New Angli­can vicar has a love of the out­doors

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

It’s not ev­ery day a church gets a vicar who is also an iron­woman.

But All Saints Church in Pon­sonby is no or­di­nary Angli­can church and its new vicar Diana Rat­tray is a per­fect fit.

She spent three months last year on a cy­cle tour of Europe while on sab­bat­i­cal and says the ex­pe­ri­ence of liv­ing out of tents on 15 euros a day helped her get back to ba­sics.

“It was fan­tas­tic. You can see and ex­pe­ri­ence the coun­try in a dif­fer­ent way,” she says.

With a friend, Rev Rat­tray biked through the French, Swiss and Ital­ian alps and the Pyre­nees, a jour­ney which tested her en­durance.

“I thought the hills in Christchurch were big un­til I saw th­ese,” she says.

Rev Rat­tray was of­fi­cially wel­comed into the church in an ini­ti­a­tion cer­e­mony last Wed­nes­day night.

She started work at the church just four days af­ter driv­ing up from Christchurch where she was as­so­ci­ate dean at the Christchurch Cathe­dral.

She says the work there was an ex­cit­ing mix of parish du­ties and tourism.

With more than 700,000 vis­i­tors go­ing through the cathe­dral each year, she says she is look­ing for­ward to work­ing along­side the peo­ple again in a smaller parish.

“The cathe­dral was a com­mu­nity but in a dif­fer­ent way,” she says.

“I’m a parish priest at heart.”

For Rev Rat­tray the move to Pon­sonby is also a re­turn home in some ways – she grew up in Auck­land and had her first job as a de­liv­ery truck driver on Mack­elvie St.

Later she moved to Christchurch where she com­pleted a psy­chol­ogy de­gree at Can­ter­bury Univer­sity.

Al­though she had al­ways had a church con­nec­tion through fam­ily, it was not un­til she was in her early 20s, while work­ing as an ad­min­is­tra­tor in a large Christchurch Angli­can church, that she be­gan to think of the church as a ca­reer choice.

“I started to think it through for my­self.”

She has lived in Christchurch for the last 20 years where she has de­vel­oped a love for the South Is­land out­door lifestyle and plans to get in­volved with as many lo­cal sports events as her time will al­low.

For now though, her first pri­or­ity is sit­ting down with the parish and lis­ten­ing, she says.

“That in­ter­face with the com­mu­nity is re­ally im­por­tant to me.

“It’s a part­ner­ship. The parish here has a depth and breadth to it that I re­ally like.”


Multi-tal­ented: Rev Diana Rat­tray plans to fit as much sport as she can into her busy sched­ule.

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