Now Sir David, but he's still 'archbishop' to the Pope
A former Freyberg High School head boy and Massey University alumnus who went from being an agnostic to a man of the cloth is now a sir.
For his services to the Anglican Church, Palmerston North-born and educated Archbishop David Moxon was made a knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today's New Year honours list.
Only three others in the country were so honoured: Christchurch's former mayor Bob Parker was knighted for services to local body affairs and community; Rotorua and Te Arawa leader Toby Curtis was knighted for services to Maori education and Waikato's Peter Vela was nominated for his contribution to horse breeding.
Sir David was born in Palmerston North in 1951 and educated at Freyberg High School where he was head boy.
After a sojourn to do a bachelor of arts at the University of Canterbury, Sir David returned to Massey University and graduated with a master's degree with honours in education and sociology in 1976.
Sir David said he was happy to be known as sir after former archbishops set the precedent for its use in New Zealand.
He spent time as the Archbishop of Waikato before moving to Rome as the Anglican communion's international ambassador to the Vatican earlier in the year.
But he was unsure whether the Pope would refer to him by his new title.
"I think he would be inclined to call me archbishop. I think in a strictly church context, I suspect, I don't know, he doesn't know yet, I suspect he would stay with archbishop."
Sir David was back in New Zealand for the official announcement of the New Year honours list and said the knighthood was an unexpected surprise.
"I thought there must have been a mistake in the text, because I've never really seen myself in that league at all," he said.
"I had to read it two or three times to make sure I'd understood it correctly."
Sir David was a driving force behind the controversial youth justice unit in Hillcrest, Hamilton, and campaigned against that city's casino. He said the award was recognition of the place of the church in New Zealand.
He was raised in the church but was an agnostic at university. He said his calling to the priesthood came in 1974 and he was ordained as a deacon four years later.
The world's two largest churches have joined forces to fight poverty and Sir David hopes to do his bit to make the world a better place.
"The reason I accepted the job in representing the Anglican worldwide church through the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pope and the Vatican, to the Catholic Church in Rome, is to see if we can get some more joined up thinking and action around poverty, justice and development where the world is hurting the most, where the wounds of the world are most acute."