April 22, 2018
Chaplain post a win for justice
The country’s first Maori university chaplain says creating the position was a matter of justice.
Presbyterian minister Wayne Te Kaawa from Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau, Ngai Tuhoe and Ngati Awa is working and lecturing in theology at the University of Otago.
He says he worked with the chaplaincy team briefly while studying at Otago 20 years ago and was concerned to find there was still no Maori chaplain there, nor at any other university.
"How come you have so may paid chaplains around the country yet none of them can speak Maori, none of them are fluent in te reo Maori, none of them know the Maori culture like we do, and so it becomes a matter of justice and Otago University totally agreed with that and decided let’s do this, let’s set this up and see if it can have a flow on effect to other universities in the country," Rev Te Kaawa says.
There are more than 2000 Maori at the University of Otago, and the job entails a wide range of activity, for counselling and pastoral care, blessing student flats, and dealing with sudden deaths.
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