Our People - "Behold, the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."

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Parish Priest - Father Philip Billing

Father Philip arrived in the Parish 6th September 2019.

He is currently on leave from the Parish until the end of January 2023.

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I was ordained in St Mary Immaculate Church Hamilton on 20th September 2002.  In 2016 I spent time in Melbourne studying at the Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, completing the "Siloam' programme, a one year formation programme for Spiritual Directors.  

MONDAY 15th AUGUST 2022:

Bishop Steve Lowe the Apostolic Administrator of our diocese and his consultors have granted me leave of absence from the parish until January to support a family member in their ongoing care and well-being. Fr Arnold has been appointed the Administrator of the parish in my absence and Fr Adam Kirkeby who was newly ordained to the priesthood last Saturday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton has been appointed to assist Fr Arnold. Fr Adam will join our faith community later this coming week. It is business as usual as they say. Please continue to support Fathers Arnold and Adam with your prayer, love and practical care.


Administrator of the Parish - Father Arnold Punzalan

Arrived in the Parish 23rd January 2020, from the Philippines.

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Assistant Parish Priest - Father Adam Kirkeby   

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Fr Adam Kirkeby’s vocation story didn’t start with a great revelation or an “aha!” moment. Rather, it was a call in quiet moments, a gentle pull, something that was always there waiting for him to respond. “It was something that I started to feel drawn to when I was a very young boy. Sometimes it would go into the background, but it always came back,” he told NZ Catholic.

Bishop Stephen Lowe, apostolic administrator of Hamilton diocese, ordained Fr Kirkeby on August 6 2022, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton.

The new priest told NZ Catholic that, when he was a boy, he would sometimes “play priest”. “I’d set up a little altar or a prayer table and put a cloth on it, have the soft toys lined-up. One time, I made a stole out of toilet paper. I got promptly told off by mum,” he said, laughing at the recollection.

With three priests in the family, there wasn’t a lack of good example to follow. Fr Chris Skinner, SM, is an uncle, while Frs Bob Lee, SM, and former Puhoi parish priest Fr Frank Skinner are great uncles.

Faith was fostered in a loving home environment. “Right from when I was young, faith was part of my life. It was never forced or anything like that. It was just an organic part of life,” he said. “It was nurtured in a very loving way, a very supportive and gentle way in my family.”

Fr Kirkeby recalled that his mum used to read him the Fatima story using a cartoon version. “[The Fatima story] helped [me] fall in love with the faith. It was really nice this year when Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine, that was a great moment. We were in the church watching it live early in the morning,” he said.

Fr Kirkeby taught at Catholic primary schools in Taupo, Hamilton and Tokoroa for six years.

(Excerpt from NZ Catholic Article by Rowena Orejana, August 15, 2022)



Deacon Ricky Kuka

Deacon Ricky Kuka

Tena tatou katoa. Tenei te mihi atu ki a koutou ra i runga i te aroha o to tatou Ariki. Noku te honore ki te mihi atu i tenei wa.
I am most privileged to be chosen by God to serve His people as a Deacon. I hail from Te Puna where I live with my wife Donna, and I have five brothers and one sister. My primary school years were at St Joseph’s Convent in Te Puna, and my secondary schooling was at Hato Petera College in Auckland.
Kia ora tatou! Ma te Atua e tiaki i a tatou katoa i nga wa katoa.

Margie Cooper

Margie Cooper

Parish Administration:
I feel blessed to be a part of the Parish of St Thomas Aquinas community and to be working alongside Father Philip and Father Arnold. Attending a Catholic Primary school I grew up having close connections with the Parish Community. I am a member of All Saints by-the-Sea Parish (St Thomas More Church), am married to Carl and have had a long association with St Mary’s School and Aquinas College through our children. It has been an absolute privilege to serve as a past Proprietor’s Representative on the Aquinas College Board of Trustees for some years.
Mark Hassett

Mark Hassett

I am fortunate to be part of the St Thomas Aquinas Parish staff. I have been part of the Diaconate formation programme since 2019. On the 11th of July 2021, myself and two other men were installed as Acolytes in Taupo by Bishop Steve. I was ordained as a Deacon on 15th October 2022, by Bishop Steve at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton.
I am married to Alison and have three sons. We immigrated from South Africa in 2009 and settled in Hamilton. We moved to Tauranga in 2011 with our youngest son Dylan, who attended Aquinas College. We joined the St Thomas More Church until we moved to McLaren Falls. We have been members of St Thomas Aquinas Parish since 2013.
I am a cradle catholic, I attended Christian Brothers College in Bloemfontein for thirteen years.
I am currently studying part -time at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, doing a Bachelor of Counselling degree.

Wendy Showan

Wendy Showan

Parish Pastoral Coordinator:
Wendy comes to the Parish bringing experience in Chaplaincy and pastoral care. She has ministered in the fields of Hospital, NZ Police, and Fire & Emergency Chaplaincy and in pastoral care in a parish setting. Born in England, Wendy and her family emigrated to New Zealand in 1975 coming first to Te Awamutu, then moving to Hamilton, Auckland and finally, in the early 1980’s, to Tauranga. Currently, one son is in Wales with his family, two are in Auckland with their families and one is in Napier with his.
Wendy joined the parish just over a year ago and is looking forward to taking up her new role as the Parish Pastoral Coordinator and the opportunities it will bring for her to get to know many more of you.

Leanne Brooks

Leanne Brooks

Hospital Chaplain:
Hi, I’m Leanne Brooks and I am the Catholic hospital chaplain based at Tauranga Hospital.
It’s a great privilege and I feel very blessed to be in this role, as I become involved in the spiritual care of patients in hospital.
Being in hospital can truly be a stressful time not only for the patient but also for family and loved ones, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like me to visit, or if you would simply like a listening ear!
A bit about me: I have until recently lived in Christchurch, and moved to Tauranga with my husband Hamish and our daughter Hannah – and we are loving it! I have worked in health and was previously working at Christchurch and Burwood hospitals, which I really enjoyed.
For me my heart has always been my compass, and my heart is fully about caring for people. It’s about being available to help people in a time of need and to help them understand their situation - this is something so very special.
Please say hi and know I am only too happy to come visit you or a loved one should you come into the hospital. You can telephone the Parish Office at 578 6209, or telephone me on 0210563326.


Parish Finance Committee:

Father Arnold, Ashley Hayes (Chairman), Andrew Burn, Brendon Bradley.

"In each parish there is a finance committee to help the parish priest in the administration of the goods of the parish..." (Canon Law, p.537)


Parish Contacts and Organisations

Parish Administrator

Father Arnold Punzalan

578 6209    



Assistant Priest

Father Adam Kirkeby

578 6209




 Mark Hassett

 578 6209


Parish Administration

Margie Cooper

578 6209

027 649 0549   


 Parish Pastoral Coordinator

 Wendy Showan

 578 6209








Parish Finance

Ashley Hayes

578 5190

021 634 786


Parish Pastoral Council (Chair)





 Cluny Retreat Centre    578 5220    clunyretreatcentre@gmail.com
 Youth Group Contact





Matakana Island Catholic Community

Mark & Demita Ngatai

578 7638

027 210 1296



Ricky Kuka

 552 4149



Organists (Coordinator)

Viviene Stefadouros

544 7271

027 453 2766


Sacramental Programme

Please contact Parish office




Aquinas College Principal

Matthew Dalton

543 2400



Aquinas College D.R.S.

Susan Van Zyl /

Leon Roberson

543 2400




St Mary’s Primary School Principal

James Murray

578 8066



St Mary’s Primary School D.R.S.

Fay Warnock

578 8066



R.C.I.A. (Becoming Catholic)       

Katherine Abbott


 020 41547782


Baptism Preparation

Parish Office

578 6209



St Vincent de Paul

Shop - Tauranga

 578 8218


Welfare Office

(Lorna Edlin)

578 3814

Ex. 2

 021 047 7144  



021 0298 7817    


 Catholic Family Support Services


 07 8563760



Marriage Preparation

Marriage Preparation (Hamilton Diocese)

For Tauranga Moana / TBA


07 8566989




or visit: www.cdh.org.nz/marriage