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Te Pouhere: The Constitution Of The Anglican Church In Aotearo, New Zealand And Polynesia

2762 words - 11 pages

“Te Pouhere (1991) is a just response to the Treaty of Waitangi and the Gospel in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia”. To answer this question is to examine the very foundations of the Anglican Church in these lands, to explore the history of people and events that brought us to the moment of Te Pouhere’s ratification and to elicit a sense of the forces that drive us as a church, both then and now. With a view to the vast reality that is entwined with answering, and with humility in recognizing that we can only scratch the surface of thought in the framework of this assignment, it is the aim of this essay to discuss and attempt to respond to the question posed. We will achieve this initially through a discussion of the role Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries and the Christian faith played in the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi and a tracing of the development of the Māori and Pakeha ‘cultural streams’ within the pre 1992 Anglican Church in New Zealand, with reference to significant figures and events. Following this we will discuss definitions of the Gospel in connection with Te Pouhere as well as drawing in reference to the eighth Anglican Consultative Council in which the whole communion was asked to “consider how through its structures it may encourage its members to see that a true Christian spirituality involves a concern for God's justice in the world ”. Following this, we will evaluate the structure of Te Pouhere in relation to all this and consider how well it serves the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Within Te Pouhere a great deal of weight is given to principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi, a reality that stems from the Anglican church’s recognition of the role it played in forming the treaty and convincing Māori to sign. In order to comprehend fully the role of the Christian faith and the missionaries of the CMS in the formation of the treaty, one must first look to the translation of the Māori language into written form, the first expression of which was the Gospel according to Luke . This transformation of Māori from a previously solely spoken language into a written form had two major effects. The first was the ability, and so necessity to write the treaty in a Māori form, and secondly that, in order to communicate the concepts laid out in English, familiar conceptual ideas would have to be used in Māori, many of which had, through Luke, taken on a greater level of spiritual significance in regard to Christian thought. This can be seen in Māori conception of te Tiriti as a form of covenant . This notion of the treaty as covenant was an idea further enforced by the work of missionaries who were deeply involved in Māori life and politics, and one which, it is argued, helped to sway many Māori chiefs to sign . With recognition of the Anglican Church as the sending institution of the CMS missionaries who translated and endorsed the treaty to Māori chiefs and the realization of the role that...

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