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St John’s installs new Manukura

Hoani Tapu - St John’s Theological College has warmly welcomed the Reverend Dr Hirini Kaa as their new Manukura (Principal) with a pōhiri last Friday followed by a Eucharistic celebration where he was installed in the role.

Taonga News  |  14 May 2024  |

More than 250 people gathered on a chilly Meadowbank morning last Friday 10 May to welcome and offer support to the College of St John the Evangelist – Te Kāreti o Hoani Tapu Te Kaikauwhau i Te Rongopai, and its newly appointed Manukura (Principal) the Rev Dr Hirini Kaa.

Archbishop Sione Uluilakepa and Archbishop Don Tamihere attended the pōhiri and served as presider and preacher for the Eucharistic service where Rev Dr Hirini Kaa was licensed as Manukura of St John’s College. 

Archbishop Don believes it is time for Hoani Tapu-St John’s to flourish.

“It’s been a period of discomfort, of suffering, of labour – and now the College is in a space of new life. But it is not the closing of one phase and beginning of another, it is a continuation of all the good work that has gone on before that enables us to be in this new space.”

Before his installation, Dr Kaa reflected on the immense and at times difficult whakapapa that comes with the College.

“In our particularly Māori way of thinking, there’s never a neutral space. There’s all that’s gone before, the history, the whakapapa – and it’s been complicated and at times terrible for Māori at College...but I see what strengths it offers for our future as Anglicans, as Mihinare.” 

“I want to uphold and honour that whakapapa, not because it’s a polite thing to do, but because it’s essential to our future.”

“Young people are looking for depth, integrity and meaning in an increasingly complicated and challenging world...and those things are our greatest strength.” 

Looking forward Dr Kaa sees great value in exactly what and who the College is today.

“I have quickly come to see the inside, and the huge strengths and opportunities offered here, from the people who serve and study here, to the stunningly beautiful grounds and buildings, to our covenanted on site partner Trinity Methodist College. I am looking forward to working with all of them.”

Dr Kaa acknowledged the work of his immediate predecessor Dr Emily Colgan, who during her term as Manukura worked towards an on site qualification programme that will go on as part of the College’s work.

“Dr Emily Colgan is a leading scholar, a practitioner of justice and a great leader. The work she did in her time here has laid a foundation that will be part of the whakapapa of this place.”

Te Kotahitanga Chair Ven Susan Wallace gave thanks on Friday for St John’s faculty and their support for students alongside their new Manukura. She is thrilled to see Dr Kaa’s groundbreaking theological work for the Pīhopatanga coming into the life of the College. 

“I am excited by the experience and potential Hirini brings to this role, particularly as he continues the kaupapa he has seeded and laid the groundwork for across the Church, including at General Synod and in the Anglican Indigenous leadership Initiative, as Archdeacon for Mātauranga.” 

Bishop Peter Carrell turned out to support Dr Kaa and the College last Friday, and reaffirmed his commitment to sending students from the Diocese of Christchurch to Hoani Tapu - St John’s, where he is keen for them to join in the fullness of its life. 

“I think it is a great benefit to the Church to have a fulltime ministry training College that operates in a holistic community of liturgy, debate, diversity and collegiality. I look forward to working with Hirini as Manukura.” 

Going forward Rev Dr Hirini Kaa is keen to see the wānanga at Hoani Tapu recentred on teaching Anglican - Mihinare ecclesiology, theology and liturgical formation, and building on its tradition as a flourishing community of scholars and practitioners with worship at its heart.

“My work will be to help the College fulfill its role as a three tikanga centre of excellence in ministry and mission.”