Voters gathering in Suva later this month to select a successor to Archbishop Winston Halapua as Bishop of Polynesia and Primate of this church will choose one of 10 candidates.
The field includes two women, a cathedral dean, three senior educators, a vicar general, three bishops – including a hui amorangi bishop – and, for good measure, a former Olympic sprinter.
The Arrangements Committee for the Diocese of Polynesia electoral college – which will be held in Lami Bay, Suva on October 26 and 27 – has today confirmed the list of candidates.
The Very Rev Tomu Asioli, who has served as the Dean of Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral since late last year, and who also looks after St Michael's and All Angels in Matata, Suva;
The Rev Fereimi Cama, who is priest at St Peter's, Lautoka – and a former Dean of Suva;
The Rev Dr Eseta Mateiviti-Tulavu, who is a senior lecturer at St John's College in Auckland, and Tokoni or learning support person for students of all three tikanga at the college;
The Rev Sereima Lomaloma, who is Ministry Officer for the Diocese, Chairperson of Te Kotahitanga, and a former long-serving Diocesan Secretary and Registrar;
The Rev Henry Rogo, who is priest in charge of Lotu Vaka Viti, a Fijian worship centre in Auckland. Rev Henry, who was ordained to the priesthood in 2012, and who runs an Auckland construction company, competed in the 1996 Olympics for Fiji as a sprinter, and is a present-day sprinting coach;
The Rev Sione Uluilakepa, who is the Vicar of All Saints' Church Fasi, in Tonga, and senior Moana Educator (and is thus responsible for the training of all diocesan clergy.) He has also recently been chosen as Principal of St John the Baptist College, the diocesan theological college in Suva, and is due to take up that post next month;
The Venerable Orisi Vuki, who is the Vicar General of the Diocese of Polynesia, Archdeacon of Suva and Ovalau, and priest in charge of St Matthews in Suva;
The Rt Rev Afa Vaka, who is the Bishop in Tonga. When the Diocese of Polynesia established Tonga as an episcopal unit in April last year, he was elected as its first bishop, and he was ordained and installed in September 2017.
The Rt Rev Gabriel Sharma, who is the Bishop in Viti Levu West. He was ordained to the episcopacy in April 2005 with Archbishop Winston and Bishop Api Qiliho. After a period of leave to pursue further study at St John's College, he resumed as Bishop in Viti Levu West. He is also priest in charge of St Christopher's Nadi;
The Rt Rev Te Kitohi Pikaahu, who is the Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau in Te Pihopatanga. Much of Bishop Kito's 32 years of ordained ministry has been spent in South Auckland, during which time he learned both Samoan and Tongan. Bishop Kito also speaks Tongarevan, in support of a Cook Island Maori congregation in his hui amorangi. During his 16 years as bishop he has also travelled frequently to the Pacific Islands.
Once the electors of the Diocese of Polynesia have made their choice on October 26/27, Archbishop Don Tamihere – who is the commissary for the election – will then contact all the Anglican bishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia who, by canon law, must agree to the nomination for it to go forward.
Assuming their assent is a formality, the members of General Synod will then be polled (over the next several days) to see whether they too assent to the nomination – and if the candidate gets the thumbs up from both these rounds, Archbishops Don and Philip will declare that person elected, and an announcement will be made.
On behalf of the Diocesan Arrangements Committee Archbishop Don has commended all those who have offered themselves for discernment:
"We thank all the nominees for the humble obedience, quiet courage, and care they've shown in putting their names forward for consideration in this sacred task.
"We will be calling on all the parishes in the Diocese of Polynesia to gather in their houses and churches during the Electoral College, to keep vigil and to pray for the nominees and their families, for the members of the Electoral College, and to ask that God's blessing will be on the proceedings, and that God's will and only God's will be done.
"We ask also that all our brother and sister Dioceses and Amorangi in Aotearoa New Zealand uphold the Diocese of Polynesia in their prayers as well."
The Arrangements Committee has commended the following prayer to the church's use:
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: we thank you for giving us a courageous Archbishop, Winston Halapua, to lead as Primate, in our Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and as Bishop of Polynesia the many years he has served. We thank you for his wife, Revd Susan and family for their tireless support and contribution to his leadership.
Look graciously now on your Church, and send your Holy Spirit to guide the hearts and minds of the Electoral College of the Diocese of Polynesia, that we may receive a faithful Apostle who will lead us in proclaiming the Good News of Your Kingdom, teaching, nurturing and baptizing new believers, responding to human needs by loving service, transforming unjust structures in the community, challenging violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation, and striving to safeguard the integrity of creation, sustain and renew the life of the earth with our brothers and sisters around the world.
We embrace with love and gratitude those who have agreed to be nominated. We pray for ‘Afa, Eseta, Fereimi, Gabriel, Henry, Orisi, Sereima, Sione, Te Kitohi, Tomu and their families.
May we continue to voyage together with our new leader in Christ and continue to care for your people and equip us for our ministries in the Diocese of Polynesia, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Footnote: The Arrangements Committee has pointed out that the nominees have the right to withdraw their names for any reason before the voting begins. Therefore, the list of confirmed names could remain the same, or be reduced, when the college actually gathers.
 At the Novotel, Lami Bay.
 The Diocesan Arrangements Committee is Archbishop Don, the Archbishops' Commissary; Rev Sepiuta Hala'api'api, who is the Electoral Secretary; and Mr Walton Morgan, the Diocesan Chancellor.