Renewing Our Biculturalism

In February 2021 SPAM’s James Bowman and Esther Grant presented a kōrero on Renewing our Biculturalism to the Vestry of St Paul's, with the support of Scott Parekowhai (Ngāti Porou), Jonny Grant and Matt Bruns. Jo Simpson (Ngāti Kurī) was also part of the project team. In May we received this official blessing to continue our proposed haerenga:
“St Paul’s Vestry wholeheartedly supports the journey of Renewing our Biculturalism through restoring our partnership with local iwi & hāpu and the Māori Anglican church as expressed in the proposal presented to Vestry, and thanks those involved in its creation. Vestry acknowledges the weight of St Paul’s 180 year history, including our ties to both colonialism and local iwi & hāpu. Vestry further acknowledges that seeking progress and developing meaningful relationships in renewing our biculturalism will require humility, conviction and a long term commitment to this vision from the church and its leaders.”
We say “continue” because the various hui and kōrero that have happened over the past few years, encapsulated in the document, have already resulted in the renewing and the beginning of relationships, and of bicultural initiatives that many have been involved with.
You can download a PDF of the document that covers our kaupapa / purpose, tangata & roles, our bicultural story and our proposed haerenga / journey here. Contact James or Esther if you’d like to  join the team or get involved.

Proposed Haerenga / Journey

How can we renew the biculturalism of St Paul’s through relationship between Māori and non-Māori (Pākehā / Tauiwi) in Christ? How can we glorify God by recognising, restoring and reimagining His unique creation, te ao Māori, and Christianity in Aotearoa?

Become Te Tiriti covenant partners.

Archbishop David Moxon wrote a message to the wider NZ Anglican church in 2011 called: ‘The Treaty and the Bible in Aotearoa New Zealand’, about updates to the Anglican Constitution. He wrote:
‘The Anglican Church in these Islands has an historic, moral and spiritual responsibility to see that the covenantal theology in the Treaty signing process continues to be honoured, enacted and lived. To this end the Anglican Church here has restructured its constitution to live within Treaty principles as a means of practising what was preached in 1840.’
Have we looked at how St Paul’s can formally adopt this? Let’s also look at how St Paul’s can honour ‘the spirit of the Treaty’ as described by Jay Ruka in ‘Huia Come Home’. What can we do to be generous, committed covenant partners today and into the future? And how do we express this?

Observe and/or recognise Māori tikanga.

St Paul’s culture is predominantly Tikanga Pākehā, and we don't aim to provide a full Tikanga Māori church setting like Holy Sep. Also, while we respect Tikanga Pākehā Anglican traditions, we also have a culture of exploring fresh church settings. These combined factors have resulted in some of the ways we do things being uncomfortable or even offensive to Māori.
Let’s review our practices and decide what we want to change to be more welcoming to Māori, and let’s clearly communicate our reasoning for the things we decide not to change. We're bound to learn a lot from the process.

Apologise and consult.

We should look to offer formal apologies to specific iwi/hapū, where we have been involved with, or stood by and didn’t challenge, Treaty breaches in our church’s history.
We should also use our influence in our broader Auckland Diocese to do the same.
We need to decide if ‘Selwyn’s Throne’ at St Paul’s was his or not; possibly amend the current plaque; and ask for advice (including from Bishop Te Kitohi regarding issues relating to Māori).
We should seek to discover from Māori and the Anglican Church the stories of the land, buildings, and assets which are connected to St Paul’s, and seek guidance from our Tikanga Māori partners on appropriate responses. For example: our building was built on top of a spring and apparently a former pā site; land was apparently given to our Diocese by Māori for specific purposes, but not used for those purposes.

Commemorate Waitangi Day together.

Every year on 6 February people of all communities and backgrounds gather at Waitangi to commemorate the first signing of Te Tiriti.
The Treaty Grounds closes its buildings for the day and the grounds become the location for the Waitangi Day Festival. The free festival at the Treaty Grounds starts at 5am with a Dawn Service in Te Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House). All-day entertainment creates a fun, festival atmosphere, with performance stages on the Upper Treaty Grounds, at the Waka Shelter and on the sports field opposite the Treaty Grounds.
Let’s connect with our bicultural story as a community and stay in Waitangi and attend the festival together. Better still, let's join Karuwhā Trust for their Hīkoi Ki Waitangi. The four-day event is held over the Waitangi Commemorations and is an invitation to experience Waitangi first-hand: to serve alongside tangata whenua, to visit significant sites, to spend time listening to stories of our past from kaumātua and historians, and to seek a better understanding of our country.

Learn te reo Māori together.

To be a people that can ‘walk fluidly’ between Māori and Pākehā contexts, we need to at least respect te reo Māori, but better still, learn to speak it. It’s the gateway to truly accessing Te Ao Māori.
To start with, let’s all learn to pronounce te reo words correctly, rather than knowingly getting them wrong. Then, let’s offer classes to the St Paul's congregation and learn te reo together.

Nurture relationships.

We’ve begun to renew intentional relationships with Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei, Holy Sep and the wider Te Tai Tokerau Diocese, including through Nathan.
James has created Wikipedia articles on Holy Sep (with Kerry Davis' help) and Tarore, and expanded articles on Bishop Te Kitohi, Apihai Te Kawau, and Bishop Selwyn & St Paul's bicultural histories.
Let’s ask Holy Sep and Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei how we can best serve them. Can we help at marae gatherings or put on lunches for them? Can we share our stories with each other? What gifts can we give them? Can our counsellors help their counsellors? Can we provide scholarships for their leaders or artists? Can we go to Waitangi together? Many Māori don’t know te reo, would they like to join us in learning?
Holy Sep’s accounts person suggested financial giving at our Big Issues Forum. Can we work with them to create Open Courses or Forums for their community, as discussed with Shona Pink-Martin and Jonny?
How can we nurture our relationships with Te Tai Tokerau including Bishop Te Kitohi, and the wider Māori Anglican Church, tikanga Māori at St John’s, and the Diocesan working group in this area recently set up by Dio Council and Te Tai Tokerau? What can we do on Te Pouhere Sundays to celebrate our partnership?
Also, have we met our neighbours at AUT’s Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae? How can we serve them?

Create together.

Let’s invite Ōrākei, Holy Sep and others to collaborate in creating songs, art, media and events with us. And invite them to create new stained glass windows and tukutuku panels at St Paul’s, to honour and give mana to tangata whenua, and to glorify God. Always seeking to follow our Creator's creative lead.