November 10, 2020
Isolation helped Maori forge unique faith
The author of a new book on the arrival of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa says it celebrates the creativity and self-reliance of Māori.
Hirini Kaa says Te Hāhi Mihinare is about the way Māori adapted the Church of England for their own purposes.
It chronicles the arrival of missionaries in the north in 1814, the translation of the prayer book into te reo, the struggle to appoint the first Māori bishop, Frederick Bennett, in 1928, and the development of a Māori Anglican ministry.
The Reverend Dr Kaa says unlike in other areas targeted by the Church Missionary Society, Māori were in a unique position to create their own whakaaro.
"In the 1830s there were a handful of missionaries in the north and a couple in maybe Tauranga but in Ngāti Porou there were only Māori. I think we were more isolated, we could do this process of thinking through this new message on our own terms in our own way," he says.
Te Hāhi Mihinare – the Māori Anglican Church is published by Bridget Williams Books
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