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A New Leader for the Maori Church

A New Leader for the Maori Church

Bishop Brown Turei has been elected as the new Pihopa o Aotearoa, or leader of the Maori arm of the Anglican Church.

The announcement was made this morning* by the Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, who is overall head of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Bishop Turei was elected at a three-day hui of Maori Anglicans at Turangawaewae last month. This choice has since been ratified by all the bishops of the three tikanga church, and by a postal ballot of the members of the General Synod, or parliament, of the whole church.

Bishop Turei fills a vacancy created last year when Bishop Vercoe, the previous Pihopa o Aotearoa, was chosen as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in these islands.

Bishop William Brown Turei, a fit and energetic 80 year-old who is now based in Gisborne, has been Pihopa ki te Tai Rawhiti since 1992. Tai Rawhiti is one of five Hui Amorangi (dioceses) in Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.

Bishop Turei has Ngati Porou and Whanau a Apanui affiliations, and is the first Ngati Porou person to be chosen as Pihopa o Aotearoa.

He was born in 1924 in Opotiki, to the Waititi whanau, and was whangaied to the Turei whanau in Cape Runaway, on the East Cape. He was named after the Rev Brown Turei, a Hahi Mihinare priest on the East Coast.

He spent his primary school years at Rangitukia and Cape Runaway, and he then moved on, for four years, to Te Aute College. He was earmarked for the priesthood from his young days, and spent a short stint at College House, in Christchurch.

But these were the war years, and as a 19-year-old he enlisted with C Company of the 28 Maori Battalion.

After the war, he returned St John's College, in Auckland, and was ordained a priest in 1950.

He has served the Anglican Church widely, in parishes and Maori pastorates in Tauranga, Whangara, Te Puke, Whakatane, Manutuke, Christchurch and Waipatu. He was chosen as Archdeacon of Tairawhiti in 1982, and has had a long association with Hukarere Maori Girls' College. He became the chaplain there in 1984, and was also chaplain, for four years, of the Napier Prison.

His election as Te Pihopa ki Te Tai Rawhiti in 1992, followed the reforms of the Anglican church here in 1990.

He is married to Mihi (nee King) and they had 3 children, and 6 mokopuna. Ends

Note to Editors:

* NB. This refers to the morning of Sunday, March 6, when Bishop Brown's appointment will be announced in churches throughout Aotearoa. 1) The Anglican Church in these islands has, since 1990, had three equal and autonomous strands – Tikanga Maori, Tikanga Pakeha, and Tikanga Polynesia. The election of Bishop Turei concerns the leadership of Tikanga Maori. 2) The Turangawaewae Runanganui, or electoral college, which met on February 12, was preceded by a day long Hui-a-Iwi, in which Maori from throughout the motu, regardless of their beliefs, were invited to speak about what they wanted in a Pihopa o Aotearoa. Sometimes, te Pihopa speaks for all Maori.

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