There are six dioceses in New Zealand. The Archdiocese of Wellington is the metropolitan diocese in New Zealand, and the other dioceses, are suffragen dioceses.
A diocese is a “portion of the people of God” which is entrusted to the pastoral care of a bishop. He carries out this pastoral care with the cooperation of the priests of the diocese. The smallest units of a diocese are parishes.
The bishop, priests and people of the diocese constitute a “particular church”, in which “the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ truly exists and functions”. As a rule, a diocese has a defined territory.
Neighbouring dioceses are grouped together as an “ecclesiastical province”, which is presided over by a bishop who is called the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan is an archbishop and his diocese is an archdiocese. The other dioceses in the province are called suffragan dioceses. In New Zealand the metropolitan diocese is the Archdiocese of Wellington, and the Metropolitan is Cardinal John Dew.
The Metropolitan receives a narrow band called the pallium from the Holy Father. It is made of white lamb’s wool and has six black crosses on it. The pallium is a symbol of the Metropolitan’s role and his connection with the Pope.