Te Hui Katorika o Te Hāhi Mihingare – The Anglo-Catholic Hui 2023 has opened in Kirikiriroa-Hamilton with a pōwhiri calling Anglicans from around the motu into this year’s bicultural Waikato journey with Mary. This year’s hui is shaped by Anglo-Catholic spirituality and liturgy, and focused on reconciliation and restorative justice in the Waikato context.
Kaikaranga Whaea Tia and her counterpart Piki Marsh launched the pōwhiri with their calls on Thursday afternoon and Waikato Cathedral kaumatua, Canon Pine Campbell welcomed the hui to Pukerangiora, the hill where the Cathedral stands, which has been sacred to Tainui for up to 700 years.
Matua Pine drew the visitors’ attention to the names of Māori gospel bearers inscribed in the Cathedral’s porch, which include revered Waikato evangelists, Tarore of Waharoa and Wiremu Tamihana, and welcomed the hui in their names.
Rev Stephen King of the Diocese of Wellington spoke for the manuhiri, expressing his enthusiasm to take up the ideas and experiences of the hui, especially the chance to walk in a community of pilgrims growing in faith and understanding over the next few days.
Pa Cruz Karauti-Fox wrapped up for the tangata whenua side, reminding the hui to look deeply into history, making sure to connect today’s realities with what has gone before.
“I say to people when we welcome them here, ‘Welcome to colonisation central!’, because on this hill where the cathedral stands we are on ‘Pukerangiora’, a sacred place of Tainui. It is also a place where Pākehā came and set up a headquarters for militia that attacked and suppressed our people.”
Fr Cruz told the visitors that once the barracks came down, Ngāti Wairere's sacred hill of heaven was then sold to the Anglican Church as the site where today’s Cathedral now stands.
Presider Archbishop Emeritus David Moxon and liturgist Rev Cruz Karauti-Fox led the Opening Eucharist of the Anglo-Catholic Hui, the Hākari Tapu following ‘A New Zealand Prayer Book’s Page 476 Māori medium liturgy and celebrating Mary the mother of God.
The Dean of Waikato, the Very Rev Julian Perkins preached on Mary as Theotokos – the God-bearer – and emphasised the value of seeking to understand her as the first disciple. He also directed the hui’s attention to the sixty-three other female disciples named in the New Testament and encouraged them to recognise the contribution of women in building up the Church.
One uncommon sight for the Cathedral yesterday were the clouds of incense that wafted through its sanctuary and nave during the Hui opening service, an aspect of the day that pleased Michael Toy from St Peter’s Willis Street in Wellington.
“I loved how the incense filled the Cathedral. As the light faded from afternoon into evening it created a mystical atmosphere for the mass.”
Michael was also struck by the strong congregational singing and the well-kept sanctuary and altar.
For Rev Dr Jenny Dawson from Pauatahanui parish, it wasn’t the rituals or the sights that moved her the most,
“There was a fabulous silence in the middle of the Eucharist prayers, just after the sanctus – and for me that was glorious, a glorious moment of stillness. There was a profound reverence about that mass that I loved.”
Anne McAloon from St Peter’s Cathedral has been part of planning the hui, and she’s delighted all has gone well, and even found space to savour the experience.
“We seldom have a high mass here, so it was gratifying to see the Cathedral used for the kind of worship that our first bishop would have relished so much.”
On Friday 8 September the Anglo-Catholic Hui will learn more about the Anglo-Catholic charism of first Bishop of Waikato Cecil Cherrington, hear from a panel of speakers on the role and significance of Mary and head out around the Waikato on a pilgrimage to historic and holy sites.