The Catholic Bishop of Auckland says the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI marks the end of an era and the start of a new phase in the history of the modern church.
The Pope will step down as leader of the world's 1.2 billion catholics on 28 February.
Bishop Patrick Dunn said that while the reaction is initially that of shock, it is also one of great admiration for a very bold initiative, that is unprecedented in modern times.
Rather than bringing uncertainty, he said the resignation will see excitement and anticipation about the future of the church.
Bishop Dunn said the new Pope will have some huge challenges ahead.
He believes there is a need to have someone younger in the position, who has had a positive experience as a pastor, as well as a good mind.