Tikanga Maori apologise to Polynesia for a 2014 synod proposal to create a two-tikanga church.
General Synod/Te Hīnota Whānui turned into a scene of reconciliation on Sunday night as Tikanga Māori apologised to their Polynesian sisters and brothers for pain they had caused before General Synod 2014.
Tikanga Polynesia responded in the formal way of receiving a gift, sitting cross legged on the floor.
Tears then flowed among Maori as Archbishop Brown Turei halted synod to unreservedly say sorry for the mamae (suffering) and offence to Polynesia when 2014 synod motions 23 and 24 proposed a new constitution to create a two-tikanga church.
“Young people at the programme before Waitangi were very unhappy with the motion – about equally from Tikanga Māori and Polynesia,” Archdeacon Sepiuta Hala’api’api (Polynesia) recalled.
“We could see it would disturb relationships between us.”
“Those motions were very hurtful and insulting,” Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu said. “Even though they were withdrawn and replaced by motion 29 that established General Conference, we needed to initiate this reconciliation.
“We didn’t need to rely on Pasifika to tell us we’d done something wrong.”
By the time Archbishop Philip Richardson called on Tikanga Pākehā to rise to their feet and awhi Te Pihopatanga in their apology, no one was left seated.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Archbishop Winston Halapua gave thanks to God and hailed the Spirit for all that had just occurred.
“We give thanks for these relationships, for this three-tikanga church, and for the love that we have felt from each other.”
The Tikanga Maori motion also invited Tikanga Polynesia to meet in a General Conference “to talanoa together.”
The aim, Bishop Kito said, was to have talanoa relationships between Tikanga Maori and both its tikanga partners.
What a wonderful beginning to this 2016 General Synod of our Church – ACANZP.
This formal Apology – from Tikanga Maori to Tikanga Pasifica – on a matter relating back to General Synod 2014, when the Maori division of our Church proposed a change from our Three-Tikanga relationship (Pasifica, Maori and Pakeha) into what would have become a Two Tikanga Church (Maori and Pakeha), with the presumption that there would be no further separate representation from the Pacific Islands Anglican Church.
This proposal was, fortunately, rejected, in favour of continuance of the current Three Tikanga Church – including Tikanga Pasifica. However, relationships were overshadowed by the thought that our Pacific Island neighbours should have been considered to exist separately from both Maori and Paheha members of ACANZP.
The sorrow and dignity with which Archbishop Winston Halapua received the Apology from the Tikanga Maori Members of General Synod, and the obvious sorrow of the Maori delegation, must have been a most moving part of the First Day’s Proceedings of the Synod.
May the Holy Spirit continue to favour this Meeting of our General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui with the grace to conduct the rest of its business agenda with a like charity and love that should mark out fellowship with one another in the Body of Christ.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand