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Election of a new leader for the Maori church

February 9, 2005

Election of a new leader for the Maori church

Maori from throughout Aotearoa will gather at Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia tomorrow afternoon (Feb 10) to elect a new Pihopa o Aotearoa, or leader of the Maori arm of the Anglican Church.

The election is to fill the vacancy created last year when the Most Rev. Whakahuihui Vercoe was chosen as overall head of the church, or Archbishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.

The election at Turangawaewae is a three-day process, and will begin with a hui-a-iwi – which has been called to hear submissions on the role of the Bishop of Aotearoa, and to gather nominations for the post.

That hui-a-iwi, which will convene tomorrow evening, February 10, and continue through most of the next day, is open to the community at large, and submissions will be heard from a wide range of people, regardless of their ethnicity, iwi and religious affiliations.

The views and recommendations of the hui-a-iwi will be conveyed to nga Hui Amorangi – (in effect, the leaders and elected representatives of the five constituent regions of Tikanga Maori) which will meet in a separate Electoral College on Saturday, February 12.

Delegates to the Electoral College have the power to vote, and they'll make a recommendation on who will be the next Pihopa o Aotearoa.

A ratification process will then begin. The nomination will be referred to the bishops, and then forwarded to all General Synod members for a postal ballot. After they have been polled, the Primate and Archbishop, the Most Rev. Whakahuihui Vercoe, will announce the result.

The chairperson for the hui-a-iwi will be Tumu Te Heuheu, the paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa. A panel of Maori leaders will join Mr Te Heuheu to form the praesidium which will conduct the hui. The Rt. Rev. David Moxon, the Bishop of Waikato, will chair the Electoral College.


1) The Anglican Church in these islands has three equal and autonomous strands – Tikanga Maori, Tikanga Pakeha, and Tikanga Polynesia. This election concerns the leadership of Tikanga Maori.

2) The Hui-a-Iwi, on Thursday evening and Friday, is open to the media. However, space is limited, and there are strict protocols on filming at Turangawaewae.

3) The proceedings of the Electoral College are conducted in committee, and no announcement of the outcome of the election will be made until the General Synod members have considered the nomination, and returned their postal votes. The whole process may take up to 21 days.


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