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Maori Bishop To Lead Anglican Church

Maori Bishop To Lead Anglican Church

Te Pihopa o Aotearoa, the Right Reverend Te Whakahuihui Vercoe, was today elected Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Bishop Vercoe, aged 75, succeeds the Right Reverend John Paterson, Bishop of Auckland, who has been Primate for the past seven years.

Bishop Vercoe has been head of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa (the Maori Anglican Church) since 1981 and is the first Bishop from that body to become Primate.

His election took place at the Church’s General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui in Rotorua, and marks an historic step in Anglican commitment to bicultural partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The announcement was greeted by a standing ovation and spontaneous waiata from the floor of Synod. The Bishop of Polynesia, the Right Reverend Jabez Bryce, then led the Synod in prayer for Bishop Vercoe, his wife Doris and family.

Bishop Vercoe was ordained priest in 1952 and served as an army chaplain as well as in pastorates in both the North and South Islands.

He has played a prominent role in the international Church, including the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee and the Anglican Indigenous Network.

Bishop Vercoe has links to Tainui, Tuhoe, Arawa, Whakatohea and Ngaitai.

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