Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Maori rebel at Pakeha 'selfishness'

Maori Anglicans accuse the Pakeha church of dragging its feet on resource sharing.

Taonga News  |  04 Nov 2011

Pakeha Anglicans have been accused of dragging their feet over resource sharing with Maori.

Te Runanganui, the biennial synod of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, today formally noted the inability of its representatives to "motivate" the Pakeha church towards more equitable sharing.

The hui also took Tikanga Pakeha to task for not actively supporting Maori over Treaty settlements.

Moving into an impassioned debate, Bishop John Gray told the hui: "We had three meetings of the Resource Sharing Commission – then it fell apart.

"None of our partners wanted to share resources with us.

"Some of our partners had no knowledge of our situation.

"Hui Vercoe decided to go along with the 1992 constitution to get things moving – but there was no way he was going to let it go at that."

And yet by not properly tackling the thorny questions of resource-sharing back then, said Bishop Gray, "the cost has been great."

"We’ve been conditioned to sit quietly: That’s why I say to you: We have to get a life!

"The time for submission to the dioceses is over.

"I hope Te Runanganui will take a case to General Synod in Fiji – where the constitution was ushered in 21 years ago."

The Rev Jack Papuni, a member of the Resource Sharing Commission, said: "History tells me that the church was Maori. But there’s been a complete takeover.

"Pakeha have run the church as though it was theirs – and we have just sat there. 

"The commission was a waste of time as far as I was concerned.

"We spoke from our hearts – and all we heard was 'We have to get back to our diocese to talk with them about that'."

Don Shaw, another commission member, added: "We have to share our resources, too. But we were dealing with people who had a lot of wealth – and no interest in sharing.

"We kept hearing: 'You have had full and final payment.'

"We were given the old run-down churches – many of which we’d built.

"We were not given the know-how to run them.”

Bardia Matiu, from Te Tai Tokerau, told the hui that the Maori members of the resource-sharing commission had been "forced to tell our stories of desperation."

"And yet a response has not been fortchoming.

"We need to ask: what is your theological response to our plight?"

The church in Aotearoa New Zealand, he said, was divided "between the have and the have-nots"

Professor Whata Winiata played a key role in framing the motion, tying it into the language of the church's five-fold mission statement.

"Tikanga Pakeha have an obligation to act (on resource sharing) because they subscribe to the five-fold mission, and to changing unjust structures within the church - and within the wider community," he said.

The full resolution

(a)  Te Runanganui notes the inability of representatives of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa to motivate Tikanga Pakeha to make significant progress toward a more equitable sharing of resources that exist within the Anglican Church in Aotearoa  New Zealand and Polynesia to ensure that Tikanga Maori have a greater and more equitable share of those resources under the control of Tikanga Maori

(b)  Te Runanganui notes that Iwi are accepting settlements that are not reflective of the losses sustained as a result of prejudicial Crown behaviour,

(c)  Te Runanganui notes that Tikanga Pakeha has not actively supported more equitable Treaty settlements,

(d)  Te Runanganui requests that Tikanga Pakeha be more responsive to the ongoing call of Tikanga Maori to change those unjust structures within the Church and within the Nation that might render Tikanga Maori ineffective in achieving more equitable sharing in the Church and the Nation.

Moved The Rt Rev JRK Gray  Seconded The Ven Harvey Ruru