. He faced this with at least outward calm. Through this experience he developed a deep empathy for people who were sick especially with cancer, and this shone through in his final 12 years when he was resident at Marian Court at Silverstream and assisted in chaplaincy ministry.

When he received his final appointment to Marian Court he made the wry comment that he must be setting a record as he was moving into his 27th community in 62 years of Religious Life.

Haere atu e te Rangatira i roto i te korowai o te Atua. Moe mai e Pa, moe mai.


1949-1950    St Bede’s College

1950-1953    Hato Paora, Parorangi

1954-1963    Silverstream

1964-1965    St John’s College, Hastings

1965-1971    Hato Paora, Rector

1972         Director, Maori Missions

1972-1975    Vicar Provincial

1974 May-December
St Augustine’s College,
Wanganui, Rector;
Episcopal Vicar for Māori and         Polynesian people,
Wellington Archdiocese

1975-1981    Provincial

1981-1982    Fribourg, Switzerland

1982-1983    Mount St Mary’s, Auckland

1983-1984    Highden, Novice Master

1984-1985    Marist Centre, Wellington

1985-1987    Taradale, Parish Priest

1988-1990    Marist Centre, Archives

1991-1994    Wairoa, Assistant

1995-Aug 1996 Hataitai, Wellington

1997-2000    Silverstream

2001-2002    Chaplaincy House,  Upper Hutt

2003         Kilbirnie, Wellington

2004-2016    Marian Court, Silverstream


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