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Anglicans elect tripartite leadership

For immediate release May 9, 2006

Anglicans elect tripartite leadership

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has opted for a new model of shared leadership that honours its three-Tikanga structure.

The Primacy of the church will be amended constitutionally to comprise the three senior bishops, each carrying the title of Archbishop and Co-presiding Bishop.

General Synod/te Hinota Whanui, meeting in Christchurch this week, named Bishop Brown Turei (Te Pihopa o Aotearoa), Bishop Jabez Bryce (Pasefika) and Bishop David Moxon (Pakeha) to form the new-model Primacy, with the expectation that they would share the joint role fully and publicly.

Until the necessary legislative changes have been made, Bishop Brown will receive the formal title of Primate, described as “holding the taonga of leadership.”

The new Archbishops will each retain their present episcopal roles, but will be supported in their primatial duties by the other bishops and the General Synod Standing Committee.

Speaking to Pakeha synodspeople, Bishop Moxon said he was accepting his new responsibility because he believed a shared Primacy was possible “in faith – even though there are new challenges and risks.”

General Synod debated the Primacy vigorously for a full day and a half, swinging between single Primate and a three-member model embodying the three Tikanga.

The pace of the debate was initially hesitant, but then Archdeacon Hone Kaa (Tai Tokerau) livened up proceedings with a challenge to Synodspeople to speak openly and honestly.

Bishop John Bluck (Waiapu) reminded Synod of the words of Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe several years ago: “We are stuck with you, and you are stuck with us…”

Bishop Bluck added that rather than being a cultural accessory, the three-Tikanga structure was “the litmus test of our mission and a vivid expression of who we are as Anglicans.”

Bishop John Paterson (Auckland), a former Primate, acknowledged that there had been a growing-apart since the new constitution was put in place in the early 90s.

“It has been part of our growing pains,” he said. “We had to be separate in order to grow… Now we’re at the point of realising the consequences of growing further apart… a point where we can say we all need each other.”

After a series of caucuses, Synod came to a consensus on shared Primacy, at the same time emphasizing that such leadership must embody greater unity than has so far been evident.

Dioceses, Hui Amorangi and other Episcopal units are called to welcome the new Archbishops and enable them to exercise their primatial ministry in all respects.

The Archbishops also are committed to hold regular consultations with women and youth in the church.

The three Archbishops will be installed as co-presiding bishops of the church during a service in Christchurch Cathedral on Thursday (May 11), beginning at 7.30pm.


Footnote: To see short profiles of the new Archbishops, click on the “News” link at:

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