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New Maori Bishop chosen: ratification underway

For immediate release
February 14

New Maori Bishop chosen: ratification underway

Anglican Maori from throughout the motu voted at Turangawaewae on Saturday to elect a new leader, or Pihopa o Aotearoa.

The 129 delegates to the Electoral College chose a candidate – but the selection process is not finalised until that name has been ratified.

This always involves presenting the name of the chosen candidate to Bishops of all three tikanga (cultural streams) of the Church, and a postal ballot of members of the General Synod (the church's parliament). The Anglican Church canons allow 21 days for this process.

When that's been completed, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Most Rev Whakahuihui Vercoe, will announce who is to become the new Pihopa o Aotearoa.

The election was called to fill the vacancy created when Archbishop Vercoe -– who was the previous Pihopa o Aotearoa – was chosen as the overall head of the three strands of the Anglican Church in these islands.

The Electoral College deliberated, in committee, on Saturday. However, for a day and a half beforehand, Tikanga Maori hosted a Hui-a-Iwi, chaired by Mr Tumu Te Heuheu. This was designed to hear input, from as wide a range of Maoridom as possible – not just Anglicans – on the future role of Te Pihopa o Aotearoa.

According to Bishop Kito Pikaahu, Te Pihopa o te Tai Tokerau, this was a crucial part of a highly successful weekend. "Some, perhaps, had feared a deadlock," he says. "Instead, we had a highly uplifting, encouraging and successful gathering."

The results of the election will be announced as soon as the ratification process is complete.


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