Te Pihopa o Aotearoa Kauwhau 2013

turei

Te Kauwhau a Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa

 

He Mihi

He panui tēnei nā te Pukapuka ō Ihaia, te rima tekau mā tahi ō ngā ūpoko, ka tīmata ki te Tuatahi o ngā rārangi: 

“Whakarongo ki ahau, e koutou e whai nā i te tika, e rapu nā i a Ihowa;

 

Tītiro ki te kōhatu i hāua mai ai koutou,

ki te poka i te rua i keria mai ai koutou.

 

Tītiro ki a Āperahama, ki tō koutou matua,

ki a Hera hoki i whānau ai koutou:

 

He kotahi hoki ia, karangatia ana ia e ahau,

manaakitia ana, whakanuia ana.”

 

Ihaia 51:1-2

 

Nō reira, e koutou e whai nā i te tika, e rapu nā i a Ihowa: Whakarongo ki ngā kupu a te karaipiture nei me ōna māramatanga katoa ki a tātou.

Tītiro ki te kōhatu i hāua mai ai tātou, arā ko te whakapono a ō tātou tipuna ki a Ihu Karaiti.

Tītiro ki te poka i te rua i keria mai ai tātou, arā ko te tīmatanga me te ānga mua mō Te Haahi Mihingare puta noa ki te ao Māori.

Tihei Taruke!

 

The Future of Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa

 

We arrive at this gathering of Te Rūnanganui o Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa with an important discussion ahead of us, and much of our time here will be dedicated on future visions for our Amorangi and for Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa as a whole.

It is only natural that in this discussion there will be differing hopes, dreams and aspirations. Some will want to retain Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, others may want to restructure, and some may want to dismantle the Pīhopatanga altogether.

With so many different scenarios already being discussed, I personally believe the time has come to put a stake in the ground, so as they say, “… let me cut right to the chase.”:

As Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa, it is my duty to implore you to seek unity and to protect the taonga that is Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa.

Our old people fought for the creation of Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa. It was a dream that took more than 100 years to realise but, if we are not careful, it could be easily lost overnight.

I don’t want to lose what our old people fought for. I believe that we still need Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa and the office of Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa. It united our people in the past, and it remains an instrument of unity for the future. It is the one unit that expresses the unity of Tikanga Māori to the Church and to the World.

Without Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa, the Amorangi will lose their connection and accountability to each other. The people could lose the right to elect Te Pihopa o Aotearoa. This to me is unacceptable.

For me, the history of Te Pīhopatanga is defined by the tenacity of our old people. They hoped and dreamed, and held on, and held on some more, and then finally persevered with their vision for an Aotearoa church. This was gifted to us by them, and entrusted to us as a taonga for future generations.

The Pīhopatanga has developed and grown, and now organizes itself within five Hui Amorangi. This was done to enable a greater focus on local ministry, and to increase our mission to every rohe and takiwa within Aotearoa.

Every Amorangi is different – they are different demographically, and tribally – and so it is that we tend to do things differently. That doesn’t mean that we have lost, or should seek to lose our unity. It just means that we have diversity – as the Apostle Paul says, we are many different members that make up the One Body of Christ.

I do believe, however, that each Amorangi should have its own rangtiratanga – and in fact, this is already the case. Each Amorangi sets its own direction, and reaches its own communities in its own ways without interference.

This is what the call for ‘greater autonomy’ means to me: It is a call for greater focus – and surely the focus of an Amorangi bishop should be upon their Amorangi? It is also a call to get back to the basics. Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa has grown and has the potential to evolve even further. We need to evolve as well while staying true to our Gospel of love and unity.

 

Building a Vision of Unity

 

Regarding unity, the Apostle Paul has this to say:

 

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

 

“Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:12,14-16,19-21,

 Each Amorangi is an individual member of Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa, and we find our unity together. We cannot say to each other “I no longer need you.” We have always needed each other, and we need each other still. In unity, let us support each other in mission and ministry, and empower each other to work together and not apart.

Despite our title and status as your Bishops, we should not and cannot seek a pathway forward without the people. I am conscious that much of what we share here will be based on our own visions. We also need to hear the response of the whole people, and listen again to what the Wairua Tapu is placing in their hearts.

To this end, I hope that you will all take responsibility for discerning and contributing to the discussion. Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa belongs to you, your children, and your children’s children. We need to consider its preservation and future with the utmost care and aroha.

I am reminded here of the time when I was elected as Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa: Bishop Max Mariu, the first and only Catholic Bishop in Aotearoa, made an impassioned plea to those who were there. He said “You don’t know the value of what you have in your hands! Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa is a taonga, an absolute taonga. Never lose it! Never give it away! Do all that you can to protect it.” His sentiment is shared by many, and I hope that our familiarity with each other has not bred contempt for the taonga we hold.

Does this Rūnanganui have a mind to protect and nurture the taonga that is Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa? We shall see. I think I have made it abundantly clear where my heart and soul lies.

While I know how important and urgent some of this kōrero may seem to us – after all, we are talking about the future of Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa – Let us not make the mistake of spending too much time talking about ourselves. There’s a lot out there in the mission-field that we need to be talking about – poverty, child-abuse, unemployment, hunger, education, and same-sex marriage just to name a few. It would be remiss of us to end this gathering without addressing the hurt and harm our people suffer, and the Gospel that calls us to serve them with everything we have got.

And so I say “Toitū te Pihopatanga.” Ki au nei, he taonga tuku iho, he ānga whakamua.

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