It’s breaking news, not yet on our province’s news site, but Christopher Douglas-Huriwai reports on Facebook’s No Anglican Covenant that yesterday a motion rejecting the Anglican Covenant passed unanimously at Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o te Wheke, the first Episcopal Unit (cf. diocese) in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to do so.

That Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o te Wheke, for the purpose of providing feedback to te Hinota Whanui/General Synod, states it’s opposition to the Anglican Covenant for the following reasons:

-After much consideration this Amorangi feels that the Anglican Covenant will threaten the rangatiratanga (self determination) of the Tangata Whenua (local people).

-We believe the Anglican Covenant does not reflect our understanding of being Anglican in these islands.

-We would like this church to focus on the restoration of justice to te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi which tangata whenua signed and currently do not have what they signed for.

There is already much discussion about this on the internet. I just want to add a few points which may help understanding the significance of this.

Since 1992, the Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia provides for three Tikanga (cultural streams) partners to order their affairs within their own cultural context: Tikanga Maori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand); Tikanga Pakeha (those here by virtue of te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi); Tikanga Pasefika (encompassing the episcopal units of Polynesia in New Zealand, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, and Viti Levu West, and the Archdeaconries of Suva and Ovalau, Samoa and American Samoa, and Tonga).

When significant decisions are made at te Hinota Whanui/General Synod, as with other Anglican Provinces, there must be agreement across all houses – here those are the house of bishops, clergy, and laity. There must also be agreement across all Tikanga. In other words, even if Tikanga Pakeha and Tikanga Pasefica are in majority agreement in favour of the Covenant, if Tikanga Maori votes against the Covenant, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia would be saying no to the Covenant.

There are five Hui Amorangi in Aotearoa. They are: Te Pihopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau, Te Pihopatanga o Te Manawa o te Wheke, Te Pihopatanga o Te Tairawhiti, Te Pihopatanga o Te Upoko o te Ika, and Te Pihopatanga o Te Waipounamu.

Tangata Whenua means the people of the land, the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of our nation. It was signed in 1840.

Rangatiratanga is a very important concept. It is a word that occurs twice in the Lord’s Prayer, where the English version has “kingdom”. It is an important word in te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi. In the second article of te Tiriti rangatiratanga (chieftainship) is retained by the Maori chiefs.

I think it is not unfair to say that Maori have considerable experience and energy around the concept of signing a document which has the sense of a sacred covenant, and the use and abuse of such a document, the issues that arise through the differing understandings and misunderstandings of texts, the use and abuse of power, and the differing motivations of people who sign up to such a document and urge people to sign. All this, I think, I hope, helps to understand some of what is in and lies underneath the motion passed.

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