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Hands across the water

November 6, 2005

Hands across the water

Maori Anglicans from throughout New Zealand have again demonstrated their awhi and tautoko (care and support) for the yearnings of Canadian First Nation Anglicans.

Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa – the national hui held once every two years to review the life and mission of the Maori church – this year opened its arms to two indigenous Canadian Anglican visitors.

Ms Donna Bomberry and The Ven Sidney Black are both from the Council for Indigenous People of the Anglican Church of Canada, and they were invited to the runanganui at Otaki last weekend to see what they can learn and adapt for their home church.

They told the gathered Maori bishops, clergy and lay people that indigenous Anglicans in Canada they are now within reach of dream that once seemed impossibly remote. Within 12 months the Anglican Church of Canada will appoint its first indigenous bishop.

More remains to be done, however. The two Canadian told the hui that as the canons of the Canadian church now stand, that indigenous bishop will not have full authority and jurisdiction – as is the case here – until 2013, at the earliest.

The First Nations people of the Anglican Church of Canada are long-time admirers of the constitution adopted here by the Anglican Church in 1992. This resulted in the formation of three equal, autonomous yet interdependent Tikanga (Maori, Polynesian and Pakeha cultural streams) within the greater church here.

In light of the Canadian interest in the success of the local constitution, Te Pihopatanga (the Maori Church) also has a history of helping indigenous Canadians in their moves towards greater autonomy within their own church.

Earlier this year, for example, Archdeacon Hone Kaa – who is one of those who drove the constitutional reforms in New Zealand – traveled to Winnipeg, at the request of the Canadian Anglican Church, to join their discussions as they seek to establish indigenous bishops.

The Otaki Runanganui – the 13th to be held since the Pihopatanga was established – was the first presided over by the new Pihopa o Aotearoa, The Rt Rev Brown Turei. Bishop Turei was chosen for this role at an electoral synod held at Turangawaewae in February.

Te Runanganui heard reports from its five hui amorangi (dioceses), reviewed principles of church legislation and models of leadership; and heard about plans for the future from groups of elected women and youth. There was also a slot on the Friday morning for the Maori Members of Parliament to speak.

Te Runanganui began at Te Wananga o Raukawa on Thursday afternoon, November 3 and, as a mark of respect finished its business on Saturday afternoon, earlier than expected, when Rev Puti Murray died. About 200 people attended the hui – including 130 delegates from the five hui amorangi, plus a big contingent of guests and observers.

ENDS


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