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Benedicite Aotearoa

O give thanks to our God who is good:
whose love endures forever.
You sun and moon, you stars of the southern sky:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
Sunrise and sunset, night and day:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
All mountains and valleys, grassland and scree,
glacier, avalanche, mist and snow:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
You kauri and pine, rata and kowhai, mosses and ferns:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
Dolphins and kahawai, sealion and crab,
coral, anemone, pipi and shrimp:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
Rabbits and cattle, moths and dogs
kiwi and sparrow and tui and hawk:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
You Maori and Pakeha, women and men,
all who inhabit the long white cloud:
give to our God your thanks and praise.
All you saints and martyrs of the South Pacific:
give to our God your thanks and praise.

A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa page 457

Maori ~ people of our land
Pakeha ~ non-Maori person
rata & kowhai ~ flowering trees
kahawai ~ fish
pipi ~ shellfish
tui ~ bird

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13 thoughts on “Benedicite Aotearoa”

  1. I’m not sure what you had in mind when you published this, Bosco, (I might well have missed something in the last couple of days) but it addresses a point that I think we need to educate non-New Zealanders on. I’ve been pulled up on several occasions by academics and others from overseas for talking about ‘bi-culturalism’ when they think I ought to have said ‘multi-culturalism’. I’m not sure whether this is political correctness or cultural sensitivity on their part, or simply an attempt to be more precise anthropologically.

    Now I think they were missing the point I was trying to make, which could be summed up as saying that New Zealand is made up of Maoris and Pakehas. This is true of the Treaty of Waitangi, the legislation based on it, and the separation of the Anglican church into three tikanga as well. I think it also reflects the way New Zealand developed as a nation and the way New Zealanders (of my generation at least) think of ourselves.

    But there is no doubt that it creates confusion for people and complicates our efforts to talk to each other about a number of things. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this (and others’ too, of course).

    Personally, I’ve never much liked the Benedicite Aotearoa. It’s always seemed a bit too self-consciously bi-cultural to me – a bit too contrived. Perhaps that reflects the fact that it was written before the separation into tikanga and should be seen as an attempt to be inclusive. I’d never noticed before now, how much effort the authors put into getting some sort of balance between indigenous and imported things and Maori and English words for them.

    1. The author of Benedicite Aotearoa is Bruce Keeley. I have never spoken to him about it so cannot comment on your suggestions about its intentions.

      The separation into three tikanga was quite last minute, and is still disputed, particularly by some Maori. Prior to this, the direction was very much tikanga rua (2 tikanga/cultural streams). Having three tikanga can confuse that fundamental intent – why, for example do we not have a Tikanga Asia? Where are Asian people receiving and providing mission and ministry? Tikanga Rua was based on who is here by virtue of being the people of the land, and who is here by virtue of the Treaty. In that approach there was no problem in describing ourselves as a multicultural nation. The issue, of course, is that those in the Diocese of Polynesia do not fit a two tikanga conceptualisation. I’m not convinced that this site is quite the place for detailed discussion in this area as we can easily veer into whether these were good decisions and how these have affected the ongoing life of our church.

      I understand that new expressions can at first appear contrived – but I am convinced that we need to find way to embody spirituality in this land, in the Southern Hemisphere. And that includes re-interpreting our Northern Hemisphere heritage in this new context also. Recently I suggested we could be using Northern Hemisphere Lent concepts and practices at this time of year here. That too may appear contrived and I don’t see droves of communities rushing to follow my suggestion. However, slowly, slowy, I think we move forward in such ways.

  2. Rev. Peters:

    I love the post. I just started following you on Twitter. Rev. Bill White, the pastor at UBC Miami, showed a film clip where your discuss life. You were inspirational. Thank you.

    1. Roscoe, you have a blogsite and clearly the energy to set up a discussion about this there – and when you have written your post you are welcome to place the link to it in a comment here. We are slow to acknowledge how small we are as a church – maybe less than 100,000 regular worshippers. We have only so much energy to expend – one of the results IMO of the significant energy we have, as a church, given to the three tikanga issues has meant that there has been less energy given over to liturgical training, study, and formation of worship leaders and communities. Also, it could need some objective research, but IMO there is less use of Te Reo (Maori language) in Pakeha services since the formation of the Three-Tikanga Church than prior to it.

      Jose, thanks for your encouragement.

  3. I was around when the NZPB came out, Bosco, and when the separation into three tikanga took place. In fact I was a member of the Synod where the NZPB was used for the first time (I think) and a member of Standing Committee when the three tikanga model was first mooted. I agree that the decision to separate was made hastily and probably without enough thought about its implications, and that not everyone agreed with it then or now. Having a third tikanga, Pasifika, in recogition of the fact that the Diocese of Polynesia was also a part of the Province of New Zealand, certainly muddied the waters. Are Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand (and not in the Pacific Islands) Maoris or Pakehas? They’re not all Polynesians, of course. Should we, for example, have a separate tikanga for the Anglican Fijian Indians? (I’ve had a bit to do with them, too, and with some of the Tongan Anglicans living in Auckland.)

    As you say, this is probably not the place to debate the ins and outs of the matter – although I think the liturgical implications of the separation might be worth looking at in more detail.

    My point was really that ‘bi-culturalism’ as the term is used in this country has a particular meaning that should not be seen as an inferior or mistaken alternative to ‘multi-culturalism’, or as a slighting of anyone who isn’t ‘Maori’ or ‘British’. I think new arrivals should understand that. That’s all.

  4. You know when a kid is cornered with nothing left to say to his parents; how they screech out details, and details, about something that never happened? Details and specifics are clearly not Praise worthy Brother. Details. ‘Simplicity’ in Praise to God. God, unlike the Holy Spirit, appreciates and values ‘Repetition’ in his Glorification. In any psalm of ‘Declaration’, Details are proofs, not Values. I love you Brother, and I encourage you to carry on.

  5. Faye Greenwood

    Thanks Bosco – we needed a copy to send to Sweden for nieces’ Christening.
    Love your site

  6. This site looks like it will be most interesting. I look forward to taking part in discussions here.

  7. I am concerned that the Anglican Church is spouting this benediction without taking an active stance against the peoisoning of animals,birds, eels, kura and any living thing that’s being contaminated by 1080 poison.
    This poison is ecocide and the Church as the gaurdian of Mother earth needs to be standing up and shouting NOOOO MORE to the government.Its never been affective after 60 years of use.

    1. The church isn’t some ‘mullah’ for laws. (Galatians 4) The church proclaims the resurrection of Jesus. (Revelation 8) Perhaps you’ve forgotten 2005 election when they got angry at 7 exclusive brethren for spending 1000000 on t.v. adverts to sway election and Epistle of Jude 1:22-23. they persecuted us ( economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/07/21/as-inequality-grows-so-does-the-political-influence-of-the-rich).
      If you treat the church as some bunch of deacon with bowls in hands ready to serve you for your petty social ailments, this is what you’ll find, death destruction. (revelation 16)
      The church keeps Resurrected-Jesus companionship. We (or at least I) don’t work for money, and when we work for love, miracles happen .
      last year i got kept 4 whitebait alive in my tanks from my meth-quiting friend who hunted whitebait to replace drugs, 2 died, and after 2 months i showed a lady from church one sunday before the whitebait season ended, and there was 3 alive in my aquaponic tanks.
      it was amazing to me, i’m still talking about it, i simply thanked God with joy for my clever pets.
      Christians are understated that way i think.

      Most of the people left in church are engineers and educated people.
      the St Johns Bible college last year stated during lecture that the documentary hypothesis is “dead in the water”. If you want to help the kauri, try get some kauri seeds. try listen to what the Jesus said and what the God said.
      We can restore the life populations which has died on planet earth. it is not impossible, there is a choice of futures (heavens) according to the holy bible.
      Believe in Genesis 1 it’s not plagaerized FROM translated-babylonian myths.
      in 2018 there are people who’s gender is “agender”, they are so deeply disturbed by past trauma they reject any gender, their proper respectful pronoun is the plural “they”, just like the Elohim is plural hebrew. (deut 32-11 , exodus 4:22)

      i still can’t quite get how Jezebel wrote letters in the name of the king, and we pray to the God of Gods, in the name of Christ, is not the same trickery.
      ah it’s the church or rather we pray to God using the name of Christ.
      anyway, peace.
      p.s: Remember, listen to God exodus 20:13, oldest laws in oldest book of our modern civilization. secular liars cite egyptian book of dead which was translated near 1900 : no comparison to authenticity of the accuracy of torah’s transmission.
      bless God.

  8. I’m very curious to learn more how Benedicite Aotearoa was conceived and written. Do you have any suggestions where to find more information on it?

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