I entered the world at Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1947 - the first of 5 children to Harry and Mary Gibbs. St Peters and Pauls Primary was my first school, followed by Marist Intermediate, and St Bernards College, Lower Hutt. A 'normal' upbringing for the time with Scouts, rugby, church, tramping, motor cycles, old cars, guns, and the rest. In 1966 I went to Holy Name Seminary, Christchurch, and then studied for a BA majoring in Sociology at Canterbury University. 1971 saw me travelling to Australia to join the Divine Word Missionaries and after the novitiate year studying post-graduate Anthropology at Sydney University. After a year and a half serving in Papua New Guinea I spent four years studying Theology at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago returning to New Zealand for ordination as a priest in 1978. Since then I have served in various capacities in Papua New Guinea (parish priest, directing a pastoral centre, seminary lecturer, researcher) with time away between 1989 and 1995 to study for a Licentiate and then a Doctorate in Theology at the Gregorian University, Rome. From 2006 to 2010 I was research advisor for Caritas Australia in Papua New Guinea and then for four years I was Secretary for the Social Concerns Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and SI.  In 2016 I started at Divine Word University in Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Mission and Charism

The Divine Word Missionaries (Society of the Divine Word) (SVD) is a Catholic religious missionary congregation. In sincere dialogue we bear witness to God’s Word having come into the world in Jesus of Nazareth. Following the example of Jesus, with deep respect for the peoples’ traditions, we seek to present the good news of God’s love to them.  We show a special preference for the poor and oppressed, and work firstly where the gospel has not been preached at all or only insufficiently and where the local church is not viable on its own. We join together to form a missionary religious community and take vows of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience. A distinguishing feature of our life is that priests and brothers from different nations live and work together. This becomes a mutually enriching experience when based on deep respect for one another's nationality and culture. SVD missionaries serve in over 70 countries on all continents according to the needs of the local Church and the particular expertise they bring to the task.

Curriculum Vitae

Born:   June 29, 1947, Lower Hutt, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Final vows with Divine Word Missionaries - 1978

Ordination to priesthood in Catholic Church - 1978

University Degrees:

BA     Canterbury University, New Zealand (1970).

Post-grad Diploma in.Anthopology, Sydney University, Australia (1975).

M.Div     Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, USA.(1978).

MA  (Theology)    Catholic Theological Union Chicago, USA (1978).

STL  (Theology)    Gregorian University, Rome, Italy (1991).

STD  (Doctorate Theology)    Gregorian University, Rome, Italy (1995).

Professional Certificate in Distance Education.  U of Wisconsin (2013)

MBA (Master of Business Administration.  Divine Word University, Madang, PNG (2016)

Formal Education:

Primary Education: St Peter and Pauls Convent and Marist Intermediate, Lower Hutt, NZ.

Secondary Education: St Bernard’s College, Lower Hutt. Graduated 1965.

1966-1967 studied Philosophy at Holy Name Seminary, Christchurch, NZ.

1968-1970 Studied for an arts degree at Canterbury University, Christchurch, NZ, majoring in Sociology. Graduated BA in 1970.

1971    Year of novitiate with Divine Word Missionaries in Marburg, Queensland, Australia.

1972    Studied Anthropology at the University of Sydney, Australia.

1973-1974 Worked for the Catholic Church in the Enga District of Papua New Guinea. This was part of an Overseas Training Program. Included research for my thesis in Anthropology.

1975    Completed thesis entitled: “Ipili Religion Past and Present: An account of the traditional religion of the people of the Porgera and Paiela Valleys of Papua New Guinea and how it has changed with the coming of the European and Christianity.” Thesis Director, Prof. Peter Lawrence. Granted Postgraduate Diploma in Anthropology, University of Sydney, Australia.

1974-1978 Studied Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

1978 Completed thesis entitled: “Kaunala Tape: Towards a Theological Reflection on a New Guinea Initiation Myth.” Thesis supervisor, Robert Schreiter. Graduated from Catholic Theological Union with M.Div and M.A. degrees.

1989-1991 Studied for Licentiate in Fundamental Theology at the Gregorian University, Rome. Thesis entitled: “The Task of the Local Church in Interpreting the Relationship between Text and Context in the Theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez.” Thesis director, Prof. Jacques Dupuis. Completed S.T.L in 1991

1991-1995 Studies for Doctorate at the Gregorian University, Rome.

1993    Research in Sri Lanka (1 month). Language study in Cochabamba Bolivia (2 months), then research, Lima, Peru (1 month).

1995    Completed doctoral dissertation entitled: “Divine Revelation in the Theology of Jean-Marc Éla, Aloysius Pieris and Gustavo Gutiérrez.” Dissertation Director, Prof. Jacques Dupuis. Graduated with S.T.D (magna cum laude)

2016   Graduated with Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Short Courses - include:

Clinical pastoral education, linguistics (SIL), language courses (Italian, German, French, Spanish), Documentary film-making, Community Conversations trainer's Course, and HIV&AIDS (basic).

Work Experience and Positions Held

2012     Led domestic observer team for PNG National Elections in Enga Province (Reporting to NRI and Electoral Commission).

2011 Secretary of the Commission for Social Concerns, Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

2011-2013       Research Advisor in Papua New Guinea, for Caritas Australia

Visiting lecturer East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.

Visiting Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW, Sydney.

 2010      Visiting Lecturer, East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila. 

(Fall semester) Scholar in Residence, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

2009-2010       (Dec-Jan) Priest serving McMurdo and South Pole Stations, Antarctica.
2007-2009       Research Advisor in Papua New Guinea, for Caritas Australia.

Visiting Lecturer, East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.

2007     Led domestic observer team for PNG National Elections in Enga Province (Reporting to NRI and Electoral Commission).
2005       Visiting Lecturer (1 term), Catholic Theological Institute, Bomana, PNG.
Visiting Lecturer (1 wk) East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.
2004       Scholar in Residence (1 semester) Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.
Visiting Lecturer (1 wk) East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.
2003        Visiting Fellow (5 wks), Australian National University, Canberra.           
Visiting Lecturer (1 wk)  East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.
2001-2007   Appointed to the research staff of the Melanesian Institute, Goroka. Research on many topics including Disabilities, Politics, and Sorcery and Witchcraft.

1996-2000       Lecturer at Holy Spirit Seminary - now Catholic Theological Institute, Bomana, teaching theological subjects such as Fundamental theology, Contextual theology, Sacraments, Ecclesiology, seminars on topics such as New Religious Movements, and also a full year course in Anthropology.   Occasionally giving courses at the Melanesian Institute in Goroka.

1994-1995       Tutor, Theology Faculty, Gregorian University, Rome.
1986-1988       Parish priest of Par parish, Enga Province, PNG. Chairman of Diocesan Pastoral Co-ordinating Committee.
1983-1985       Director of Holy Spirit Senta Par, a youth and pastoral centre in the Diocese of Wabag, Papua New Guinea.
 1979-1983       Parish priest of Porgera/Paiela —in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. Besides parish and catechetical work involved in development work and geneological research in anticipation of anticipated mining development. The purpose was to ensure that the right people received compensation for the alienation of their resources.
1978      Part-time as a Deacon at St. James Parish, 23rd and Wabash, Chicago.
1974-1977      Part time member of Pastoral Care team at Mercy Hospital, Chicago.
1973-1974       Parish assistant in Par and Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.




Other Work Experience - between 1962 and 1972 in NZ and Australia, including:

Painter, Postman, Labourer (Gear Meat Company), Builder's Labourer, Camp Cleaner (Poones), Meat Processor, Stock Broker Clerk, Labourer (Wool Stores), Nursing Orderly, Cook (Red Barn Hamburger Chain, and KFC).


Professional Associations and other bodies

 Member of the Anthropos Institut, Sankt Augustin, Germany.  1997-

Member of Council, Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea.  2000-2006

Member of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania.  2000-

Member of Board of Directors, Word Publishing Company, Port Moresby.  2002 – 2005

Member of PEAK (Porgera Environmental Advisory Komiti) Committee   2002-2008

Member International Association of Mission Studies.  2003 -

Member of Association for Practical Theology for Oceania. 2006 –

American Association of Anthropology. 2009 -

Member of Council of Anthropos Institute. 2010 -

Research Affiliate, ANU, School of culture, history and language. 2 April 2014 -



Spoken: English, Melanesian Pidgin, Italian, Enga

Reading knowledge: French, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Ipili