It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 9th day of February, 2022 in New Zealand at the age of 93, of
Father Peter “Pa Mikaere” Ryan
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Peter was born on the 29th of June, 1928 in Port Sunlight Village on the Wirral in Liverpool, England. Peter’s father was a local fireman and village policeman in Port Sunlight. His mother’s maiden name was Susanna Barnes, who lived to over 100 years of age. The Ryan family consisted of parents and five children, including Peter. Shortly after birth, Peter was baptised in his local parish of Saint John’s at New Ferry on the Wirral. He was confirmed there too.
Peter’s Primary School was the local Catholic Primary. His Secondary Schools, since Peter felt called to the missionary priesthood, were at Freshfield, Liverpool and Burn Hall, Durham from 1941 to 1947. After graduation at Burn Hall, he advanced to the Missiehuis in Roosendaal, Holland, for his study of Philosophy and associated subjects. Once completed in 1949, he advanced to Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, England for the study of Theology until 1953. As he entered his final year of study and preparation for priesthood, Peter took the Perpetual Oath to God in the Society on the 1st of May, 1952 in the College Chapel. His priestly ordination took place in the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London at the hands of Cardinal Griffin of Westminster Archdiocese, England.
Immediately after ordination, Peter received an appointment to Auckland, New Zealand. In the initial years Peter worked in the parishes of Waitaruke, Panguru and Rotorua for almost seven years. He then worked at Hato Petera College for a further fifteen years. He then served at Huite Rangiora (Hamilton) Auckland. In the Spring of 1970, he had the opportunity of following the 30 Day Retreat, before continuing his pastoral work in Auckland Archdiocese. Peter also took the time to do some Further Studies at Auckland University, where he graduated BA in the Maori language and Anthropology, qualifications he used to publish the “Reed Dictionary of Modern Maori” for which he awarded a Gold Certificate for being a Best Seller in New Zealand. In 2004 he was elected to represent the Mill Hill community at the 2005 General Chapter. Upon returning to New Zealand, he was re-elected Society Representative in February 2005. He was re-elected such in 2008. By November 2010 Peter was appointed “Group Leader” in New Zealand, since only a few of our Members remained there by then. This appointment was renewed by the General Council of Mill Hill in November 2013. At the beginning of 2017, Peter was appointed a “Consultor” to the Group Leader in New Zealand.
Peter, up until almost the end of his life continued to make translations of sacred scripture, especially the Sunday Readings for all three cycles. As Peter approached his 25th year of priesthood, the Superior General at the time wrote, “You have every reason to feel deeply grateful to God for all He has enabled you to do for Him and the Maori people. You have kept pace with the changing pattern of Maori life. You stand out among the brethren for the very special contribution you have made.” In his 69 years as a missionary amongst the Maori people, Peter grew to love the people, their language and culture in the beautiful country of New Zealand. After a meeting of the Maori Elders, it has been decided that the funeral for Peter will take place on Saturday the 12th of February in the parish of Te Unga Waka, Auckland, with Bishop Michael Gielen being the main celebrant.
“Come, you whom my father has blessed. Take for your heritage the Kingdom prepared for you and all the baptised.” (Matthew 25:34)