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The Very Reverend Peter J. Beck

Personal Bio

Peter Beck is the Dean of the Christchurch Cathedral, a position he has held since December 2002.

Ordained as a priest in England in 1973, Peter has dedicated much of his life to guiding others.


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Before becoming Dean of Christchurch’s most celebrated landmark, Peter lived in Auckland where he was the director of Vaughan Park – a retreat centre – and prior to that, the Vicar of St Matthews in the city. He was also on the board of the Auckland City Mission.

“This work gives meaning, value and purpose in my life,” he says. “The core of my life as a Christian is that life is stronger than death, and love is stronger than hate, and if we all believe that then we can all do good in our lives.”

Peter describes himself as an “ecclesiastic entrepreneur”, believing his experiences have taught him the importance of turning visions into realities – qualities he sees in the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.

“What I try and do is stay sharp on the Trust’s vision and maintain a strong focus on our principles,” he says.

“I’m aware of the stresses and strains and the difficulties associated with funding. We all take risks with people and who we work with. We don’t have set criteria, and are open to other ways of doing things."

“We want to fund for success and fund for change. One thing I’m really enjoying about being involved in the Trust is being part of a group that doesn’t fall back into old traps and traditional methods of funding. That’s quite challenging, and the more we develop, the more challenging that becomes.”

A father of three, Peter says he has a profound respect for young people. “Young people are great – their energy and creativity is fantastic and this needs to be developed. There are enormous opportunities for young people, but the traps are so much bigger and the pressures even greater."

“In the words of William Wordsworth, ‘the child is father of the man’ – how the child is brought up is going to determine how they are as adults. Teaching parenting skills, facing up to issues in society and building community values will help our young people, and this is what the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust aims to do.”