Te Pouhere Sunday

Sunday 25 May is Te Pouhere/Constitution Sunday when we celebrate the unique structure of the Anglican church of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia.

We have three tikanga or ways of being – Maori, Pakeha and Polynesian. Each tikanga has autonomy but is also closely related to the other two.

Weaving illustration how we merge as one

It’s like a woven piece with its distinctive individual threads. Our original constitution of 1857 was updated in 1992 to reflect the many strands that are the Anglican church in this land.

2 Responses to “Te Pouhere Sunday”

  1. heatherbelle Says:

    Tui,tui tuia matou,weave, weave us together….
    25 May is Te Pouhere or Constitution Sunday. “Pou” meaning a post like the great posts that support the ridgepole of a whare nui or meeting house, “here” with the meaning of a guide. So Te Pouhere the guiding framework, a good translation of constitution.
    The Constitution we are remembering today is that of the Anglican church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, or Te hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa, ki Niu Tireni ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.
    We are one of a worldwide family of Anglican churches all with much in common bu also their own individuality.
    I apologise to those of you who know your history but it is important to touch base once a year at least to ask who we are, and how did we become what we are today. To stand in the present, looking to the future, we need to know the foundation beneath our feet.
    The Anglican church in New Zealand had its beginnings here in the Bay of Islands. The Maori chief Ruatara agreed to give protection to three missonary families sent by the Rev Samuel Marsden, based in Sydney, in 1814 to Oihi. Missionary teaching in the Maori language spread the Gospel throughout New Zealand assisted by the early Maori converts. It was essentially a Maori focussed missionary church.
    With the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and increasing numbers of Pakeha settlers, there was a need to provide a church setting for them. George Augustus Selwyn our first Bishop was appointed in 1842 and the focus was on the Book of Common Prayer and English hymns and music. This Anglican church did not have a state connection. Our Constitution of 1857 made NZ an autonomous province.
    Over the next 100 years diocese were created and churches built. The church among the Maori people suffered during the Land Wars of the 1860s. It survived but under the control of the settler church.
    In the late 20th century change was in the air.Just as NZ started to identify what made it distinct as a nation, so the church tried new forms of services to acknowledge our context , resulting in our NZ Prayer Book of 1989. Divorced people could be married in our church in 1970, women ordained in 1977. The church in the Pacific became separate diocese. All decisions we made for ourselves.
    Since the 1970s the church has committed itself to re-examining the principles of bicultural development and partnership as envisaged by the Treaty. This led to a revised constitution in 1992 which recognised our three tikanga(way/style) of Maori, Pakeha and Polynesia. Our Diocesan and General Synods meet to discuss and regulate the shape of our multi facetted church. Bishops, clergy and laity gather to seek a consensus, as on a marae or at a hui.
    So our church here in this place recognised we have a diversity of ways of being and that to live together in community we need to build strong relationships. Sound familiar?
    I think its what we try to achieve in Local Shared Ministry – recognising the gifts of all, that we are all different but linked in Jesus Christ, in relationship with one another.
    And isnt that the essense of the Trinity – God in three persona/aspects, a pattern of interdependence and interrelationship.
    Tui, tui, tuia matou…

  2. Joan Cook Says:

    Chapter 2: by Bishop John Paterson-Anglican Bishop of Aucklnd and one of the architects of the Tikanga system in the church’s (new?) constitution is worth a read: (except the date of 1984 should read 1983). Title of book:
    Maori Sovereignty, The Pakeha Perspective. Ed. Carol Archie.

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