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Global leaders gather in Aotearoa

Anglican leaders from across the Communion are gathering in Te Matau a Maui (Hastings) in Aotearoa this week, to take part in the inaugural Anglican Indigenous Leadership Initiative (AILI).

Taonga News  |  24 Sep 2023

More than forty Anglican leaders from across the globe are gathering in Te Matau a Maui (Hastings) to take part in a three-day intensive wānanga on Anglican Indigenous leadership.

The 'Anglican Indigenous Leadership Initiative' brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglican leaders and theological educators from around the world including from Brazil, Canada, Melanesia, Polynesia, and the USA. The AILI visitors will meet together for three days to reflect deeply on the future possibilities for Anglican Indigenous leadership.

AILI will begin their time together with a pōwhiri at Te Aute College tomorrow morning and conclude with a Communion Service on Sunday 1 October.

Hosted by Pīhopa o Aotearoa, Archbishop Don Tamihere, the summit takes a wānanga approach to gathering and learning, and is less structured and formal than the conferences some manuwhiri will have attended in the past. Kōrerorero is interspersed with karakia, waiata, and kai as guests discover differences, commonalities – and whakawhanaungatanga (one family bound in love) is created in faith.

“We’re aiming through the wānanga to give as many opportunities as we can for people to be heard, to share, and to learn. It’s an indigenous approach to draw out knowledge from one another, as opposed to a Western style with keynotes and speakers,” said Archbishop Tamihere.

Visitors to our shores for the initiative include Professor Kwok Pui Lan, a leading US-based academic with expertise in post-colonial feminist theology, and Brazilian Archbishop Marinez Bassotto – who is one of only a handful of female primates worldwide. 

Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel (Te Rarawa) joins from the University of Otago, the first indigenous lay woman appointed to lead an Anglican seminary anywhere in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“With so many brilliant indigenous leaders in the room, we plan to use our time together to lay a theological and intellectual foundation for the next several years,” Archbishop Tamihere continues. “That could involve any number of things – from mentoring programmes for women leaders, to a network of scholars, to establishing a bishops’ conference."

"Our overarching goal is to gain an understanding of leadership from an Anglican indigenous perspective – one that is inclusive of many voices and worldviews. There are plenty of textbooks that tell us what Anglicanism is, but we’re trying to find a new way to express an indigenous perspective on our faith.”

Material sent to guests ahead of the conference aims to  stimulate thinking and ignite discussion around three areas of leadership: renegotiating knowledge, transforming structures and reconciling schooling. Some topics include reviewing the shared grief of indigenous people's colonisation experiences through to the immense potential that indigenous worldviews bring to the task of caring for God’s creation.

“We’re looking forward to a gathering that will take all shapes and all forms,” concludes Archbishop Tamihere, “and trust that the work of the Holy Spirit will guide us.”

The AILI Wānanga is being hosted by Kurahautū, the Archbishops’ Wayfinder Unit. Find out more about Kurahautū here.