Anglican Taonga Easter 2012

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EASTER 2012 // No.39



What is it

that we want? Whatarangi Winiata's life mission C R E AT I O N

Fracking: Why on earth should we care? YO U T H

Parachute The heart beneath the hype



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Anglican Taonga


Kelvin Wright calls for a church that can keep its balance on the shifting sands of truth

Lost in wonder, time and space?


n 1545 Copernicus published his De Revolutionibus Orbius Coelestium, which proposed the Sun, rather than the Earth, was the centre of the universe. For us, this idea is unremarkable, so it’s hard to imagine just how revolutionary it was at the time. Copernicus’ discovery upset a firmly held and seemingly self-evident understanding of the universe. The new concept threw into question the very structure of reality – what people were, and who and what God was. Yet the book that caused all the fuss was not exactly riveting. At the time, there would have been barely a handful of people alive who could understand its arcane mathematical argument. As a result, Copernicus’ outrageous philosophical and social ideas were only discussed in the most exclusive academic circles. But of course, the truth always finds a way of leaking out. Gradually, the ideas became commonplace amongst academics, then teachers and social leaders, and finally, the general public.

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All of that took time, probably about 300 years. The journey of ideas from debating points of boffins, to general acceptance by the hoi polloi, can be measured in decades and centuries, rather than days and months. We in the church should pay a little more attention to this fact, given the human propensity to learn new stuff. Here in the 21st century, we are just starting to come to terms with some of last century’s learning. While many recent discoveries have been fairly trivial, some are potentially as unsettling to our concept of life, the universe and everything as Copernicus’ heliocentrism was. After 163 years, some of us have just about got Darwin sorted out, and maybe Freud, but even after more than a century Einstein is still a bit of a mystery, to say nothing of Heisenberg or Fermi. Some of the most powerful bits, like the Standard Model, the mapping of the human genome, or Chaos Theory for instance - have hardly begun their journey towards popular acceptance. The Church’s seeming failure to keep up with this kind of change can lead others to label us as irrelevant. For two millennia, we’ve lived in a universe that began and largely ended with the Earth, around which the sun and stars circled at a modest distance. In that universe, the sun rose and set, and space and time were universal constants. Physical matter was real and spiritual realities were something apart from that – the “supernatural”. We were at the centre and played a crucial part, defined in the not too distant past by the Creator.

Within that universe we developed all of our classical creeds and doctrines and liturgies. But now, we speak to people for whom the universe is not a thing, but a process and where we ourselves are not things, but processes. We live in a time when evolution is an integral part of everything. We observe that the flow of time is no longer constant, but is infinitely variable, and time and space are actually the same thing. Now we can see a world where there’s no such thing as matter, only various forms of energy, and where unimaginably vast distances separate our insignificance from the nearest other piece of insignificance. This only becomes a problem, to the extent we stay locked into the need for certainty. Yet that is not our calling. We are called to walk a path of faith, that is, trust. It is difficult to maintain that trust when the existential ground keeps shifting under our feet, but it is precisely across that shaky soil that we are asked to follow in the footsteps of our master. When our need for “relevance” drives us to make premature claims at certainty, we have lost sight of our true calling. If the human race discovered nothing new from today onward, we would still have a century or two’s worth of processing to do, and yet the new discoveries keep piling up. That means we’ll have to make our path along the moving ground for a good while yet. Praise God. Rt Rev Kelvin Wright is Bishop of Dunedin.

Anglican Taonga

Anglican Taonga EASTER 2012

Contents 06







REGULAR 19 Liturgy: Bosco Peters takes another look at confirmation 32 Children: Julie Hintz grapples with Good Friday for kids 36 Poetry: Trevor James on James K Baxter’s labyrinth 40 Environment: Taking the waste out of holidays 41 Film: John Bluck finds church at the movies 43 The Far Side: Religious spectacle or substance?


Anglican Taonga is published by the Commission on Communications and distributed to all ministry units and agencies of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – Te Haahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni ki nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

Vision for St John’s from its new Pakeha dean

Editor Julanne Clarke-Morris 786 Cumberland Street Otepoti - Dunedin 9016 Ph 03 477-1556


Keeping it real


The heart beneath the hype Brittany Kusserow finds the best acts at Parachute

Design Marcus Thomas Design Ph 04 389-6964


Distribution Chris Church Ph 03 351-4404

Whatarangi Winiata on survival as a people

Advertising Brian Watkins Ph 06 875-8488 Mob 021 072-9892 Fax 09 353-1418 Media Officer Lloyd Ashton Ph 09 521-4439 021 348-470

What is it that we want?


Confirmation: Has it got the rite stuff? Brian Dawson goes searching for confirmation’s heart



Fracking: Why on earth should we care? Tom Innes scopes out a threat to God’s good earth


Really church? Jonathan Jong heads off to cyberchurch


Knight at the table Father Des Britten's story


Relief for flood hit Fiji CWS aids marginal communities


Putting our faith back on its feet John Bluck treads the pilgrim’s path

Grow old along with me

Bruce Gilberd’s five ways to live older and better Cover image: Christus Rex by Ria Bancroft

For the latest on the Anglican world, check out our website: Page 3

Anglican Taonga



Asked whether he was relieved to be going after so much controversy within the Communion, Dr Williams said: “Crisis management is never a favourite activity… but it’s not as if that has overshadowed everything. “It’s certainly been a major nuisance, but in every job that you’re in, there are controversies and conflicts and this one isn’t going to go away in a hurry. So I can’t say that there's a great sense of ‘free at last’.”

Focus of Unity

NZ visit to be Archbishop’s swansong


he Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams – focus of unity for 85 million Anglicans worldwide – will step down at the end of this year to resume his academic career. This means his visit to New Zealand in November to chair the 15th Anglican Consultative Council will be his last major international duty. Dr Williams has been Archbishop of Canterbury for 10 years, and will take up the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, at the beginning of next year. The archbishops of this church were among the first to pay homage to him. “He was greatly respected by us,” said Archbishop David Moxon, on behalf of Archbishops Brown Turei and Winston Halapua. “We respected him as a deeply prayerful, thoughtful person, as someone of huge intelligence. “But he was above all wise, in the Biblical sense, with a great heart for the diversity of the Anglican Communion, across all its cultures, and with all its theological tensions. “He has a way of searching for the highest common good with all the Page 4

resources of his scholarship, and all the sensitivity of his soul. “His sermons, writings and talks will endure as unique in their generation, and be used for a very long time as an expression of exemplary Anglican thinking. “We will miss Archbishop Rowan’s grace and mind very much, and we’re delighted and humbled that his last international duty will be among us in Aotearoa New Zealand.” In his statement of resignation, Dr Williams said it had been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury… “and moving on has not been an easy decision. During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond. “I am abidingly grateful to those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and the many diverse parishes and communities that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry. “I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the church’s mission and witness in the years ahead.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury is convener and host of the Lambeth Conference, President of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Chair of the Primates’ Meeting. In these roles he travels extensively throughout the Anglican Communion, visiting provinces and dioceses, and supporting the witness of the church in very diverse contexts. As primus inter pares among the bishops, he also has a special concern for those in episcopal ministry. Following the announcement, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, noted that Dr Williams’ time in office “has coincided with a period of turmoil, change and development in the Anglican Communion, and his careful leadership, deeply rooted in spirituality and theology, has strengthened and inspired us.” The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said he was saddened by the news: “Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. “In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God’s mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in Christ. “The last decade has been a challenging time for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Thankfully, Archbishop Rowan is a remarkable and gifted leader who has strengthened the bonds of affection.” For more on Archbishop Rowan Williams, go to the Taonga website:

Anglican Taonga



In Aotearoa New Zealand, no-one pays much attention to women’s ordination. For most, it’s accepted and has been for decades now. It’s not quite that ho-hum for the Anglican Church in Tonga.

Tonga triples

its women clergy


n the ‘70s and '80s when Anglican women were first ordained in Aotearoa, churches in Tonga weren’t having any of that. In 1990, the Free Wesleyan Church in Tonga ordained their first woman minister. In the Diocese of Polynesia, the first Tongan woman priest was Rev Eleanor Mancini, ordained in Auckland in 2004. At the time, she told the NZ Herald, "There's a very strict Tongan culture and this is breaking that down, but hopefully it can open the doors for other women." Eight years later, women’s ordinations are still something special in Tonga. Tonga’s two newest deacons, Rev Colleen Cowley and Rev Mele Evelingi Langi walk a lightly trod path as Tongan women clergy. Tonga’s media certainly made something of their ordination at St Paul’s Kolofo’ou, Nuku’alofa, on 19 February this year. Taimi Tonga newspaper reported on it, and Tonga Television recorded the 2-hour service, then televised it in full. Before now, Tonga Archdeaconry’s house of clergy boasted just one woman priest, the Rev Toe’umu Fine’anganofo, vicar of St Paul’s Kolofo’ou. Evelingi and Colleen now join her as transitional deacons, and then God willing, as priests. In fact, they won’t be a completely new team. Currently, they are all in ministry together at St Paul’s. Colleen Cowley has held the positions of Vicar’s warden, Bishop’s warden and President of the Ladies’ Guild there. Evelingi Langi has been a lay minister since 2007. Not surprisingly, it was under Toe’umu’s guidance that both women discerned and began to follow God’s call into ordained ministry. Tonga’s Training Enabler Rev Viliami Tohi, supported them too, along with Rev Amy Chambers and Archbishop Winston Halapua. Evelingi’s journey to ordination hasn’t been painless. At times she’s faced serious opposition. But it was never a question of ability. Her professional career spanned 36 years in Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, where she ended up as Assistant Ministry Secretary. Clearly a capable woman. Yet at times, Evelingi’s church

contributions had been rejected. It turns out the only reason she’d been knocked back, was because she’d been through a divorce. Now that she’s ordained, Evelingi hopes to minister with youth and women, including the AAW. Colleen Cowley brings much to her vocation, she’s been a fundraiser, administrator and businesswoman. She’s called to pastoral ministry in the community, where she’s keen to work for justice, “I believe...(it’s my calling) speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” she says. She’s not afraid to get political either, “the government and the church should work together empower people...” she says, "However the church must exercise a prophetic voice in the community and the Kingdom.” Flying in from Fiji, Rev Amy Chambers

Archbishop Winston Halapua, Rev Evelingi Langi, Rev Colleen Cowley

wondered what the local response would be. She was pleased with what she saw, “ conversations with people before and after the ordinations, it was clear that this occasion was not only historic, but welcomed by the people,” she said. When Archbishop Winston Halapua turned up at St Paul’s on Sunday Feb 19, it was brimming with 400 parishioners and well-wishers, and not just from Anglican parishes. A guest of honour was Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho, Queen of Tonga, who spoke at the celebration meal. “The presence of Her Majesty the Queen added mana to this occasion, as through her, the whole Kingdom was added an ecumenical dimension, because of her role in the Free Wesleyan Church...” said Amy Chambers. Ms Julanne Clarke-Morris is Editor of Taonga magazine

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On a flying visit to Otago University this February, the new Tikanga Pakeha Dean for St John’s College stopped by for a chat with Taonga Editor, Julanne Clarke-Morris.

Keeping it real It’s about proclaiming the Gospel in ways that make sense to people.

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Anglican Taonga


ikanga Pakeha’s new dean at St John’s is the Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, a young Scots-born woman brimming with energy and enthusiasm for her new role.

And she’s backed up by a long and impressive academic record. Not one to linger in the ivory tower, lately she’s been a Church of England voice in the British media – on the controversial subject of ordaining women bishops. She’s ministered in US and UK parishes, joined an archaelogical dig in Palestine, and visited the US-Mexican border to study issues of justice and migration. All this has impressed on her the importance of keeping it real, especially on how the Bible speaks into our lives. Dr Hartley started out in Hebrew and Jewish studies, but her Ph.D from Oxford University is on the Pauline letters. Since 2008, she’s been Director of Biblical Studies at Ripon Theological College in Cuddesdon, a college with 150 ministry students. When not hill-walking in the Lake District, she might be found studying on other shores. That’s how she got to know St John’s – during six months’ stay as visiting scholar in 2010. So how did she get into all this theology? And what does she hope to do? Julanne Clarke-Morris asked her for the story. *





Looking at all that academic theology, I wonder what got you started in faith? I grew up in a church family, so it was all around me. It was a family that valued discussion and debate about faith as well. I went to church schools and took an interest in biblical studies there – and so I carried on to university from that. Actually Dad was a biblical scholar, so I grew up always hearing about the Bible, but in a way where the biblical text was to be valued, and also used for debate. What drew you to St John’s in 2010? I’d met Jenny Te Paa before Lambeth 2008. She’d talked about St John’s, and over the years we’d stayed in touch. She suggested I come to St John’s for a sabbatical. What made you want to come back? While I was here on sabbatical I wrote a book, called Making Sense of the Bible. To be honest, when I went back to England and re-read the book before publishing, I realised there was an awful lot of New Zealand in it. And I realised I’d left a part of myself here too – in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.

What was the work you felt needed to be done? I was thinking of the College - what it stands for, and its potential as a wonderful resource for the church. What do you mean by “resource for the church”? Well, the English colleges really resource the church’s ministry. A lot of it is about strong traditions of research. At Cuddesdon, we had a research centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology, with a full-time Director and projects on areas like school chaplaincy, or the spirituality of older people. Theological education has seen huge changes here. Do you think there’s still value in fulltime residential ministry training? There is great value in it. A different kind of learning comes from living together learning, praying, and eating alongside each other. This kind of environment can provide clergy with deep-rooted emotional and ecclesiological intelligence. It’s about really getting to know one another - especially the people you find hardest to love – and that can include yourself. Over the long term it gives you time to knock the edges off each other and become more forgiving. That’s foundational to Christian faith. It’s about being vulnerable and seeing Christ in the person you’re sitting next to. I can see real value in St John’s three Tikanga nature too. I can’t see any other place in the church where that relationship is lived out on a day-to-day basis in the long term. If we’re building a church for an uncertain future, we’ll need those longlasting relationships of trust. You mentioned uncertainty about the church’s future. What’s your response to that? Belief in transformation, and hope in that transformation, are core Gospel values. Read the Pauline letters! Corinth, for instance was a busy, cosmopolitan environment, lots of competing religions, and a fledgling Christian community struggling to find their identity. It was way more chaotic than now. In that context, the Christian message demanded that people flout the social rules just to be the church. The upper classes had to be in the same room as slaves. They had to sit at table together, worship together and every day they were being asked to break down all the expected relationships. What Paul did was to remind them they were all part of the body of Christ; that the many parts were joined in one body. God’s work had to be done across, around, and in spite of difficulties and divisions.


For St John’s, the body of Christ imagery is very important. It’s good that with the three-Tikanga relationship, there’s already acknowledgement and respect for particularity, as well as a commitment to crossing the boundaries. What will be your priorities for St John’s? Building of shared community life and more intentional formation. So, creating an environment where formation can happen. Hospitality is important. Eating together is important, so are learning together, praying together. What we’re aiming for is to build up mature individuals with strong selfunderstanding. To get there, there’s a practical element, reflection on that practice, and the practice and experience of spirituality. There’s real value in intangible formation too. Sitting alongside folk in chapel, in silence, can be just as valuable as interacting over a topic in a lecture theatre. But you can’t timetable that, which is why the quality of environment is so important. Non-residential training has another value. It means you’ve got people who will constantly make connections between their learning and their daily life. For them, the link between learning and ministry is immediate. In the right environment, these ways of learning complement each other. We’ve started to see Fresh Expressions emerge here. How should our ministry formation respond ? The church itself is the original fresh expression. Ecclesia means called out, not gathered in. So as the church, you are called out into your context, whatever that is. And Christians are called to communicate the Gospel afresh wherever they are. It’s about proclaiming the Gospel in ways that make sense to people. For Fresh Expressions to thrive, we’ll need to train leaders who are willing to let go of secure ways of doing things. Leaders who will genuinely ask others what they think. So what would you most like to achieve in your time at St John’s ? It would be something to do with building a home where the love of God will be seen clearly. A home is something we share together, and that’s important. It’s important in the three -Tikanga context. So, a home where people are trained and formed for ministry and where research is encouraged for the good of the church. As a resource for the whole church. Page 7

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When Brittany Kusserow set up camp at the Parachute Music festival this year, she found out all the best acts were happening offstage .

t r a e h e h T beneath the hype F

or almost two decades, Anglicans have turned up to Parachute at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, for its combination of Christian music, praise, worship and teen scene. This January, we celebrated four years of pitching tents together as a “super-group” called Anglicans@ Parachute. The Parachute Music Festival itself is a self-styled “jambalaya” or “mishmash” of musical styles, events and consumables. Similarly, the Anglican super-group is a mishmash of, well, Anglicans. Since I’ve been back home, I’ve reflected on what Parachute gives us as a community of faith, and what we in turn, give back. Parachute gave my youth group and I a good taste of the Christian music spectrum. We got praise and worship, metal hybrid, and doe-eyed, secular alt-indie - with bands whose members all happen to vaguely like Jesus. We got to hear openspace seminars on topics like social justice and parent-teen relationships, and we witnessed a Christian NGO up close. To get from Anglican base camp to the festival ‘Mainstage’, we passed the World Vision tent. That meant we ended up monitoring its progress daily, sometimes even on an hourly basis. A twenty-year relationship between Parachute and World Vision has helped keep the festival thriving. World Vision has used the event to develop ties between Parachute’s crowd and overseas communities in need. This year’s focus was an area of Rwanda’s capital city called Tubehoneza. Page 8

The WV tent displayed personal stories, invited us to write to children and families in Rwanda, and kept an ongoing tally of sponsorships over the weekend. Through most of Friday and Saturday, perhaps fifty children were sponsored. By Sunday night, that total had rocketed to two hundred. It’s important for my youth to see faith in action like that, and for me too. Actually I have to admit I’m fairly wary of events like Parachute, due to a crusty liberal upbringing. Whereas genre, sound, and style varied dramatically at Mystery Creek, I fear theology did not. But whether or not the majority at Parachute think like me (and how boring if they did), I’m humbled to see the care and generosity that faith can inspire. Parachute’s greatest gift isn’t the sleepdeprived teenagers napping on the car trip home, or the good tunes, or even the cheap family passes – it’s the opportunity to meet across regions and denominations. That is, to meet with a blank slate, and a clean heart. The super group delivered that too, not only for those of us on site, but for our nearest tent-village neighbours and the wider Parachute population. Waiapu’s Youth Ministry Facilitator, Jocelyn Czerwonka, reckons the super group is great for Anglican youth. “Young people come from all around the country, and before you know it there’s a whole new network of friendships developing and supporting one another. It begins at Parachute, but continues on,” she says. Jocelyn says it’s been a great place for

Frying up free Anglican omelettes.

Photos: Top/Bottom left

© Danny Carlsen, Parach ute Music.

Anglican Taonga


young Anglicans to show God’s love to their peers. “In 2008 when we camped near Mainstage and were flooded, several people lost their food and had to abandon their camp sites. They were pretty tired and hungry the next morning. So, we opened up ‘free breakfasts and hot pancakes’ to anyone who needed them.” More flooding meant the super-group re-opened its free kitchen in 2010, and this year, surplus food went to anyone who asked, or anyone who needed. Auckland's Diocesan Youth Facilitator, Karen Spoelstra was with us in 2012 – to offer an Anglican flavour at Parachute. On Saturday night, the festival’s seminar space became an Anglican “Contemplative Prayer Space.” In the midst of performance, mosh pits, teen exuberance, and all-pervading bass, at least two hundred people came into the space to be refreshed, and engage in simple, thoughtful prayer stations. That night, and over the next couple of days, I heard people say it was “just what they needed,” and for some, the “highlight of Parachute.” Thinking on all these things – learning to give, sharing and taking time out for contemplation, it seems that the most important gifts we give and receive at Parachute, are actually the small, quiet ones.The ones we might not even realise are gifts, till we’ve got home (and had a nap). The ones that sneak up on us (the way God is wont to do) - when we’re rested and ready, waiting with a blank slate, and a clean heart. The big question of course, is how to keep these things in our lives outside Parachute, or outside any camp or purposeful community. I’m starting to cautiously believe that perhaps we can do so automatically. Perhaps we can give and receive by our very nature. By bumbling through this life, pulling each other out of the floodwaters, remembering to share our spiritual food, and remembering to invite others into our quiet spaces. Ms Brittany Kusserow is the youth minister for Black Dove Youth, an outreach based, multi-church youth group on Auckland’s North Shore.

Anglicans@Parachute super group line up with Archbishop David Moxon.

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What is it that we want?

Professor Whatarangi Winiata, at Te Wananga o Raukawa, 2012.

Whatarangi Winiata has the knack of slipping under the radar.

He learned not to be intimidated by what was around him. Derek Fox

He's no celebrity – and won't become one because he doesn't have any appetite for the limelight. Unlike Winston Peters, Hone Harawira or Willie Jackson, for instance. Nor is he among those that the public (Maori or non-Maori) sees as significant movers and shakers. But the quiet, self-effacing

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76 year-old has already set in motion, or had a hand in, major national developments in the Church, education and politics. One of his special virtues is that he has a sharp eye for the critical issues as New Zealand flounders towards – or sometimes away from – shaping a wholesome society. And he's doing more than just looking. We should be grateful for that. Lloyd Ashton has been talking to him.

Anglican Taonga


ishop Edward Norman could be intimidating. He’d been a military man, a tank commander and Lt Colonel, twice decorated for his bravery during the grim slog up Italy in World War Two. And, as the Bishop of Wellington, 30 years after the war, he still had some of that military demeanour about him. People still talk about that. In 1975, a couple of years after Eddie Norman had been ordained as Wellington’s bishop, Whatarangi (pronounced: futa-rung-i, ‘Whata’ for short) Winiata had returned to Wellington from almost 15 years away in North America. He’d spent that time at universities in Michigan and British Columbia, and he’d been hired by Victoria University as their Professor of Accountancy. Before he’d left, he’d been helping the Anglican Maori Pastorate of the Diocese of Wellington – by doing their accountancy work, for example. He’d picked up that mahi again – and he was also a new member of the Diocese of Wellington’s Standing Committee. His first meeting of that committee had wound up at about 9pm. At which point Bishop Norman cocked his finger and beckoned him: “Wot-ta.” “Yes, Bishop?” “I’d like to see you in my office.” The two duly repaired to his office, whereupon Bishop Norman leaned forward, and in a rather military manner said: “I have been told that you are an influential and dangerous person.” Whatarangi paused. Then he replied: “I have heard the same about you, Bishop.” That was not, perhaps, the response that Bishop Norman had been anticipating – and their conversation ground to a halt after that.

* * * * * That story shows that Whatarangi Winiata – who is unfailingly courteous, softspoken and good-humoured – is also not easily rattled. In fact, the veteran Maori journalist Derek Fox has a hunch that, quite apart from the academic distinctions he gained in North America, that’s the defining thing his time there gave him: “I think Whata was changed enormously

– and for the better – by his years in the US and Canada,” says Derek. “He learned not to be intimidated by what was around him.” Before he left New Zealand in 1960, Whatarangi was already a Victoria University graduate in accounting, and a partner in a Wellington accounting firm. Despite that, he felt he actually understood very little about accounting: “I just knew,” he says, “that there must be a million questions I could be asked – and I wouldn’t know how to answer them.” He’d made it clear to his partners from the outset that he wanted to study more. So when the opportunity came to do his MBA and PhD at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he took it. Not only did he gain an in-depth knowledge of his own discipline in North America, he gained “confidence in being able to work issues through. “It didn’t matter too much what the issues were, either.” He learned, he says, “to follow the logic of a process.” Whatarangi learned something else in the US, too. Not to swallow the received facts. “I used to watch the evening CBS News,” he says, “and Walter Cronkite would always finish by pausing for dramatic effect, staring down the barrel of the camera and saying:“…and that’s the way it is…” “And I used to think: ‘How do they know that that’s the way it is?’” According to Piripi Walker, who is a stalwart of Maori broadcasting, Whatarangi also nutted something else out there: “He figured out how modern society actually worked… and that’s profoundly useful if you’re going to come back and try to reform your own. “He learned how to get groups moving in a certain direction without unlawful revolution, without law-breaking activism.” * * * * * Whatarangi Winiata (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Marutuahu) was one of Tamihana and Alma Winiata’s six kids. He was born in Levin in July 1935, and raised next to his marae, Ngatokowaru, which is just outside the town. On the fourth Saturday of each month the Maori Vicar at Rangiatea would travel the 25 km north from Otaki to take a service at Ngatokowaru – and that’s where he had his first taste of Te Hahi Mihingare. During Whatarangi’s boyhood, his dad


Tamihana eked out a living milking 20 cows, growing spuds, and shearing sheep for the Pakeha farmers who were busy buying up land around them. During Whatarangi’s first year at Horowhenua College, Tamihana Winiata was invited to become the Secretary of the Otaki Maori Racing Club – which makes it the only Maori racing club in the world. Whatarangi would help his dad out with his racing club duties – taking cheques to be signed, for example – so when his sixth form teacher asked whether anybody fancied becoming an accountant, he was off to Wellington the next day for an interview. So that’s how come, in 1953, Whatarangi Winiata began as a trainee accountant, and began part-time accountancy studies at Victoria. * * * * * Whatarangi was also a handy footy player – a first-five who, as time went by, migrated to the front row. He was good enough to play as a prop for the Victoria University senior rugby team, which twice won the Jubilee Cup, the trophy for senior club rugby in Wellington. Good enough, too, to play once for the Wellington provincial side (he left the field with a dislocated shoulder) and to play for New Zealand Universities. And it was rugby that got him thinking seriously about the deal that Maori were getting. In 1959 many New Zealanders were getting excited about the next All Black tour of South Africa, which was due to kick off in March 1960. Others were getting angry. Because just as the New Zealand Rugby Union had allowed the South African union to dictate its selection policies ahead of the 1928 and 1949 All Black tours of the republic, here it was, caving in again. Never mind how good they might be as players, there’d be no Maori All Blacks on that 1960 tour. That decision led to the founding of the Citizens All Black Tour Association (CABTA), which launched a petition opposing the tour. Whatarangi was given the task of getting top Maori rugby players to sign that petition, and he’d join other CABTA people on Willis St on Friday nights drumming up signatures. They’d chant: “If the Maoris could take their guns to North Africa…

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(He recalls: “We used to say ‘Maowries’ like the Pakehas say it.”) “They can take their boots to South Africa!” The CABTA folk gathered 250,000 signatures for their petition – but a whitesonly All Black team went to South Africa anyway. Nonetheless, he says, “the writing was on the wall. After that, no further segregated teams were sent to South Africa.” * * * * * What does it mean to be Maori? During his 15 years in North America, Whatarangi would often turn that question over in his mind. And it was during that time that he prepared the template for what was to become the first Maori university in the world, Te Wananga o Raukawa. “I was doing a lot of scheming,” he says. “We would have visitors from home coming through, and some stayed with us. “And at some point in our conversations, I’d get to the question of establishing a Maori tertiary institution. “I’d convinced myself that it was possible, I thought about it a lot, and I started planning.” But why a sovereign Maori academic institution? “I guess I knew enough about myself,” he says, “to know that I was different. “That being Maori was different. That Maori had aspirations – and that I needed to learn a whole lot more about myself to LEFT: Newly graduated with his BCom, with his mum Alma, and dad Tamihana. BELOW: Whatarangi and Francie, St Faith’s Ohinemutu, September 2, 1961.

be able to talk about Maori aspirations. “I used to look at my relations, and I would think: what is it that we want? “And how could I help that relative to get what he or she wants? * * * * * There’s a startling phrase that Whatarangi often uses, and which often finds its way into the motions he drafts – such as the one about a 50/50 split of the St John’s College Trust putea. Such and such an action is to be evaluated, he’ll say, according to its “contribution to the survival of Maori as a people.” Now, we know that in the 1890s Maori were thought to be a doomed race – their population, after all, had halved between 1840 and 1890. But 120 years later, surely we don’t need to reach for the “survival” word? Well, says Whatarangi, what’s at stake now is cultural survival. There’s a real risk, he says, that Maori will not survive as a people, and that they’ll lose their cultural distinctiveness. And that, he says, “is not much short of dying out, really. “So it’s the cultural distinctiveness that we must defend and maintain. “That means never losing our place in the global cultural mosaic, no matter how small we may be. “That means our language must be blossoming, our culture growing and being refined, it means our poetry, our moteatea, being performed and expanded, it means our economic wealth is sufficient to support a reasonable standard of living.” That’s why he says the first task of Te Wananga o Raukawa, for example, is to

“maximise its contribution to the survival of Maori as a people.” * * * * * In the early 1970s, the odds seemed heavily stacked against that cultural survival. Back then, marae in Horowhenua were in bad shape. Marae toilets and showers were grotty. Some kitchens weren’t much better. Mattresses in the meeting houses were few and stained. Cows had even taken over one of the marae. The paepae were empty, and te reo Maori was endangered. No-one under 30 could speak it. Whatarangi, his wife Francie and their four children came back to New Zealand on leave during 1974 – and during their six month break, they’d committed themselves to the rebuilding of Ngatokowaru. It was a whanau project, and it was to take four years. Whatarangi’s eldest brother, Hapai – who was ordained, and would later become the Assistant Bishop of Wellington – did the carving, his next eldest brother, Murimanu, and cousin Neville were the main builders, while Whatarangi’s younger brother, Martin, designed and named the kowhaiwhai. Hapai’s wife, Emma, taught and led the tukutuku production.1 On most Saturdays, Whatarangi and Francie and their children would rock up to Ngatokowaru by 8am, work till 4pm – and then spend some of Saturday evening talking about what they’d done. After their 1974 leave, the Winiata clan went back to Canada for a year – and returned for good in 1975. “We reopened the wharenui in 1978,” says Whatarangi, “and we hadn’t had a carved meeting house before that.” * * * * * In 1975, when he came home for keeps, the three Horowhenua iwi (Te Ati Awa, Ngati Raukawa, and Ngati Toarangatira) asked Whatarangi to their marae matua¸ Raukawa Marae, to formally welcome him home – and he asked them then what was the last big thing they’d done together. “And, oh well, we thought maybe the renovation of Rangiatea in 1950. And this was 25 years later.” 1 One of the panels is named: Poia atu taku poi, which is a moteatea composed by Whatarangi’s great grandmother, Evenora. LEFT: Ann Arbor 1963: Whatarangi hadn’t had much practice at this task in Otaki.

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So he floated the idea that they embark on a 25-year iwi development experiment. He even had the name for such a project: Whakatupuranga Rua Mano, or Generation 2000. He chuckles at the memory. Back then, some of his elders had trouble getting their heads around what might be coming up in a month’s time, let alone in 25 years. “They yawned and said ‘OK’,” he says, “but there was one particularly loyal person – well there were a number, actually – but Kohe Webster said: “Ah, yes, I heard you talking about that, and I thought: ‘Not much bloody chance of this happening.’ ‘But I thought I would come along anyway’.” They stuck to their task – and in 1981 the Raukawa Marae Trustees agreed to the setting up of a ‘Maori university’ to foster te reo Maori and tikanga through wanangastyle learning. That ‘university’, of course, is Te Wananga o Raukawa. Along the way, Whakatupuranga Rua Mano identified four keys to long term iwi reinvigoration. The first was that the people of the iwi were their wealth – so, as Whatarangi told Paul Diamond in A Fire In Your Belly, that meant “teaching ourselves about ourselves, helping our young people to raise their sights, and telling Pakeha what was good about things Maori.” That meant, for example, that Ngati Parewahawaha, who came from Bulls, would know that town “was their international headquarters. It wasn’t saying they had to live there for the rest of their lives – but that they knew where they were from, knew their identity, hapu, iwi and so on. “The second theme was the reo. We needed to revive it as a taonga by which we would re-identify forever. “The third was to revive the marae as our principal home. “We knew, when we looked back over our shoulder, that our marae had fallen into disrepair. So that meant that if you were going to buy a new refrigerator – you sent that down to the marae and kept the one that needed a piece of number eight-wire or brick to keep the door shut. “And then there was the principle of self-determination”. The proof of what was begun in 1975 is now there for all to see. Te Wananga o Raukawa is a thriving, vibrant, growing organisation – centred on the refurbished Otaki Maori Boys College,


The Winiata whanau, 1972. Left to right: Huia, Whatarangi holding Kimo, Pakake (at the back), Francie and Petina.

an Anglican boarding school which had closed in 1939. And the marae? By the year 2000, all but one of the 25 marae in the iwi confederation of Te Ati Awa, Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Toarangatira had been restored. * * * * * Now, self-determination. That’s a concept dear to Whatarangi Winiata’s heart. And not just for philosophical reasons. It makes sense to the accountant in him, too. Why? Well, because of the GIRA principle. As in: Getting It Right Accidentally. That’s what happens, he says, when the Government, or the church for that matter, presume to act for Maori. Even when they’ve got good intentions, they mostly Get It Wrong. Aside from anything else, that’s wasteful and inefficient management. “It’s totally predictable,” he says, “and why the country can’t see it I don’t know. “Because they really do resist Maori management of matters Maori – and it’s incomprehensible to me that the nation goes on without making a pretty strong commitment to that.” And the only sure way to change that in New Zealand, he says, is to adopt a Treatybased constitution. Such as the one the church adopted in 1992. * * * * * Not long after Whatarangi had returned from North America, he bumped into

Bishop Manu Bennett on a street in Ohinemutu, Rotorua, which is Francie’s home town: “Come here, boy. I want to talk to you. I want you to do a job for me…” “Oh, yeah?” “I’ve got this commission…” “Oh yeah?” “I want you to join us on that group.” So he joined Manu Bennett, Kingi Ihaka and, for a time, Steve O’Regan on that commission, which had been set up by the 1976 General Synod to examine “the mission of the church among Maori people.” The nub of the issue – certainly as far as Maori were concerned – was the question of their direct representation at the General Synod. They had none. Never had had any. Maori had carried the church in its early days. Samuel Marsden wouldn’t have achieved a thing in 1814 if it weren’t for Ruatara. Yet in 1857, they were shut out from the conference that wrote the church’s first constitution. In 1880 they’d asked General Synod for a Maori bishop – and they were turned down. In 1928 the General Synod (rattled by the rise of the Ratana movement) agreed to a Maori bishop – but only as a suffragan to the Bishop of Waiapu. Who was a Pakeha bishop, of course. In 1964 the General Synod did agree to giving Bishop Manu Bennett a seat – but rejected a proposal for separate representation for Maori clergy and laity. As late as 1976, the General Synod had

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Look here, you Pakeha people: you had better start talking. Because something big is happening here! Sir Paul Reeves

yet again turned down a plea for direct, separate Maori representation. It settled for a commission – yet another commission – to look into those questions. Why? Because this was the same church which had helped write and gather signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi, with its notion of partnership, and its promises to respect Maori tino rangatiratanga, along with the kawanatanga. It was a church with a short memory, it seems. Well, that sixth commission – the one on which Whatarangi sat – was a gamechanger. Because it reported to the 1978 General Synod, which accepted its findings. That’s when Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa was born. That’s when, at long last, Maori had representation with full voting powers at the General Synod. “It was awful, really,” he says, “that Maori had been made to wait 164 years without direct representation.” Had the General Synod not adopted the recommendation to form Te Pihopatanga, he thinks Maori would have given up on the Anglican church. “I think that Bishop Manu would have said: ‘We have to go our own way.’ “He’d already indicated that in the previous year or two.” As for Whatarangi himself? He has no doubts what his course would have been. He would have given up on the Anglican Church “as grossly unfair.” * * * * * The times were a-changin’. In 1984 there was a big hui on the Treaty of Waitangi at Turangawaewae. The three iwi of Whatarangi’s region took a proposal

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for a national constitution – consistent with the treaty – as their contribution to that hui. Around the same time, the Pihopatanga held a hui of its own up the Whanganui River – at which Whatarangi presented a case for recognition of Te Tiriti in the constitution of the church. The Pihopatanga were persuaded by that – and they, in turn, took a motion seeking a commission to investigate the church’s constitutional arrangements to the 1984 General Synod. He chuckles when he recalls the Synod debate, which was chaired by the then Archbishop, Paul Reeves. “That motion had a lot of preambles – whereas, whereas, whereas – and Sir Paul described it as the longest motion that a General Synod had ever received. “He didn’t know whether it was, of course… “Maori were doing the talking. And after a while, he said: ‘Look here, you Pakeha people: you had better start talking. Because something big is happening here!’” As history tells us, that General Synod did form a commission – which, in turn, led to the three-tikanga constitution adopted in 1992. * * * * * The key to the success of that constitution, Whatarangi believes, is the principle of partnership that’s locked in there. The majority culture can’t dictate. They can’t railroad things through, simply because there are more of them. He smiles, again: “We went for most of the eight years between 1984 and 1992 getting lectures from Pakeha members of Synod on democracy – and we just kept saying, ‘Well, we are talking about a partnership. And one partner one vote is more consistent with that than one head one vote.’ “Now,” says Whatarangi, “plenty of people get angry with me about that. They hate the idea of a partnership.” “But you can’t have a situation where if the other side is more numerous, and it is one head, one vote, that settles it. Forget it. “You know what? What the Church did in 1992, was very, very generous.” And it’s the success of that church

ABOVE: Professor Winiata, at the 2010 General Synod in Gisborne. This year marks the 34th year he’s been a member of General Synod.

constitution – as he sees it – that makes him believe that it is the model for a national constitution, the “creative and fruitful response” to the “tension between kawanatanga and rangatiratanga.” “I think the Church needs to come out strongly – and say: “We’ve been through this process. It’s 20 years now since we adopted it. “And it works.” * * * * * Whatarangi Winiata has “a Chinese grasp of time”. That’s what one long-time observer of the Maori scene suggested to me. By which he means that Whatarangi can see further than most people – and that if it takes 100 years of striving to reach a worthwhile goal, so be it. That’s OK. So what does he see now in the long distance? “Well, I’m going off to a meeting tonight (of Te Runanga o Raukawa) where they want me to talk about the future. “And I’m going to suggest that we should plan to celebrate in 2040 – which is 28 years away, and I won’t be around – that we are more Maori than we are now. “More Maori than the current generation. “Hopefully, there will be more Maori around then, people of Maori ancestry – but

Anglican Taonga

we want to be more Maori than we are now. “Because that is what survival will mean.” * * * * * That more Maori-ness will only come, Whatarangi believes, if Maori stick to the kaupapa, the inherited values which he believes are the keystones of Maoridom. He has identified these values, which are similar to those that anchor the Maori Party constitution, and which are the benchmarks upon which Te Wananga o Raukawa tests itself. There’s Manaakitanga (“mana enhancing behaviour, generosity, hospitality, honouring the visitor”). Then there’s Rangatiratanga (“sovereignty, sanctity of the word”); Kotahitanga (“Unity – being willing to concede, seeing the other person’s point of view and concerns”); Whanaungatanga (familyness); Ukaipotanga (U-kai-pou = lit: Milk in the night – “what a mother gives her baby at night. The sense of being home, being a contributor, being looked after”); Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and stewardship); Pukengatanga (knowledge, skills, expertise); Wairuatanga (spirituality); Whakapapa and Te Reo. * * * * * 2012 marks the 34th year that Professor

Whatarangi Winiata has been on General Synod. So why has he invested so much of his energy in the church, and in the General Synod in particular? “Well,” he says, “you have to enjoy it – I suppose that’s one thing. “Why would I enjoy it? “Well, I just see the potential for good things to be done. That’s what the Church creates and instructs. “And in terms of the Maori situation, I can see encouragement in the key messages of the Gospel of Christ. I think that what the Church teaches has the potential to help fulfil Maori aspirations.” * * * * * When Whatarangi was in the States, he says, “he learned to work long hours.” So much so that when the heat was on, he’d often work through the night – and that was probably one of the reasons why he had to have a quadruple bypass in 2002. He’s 76 now, he’s stepped down from being President of the Maori Party, and he’s no longer Tumuaki of Te Wananga o Raukawa. So that means he no longer works the crazy hours? (At this point in our interview, his wife Francie joined the conversation.) W: Ahhh.. F: Email has helped. But now he stays up all night and sits on the computer. W: I do have some late nights. F: He gets up at all hours when he thinks


of something and bangs away on the emails. In fact, he hasn’t given up anything! W: I knew you would mess up this interview. F: Nothing like telling the truth. * * * * * We’ll finish by quoting an incident at a hui at Hopuhopu (the Tainui HQ) in the year 2000, which Paul Diamond recounts in his book: A Fire In Your Belly. Whatarangi had given a talk about rangatiratanga at that hui, and at the end of the two day hui, Te Pihopa Kaumatua, Manuhuia Bennett, gave his take on the subject. Whatarangi later recalled the words the bishop spoke: “Well, my old people (this is an 84-yearold speaking) tell me that there were three things to be said about a rangatira, and rangatiratanga: te kai a te rangatira he korero. The food of chiefs is talk. “Number two is te tohu o te rangatira he manaaki. The sign of a rangatira is generosity and being able to look after others. “And three, te mahi a te rangatira he whakatira i te iwi. The work of the rangatira is binding the iwi.” And if you apply those Manu Bennett tests to the life and work of Whatarangi Winiata… well, you’d have to think he was upholding the standard. Lloyd Ashton is this Church’s Media Officer.

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“It’s so bad, it leaves the Maori people in despair”


hen Whatarangi Winiata proposed to last November’s Runanganui that Tikanga Maori take control of half of the church’s treasure chest, the St John’s College Trust… well, that scattered some pigeons. The funds in that trust – about $350 million – are for education. And in Whatarangi’s mind, where education for Maori is concerned, the St John’s College Trust has failed to deliver. Te Runanganui agreed with him, too – and so in July, the General Synod will debate a motion on that subject. I talked with Whatarangi about this at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki – which occupies the buildings and site of the long defunct Otaki Maori Boys College. And, as far as he’s concerned, the ground on which we stood proves his point. The land had been given by iwi to the Church in the 1850’s. But it wasn’t till 50 years later that the Church got around to building a school there – which was closed for good 30 years later, in 1939. “So now Otaki Maori Boys College, Te Waipounamu Maori Girls’ College, Hukarere Maori Girls College1, Queen Victoria Maori Girls’ College and St Stephen’s have all been closed,” he says. “And Te Aute is on the brink – on the threshold of survival, as the environmentalists would say – and it would have closed last May but for a substantial contribution from Te Pihopatanga o Te Upoko o Te Ika. “This Hui Amorangi said: “We cannot sit on our savings, our putea, and let Te Aute die. And they resolved to give $500,000, which is a very large part of their savings.” “That kept the creditors from the door. Without that, Te Aute would have closed. “And in the meantime, the St John’s College Trust Board would be protecting its $350mil in reserves that have been accumulated over the years. “Now, how can you justify that in the light of five Anglican Church Maori boarding 1 Hukarere has since re-opened.

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schools dying? Whatarangi is still working on the wording of the 50/50 motion that will go to the General Synod. It will go something like this: That: Whereas, the St John’s College Trust Board manages a pu-tea, income from which is used to support educational activity of members of Te Ha-hi Mihingare; Whereas, educational offerings to, and pursued by, Ma-ori are expected to contribute to the survival of Ma-ori as a people; Whereas, management of Ma-ori educational programmes designed by people of another culture are less likely to maximise contributions to the survival of Ma-ori as a people than educational programmes designed by Ma-ori themselves; and Whereas, decisions of the St John’s College Trust Board are strongly influenced by non Ma-ori it is recommended that 50% of the pu-tea of St John’s College Trust Board be placed under the direction of Te Pi-hopatanga o Aotearoa, income from which will be used to support educational activity prescribed by Te Pi-hopatanga o Aotearoa. * * * * * There’ll be another Whatarangi motion going to the General Synod, which is equally far-reaching. He wants the church to set up a commission: To consider and report on the natural tension between kawanatanga and rangatiratanga and its effects on the nation. And to look at the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the ways in which the nation is addressing this tension. And then to recommend and advocate actions by the nation that are creative and fruitful responses to that tension. This motion speaks of two key notions enshrined in the Treaty of Waitangi: kawanatanga (governorship), which is ceded to the Queen in the first article of the treaty; and rangatiratanga (absolute chieftainship) which is retained by the

chiefs in the second article; and which guarantees them ownership and control of their resources and taonga. To some degree, Whatarangi’s motion has been prompted by the government’s determination to sell a 49% stake in Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis and Solid Energy. Those power companies won’t be attractive to buyers without guaranteed water rights – so that presumes those water rights are the government’s to sell. And once those companies do substantially go into private ownership, they are no longer subject to Treaty of Waitangi claims. Hand in hand with selling off the power companies, the government wants to weaken (or do away with) Section 9 of the State Owned Enterprises Act – which is the section that concerns Treaty of Waitangi claims on the SOEs. “The water case,” he says, “Section 9 of the SOE Act, and the Foreshore and Seabed dispute are three current examples of where the Crown is here, Maori are over there – and the Crown has all the power. “The best that Maori can do is make recommendations. “That’s not a partnership. “It’s not the partnership anticipated by the Treaty of Waitangi. “This is a recurring problem. Maori firmly believe they are not going to get a say over their affairs, and they are going to continue to lose resources. “It’s so bad, it leaves the Maori people in despair, knowing there’s nothing they can do about it. “As the Church we need to say: ‘Nation: you’ve got to be serious about partnership.’ ‘Because that is what the Church became – serious about partnership.” By Lloyd Ashton.

Anglican Taonga




Has it got the rite stuff?


ake a glance over Western Church history and you’ll see certain subjects reappear at relatively regular intervals. Like the mythical Scottish village Brigadoon, they emerge from the mist for the briefest time, then vanish again into the realm of “things we should really sort out one day.” Such is the lot of confirmation. Over the centuries, various scholars have tried to pin it down, calling it a "rite in search of meaning." Successive attempts to define or revive confirmation have failed to take permanent hold. One of the most influential attempts came in the 13th century when Archbishop of Canterbury John Peckham faced what he called a “damnable neglect” of confirmation in his parishes. His response: make confirmation compulsory for anyone wanting to receive communion. The move was a resounding failure at first (communicant numbers dropped rather than confirmees increasing), but over time

the rite's newfound purpose as the gateway to communion gave it a prominent place in church life – right into the latter 20th century. In 2009, the Tikanga Pakeha Ministry Council’s “Confirmation Project” carried out research on the state of the rite in the New Zealand dioceses. They found that between 1985 and 2006, confirmation numbers had dropped by almost 90%. From 1980, confirmation had ceased to be the prerequisite for communion, yet even before that, numbers were on the way down, with a 63% decrease between 1965 and 1985. Today, annual confirmation numbers regularly sit in double figures or less, and if church school confirmations were removed, they’d drop even lower. So low, in fact, that some have questioned the continuing value of the rite. In some cases the title 'confirmation' has been retained, but attached to programmes and events that bear little or no resemblance to anything like its historic practice or purpose.

Brian Dawson traces confirmation’s history in the Pakeha church and asks what the future might hold for this ancient rite

...if confirmation marks a particular point in the Christian journey, what matters is that you’ve got there – not how old you happened to be.

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...the most effective confirmation preparation lasts for at least six and up to twenty-four months.

Yet many continue to find value in confirmation. The majority of ‘recently confirmed’ interviewees from the Confirmation Project described their experience as very positive. Some even called it life-changing. So, if confirmation continues to have life-changing potential, what might we do to breathe new life into it?

Preparation One priest told the Confirmation Project that the bishop visited roughly every two years, "and always expects a confirmation or two." The response was to drum up a couple of candidates a fortnight, or maybe a month, prior to the bishop’s visit, meet with them once or twice, and then present them. This “once-over-not-even-lightly” approach to preparing for confirmation is sadly not uncommon. Research shows that the most effective confirmation preparation lasts for at least six and up to twenty-four months. Rather than education, the focus is on formation, with participants reflecting on their own experiences, exploring new ideas, and adapting them to their own lives. Often these programmes use a catechumenate model. The American Book of Occasional Services describes the catechumenate as “a period of training and instruction in Christian understandings about God, human relationships, and the meaning of life,” all of which will certainly involve more than an hour or two! Such programmes don’t happen without great effort, both in running them and taking part. For confirmation to regain a significant place in our Church’s life, the preparation for it must reflect that significance. A brief programme, possibly only involving a couple of informal conversations, says volumes about how seriously those involved are taking it.

Resources A major issue in this part of the world Page 18

is the lack of local resources available to those preparing for confirmation. While there are some very good confirmation programmes out there, they’re almost all from English or North American contexts, which differ greatly from our own, not only socio-culturally, but also ecclesiastically (eg. our three Tikanga church). Just as we needed our own prayer book to help us discover what it means to be Anglican here, any serious attempt at reviving interest in confirmation would need work on our own homegrown resources.

Training Almost without fail, Pakeha clergy reported they’d had little or no training in or about confirmation. Just reflect on that for a moment; those responsible for preparing and forming others, have had no training in how to do that. In fact, many clergy reported negative experiences of preparing for their own confirmation. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that these people won’t be passionate advocates of the rite. Confirmation’s future will remain bleak, unless we educate and resource our clergy on how to make it happen.

Profile Profile used to be simple. Each year, a bunch of 12-13 year-olds went through a brief period of preparation. Then they were presented to the bishop, and were finally allowed to receive communion. That routine happened in most parishes, which kept confirmation’s profile relatively high. Not anymore. For confirmation to flourish, bishops, priests and others will need to start giving it airtime, and not just amongst the young. The idea of confirmation as a ‘youth thing’ goes back a long way. Over the centuries, children have had to wait till they reached its (varying) minimum age. These days, most Anglicans would agree it’s more about stage than age. So, if confirmation marks a particular point in the Christian journey, what matters is that you’ve got there – not how old you happened to be at the time. If confirmation is to have a meaningful future, it needs to be encouraged as a rite for all ages.

Purpose and Meaning “What is it, what does it do, and what

is it for?” These have been confirmation’s seminal questions for centuries, and any effort on its behalf will still rely on the answers we give. This will be no easy task in our Church. The Confirmation Project revealed a wide range of understandings some of which reflect the ‘official line’ and many which don’t. That’s only within one Tikanga. Whilst not universally true, historically for the most part confirmation meant the bishop confirming a prior baptism. Today our church accepts baptism as complete in and of itself, with no top-up required pre-communion. What then does this make of confirmation? In the foreword to a soon-to-bereleased resource, Archbishop David Moxon and Bishop David Rice describe confirmation as: “a new reception of the Holy Spirit for witness and service; a public, personal profession of faith; a commitment to discipleship and ministry; a transition from parish to wider church; an encouragement to others in their faith and ministry; an Episcopal laying on of hands with prayer for renewal and commitment; a sacramental action; a link with our tradition.” And it’s purpose: “to strengthen us in the baptismal mission of Jesus, which is to bring life to the world, which is to become more and more a self aware and highly committed minister of the Gospel of Christ, whatever our circumstances or life story.” These concepts, whilst not entirely new, represent some significant shifts in understanding. For them to take hold, we’ll need to discuss and share them widely, especially among the clergy. Finding some semblance of a common understanding will be crucial, if we are to learn how to prepare for confirmation, gather the right skills and resources and confidently raise its profile. It’s no small challenge! But we can take heart that these debates have gone on for a very long time. And while confirmation's star may have faded, it certainly hasn't vanished. It is, you might say, the rite that just won't die, and that's largely because the hope of resurrection is always there before it. Rev Brian Dawson is the Vicar of Havelock North in the Diocese of Waiapu and Vicar-elect of the Parish of St Peter on Willis in Wellington. He co-authored the TPMC reports, ‘Here and Now – Confirmation in Tikanga Pakeha’ and ‘Confirmation – An Anglican Resource.’

Anglican Taonga



Bosco Peters looks again at confirmation

All may; some should; none must


ll may; some should; none must. It’s a well-known Anglican aphorism for the sacramental action of private confession (Reconciliation of a Penitent). I think, in our changing environment, it is also a helpful adage for confirmation. I am firmly committed to the way our church has returned to the early church practice of giving communion to all the baptised. It is communion, not confirmation, which completes baptism as the sacrament of initiation. Communion is the repeatable part. Coming forward to receive Holy Communion is the ordinary sacramental way we reaffirm our baptism. Helping and caring for others affirms our baptism. Working to transform unjust structures affirms our baptism. And so on. For some, private confession is a way that is helpful to affirm their baptism. And for some, confirmation affirms baptism at a particular stage in their life. My context is that of being a chaplain at Christ’s College, an Anglican school for boys. In their five years they participate in about five hundred services. Every one of those has a reading from the scriptures, teaching, and prayer. They pursue academic study of scripture, theology, ethics, church history, and philosophy of religion and receive credits in the NCEA. In any year, students will, on their own initiative and implementation, raise over $50,000 to give away. Within this context, some students decide to be part of a group to prepare for confirmation with students of our sister Anglican school, St Margaret’s College. Others in our community may be just as interested and committed as they are, but find and express this differently. We follow a catechumenal process, focusing on people’s questions, and companioning

them on their faith journey. Those preparing for confirmation become one of the foci during the seasons of Lent and Easter. They are like leaven in the community. Old boys who have been part of this group say it was one of the most significant experiences in their senior years. They speak keenly of this accepting environment in which they could safely discuss and explore beliefs and values. They form a community of close friends. One time, Bishop Kelvin Wright came up from Dunedin to present at a weekend retreat we had as part of confirmation preparation. He wrote about it on his blog: “I've had a great day. The best day I can remember for a long while. …As a group, they listened. They asked intelligent and perceptive questions. They made searching, and at times frank comments. They talked to each other with respect, enthusiasm and focus. They cracked jokes and clowned around. … At the end of the day they made a speech thanking me for being there, but it was me who was grateful, and it was me that gained most from the day….being in the company of young people who are faithful and intelligent about what they believe is a very invigorating and reassuring experience.” I concur with Bishop Kelvin’s point. The process adds to my already-heavy workload, but is a highlight in my year. It’s true, there are parts of our confirmation rite that sorely need revising, just as there are parts of our baptism rite which are unusual in contemporary liturgy. The congregation gathers to support those being confirmed. I wince again and again whenever our rite eccentrically has the bishop separate those who are baptised in the congregation from those students who are not. The unnecessary exclusion

is a preventable source of frustration and irritation. Our canons continue to demand that ordinands be episcopally confirmed, as if baptism isn’t full church membership, or confirmation by a priest or other clergy lacks something. Does baptism make one a full member of the church or doesn’t it? It’s long past the time the church made up its mind on this one. Our inconsistency is underscored by the way we accept those ordained in other denominations who are not episcopally confirmed. The church should hear more from those who work with younger children. The persistence in some places (I think inappropriately) of the very 70s “admission to communion” leads me to wonder if we need another rite, with its own integrity and symbolism, for around that age group. And maybe another for the juncture into teenager hood. And one for a new stage in later life. We need to work more at restoring the centrality of baptism. Baptism is still sometimes a private affair, or a preparation for confirmation – often all with a font that would struggle to comfortably bathe a sparrow. Maybe at baptism we should have all the pomp now reserved for the ordination of a new bishop. In the early church ordination was tacked onto the normal Sunday service. Baptism should have the grand certificate – ordination could have the tear-out certificate from the diocesan pad. Somewhere in that renewal, confirmation could settle into one way some people could witness to their faith in the presence of others. A way all may use, some should, and none must. Rev Bosco Peters runs New Zealand’s most-visited Christian website:

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Grow old along with me! Bishop Bruce Gilberd reflects on the five best ways to be older, while living life to the fullest.

This article is adapted from a speech given by Bishop Bruce Gilberd at the opening of the Gilberd Apartments, Selwyn Heights, Hillsborough, Auckland. Page 20


o-one sets out to be older, but whether we like it or not, most of us who manage to avoid the alternative, will find ourselves living in older age. As time goes on, creaking bodies and thinning resources can dampen our enthusiasm for the things that had once seemed to make life worth living. But no matter what age you are, there's good news for how you can choose to live. At any age, and in any state, positive choices can make a huge impact on our quality of life. Perhaps even, with the extra time, space and (hopefully) wisdom of older age, we'll find our best chance ever to live life to the fullest.

The five ways of being older Be fully in the present As we get older, we need to relearn the art of living in the present. Like a young child who has no thought beyond the here and now, we need to practise being in the moment. Yes, we have memories. Yes, we have ailments. And yes, even in older age, we have anticipations and hopes. But no matter what has gone, or is yet to come, the past and the future intersect in the present - and that’s where we actually live. In short, we need to practise awareness, to pay extra close attention to where we are

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now. To do this: ›› Take time to observe your natural surroundings, the changing moods and seasons of water, land and sky ›› Keep your heart and mind open to what's happening around you and in the wider world ›› Care for other people, consider others' humanity and try to understand their needs

Photo; Brian Morris 2010

Dive deeper Practise diving deep. Spend time delving under the surface of events, relationships and experiences, to the heart of what matters most. Search out the divine watermark in your own life and in all of life. When we dive deep, both recent points in our lives and those of earlier years will bring pearls to the surface. Reflecting well means thinking on the good times, but especially on the hard times, which can often teach us most. If we reflect deeply and honestly, our life story becomes a narrative full of wisdom for our friends and families.


Look forward Bishop Selwyn maintained that “part of today’s work is to plan tomorrow”. A 90 year-old mentor of mine once reminded me, “Bruce, the best is yet to come!” At any age we need to keep hold of our hopes and aims for the future. Plan for your use of time, your interests, your ongoing learning, your inner life, for your generosity and your travels. Caring about the future is essential to being fully alive.

Listen well, speak with courage Listen accurately, without interrupting. Though seldom encountered, this art is a great gift to another person. It demands bracketing out our own needs and attending fully to the other. When real listening happens, true communication occurs. At the same time, at no matter what age, we still need to speak and be heard. Never stop speaking with grace and courage.

Be thankful

In a nutshell

No matter what the circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for. Often it feels impossible to let go past hurts, grievances and grumbles. We all get hurt, simply because we are human. But as we move on to thankfulness as the mainstay of our reflection and conversation, everything changes. I've never met a thankful, forgiving, grumbler.

The last word goes to Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived torture and deprivation in a World War II death camp. Driven by his response to this experience, Frankl researched the basic psychological qualities that help us to survive. He discovered that humans can sustain life under the worst of psychological conditions, but to do so we

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made... (from Rabbi Ben Ezra) by Robert Browning

depend on three essentials: – a proper and good sense of self-worth – a real sense of purpose for our lives – not seeking revenge Perhaps no better list exists to sum up how we should live into our older age? Rt Rev Bruce Gilberd is a former Bishop of Auckland, who relishes living in Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula with his wife Pat.

Education for Ministry

Education for Ministry People Ministering to People

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EFM provides in-depth theological educationNew that Zealand. enables allEFM the baptized study Oldtheological and New Testament and Church throughout providestoin-depth education that History, and better discern theirenables own ministries. all the baptized to study Old and New Testament and Church History,

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For information about joining or forming a group with a trained mentor in your area, contact: The National Administrator Education for Ministry PO Box 12-046, Wellington Email: Website:

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The National Administrator Education for Ministry PO Box 12-046, Wellington Email:


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Tom Innes argues that Anglicans should look out for God’s good earth, especially when it comes to “fracking”


Why on earth should we care?

S ... if the fractivists’ claims were true, we’d have to admit this is one of the most destructive processes humans have ever conceived ...

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earch for fracking on Google image, and you’ll see foul-looking water, filthy drill sites oozing toxic waste, dead fish, sick cattle and vegetation – even tap water that catches fire when a burning match is held up to it. Elsewhere, angry farmers and rural communities stage protests, and convoys of trucks carry tons of toxic chemicals out into the landscape. Pages of diagrams appear, attempting to placate or inform you, or just to scare you stupid. Mainly from the US, some of these images come from Australia,

and some, even from our own backyard. So what is fracking? Horizontal hydraulic fracturing is a process of extracting underground gas, by injecting water, chemicals and sand, at extremely high pressure, into wells thousands of metres deep. The injected fluid runs vertically down, then horizontally across the target underground rock layers. This creates fractures in the rock, which are then held open by the injected sand. Gas is drawn up to the surface through these subterranean cracks by an extracting rig.

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Right now fracking is happening here, in Taranaki. Petrochemical companies are investigating Southland and Canterbury, though their spokespeople claim they have no plans for fracking in these areas “at this time.” To be fair, the oil industry has a response to all the negative publicity, though it’s not exactly convincing. The arguments start with denial, “there’s no proof,” or, “it’s not the fracturing that causes the problem, but any industrial process.” Then, there are promises it’ll be different this time. “We won’t let cowboy operators into this country,” or “our legislation offers better environmental protection than overseas.” As a resident of Canterbury, I’m not reassured. It takes only the tiniest portion of escaped chemical to render billions of litres of groundwater undrinkable. Overseas experience shows that damage to our precious aquifers would effect our soil, landscapes and infrastructure too. The thing with fracking is, it’s virtually impossible to reach down and fix the damage caused. In many cases, even if companies were prosecuted and made to clean up, they couldn’t fix the problem. On the pro-fracking side, there are profits for investors and gains in government revenue. And of course, there’s supplying fossil fuel, to a global economy that looks something like a fossil fuel addict. The fracking industry accuses its opponents of scaremongering and exaggeration. Not surprising, since if the fractivists’ claims were true, we’d have to

admit this is one of the most destructive processes humans have ever conceived. If they were to be believed, the arrival of multinational corporations armed with this technique would mark an imminent disaster of apocalyptic proportions. The actual threat probably lies somewhere in between. That is, at the level of a “mini” apocalypse. Small comfort. No matter how we speculate and debate the actual dangers, it’s indisputable there’s a lot at stake here. In Aotearoa New Zealand, environmentalist groups are pushing for a moratorium on fracking – till the Environment Commissioner has made a full investigation of its potential impact here. For me, that one’s beyond question, a moratorium is the only responsible course of action. As I write, I wonder how we are called to respond to all this – as people of faith, and as members of this Church? For Anglican churches, a distinctive part of our character is being fully present in the world. In Dr Tim Meadowcroft’s words, our Church is “world-affirming.” That doesn’t mean we agree with everything and anything that happens on earth, but that our ethos affirms the importance of this physical realm. Our faith leads us to see the world as a suitable and fitting place where humans can live and grow and experience the goodness of God in relationship with one another. You can see that in the way we Anglicans position ourselves. We’re in every place and sphere. We’re a global communion, yet grounded in our


local geography. It looks a little quirky sometimes – our little churches in now isolated spots – but the principle behind it is sound. We are a church that is incarnational and local. We are rooted in the soil on which we live. In short, we place a high value on our relationship with creation, seeing it as made by God, and declared by God (in Genesis) to be “very good.” Being world affirming then, means we need to actively engage in care for creation. Another Anglican quality springs to mind that might be helpful here. Our Church is built on relationships between people, rather than on a strictly hierarchical chain of command. Even at the highest level of our Communion, we aim for mutuality of relationship, which is why the Archbishop of Canterbury is known as “first among equals.” This understanding of mutual relationship needs to inform our response, should the drilling rigs arrive. Rather than seeing the planet as ours to exploit, we need to keep in mind just how much we need its care – from the water of life, to the good clean earth beneath our feet. As people who cherish the land and who relate to it and each other in healthy, gospel-shaped ways, we cannot let our landscape be destroyed in return for money. Or even in return for oil or gas. It’s just not worth it. Rev Tom Innes is Senior Ecumenical Chaplain at the University of Canterbury.

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Jonathan Jong goes looking for faith on the net, and encounters the world of cyberchurch

Really church,

or just virtually?


he Pope tweets. And I’m not talking about avian imitation. Late in June last year, Pope Benedict XVI started a Twitter account. His first microblog post (i.e. tweet) announced the launch of the Vatican's online news portal. And as if that wasn't tech-savvy enough, he did it on an iPad. So it's official: the Pope is cool. But then, he’s only posted five messages since the first, and to an audience of a mere 47,000 "followers". In social media terms, that’s virtually an empty church. In many ways, this example reveals the essence of social media. Twitter feeds enable people to reach out to thousands – even millions – of people, 140 characters at a time. Likewise, the most popular videos on YouTube tend to be just a few minutes long. On Facebook, messages, links, images and videos are virally shared from friend to friend to friend. With online social networking, mass media has truly come into its own, the grapevine has never been so fruitful. Far from being circumspect about all this, religious individuals and communities have wholeheartedly embraced these new technologies, and often to great effect. Since the first blogs and podcasts came online over a decade ago, ordinary people

...feel the need to confess your sins? There's an app for that too, kind of. Page 24

(as opposed to clergy and academics) have exchanged theological ideas across geographical and denominational boundaries. A few years back I met a favourite theological dialogue partner through his blog. Back then, he was a graphic designer, boutique motorcycle seat maker and Baptist youth pastor in Rice, Minnesota. Now, he's doing a PhD on the theologian Paul Tillich. These days that kind of connection is even easier to make on user-friendly socialnetworking sites. Post a question, link, image or video and watch as the comments come pouring in. Or, send off a prayer request to one of the dozens of websites that now offer this service, and rest assured that some nuns are praying for you. Nuns, seriously. Oh, and feel the need to confess your sins? There's an app for that too, kind of. Last year, US Catholic bishops approved the use of an iPhone application that would help the penitent examine themselves and prepare to receive the sacrament of confession. There are less transient forms of social media. Just as now it’s unthinkable for a church to be without a website, many churches and parachurch groups see the value of Facebook groups. Like a parish roll, virtual group membership is often larger than the numbers who turn up every Sunday. What the technology does, is make it very convenient to remind less-than-regular members about special events. Back to Church Sunday has never been so easy – at least for those who are plugged into the cloud. In fact, what it means to come back to church is being reshaped and redefined by New Media. As Heidi Campbell documents in her excellent book ‘When Religion Meets New Media,’ the emerging church movement has used blogs and podcasts to great effect, reaching people at home (or

work, or through their iPods) who would not, for various reasons, darken the doors of a physical church. More intriguingly, cyberchurches – online communities of faith – have popped up in the virtual world of Second Life, a huge multiplayer online role-playing game. In 2007, an Anglican "cathedral" was built and run as an active worshipping community, under the leadership of Rev Mark Brown, a priest in the Diocese of Wellington and former CEO of the NZ Bible Society. Since then, dozens of other cyberchurches have been founded and are flourishing. For many, the cyberchurch is their local church, just as the virtual world is where most of their meaningful interactions take place. Whether we approve or not, we should be glad that there are ministries devoted to people who engage in this aspect of modern life. Of course, there are worries associated with social media and networking. Charges of fragmentation and superficiality are still bandied around, though they sound increasingly clichéd and curmudgeonly. After all, even the Pope tweets. In his message for the 46th World Day of Social Communications earlier this year, he commended his flock to pay attention to online outlets where people increasingly seek "advice, ideas, information and answers." He marvelled at how, "[i]n concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated." Still, not all Roman Catholics agree, let alone all Christians. Many think this new form of relating is necessarily lacking and disembodied. Others worry about the dangers of online anonymity, both for how Christians might behave online, and how others might behave toward the faithful. Regrettably, online bullying is not an unknown phenomenon. And there are more insidious online social behaviours than that. All that said, religious leaders are faced with the reality that millions and millions of people are spending more

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and more time online; they may choose to ignore this fact or to publicly decry it, but these are unlikely to be promising options. Despite my own rabid enthusiasm for social networking, I agree there’s something incomplete about online communication, at least as it currently is. To counterpoint Pope Benedict, there are plenty of profound thoughts which cannot be expressed in bitesized chunks. Tweeting and texting, like biblical prooftexting, are often too crude to capture the nuances of theological discourse. In the final analysis, there’s a big difference between "gathering” in a virtual building online and real-time interactive worship. Kneeling, shoulder to shoulder with others with whom we have just exchanged a handshake, hug, or kiss, to participate in the very physical act of sharing the Eucharist, is a world away from any shared experience mediated through the screen. There is simply no digital analog for the texture of bread or the sweet headiness of wine, the elements that are to us the body and blood of Christ. This is a somewhat predictable conclusion, I'm afraid. Silicon Valley is the new Gutenberg, and social media, like previous innovations from the printing press, to radio and television, enables exciting new approaches to evangelism and community. But the new doesn’t necessarily have to replace the old. Maybe for some of us, online communities will be the best option, but for the rest, they will remain supplementary and complementary. Even so, where social media promises powerful means of fulfilling Christian community; the onus is on us to engage it in critical and creative ways. Jonathan Jong is a lay minister in the Diocese of Dunedin, currently at the University of Oxford, where he is conducting research on the effects of ritual on social behaviour.


The other Christian surfers An Anglican laywoman from the Diocese of Waikato has taken the concept of pilgrimage into a whole new realm.


ver the last couple of years, Waikato Anglican cyberenthusiast Mary St George has built up an impressive new pastoral dimension for Facebook. But she started out completely nonplussed by social media. At first Mary couldn’t see Facebook as anything but a teenage timewasting device. When she finally took a hesitant dip herself, Mary soon found herself plunging deep into the world of online social networking. Now she lives and works linked up to professional contacts and like-minded individuals around the world, who share her passion for teaching gifted children. Almost by accident, she found her well-loved Anglican Church on social media too. And now, she’s our Church’s self-made Anglican Facebook expert. Not only has she collected together more than 80 Facebook pages and groups from the Anglican Church around Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, but she’s set them all into an online community of mutual encouragement in the faith. The “Social Media 4 Faith” signon Facebook pilgrimage links its members to 2 or 3 new Anglican sites each week, giving online Anglicans the chance to catch up with each other’s latest, whenever they have a moment spare – and to offer support from afar. You might call it Facebook’s first pastoral application. Pilgrims travel across pages from all three Tikanga, and can stop off to join in others’ virtual community space. The pilgrimage blurb suggests you add a friendly thumbs-up to register a "like" when you find something to praise in posts, pages or groups. As well as that quick and easy ping of support, visitors can contribute to conversation threads and offer prayers for the ministries they find.

"We have enough people using Facebook that all we need to make our pages buzz with enthusiasm and activity is to put our people in touch with one another," Mary says. And in social media, that kind of interaction equals life. There’s little pastoral concern if you don’t turn up on Sunday in cyberspace, and on Facebook, there’s no value in absence or digital silence. Pages or sites that stay inactive for 4 or 5 months are already heaped onto a pile to wait for cyberextinction. Mary St George hopes her virtual visiting plan can help build up support for Anglicans that are otherwise hard to reach, "A great thing about being Anglican, is that there are a few of us in every town. A hard thing about being rural and Anglican, is that we are sometimes more conscious of being few than we are of being there. The reality of course, is that we are not few. We are many. We are a disseminated “superchurch” - and social media is making it more possible to actually feel like one.” To register for the pilgrimage, you’ll first have to sign onto Facebook. Then head to Mary’s "Social Media for Faith" page. To check out who’s already out there, or to register your page for the pilgrimage, look at the handy list of Anglican Facebook sites on Mary St George’s blog, Julanne Clarke-Morris is Editor of Anglican Taonga magazine.

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When the New Year Honours were announced, Father Desmond John Britten, of Wellington, was knighted for services to the community. As Lloyd Ashton has learned, he wonders what his mum would have made of that…


at the table


es Britten always had a knack for connecting with people. So much so that his talent for that could have unintended consequences. Take the time, back in 1971, when he caused the country to run out of cream. There he was, on his TV cooking show Bon Appetit, demonstrating how to make ice cream. Urging his viewers to give it a go. Those were the days, of course, when you put out empty milk and cream bottles in the evening, and in the pre-dawn hours the milkman replaced those with full bottles. Page 26

Well. Half the country was so seized with enthusiasm at the prospect of making their own ice-cream that en masse they’d put out their cream bottles. Result: next morning milkmen were tearing back to their dairy factories midway through their milk runs for more cream. And dairy companies were ringing Des with a plea: “Please let us know when you’re going to do this sort of thing.” Des chuckles at the memory – and he couples that flair for connecting with a natural flamboyance and a boundless energy. So when he set up his pioneering

Wellington restaurant The Coachman in 1964 – he’d had to overcome the seven bureaucratic labours of Hercules to do so – he had his kitchen out in the centre of the restaurant. That was unheard of, back then. But it worked. People loved watching Des work his culinary magic. And like an orchestra conductor, he could watch every little detail. Then – typical Des – at the end of the evening, he’d be out mingling with his guests: “Good evening. How are you? Have you enjoyed everything? ” You bet your life they’d enjoyed it – they’d been starving for the fine dining that

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Righto. I want you to get over the whitebait. I want some money!

The Coachman became famous for. Des already had a national reputation by then. He’d been a household name as a radio DJ, he now was a topline restaurateur, and a celebrity TV chef to boot. In the early 1990s, Wellington’s then Bishop, Brian Davis, knew that. And he could see that the Wellington City Mission could do with the goodwill that Des generated. Des was happy to trade on his reputation, too. “I had no hesitation,” Des recalls, “in ringing up company directors that I’d cooked for.”

Typically, the conversations would go like this: “Hi, it’s Des Britten here.” “Hi Des, I remember that whitebait you used to cook!” “Righto, I want you to get over the whitebait. “I want something.” “What do you want?” “I want some money!” * * * * * Bigtime disc jockey, restaurateur, TV chef – and Wellington City Missioner. The Des Britten CV is varied, to say the least.

So: what links that showbiz life with helping the needy? Well, there’s that keenness to connect. And there’s an unbroken Anglican thread as well. More like a rich and gilded Anglo-Catholic tapestry, in fact. But let’s go back to the beginning. Which for Des, was in the tiny Hawkes Bay town of Otane, 30 minutes drive south of Hastings. Back in Des’ day (he’s a 1937 model) it was a thriving village, with a baker, three grocery stores – and a butcher, Des’ father, Roy, who also had a small farm, with a slaughter house, in which much of what Page 27

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water that seed by steering old copies of The Church Times in Des’ direction. “I used to read these avidly,” Des recalls. “I’d read about these priests who were working in the London slums – but at the same time bringing colour into the lives of these slum dwellers by giving them beautiful worship with incense and nice music.”

was sold in the butchery was despatched – often before his son’s eyes. But there were more pleasant sights for Des to behold. Such as the ones Roy would take him to see at 8am every Sunday morning at St James Church, Otane. Canon RT Hall presided there, and he cut an eccentric figure. He was English, he was deaf as a post – he’d cart around a box with batteries for his prehistoric hearing aids – and he’d been around those parts forever. That mightn’t sound too promising. But for young Des, there was something magical and mystical about what Canon Hall orchestrated. “He had all of us boys trained as servers,” he recalls. “We wore scarlet cassocks and little white surplices and we served at the altar with him. And he wore his linen vestments with this red orphrey down the back. “Somehow, this made a big impression upon me. It was the reverence and his will to worship, I think – trying to bring out of that service the very presence of God in the bread and in the wine…” The church supplied another need for Des too. He was an only child – and just round the road was St Hilda’s Anglican orphanage. It was a happy place, home to about 30 kids and a donkey, and Des would often eat and play there. A little later in life, Des was ratting around in a cupboard in St James when he stumbled on something that named what he was experiencing at the church. It was a programme for one of the vast AngloCatholic Congress held at the Royal Albert Hall in London during the inter war years. Canon Hall planted another seed in Des’ mind, too. He suggested that he might have a vocation to the priesthood – and he’d Page 28

* * * * * Des was sent to Napier Boys High School as a boarder. And, because he was the son of a farmer, he was enrolled on an agricultural course. It wasn’t him. Back then a magazine called: The Agricultural Journal was required reading for boys on those courses. You could find there everything you needed to know but were afraid to ask about paspalum and rye grass. Well, forget that. The one segment that Des had any appetite for was The Farmer’s Wife page – because that was about cooking. Already, there’s that fascination with food. In fact, Des would like to have started training as a chef when he finished school. But his mum, Nancy, couldn’t cope with the idea of her son becoming “a cook”. So he headed back to the farm. But after three years there, even his father could see that Des didn’t like getting manure under his fingernails. What he did like, instead, were the new sounds coming across the airwaves. Rock’n roll was booming, the disc jockey was the hero of the hour – and Des fancied being part of that scene. So he scored a job with the old New Zealand Broadcasting Service as a trainee announcer at 2ZC, the Napier station. He was there for a year, then sent to 1XH in Hamilton for another year. Broadcasting was strictly regimented in those days. It was about how you spoke and whether your voice was deep enough. Back then, too, radio stations had record shufflers, who compiled lists of records for the DJ to play. And that’s not how Des saw his role at all. “The world was jumping around to this modern lovely fun music. And here I was, creating havoc, being bright and bouncy on air, doing and saying things that a radio announcer shouldn’t.” He took himself to Australia for a few months, and returned to Wellington to become the breakfast announcer on 2ZB

– where he proceeded to kick over the traces again. Des’ reputation as an irrepressible rock’n roller was to serve him well. Because the sixties were dawning, and that was when Coca-Cola was looking to break in to New Zealand. They came up with a smart strategy. Big teenage dances – with live bands, and Coke everywhere – and all the proceeds from door and Coke sales going to the local high schools. They recorded those gigs – and rebroadcast the best 30 minutes for a nationwide radio show called The Hi-Fi Club. Des was shoulder tapped to MC those dances. The very first one he did was at the Wellington Town Hall in 1962 – and 3000 kids turned up. He surfed that wave for three years. But then it broke, dashed on the shore – and retreated. Television came along. And one after another, radio programmes like The Hi-Fi Club went west. Des was out of a job. So what did he do? Washed dishes for a friend who owned a restaurant, that’s what. And that wasn’t a bad move, because by this time he’d become a serious fan of French cooking. So serious, in fact, that armed with the tips he’d learned from his Yugoslav restaurateur mate, he thought he’d have a crack himself. In those days, Courtenay Place wasn’t the trendy zone it is today. But it had an upside – because Wellington’s produce markets used to be there, and Des found an old building (“Halls Shoes” was the downstairs tenant) which he thought had the makings of a restaurant. What’s more, the owner of that building liked Des’ pluck – because he let him have the upstairs space rent-free for three months. Kirkcaldie and Stains were going all mod in their tearooms, and tossing out their oak tables and chairs. So Des bought those – his spinster aunt had given him 1000 quid to get started – and an old stove from the Grand Hotel, which had to be dismantled and hosed down before it could be cranked up. A few months earlier, the then Prime Minister, Walter Nash, had gone wildly free market – he’d announced that some restaurants would be permitted to serve wine.

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Ten restaurants, that is, throughout the country. More to the point: two or three of the licences were for restaurants in Wellington. But at that point, the bureaucrats swung into action. “You have no idea,” says Des. “Here I had these beautiful oak tables, which I’d had repolished, and beautiful bright red tablemats – and The Licensing Control Authority said: ‘Impossible. The rules say you must have a tablecloth’. Persistence paid, however. The Coachman gained its licence and became a roaring success. * * * * * But where was the church in Des’ life in that radio/restaurant period? Well, when Des had first come to Wellington, he’d boarded in a house belonging to St Barnabas, Roseneath. He’d been at St Barnabas for years, in fact, but when the heat came on during restaurant years, he’d drifted away. He recalls how he changed course: “One day Lorraine and I were having a tiff, and she said to me: “You know something Des? You used to be a much nicer person when you went to church.” “I said: ‘Yes I was. And I’m going back tomorrow” “And I did.” The Brittens plunged into the life of St Barnabas. Lorraine became vestry secretary there, and at one time or other they held just about every job going in the place. And they had a big hand, too, in recruiting Fr Michael Blain. He’d been raised at St Michael and All Angels’ in Christchurch, served in the UK, and had turned that little church into Wellington’s centre for Anglo-Catholic worship. It was during this time that The City Mission came into focus for Des. During the week, the Mission ran a ‘men’s day room’ for down-on-their-luck Wellingtonians. That was closed on the weekends – until St Barnabas made a commitment to run it for those two days. And, as his contribution, Des would take great cauldrons of French onion soup, or vichysoisse – the same soup which was commanding a premium price in The Coachman – to that Mission day room each weekend. At the same time, he was branching out

into TV work. TV chef Graham “The Galloping Gourmet” Kerr had saddled up and headed overseas, and Des was asked to pick up where he left off – and so he began Thyme for Cookery followed by Bon Appetit. They were a big success, too, and he rattled off 160 shows. And to keep him from abject idleness, Des put himself forward for selection as a self-supporting priest. He didn’t think he had the education or aptitude to become a full time priest – “I’m a doer, not an intellectual” – but he’d never forgotten what Canon Hall had seen in him, either. “So when the idea of a self-supporting priesthood came up I thought, ‘Well, perhaps I could do this’”. Others, including his Bishop, Eddie Norman, thought so too. He was ordained a deacon in 1982, and priested the following year. * * * * * You might be thinking that Des Britten has led a charmed life. Never a cloud on his horizon. Well, not so. Des and Lorraine knew that, sooner or later, they’d have to move The Coachman from Courtenay Place. The building was an earthquake risk – and the cooking gear there was below par. So in 1986, after 21 years in Courtenay Place, they moved to new premises in Woodward Street. They’d spent $400,000 to fit out the new place. “It was,” says Des, “the finest restaurant in the city. And it took off like a rocket.”


Then came the 1987 stockmarket crash. “Overnight,” says Des, “The tap was turned off. Businessmen didn’t eat lunch anymore.” The rent was astronomical, the owners weren’t prepared to negotiate – and the Brittens couldn’t service their loan. “So we lost everything. We lost the restaurant. We lost our house. It all just vanished. “The shame… it was awful,” says Des. Meanwhile, St Barnabas wasn’t doing too well, either. They’d long since lost their fulltime vicar, and Des was looking after the place as a self-supporting priest. He called the vestry together the evening before The Coachman was liquidated. They needed to know what would be in the papers next morning. The vestry digested the news. Unbeknown to Des, one of their number slipped out and rang Brian Davis. And the vestry came up with a proposal which Des hadn’t seen coming: “We’d like you to be the full-time parish priest of St Barnabas, Roseneath. We know you can do it.”

If Sir James Wattie walked past… they almost genuflected – I mean, he was like the doctor. He knew everything!

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“I was floored, really,” says Des. They’d lost everything – but out of the blue, here was a new mission in life. And a “lovely Lockwood vicarage” to go with it. * * * * * Sure enough, under Des’s watch, St Barnabas took off again. Its money woes disappeared. Des cranked up the music, too, and he was thriving on the job. But inside three years, Bishop Brian Davis came calling. The City Missioner was about to move on, he said. Would Des replace him? At first, Des turned him down. But then he reconsidered. People descended on St Barnabas from all parts of Wellington for its Sunday mass. But during the week, Des did have some free time. So he offered to help out part time, and The Mission paid the parish for that time. But Bishop Davis wanted more of Des. The City Mission had sold the house that went with the Missioner’s job. Bishop Davis knew the Brittens would have no home if Des accepted the job – so the Mission offered to lend them money to build or buy a house of their own. “If I was highly evangelical,” says Des, “or charismatic, I’d say that God was leading me. “I don’t use that lingo. “But God was nudging me. And behind it all I was thinking: ‘Yes, this I cannot refuse.’

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* * * * * “I knew that The Mission was going to be a challenge,” says Des. “It needed a giant kick in the bum.” There were eight or nine staff, at the time. All good people. All wanting to do good. “But no-one quite knew,” says Des, “what anyone else did – and no-one had any qualifications whatsoever.” When Fr Des left The Mission – he’s always been Fr Des there – at the end of last year, he ran a staff of almost 40 well-qualified people “and focussed programmes on what we do and how we can help.” These days, the Wellington City Mission is structured around four missions. There’s the Mission for Youth. Under Fr Des’s watch, The Mission started an alternative school – for troubled teens that mainstream schools either won’t take or want to push out. There’s counselling too, help with learning, and help with finding and keeping a job. Then there’s their Mission for Families. Desperate families can find food, clothing, bedding and a place to live through The Mission – which then offers those families a mix of mentoring, advocacy and education so they can get out of strife. There’s also the Mission for Independence. This one is aimed squarely at people caught in poverty – and all the pitfalls that go with that. There’s help with money

management, a drop-in centre and a foodbank. Next there’s the Mission for Seniors, which offers support for older people still living in their homes. Then, there’s Kemp Home and Hospital in Titahi Bay, which provides rest home or hospital level care for up to 80 folk, and the Ezee Meal programme, which provides heat’n eat meals throughout the country. Make no bones about it. Fr Des is proud of what The Mission has achieved: “I’m proud that we have programmes tailored to help, staffed by qualified people who really can help make a change.” “I’m proud that The City Mission is recognised as a major force in the city.” And indeed it is. So much so, that in December last year, Fr Des was chosen as: Wellingtonian of the Year. And in the New Year’s honours, there was Fr Des again. For his services to the community, he was knighted. * * * * * Footnote: Back in Otane the Britten family had lived near the Wattie homestead. “If Sir James Wattie walked past,” Des recalls, “they almost genuflected – I mean, he was like the doctor. He knew everything! “And I quite often think of that, because when I went off to be a ‘cook’ as my mother called it – she found that so hard to take – well, to think that her cook is now ‘Sir Desmond’…”

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? ?S?E?R? V I C E

When floods hit Fiji this summer, Christian World Service got help to some of the most in need.


hen some of the worst floods in Fiji’s history hit this January, Fiji’s informal settlements were hit hard. Floods damaged or destroyed dwellings, belongings, livestock and crops. In many cases, those who already had very little, lost whatever they had. Hundreds of families (around 4,500 people) in the western division of Fiji were displaced. Six lives were lost. In the aftermath, many people in the region’s informal settlements were left without access to food or shelter. Already knowing them well, CWS Fijian partner ECREA (Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy), and the People’s Community Network (PCN) set to work finding out how people in “squatter” settlements were faring. Even before the floods, the rights of tenants in informal settlements were tenuous. These unofficial residential areas have evolved over time, as people moved closer to towns - trying to access high school education, jobs and health services hard to reach from further afield. CWS International Programmes Coordinator, Trish Murray, has visited Fiji’s marginal settlements several times. From what she’s seen, even ordinary living conditions there are very poor. Often when something goes wrong, government assistance doesn’t reach the settlements as quickly as the towns. Within days of the 2012 floods, ECREA (and PCN) deployed a group of assessors to record conditions in informal settlements

Above: Flood affected families crowd in to present food vouchers Right: ECREA & PCN flood relief project team set off for the settlements

Relief for

flood-hit Fiji round Nadi, Lautoka, Ba and Rakiraki. The report on post-flood needs led Christian World Service (along with Caritas NZ and Caritas Australia) to respond with financial assistance. As a result, ECREA and PCN’s flood relief project distributed food to 500 settlement families directly affected by the floods. Now months on from the initial event, families are continuing to struggle. For one thing, the floods put pressure on school students at the start of the 2012 academic year. For another, existing problems with food production are being compounded. In

order to plant gardens, the informal settlers will have to renegotiate with landowners for access to arable land. According to ECREA, at this point many families are facing high levels of stress and need counselling services, as well as practical support. ECREA continues this work within its long-term commitment to advocate for informal settlers’ rights, improve their livelihoods and help negotiate solutions for the communities involved. Donations to support ECREA’s work in Fiji can be made through the CWS website at:

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Julie Hintz takes on one of the toughest questions in the children’s ministry year. How do we teach Good Friday, without scaring kids out of their wits?

Not the best day The challenge of Good Friday F

or many parents and children’s ministry teams, Good Friday is a day they’d rather wipe from the calendar. It’s a hard story to hear; a harder story to tell, and it’s even more challenging when we’re sharing the journey with children. Good Friday is a day filled with violence, pain, death and sorrow; things we’d rather shield our children from. And yet, the message of Good Friday is so foundational to our Christian faith. Often churches and families simply choose to let this important day go by. Many run an adult style service – quiet and sombre, possibly offering activity sheets or colouring for children. Sadly, this means that children at the service are confronted with the pain and suffering - without being offered helpful, constructive ways to understand and process the story. Other parents choose not to attend a Good Friday service (for their children's sake), which means everyone misses out. Even at home, it can be tricky knowing what to say and how to explain Holy Week. As parents, we want our children to understand the amazing love that Jesus has for each one of us (so much love that He died for us), but we don’t want to expose them to gruesome, painful details they’re not ready for. The problem is, if we only teach Palm Page 32

Sunday’s victorious entry into Jerusalem, then skip to the joy of the resurrection, our children can end up thinking, “What’s the big deal?” One way to share the meaning of Good Friday is through symbols, stories and crafts that help us get to the core of the message – without its full horror. As for the story itself, it’s OK to start simple. For very young children, you might say: “Some people were very angry with Jesus. They were so angry they killed him. Jesus’ friends were very sad. They cried and cried. "But God had a wonderful surprise. "On Easter day Jesus was alive again. His friends were very surprised and happy!” As children get older, they’re able to handle more of the story, and eventually come to understand that it wasn’t just “some people a long time ago” that killed Jesus, but that we’re part of that story too. Symbols of death and resurrection from nature can help us unfold the story for children in very tangible ways. Symbols from the passion itself offer children another way into the story. Here are some Good Friday ideas that I’ve used with children.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar This wonderful, well-known book is about a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Young children love the illustrations. The caterpillar had to ‘die’ to be born into a new life. Use the illustrations in the book to talk about how it seems so sad when the caterpillar “dies”, (wrapped in its chrysalis) but then we’re so happy when it becomes the beautiful butterfly.

Pine cones Pine cones can offer a great symbol of life arising from death. Tell the children how some pine cones are designed so amazingly that it takes a forest fire to open the cone and let the seeds out. In other words, it’s only the death of the forest that allows for new growth. Monterey Pine and Pond Pine are two examples, but you could use any pine cone to talk about this.

Seed planting Planting seeds can be a good way to help children understand the idea that Jesus had to die for his resurrection to happen. If we plant on Good Friday, then we can watch the sprouts come up over the next days and weeks – and take time to talk about life, growth and Jesus’ resurrection.

An Easter Garden This is one of my favourite Good Friday activities and one that can be used as a family or in church.

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for kids You’ll need: A shallow tray, dish, or ice cream container with sides cut down Garden soil, glue Moss, cut grass or sand Pipe cleaners, tissue paper Small pot or roll of cardboard Flat stone big enough to cover the roll/pot tomb Small flowers, leaves, gravel ›› Fill the tray with soil, or spread glue thinly on the bottom of the tray and sprinkle soil on ›› Cover the soil with moss, grass or sand ›› Put the small pot or cardboard roll in one corner, to make a cave-like tomb ›› Make a pipe cleaner Jesus, and place him wrapped in tissue in the tomb ›› Place the stone over the mouth of the tomb ›› Put flowers and leaves in the garden ›› Make a gravel path from the tomb, to show where the disciples ran to the tomb on Easter morning ›› Early on Easter morning, remove Jesus and move back the stone from the tomb Optional ›› Arrange soil to make a hill on one side of the tray

›› Make three crosses with dried twigs tied together with sewing thread and place on the hilltop

Resurrection Eggs Resurrection eggs are small, hollow, colourful toy eggs that can help tell the Easter story. Each egg contains a tiny prop that reminds us of part of the story. Some examples are cloth, three nails, dice, bread, a stone, or a little toy donkey. The last egg is always empty and represents the empty tomb. A set consists of 12 plastic eggs and you order them from You could also check out shops for other pull-apart eggs and add items from the list on the family life website. The “sermons4kids” website has a story that uses 4 eggs – faster and a bit simpler. That’s at: egg-citement.htm

Make your own resurrection eggs You can make your own eggs by partially inflating balloons, putting the prop inside and then using papier mache to form the egg. You’ll need 3-4 layers of paper. Remember to leave an opening at the bottom, (allowing you to puncture the balloon and remove it). Once the balloon’s out, add your last layer and seal the hole. These can only be used once, but the

...symbols, stories and crafts can help us get to the core of the message – without its full horror.

benefit is that children can help make them over the week. It’s extra fun if you put the surprise inside, without them knowing what it is! On Good Friday, start breaking open the eggs and retell the story together. This Good Friday ask God for help – then get creative! Sharing the Good Friday story might not be easy, but no matter how imperfectly we feel we’re taking our children to the cross, they have the right and the privilege to be there with us. We want our children to know, believe and live out their faith, not simply parrot and repeat what they’ve heard from others. “Jesus died for our sins” doesn’t mean nearly as much to those who haven’t spent time at the foot of the cross. Ms Julie Hintz is the StraNdZ Children's Ministry Enabler for the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ & Polynesia.

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John Bluck takes to the pilgrim’s road and finds a deeper way of being church together

Mere Montgomery offers pilgrims a tangata whenua perspective at Otakou marae, 2011.

Putting our faith back


he best thing I ever did as a priest or bishop was to go for a walk. And it didn't happen till halfway through my ministry years. No one told me it was a good idea during my time in seminary and graduate school. In eight years of theological formation, I don't recall any suggestion of pilgrimage.

... they gave us a new understanding of how liturgy, prayer and music could shape us, when it’s done in the context of a shared journey.

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on its feet

The nearest thing to physically sharing a journey of faith was a motorbike ride in Christchurch’s Port Hills after Evensong. But in that case, faith was more about surviving the ride, than rediscovering the church's story. In the 1980s heyday of ecumenism, the newly emerging Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand looked towards a shared future with Roman Catholics and a dozen other churches. As a movement, we began to take walks (and bus rides) together in Dunedin. “Ecupilgrimages” we called them, and they were powerful occasions, which linked us with our (often ambiguous) cultural and spiritual heritage. We stood, sang and prayed in the harbourside caves where prisoners from Parihaka had been housed. We did the same at the base of Captain Scott's monument remembering his ill-fated final journey to the South Pole, and again on Otago Peninsula, at the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. It was a good thing to do. During the 1990's, we joined together for several longer pilgrimages, setting out from Christchurch Cathedral. Most

memorable were the nationwide Aids Foundation Quilts tour and the Hikoi of Hope – walking for a change. We also travelled out to the country homestead where Maori girls were educated and taught domestic skills, learning to sew garments out of flour bags because their Te Waipounamu school budget was so limited. Another time, we travelled to Kaiapoi, where the ravages of Te Rauparaha's raids are still vividly retold. And we heard too of the remarkable impact made by his gospel peacemaker son Tamihana - who followed in his wake. Most ambitious, was the long journey in the footsteps of Te Maiharoa (led by members of his whanau) to Omarama and down the Waitaki Valley. There, a century and a half before, the South Island had tipped on the brink of civil war, provoked (but avoided) by this inspirational chief's non-violent protest. The pilgrimages turned up stories we hadn't heard before. They bound us with our Maori partners in the newly created three-Tikanga church. They changed the way we told our very Anglo-centric version of what Canterbury was all about.

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Archbishop Brown Turei baptising in the stone font at Whangawehi.

And they gave us a new understanding of how liturgy, prayer and music could shape us, when it’s done in the context of a shared journey. In my Waiapu years, pilgrimage became a major theme of diocesan life. It was hard to sell at first, but after devoting a whole year to it (involving 1200 people on 12 separate journeys) the idea was well embraced, especially by young people and their leaders. The record of those journeys is collected in a publication entitled Stories that haunt and bind us, a condensed summary of what happened for the people who took part. At the time, I wrote, “We set out to remind ourselves of who we were and where we came from as a diocese. And much to our surprise we discovered some new ways of being church.” I remember looking back after the first three-day pilgrimage, when we’d travelled from Rangitukia down the East Coast. We’d

walked, prayed, sung and broken bread together. We’d learnt about our shared heritage of faith, and we’d looked after each other. For the first time (slow learner that I am), I asked myself, “Isn't that what being church is all about?” The pilgrimages helped us put our faith back on its feet. At the end of the Year of Pilgrimage, I tried to summarise the experience. "Hopefully, the pilgrimages we began will continue in a hundred bolder, better ways, and continue to make us a little less housebound as a church, and a little more trusting in the one who meets us on our own Emmaus Road, walking with us, and ahead of us, waiting for us to catch up." Six years on, I think that is happening across the dioceses and hui amorangi. That’s not only due to Waiapu. The inspiration for pilgrimage has come from other sources too. Most powerfully perhaps, from the revival of Europe’s 9th century Spanish route, the Camino Santiago de Compostela. In recent years, dozens of New Zealand Anglicans have learnt the way of pilgrimage along that route. In 2014, numerous events will mark 200 years since Marsden and Ruatara preached the gospel at Oihi, in the Bay of Islands. At General Synod this year, a new summary of our Anglican bicultural story (Wai Karekare - turbulent waters) will be launched as one resource to help Anglicans rediscover and retell their story in these islands. My hope is that pilgrimage will feature as a way of remembering and reconnecting.


To encourage that, I'm planning a book on Anglican pilgrimages in Aotearoa. It will gather places worth visiting, places that hold those memories and stories that still shape our church. There will be prayers to pray, and songs to sing on the journey. There will be some hard-won advice on how to plan and publicize, and practical details – on how to get there, and who to talk to when you do. If you know of any pilgrimage places we should add to the list, I'd love to hear from you. Rt Rev John Bluck lives in Pakari, north of Auckland.

Pilgrims head up to the Te Aute Chapel.

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At the heart

of the labyrinth J This Easter, Trevor James searches out what makes a poem religious.

Religious terms and concepts? Unambiguous themes? Or something altogether more elusive? Drawing on the works of James K. Baxter, he reveals how the Spirit speaks through the poet’s own voice.

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ust read some of the verse marketed as ‘religious poetry,’ and you’ll quickly find it is poetry in chains – shackled by a religious ‘subject’, which the poet has seldom made their own. Rather than binding up meaning in religious terms, James K. Baxter would claim that ‘Truth is the poet’s only vow’1. In other words, it is only when the poet speaks truly – with whatever that may entail – that the Spirit will be heard. Baxter’s own work illustrates the problem. He is a profoundly religious poet, yet at times he has struggled with religious subjects. While his identification with Christian faith dates from his 19482 baptism, his early attempts at religious poetry were flawed. Baxter’s poem ‘The Pain of God’ (probably from an Easter in the early sixties3) demonstrates some of the difficulties.

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The Pain of God Lord, to go like a blind beast is hard To that Jerusalem we have not seen, Were it not for the fiery goad that You have planted In the soul’s cloven rock. The scourge of sin Is biting Your children. We dream of the slaughter-yard. Unknowable God, You who have charge of the dead In the fields of fair sight, consider, remember us In our confessing darkness. You have sown The sparks of Your pain in Adam’s flesh and bone And faith itself is hard. Do not render Consolation, if that pain is nearer The springs of light than any joy could be. Grant that I may hang on the right hand tree And hear at last the words You spoke to Dismas. This is not an easy poem to read. It sounds awkward, feels ‘clotted’ with ideas and is overloaded with biblical references that impede the poet’s expression. God is addressed directly with an uppercase ‘You’ or ‘Your’, and so remains, and feels, ‘unknowable’. Yet this poem does show Baxter’s commitment to the Christian journey, and his struggle to express it in poetic form and voice. The laboured expression of ‘The Pain of God’ hints at the inner turmoil Baxter was enduring. In contrast, his later poetry attained a stunning spiritual clarity, especially in the works we can call the ‘Jerusalem poems’. A good example is ‘The Labyrinth’, written around 19704. While it repeats the subject of the Christian journey, the astonishing accomplishment and coherence of this poem is immediately obvious.

The Labyrinth So many corridors, - so many lurches On the uneven filthy floor Daedalus made and then forgot, - ‘What right Have you to be here?’ the demons thick as roaches Whispering … Mind fixed on the Minotaur I plugged onward like a camel that first night, Thinking – ‘Not long, brother, not long now!’But now so many nights have passed The problem is to think of him at all And not of, say, the fact that I am lost, Or the spark of light that fell upon my brow From some high fault, – I sit down like a little girl To play with my dolls, – sword, wallet and the god’s great amulet My father gave me. In the bullfights it was easy (Though heroic no doubt) because their eyes, their eyes held me To the agile task. Now I am a child Frightened by falling water, by each nerve-pricking memory Of things ill done, – but I do not forget One thing, the thread, the invisible silk I hold And shall hold till I die. I tell you, brother,


When I throw my arms around the Minotaur Our silence will be pure as gold. To claim this is a religious poem may come as a shock to some. After all, there is neither mention of God, nor any religious words to guide us. The striking quality of this poem is its immediacy. We are seized by a direct first person voice describing the journey. There are no laments, no abstract reasoning – all is held firmly in a narrative frame – and it’s no ordinary narrative. Baxter appropriates the dark myth of Theseus and his quest to destroy the Minotaur at the centre of the Cretan labyrinth. For Baxter, this fabled labyrinth offers a master symbol that works simultaneously on a number of levels. The mythical narrative evokes the darkness of our world, but also the confusion – twists and turns, false starts and dead ends – of the spiritual journey. Minor details from the Cretan myth (sword, wallet, amulet) may well evoke the poet’s own dalliance with the illusions of art, status, or ambition. These are the mere ‘dolls’ that prevent him from reaching past all the dross (and his own fearfulness) to encounter ultimate reality. One detail from the myth is picked up and worked seamlessly into the spiritual journey. Ariadne’s thread (used to guide Theseus through the labyrinth) is the ‘One thing … the invisible silk’ that Baxter hangs on to. Baxter’s memory of Paul’s letter to the Philippians may be what lies behind the poem. It reads, ‘but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians (3:13-14) The poem resonates with the same urgency as the apostle’s letter – and could be read as a whole against this section of Paul’s epistle. Just as Paul locates himself within the Christ story, so Baxter reworks the Theseus story, to make the Pauline quest his own. The closing three lines of the poem are a clench, forcing the beguiled reader back to the beginning, to wonder again at the myth. We arrive at the end of the poem, expecting neither the beast’s embrace, nor the resulting silence. In the final encounter with the Minotaur, the mythic frame is turned on its head and the poet’s art falls away, demanding we shift our understanding. The Minotaur is identified with Christ, though never explicitly – and cannot be. This is religious poetry that works, exactly because it avoids overt theological or devotional signposts. The mythology frees Baxter to speak truly, because it allows him to speak his faith obliquely. In truth, there is no other way. In the face of God, neither speech nor any form of expression is ever adequate. At the end of our journey – in the centre that is the Eternal – all narrative, all art, is silenced. 1. From ‘A Small Ode on Mixed Flatting’, Collected Poems, (OUP 1979) p.397. 2. James K. Baxter was baptised at St Michael and All Angels Church in Christchurch, in November 1948 3. Estimated to have been written at Easter 1961 or 1962. 4. 1970 is the estimated date of ‘The Labyrinth’. Very Rev Dr Trevor James is Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin. Page 37

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Brent and Judith Bruce’s first try at Rome was a sorry affair, but second time round they found a whole different story – that is, with the help of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

When in Rome...


ome: the Eternal City. It’s October 2000. With our coach load of fellow travellers, we can see the outskirts of the city. We approach with a mixture of excitement and hope – that the 3 days there would make up for some less than pleasant times on the tour so far. Ten days earlier we’d joined about 30 others to fly London to Munich and start the tour. Our arrival in Munich was not the best of starts. It took Charlie (our wonderful German coach driver) several hours to find our tour guide. She turned out to be a very disorganized woman, who regularly resorted to screaming at us (and others) to get her message across. Not very successfully either. Still, we then set off for the pleasant little German village of Oberamagau and the primary reason for this tour – their world famous annual Passion Play. And what an experience! The performance was superb, with many of the 4,000 member audience shedding tears at the villagers’ portrayal of the crucifixion. A communion service that followed (at the little Lutheran church), finished the day beautifully. So despite the bad start, we were in high spirits as we headed towards Bavaria, and onward to the Italian cities, including Pisa and Venice. Sadly our high spirits soon vanished, as we encountered poorly located hotels, inadequate meals and the guide from hell. Rome was the worst of all. (Incidentally, shortly after our tour the English company, “Christian Tours Ltd.” went into receivership). So back to the Eternal City. Now it’s

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October 2011 and again we’re approaching Rome. Ever since 2000 we’d hoped to return, as we knew in our hearts this city offered so much more than our previous visit. Some years earlier, we’d contacted the Anglican Centre in Rome and decided if ever the opportunity arose, we’d sign on to one of their courses. So after a five-week stay in England, we jumped at the chance to revisit Rome before returning home. The course we enrolled in was just so enriching. A mini-pilgrimage named “Exploration in Rome,” it helped independent travellers explore their faith – in Rome,with its centrality in Christian history. There were introductions to aspects of Rome, guided tours of key Christian sites, attendance at a Papal audience, guided reflections, corporate worship and shared meals. The course was so well organized and presented, by the Very Rev Canon David Richardson and the Ven Jonathon Boardman (supported by Margaret Richardson and Jan Hague). There were sixteen of us there – from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, Canada, Tanzania and of course New Zealand. Amidst the very friendly fellowship, the tour itself was full of highlights. For us, visiting the Community of Saint Egidio was probably the most moving. About 40 years back, a group of 14-18 yearold schoolboys had decided to live out the gospel by organising their schoolmates to assist the poor – through distributing food after school. Now S.Egidio communities are joined by a global organisation, with one of its schoolboy founders still in its governance,

which is all done on a voluntary basis. S. Egidio communities do amazing service and development work worldwide. In Rome, we experienced a project where disabled youth operate a restaurant – and where they served us a lovely meal. Both of us were very moved by that experience. The audience with the Pope was another highlight. Our tickets put us alongside the platform where his weekly audience takes place. That same day, we met with a Monsignor, and after hearing him speak, we could ask questions on Anglican-Roman Catholic relationships – very relevant when in Rome. The overall course was set out on a PastPresent-Future theme, encouraging us to consider our own lives on that basis. It proved to be very meaningful. The costs were reasonable too. The course cost 220 Euros (about NZ$400) and the Hotel Mimosa (bed and breakfast) was 90 Euros per night (about NZ$180). We even had spare time do our own thing, which we did with enthusiasm. If you’ve ever been to Rome, you’ll know that the more you see and do, the more you want to. From our little hotel, to the varied, relatively inexpensive restaurants, the sights, the people – and not forgetting the wonderful coffee – it was all that we’d hoped it would be. Back home again, we’re setting up a New Zealand support network for the Anglican Centre in Rome, under the guidance of Archbishop David Moxon, who is a governor of the Centre. If you’d like to offer your support, please contact us. Email: Ph: 03 355 6365. For info on future courses contact: The Anglican Centre, Rome, Piazza del Collegio Romano 2, 00186 Rome, Italy, or check on their website at:

Anglican Taonga





he Bible is contentious, problematic, fallible, contradictory, confusing or irrelevant... according to its critics. That’s just within the church. I’m told that one of our parishes has modified the authorised response for Old Testament or Epistle readings to, “Hear what the Spirit might be saying to the church.” To deliberately invoke an array of mixed metaphors, there are pitfalls, minefields, thickets and hidden traps awaiting anyone brave enough to write about the Bible. How do we argue, for instance, that it is proper and right for congregations to say, “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church,” after a Bible reading? Tim Meadowcroft, who is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Laidlaw College in Auckland, and an Anglican priest, has taken up this challenge of writing on the Bible. In his book from the ‘Bible Themes’ section of well known ‘The Bible Speaks Today’ series, he has decided the way forward is not to write

directly about ‘the theme of the Bible.’ Instead, he’s chosen to address what the Bible conveys to us: the message of the Word of God. The book studies twenty Biblical passages, each on the message of God’s Word. There are four parts: God speaks; God speaks in the written word; God speaks in Christ; and God speaks today. Questions for each chapter (at the end of the book) make this a good resource for group study. But the trick would be to keep an eye on Meadowcroft’s overall argument as each study is worked through. Namely: that God speaks, God has spoken in the written word called Holy Scripture, God has spoken most clearly in and through Jesus Christ, and continues, through the illuminating Spirit, to speak to us today. So, in Meadowcroftian terms, we can affirm that the Spirit is speaking to today’s church – through the readings – because, “The Scriptures themselves, breathed as they are by the Spirit, continue to bear the love and truth of God’s word. They become the very means by which the words of God, the truth and the acts of the God who is love, continue to speak and act in the lives and communities of those who preserve and interpret them” (p. 252). The two sentences cited above are

undergirded by meticulous scholarship, careful reasoning and deep insight into the Scriptures. This is a great book, which at the least, should be on every preacher’s shelves. Rev Dr Peter Carrell is Director of Theology House in Christchurch.

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Anglican Taonga



Matthew Luxon uncovers the hidden environmental cost of holidays and offers tips to reduce our festive debris

Stem the Easter tide


aster is the perfect time to focus on life’s big picture. With the ethical disciplines of Lent behind us, Easter reminds us that now we live in Christ, renewed in him along with all of life. When better to keep in mind our environmental responsibilities, than when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection that renews the whole of creation? It’s generally accepted that holidays are a good thing, even for those who don’t recognise the holy. Hanging out with family and friends, spending time away from work, making a change in routine – with more slumbering and less slaving – can all result in people feeling happier and healthier than before their break. Sadly, our much-loved festivals are not so great for the environment. It’s estimated that on average, material dumped into landfill increases by 25% during holiday periods. In the US, over half the total consumed paper is used to wrap and decorate products and make greetings cards. This year at Christmas alone, over 2.65 billion cards were sold in the US – that’s 4 million tons, or enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. With that boggling fact in mind, here are some ideas to help reduce your environmental footprint this Easter.

... material dumped into landfill increases by 25% during holiday periods

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things, and for grown-ups it provides a talking point over winter. For both, it amply expresses the Easter message of new life.



Less is more

Crank up the breadmaker

For Easter eggs, why not dye or paint boiled eggs or their shells for a beautiful and edible treat, or a permanent keepsake? If you’re looking for chocolate, try buying eggs with the least packaging, or ones wrapped in recyclable materials. This may mean ditching fancy-looking treats with layers of decorative plastic, in favour of a good ol’ block of chocolate, or chocolate eggs wrapped in foil and paper. Don’t forget the bonus of choosing Fair Trade, so there’s double the ethical value. For the least packaged goods, check the very top and bottom of the supermarket shelves, where you’ll find the slowerselling items. The foil wrappers can then be reused in arts and crafts, or added to a yearly collection of bottle tops and throwaway metal for recycling at a scrap metal dealer.

To stem the tide of seasonal plastic, why not try baking your own hot cross buns? A great recipe by Alison Holst is online at To step it up a notch, try to buy the ingredients rubbish free. Most will be easy, like flour, eggs and butter, all readily available in recyclable paper instead of more plastic for the landfill. You may need to search a bit harder for other ingredients, so try taking your own bags to Bin Inn for mixed fruit and spices. The other option is Gregg’s range of spices that still come in little recyclable cardboard boxes.

MEDIUM Another symbol of life Instead of going for chocolate or eggs, how about giving a gold or yellow spring bulb as an Easter gift? For children, it’s a great introduction to growing

(Statistics from holiday_facts.html) Matthew Luxon is a Christian environmentalist who runs

Anglican Taonga



Poking fun at the contradictions John Bluck goes to the movies and finds Samoan religion and culture tangled up in the postmodern world of Auckland. A group of young men set off on a good-humoured urban quest – under orders from their minister Sione 2: Unfinished Business


magine a film about church breaking New Zealand box office records? Hard to believe, but Unfinished Business, the sequel to Sione's Wedding, made $723,000 on its opening weekend - and a million by the close of its first week. Not that the publicity made much of the film's religious content. That would have been the kiss of death, in a country that is defined by religious questions, but doesn't want to talk about them. Written by Oscar Kightley and James Griffin, Unfinished Business tells the story of a middle class gang of Polynesian tearaways. They’re not so young as they were in Sione's Wedding, but still struggling to do what they're told by their minister, who belongs to the old school of Polynesian Presbyterianism. The film's religious and cultural adviser, the Rev Mua Strickson Pua, knows all about that school. He was a student of mine at Knox College, back in the days when no one had heard of Bishop Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church. This is not the greatest Kiwi movie. The reviews range from mild praise to damnation (of the secular variety), though most of them miss the importance of the film as a cultural marker in our cinematic history. Unlike The Orator, or even the original and much funnier Sione's Wedding, this is a thoroughly postmodern movie.

It follows a traditional culture that has immersed itself – and sometimes been lost in – 21st century Auckland. But unlike Pakeha, the Kiwi Samoans relish the confusion, and joke their way through the cultural contradictions. The script is laden with satire used as blunt instrument. It's full of cheap shots and oneliners about gay men, personal trainers, Facebook & middle management, uncomplimentary comparisons between life in Grey Lynn and the North Shore - and the Destiny Church. One of the tearaway boys has become a deacon in the "Future Church" led by Cardinal Hione who turns out to be corrupt, in a cardboard cut-out sort of way. The real life Bishop Brian was understandably annoyed by the send up, much to the delight of the film's publicists. All of the gang are under orders from their PIC minister, and though they rarely attend his church, they still jump to his command and go out in search of a mate who's gone missing. Their Keystone Cop-like search for him across Auckland is the nearest we get to a plot line. But because this is a postmodern film, you don't need much of a plot. It's all about living in the midst of ambiguity, incompleteness and moral muddle. Laughing Samoans meets Flight of the Conchords and goes swimming in the Sea of Faith. Post Christianity collides with old time religion. It's all set in the multicultural vortex of contemporary Auckland, where people of

whatever ethnicity survive by changing jobs, marriages, churches, houses (especially on the North Shore) and if they are truly desperate, countries. One of the lads has joined the exodus to Australia and married into the Melbourne Mafia. But through all that confusion, the film portrays people who are still strongly bound by family, friendship and relentlessly good humour. True, the men do take a long time to grow up and the women are inevitably smarter and more responsible. You walk away from this movie curious what Polynesian Auckland will look like a generation from now and how the still dynamic church at its heart will have evolved for its own survival. But the film also leaves you with a sense of optimism about that future, and a feeling that just maybe, all manner of thing shall be well, and it might be fun to be part of it.

Imagine a film about church breaking New Zealand box office records?

Rt Rev John Bluck lives in Pakari, north of Auckland.

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Anglican Taonga





gainst the Tide: Towards the Kingdom is a collection of reflections from Urban Vision’s Jenny and Justin Duckworth. It charts fifteen years of radical discipleship in inner city Wellington, showing how these two have managed to stay focused on the kingdom, in the company of others, and against the tide of culture. The nineteen chapters of this book are like stations, or cairns

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on the way. The authors share wisdom borne of experience, spiced with sharp self-reflections and a healthy mix of humour. The text is punctuated with questions. How do you live for the kingdom, in the company of dozens of needy souls who have dropped in off the street? How can you live without financial security, or concern for respectability? What do you take with you on the Jesus waka – and what do you throw overboard? How do you nurture your own lives and relationships? How do you keep a simple life and pray to sustain yourselves day by day? The Duckworths share their practical and theological

responses to these hard questions, underlined by “Don’t Miss the Point” summaries and “Look Into It” options for related Bible readings. Often intensely practical, this book challenges the expectation that holding high spiritual ideals will exempt us from the ordinary frustrations of daily life. At times, this book is deeply challenging, calling on the reader to address The insights shared here will the radical life-changing stuff of be particularly pertinent to anyone discipleship. interested in forming a community, With its reference to monastic or currently living in one. rhythms and community lived as a sign of the kingdom, “Against Brother Christopher John is an Anglican the Tide, Towards the Kingdom” Franciscan friar based in Australia. He is currently working on a PhD in Peace places Urban Vision firmly Studies at the University of Otago. within the movement of ‘New Monasticism’.

Anglican Taonga



Imogen de la Bere wonders why the English prefer spectacle over substance when it comes to religion


don’t know if the accounts and photos of Russian Orthodox Christians celebrating the Epiphany – plunging into holes cut into the ice to purge their sins – made it into the New Zealand media. Here in the UK, this widespread eye-watering spiritual exercise had a surprising amount of coverage. Romantic photographs abounded of people kneeling in the snow or emerging half naked and exhilarated from the icy waters, of glittering priests censing the chilly depths, of candles and sunrise over the steppes. I wondered why the British media bothered to highlight this thrilling religious practice. It couldn’t just have been the gorgeously muscled Russian men dripping icy water. In fact it’s not isolated. There are frequently photographic essays and television coverage of fervent religious events. The quintessential image of Christianity in the British press is a young woman in a veil holding

a candle. She might be Spanish, Iraqi or Brazilian. Any nationality – except English. As far as the media is concerned, the English do not go to church. They certainly don’t indulge in photogenic religious ceremonies. They prefer to don lyrca on Sunday mornings and ride about in packs. The greatest English religious ceremony is the Pantomime, closely followed by the Boxing Day Sale, and the New Year’s Day hangover. Even the delicious hit-comedy “Rev”, which charts the daily tribulations of an inner-city priest, persists the myth that the British do not go to church. In “Rev’s” congregation there are generally a dozen people, and they are mostly odd balls. I am frequently required to work on a Sunday, and when I explain that I will be off-line for a chunk of the morning to go to church, there is a

baffled but respectful silence. It’s as if I had informed them I had to duck out to join a polar expedition. However, any suggestion that the Church of England should be disestablished, the Monarch no longer be head of the church, bishops not be appointed by the Prime Minister, or sit in the House of Lords is met with widespread disapproval. It’s as if the English – and I think this is an English phenomenon – want their religion carefully preserved in a box in the attic, alongside the Christmas decorations, to be brought down at that point in the future when the pantomime, shopping and drinking have all proved false. And in the meantime, they remind themselves of the seriousness of the spiritual by marvelling at the pious Spanish at their Holy Week processions, the pilgrims packed into St Peter’s Square, the young Russians braving the ice. The conversion of England has always seemed imminent – every time there is a crisis of capitalism or faith, a disaster or a crime, I expect to see the people turning from their shopping, cycling and drinking and quietly reacquainting themselves with the faith of their forebears, the faith for which they were once content to die. But like a Russian peasant waiting for the thaw, we have to trust in God, and still bring in the firewood. Imogen de La Bere is a Kiwi writer living in London.

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Trying to decide whether to move to Selwyn Village?

T S leep on it

he last thing you should do is

Diane and John Alexander in their two-bedroom Paterson retirement apartment at Selwyn Village

When Diane and John Alexander decided to move into a retirement village, they did all their homework and visited as many as they could. They settled on a new Paterson apartment in the popular Selwyn Village in Point Chevalier. And because they made their minds up so quickly, they secured a great apartment. With all whiteware and a covered underground carpark included in the price, our new apartments at Selwyn Village and Selwyn Heights (Hillsborough) make great financial sense. Villages in Point Chevalier, Hillsborough, Papakura, Whangarei, Hamilton and Cambridge. If you’re thinking about moving, don’t take too long to come and see us. Contact us for a visit today. Call 0800 4 SELWYN (0800 473 5996), email, or visit

The Selwyn Foundation

One of New Zealand’s largest, not-for-profit providers of services to the over 65s, The Selwyn Foundation is a charitable trust with Christian values. It provides independent retirement living, residential care and community services for older people, and owns or manages a total of nine retirement sites across the upper North Island. All occupation licences for units at the villages will be secured by a first-ranking encumbrance over the village land in favour of the Statutory Supervisor.

F a i t h

C a r e

I n d e p e n d e n c e

W e l l n e s s 3208_R

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