NEW ZEALAND: Maori quash Anglican Covenant

By Taonga staff
Posted Nov 4, 2011

[Anglican Taonga] The Anglican Covenant is all but dead in the water in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, following a crucial vote by Tikanga Maori at its biennial runanganui (synod or convention) in Ohinemutu on Nov. 4.

The covenant will still come before the province’s General Synod in July 2012, but a decision to accept it requires a majority vote in all three houses – lay, clergy and bishops – and by all three tikanga, or cultural streams: Maori, Pakeha and Pasifika.

The Nov. 4 decision effectively binds all Maori representatives on General Synod to say no to the covenant, according to a news article from Anglican Taonga.

Two of the five Maori hui amorangi (dioceses) have already rejected the covenant, largely on the grounds that it could compromise Maori rangatiratanga (sovereignty).

Moving the resolution, Archdeacon Turi Hollis noted that the covenant applied at provincial level. “If one diocese makes a decision that another objects to – then the whole province will be held accountable,” he said.

“We are being asked to conform to the standards of the rest of the world. Yet we have a constitution that the rest of the world does not understand.

“Would that have been agreed to had the covenant been in force?

“The proposed covenant is trying to impose on us something that should be based on relationship – on whanaungatanga or manaakitanga.”

Seconding the motion, the Rev. Don Tamihere said the covenant was not about homosexuality.

“It is about compliance and control. We are being asked to sign over our sovereignty, our rangatiratanga to an overseas group … To a standing committee over whom we have no choice or control. And they have the power to recommend punishment,” he said. “The proposed covenant offers us nothing new – or nothing we need as Anglicans, as Hahi Mihinare, or as disciples of Jesus Christ.

“We don’t need it to have faith in Jesus Christ: We already have a covenant that binds us to our savior, Jesus Christ. And that is the only covenant we need.”

Philip Charles said: “Over the years, the practice has been: If you disagree with the church, you leave. And those groups who have left have often withered and died. The covenant changes that. If you disagree with a group – you kick them out. I give it two thumbs down.”

The Rev. Ngira Simmonds pointed out that to be Anglican means to be in relationship with people – even if you don’t like them.

“We want this church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to focus, instead, on acting for the restoration of justice.”

The full story and resolution is available here.