History of Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu 

So begins the story in the new century of the people of Tuahiwi and the diocese of Christchurch, with an instruction once made to 'the Hebrews' readdressed in June 1903 by the diocesan secretary, Francis Knowles, to Taituha Hape and the Maori of Tuahiwi. The chaplain Wynter Blathwayt had been given six months' notice with the people unconsulted, and no other post offered him.

A deputation to St Stephen's, Tuahiwi in May by Edwin Scott and the future Archbishop Alfred Averill found the people's mana had been affected by the perceived slight, and urged the necessity of a resident chaplain; but also remarked that there was no "sense of gratitude for the sacrifices made for them by European churchmen." Hape as chairman of the pa responded with a defiant letter to Bishop Julius, citing his words "What is the use of painting an old house when the inside is dirty and rotten?" with his further explanation in The Press that the morality of the pa was not as good as it should be.

He was challenged to forward the names of those he thought guilty of misconduct. Hape concluded that the "rulers" of the church desired the end of the Mission; if so the people would tell the Canterbury papers that the Maori Mission no longer concerned them. Knowles' letter was in reply to this, claiming that "in the long run" they would not suffer from the "reorganisation" and promising "Your spiritual interests and welfare will be fully and wisely cared for by the Bishop."

To this the people replied that Knowles had perversely misrepresented them as acknowledging some ground for the moral judgement on the pa, and argued their special claim for a clergyman because their church unlike those of other pa was Anglican; some fifty signatories included the churchwardens Taare Puruki and Tehau Korako.

This altercation concluded with the close of the chaplaincy on 30 June. According to Maori tradition, Hape was excommunicated. Charles Fraer, who as vicar of Waikouaiti from 1900 had ministered devotedly to Maori, became vicar of the new parochial district of Tuahiwi in 1904. St Stephen's was the centre, with Fernside, Ohaka and East Eyreton as sub-districts. That it was not yet incorporated in the Rangiora parish was a compromise.

In 1909 Fraer started a boarding school at Ohoka for Maori girls, in particular those from Te Waipounamu and the Chathams; this was to become a major field of Maori work. Churchwardens in this period included JH Kingi, Keopa Harawira, Frank Huria, R Karaitiana and Hamuera Rupene Jr. When Julius became archbishop in 1922 the people had forgiven him enough to present a primatial cross with greenstone. Three years later Julius came to induct a new vicar, H H Mathias, and bid farewell to the Maori of Canterbury:

The nation which conquered these islands lives side by side with you in good fellowship. But you are changed. The Maori chief is no longer the great power he was in his pa ... If I were a Maori, I should be very proud of being a Maori, and so are you. See to it that you keep up the honour of your race...

The response of the disempowered chiefs is not recorded.

At Arowhenua the church built by the people and opened by James Stack in 1866 was not regarded as specifically Anglican, as evidenced by the distinctive claim of Tuahiwi for its own chaplain. But although an extension of the marae, at some point the church was incorporated into the parish of Temuka.

In 1931 the old church was replaced by a new one based on the plan of St Mark's, Marshland, but with interior art and craft work in Maori style, and consecrated jointly by Bishops Bennett and West-Watson; Anglican Maori subscribed £800. Others, especially Ratana and Catholics, strongly opposed the Anglican appropriation of the site, but failed in the attempt to overturn a court decision to vest part of the reserve in the diocesan Church Property Trustees. The diocese did however confirm the church's availability for non-Anglican services. If there has been rather less shared use than in other kaika churches, still there have been multi­denominational service schedules.

In the fifties diocesan support for Maori work, worth some £900 a year, was extended from Te Wai Pounamu College to include the "provincial" St Stephen's school for boys at Bombay near Auckland. Bishop Panapa was visiting the diocese every two years or so, and in 1959 Bishop Alwyn Warren of Christchurch reported that Maori "have recently expressed a wish to have a Maori pastor of their own".

That wish was now being heard on account of a special tour by Canon Wi Huata, Maori Missioner in Waikato and winner of the Military Cross as chaplain of the Maori Battalion. His tour began at Tuahiwi, where a mixed congregation continued to gather; A H Tainui had been serving as churchwarden in 1952. Huata's itinerary is a list of the homes of the Maori of the diocese: Rapaki, Akaroa, Little River, Arowhenua, Morven, Taumutu, Kumara, Arahura, Hari Hari, Whataroa, the Fox, Jacob's River.

Everywhere his personal welcome included a request for regular Maori ministry. But one place not mentioned in that itinerary was to become the new focus of the Maori work. The next year Canon Hamiora Rangiihu from Wairoa made a similar tour, but a major outcome this time was the formation of a Maori group at St John's, Latimer Square in Christchurch.

St John's had already been a centre for Maori worship under James McWilliam (vicar 1931-42) and his successor George Watson; the present vicar David Thorpe was also chaplain of Te Wai Pounamu College, and was keen to support the growing number of Maori in the city. The Catholics appointed a Pakeha priest as full time Maori missioner in Christchurch after a hui at Easter 1961; Bishop Warren was now aiming rather for "a resident Maori priest for the South Island", an aim endorsed by a diocesan Maori convention at Tuahiwi in October 1961.

The First Modern Missioners

Two nation-wide developments during the fifties were to change irrevocably the condition of the people in the diocese and throughout Te Waipounamu. The renaissance of Maoritanga surely meant that no bishop could again patronise the people as had Julius in 1925, let alone Knowles in 1903. And the people's migration to the cities meant that the majority in the diocese were no longer resident in pa like Tuahiwi but living in Christchurch.

This fact became the focus of Panapa's visit in June-July 1962, which paid special attention to the city and supported the call for a resident priest. When one came he was not to follow James Stack out to Tuahiwi but to live in downtown Christchurch.

The pioneering missioner was Canon Te Hihi (Dan) Kaa, the first Maori priest to serve in the diocese. Of a strong Ngati Porou Anglican family, he had been ordained for thirty years, serving both as vicar of Taupo and in several pastorates. At St John's College he had been the most successful pre-war Maori student, completing his LTh diploma including Hebrew and five units towards a degree.

He was now licensed to the Cathedral but based largely at St John's church. Conscious that his appointment was temporary, he was keen to develop lay ministry. He became a member of the Maori section of the National Council of Churches, based then in Christchurch. During his time the diocesan Maori sub-committee took over the Maori boys' hostel in Upper Riccarton and inaugurated one for girls called Roseneath; this was a new ministry in Kaa's experience which he found "really wonderful".

Along with his work in the city he visited all the pa in the diocese and also as South Island missioner spent time in Dunedin and Nelson. He estimated the Maori “church" population in the diocese at above 2000 in Christchurch, 200 at Timaru, 100 around Hokitika and 200 in country areas, figures corresponding roughly to the census totals in 1966.

Kaa called for Maori representation in synods and a voice in senior appointments, darkly reporting disappointment with certain recent ones. But while his appointment had been facilitated by Panapa, he was an employee of the diocese and licensed to its bishop. He therefore took his place in the diocesan hierarchy.

This place was most apparent in the housing provided for him. The house at 352 Armagh Street was no vicarage. His daughter recalls the family's struggle to make it a home; Thorpe, the vicar of St John's, thought a better house would be inappropriate for a Maori. After two years the diocesan sub-committee, which included LG Royal and Kia Rewai, recognised that the house was not suitable; it was just "a roof over the missioner's head".

A permanent house was needed, "preferably" to diocesan (presumably vicarage) standard. Their minute is dated 10 February 1965; the very next day, during one of his visits to Dunedin diocese, Kaa suddenly died at Wyndham.

Christchurch learned its mistake, and for the next missioner bought in November a better house at 439 Hereford Street. Maaka Matiu Mete of Nga Puhi now began a ministry of nine years, first licensed like Kaa to the Dean but from 1969 vicar of Phillipstown. Educated in Auckland at King's College and St John's where he gained his LTh, Mete had been chaplain to St Stephen's, Bombay and vicar of Kamo-Hikurangi. He now developed Kaa's vision for lay ministry by forming a training group for lay readers.

At first he also made occasional visits to the two other dioceses, but by 1967 Nelson was considering "more effective working among our Maori people", and Bishop Pyatt felt Christchurch was now "on its own". The ministry had become so diverse that in 1966 the diocese created a Council for Maori Work, to co-ordinate the hostels, clubs, education and counselling. The mission also sought to influence the marae districts of Rapaki, Wairewa, Taumutu and Tuahiwi, but Mete found a more serious problem in the newer housing estates with their lack of community.

Timaru, Temuka and Hokitika still relied on local clergy. The Registrar reported to a provincial Commission 'to enquire into trends of work among Maori people' that parish contributions in 1965 had totalled £3,440, while the capital endowments for Maori work were only £437. Mete himself from 1966 to 1970 sat on this commission and its successor. It was found that over half the Maori population were urban dwellers, and normal parish life offered little especially to the young.

But ordained in 1967 to serve in such parishes was the Ngai Tahu David Manning, whose ministry including a spell in the Chatham Islands lasted twenty-five years before his sudden death.                                                                                                 

There arose the question of the future base for the work. Although in 1968 £600 was spent in St John's on fittings for the Mission, there were severe physical limitations. At the same time the historic church of the Good Shepherd at Phillipstown was in need of repair while losing its congregation through flight to the suburbs.

So in 1969 the Mission was moved to Phillipstown with Mete both vicar and missioner. A normal parish life continued, with "a nudge in the direction" of the Mission, and the Parish Centre also provided a meeting place for Maori groups both church and secular: Te Wai Pounamu College (of which Mete was now chaplain), St John's Maori Club, the District Maori Council, Otautahi Maori Committee, Maori Women's Welfare League, Te Aowera Culture Club, the Maori Wardens' Association.

The Council for Maori Work (Komiti Matua) now had extended representation, and functioned alongside the Vestry; its Executive included Whakahuihui Vercoe, Tauroa Royal and Mrs E Tini. On Sunday mornings both Parish Communion and Te Hapa a te Ariki were held, acknowledging the bicultural make-up of the parish. An important part of the ministry was the provision at the Centre of hospitality and accommodation; it was assuming the nature of a marae, and its first large tangi was held.

But by 1972 Mete was remarking on "the insecurities of the Maori situation" and the need for improvement in the facilities. He raised the question whether two thirds of the budget should be going to the subsidy of Te Wai Pounamu College rather than a broader educational programme: "By concentrating ourselves in one place we have lessened our hold on other places." In 1973 he was regretting there was still no regular use of Maori in worship. At the end of the year Mete resigned to take charge of Kawakawa.

The new vicar-missioner was William Brown Turei, a veteran of the Maori Battalion as well as St John's College where he took the LTh; he came from the Turanga pastorate. He was acclaimed by the Komiti Matua chair, Bob Lowe, as "a man of deep faith and personal charm, possessing a modesty not common among those with a golf handicap of four." In 1977 Turei was still finding the Mission's work done on Pakeha terms. 

The parochial district now became the Maori Pastorate for the diocese, as the Mission grew and the parochial role continued to decline. The Komiti, recognised as the diocesan Komiti Matua, was now a monthly task force rather than just advisory to the missioner; the mission to the Maori had become a mission of the Maori. A priority was the creation of a marae: with a loan of $30,000 from the Church Property Trustees the parish hall was transformed by the architect (Bill) Taurua Royal into a wharenui. Named Te Rau Oriwa (The Olive Branch) in 1980 by Bishop Bennett, the marae was widely used for educational programmes, parish visits and quiet days as well as for traditional hospitality and tangi; and there was a special exhibition of Maori art.

In 1978 Turei had been elected, with Riki Ellison, to the executive of the Aotearoa Council. After eight years in Christchurch Turei moved to a pastorate in Waiapu as diocesan Archdeacon for Maori work, becoming in 1992 the first Bishop of Te Tai Rawhiti.

For the next five years the missioner was Te Wheoki Rahiri (Jim) Tahere, who had previously served in the diocese of Auckland after taking the LTh at St John's. He was inducted on 12 February 1982, and also became chaplain to the women's prison and the next year to Te Wai Pounamu College. In 1984 a consultation of Te Pihopatanga and the three southern dioceses agreed that a co-ordinator for the whole South Island Maori Mission should be based in Christchurch; this came about with Tahere's successor.

In the Kura Minita the training of lay ministers continued, but now Te Pihopatanga was developing a new local ordained ministry of community priests known as minita-a-iwi. One of the first to be ordained was Te Rangi Matanuku Te Matekino (Mac) Kaa in 1982, a Ngati Porou detective in Christchurch; ordained at the same time was the future missioner and bishop, John Gray.

The ordination hui was the largest event in the Mission's history with guests from around the country. The pioneers were followed in 1985 by Roger Carew Aritaku Maaka, a Maori studies lecturer in the University of Canterbury and former chair of the Komiti Matua; in 1986 by Maurice Manawaroa Gray, lecturer at Canterbury and later Lincoln, of Ngai Tahu as well as East Coast descent, who trained at St John's; and in 1987 by Peter Wharepuni Tauwhare, another Ngai Tahu and a descendant both of the early Poutini lay reader Teoti Hori Tauwhare and of George Mutu.

Also ordained that year were Hori Pahau, a taxi proprietor who was killed in a road accident in 1989; Richard Rangi Wallace, a Ngai Tahu working in Maori Affairs; and to serve in the Chatham Islands Richard Riwai Preece. They were followed in 1988 by Nehe (Ned) Te Rakahurumai Pohatu (Ngati Porou) from the Teachers' College. In all this Tahere insisted on the theological "need to affirm our being created Maori despite assimilationist attempts to negate this by the continued imposition of a racist ideology."

As the Mission gradually superseded the traditional parish life at Phillipstown, so the work in the city overshadowed the traditional church life in the rural settlements. While some Ngai Tahu moved into the city for the same reasons as other iwi, the majority of the urban Anglicans were, like the general Maori population, strangers from the north.

At last the promise of George Mutu had been fulfilled in the resident missioners, but for whose benefit? In the year 1987 in which Tahere moved to the Maori chaplaincy in Sydney, the Mission was finding itself less and less able to meet its obligation to subsidise Te Wai Pounamu College. Matters came to a head at the end of the decade with its final closure.

Te Wai Pounamu College

Charles Fraer's school for Maori girls opened on 4 March 1909 with a roll of eight, drawn from as far as Waikouaiti and the Chathams. At first it was housed in the old vicarage next to the church at Ohoka west of Tuahiwi. After a hesitant start the roll reached fourteen in two years, and Winifred Opie moved from the similarly named Okoha school in Pelorus sound to take charge for the next twelve years.

Sometimes with assistance, sometimes without, she ran the school with both tact and loving care, and also with the ability of a M A graduate of Canterbury College. She struggled with the Education Department to get girls Maori scholarships on the same criteria as in the North Island.

In her first year she reported that a senior girl Hinga Carrington was helping and deserved to be paid; next year Hinga went out to cooking classes so that she might take over the kitchen, although she hoped to train as a missionary. Mawhera Taiaroa was now becoming a capable pupil teacher, and won a scholarship for weekly classes at the art school.

In 1915 Nina Kihau came from Rakiura, the great-granddaughter of Tuhawaiki and heir to most of Ruapuke. There was plenty of fun as well as hard work: just before Christmas that year the girls went to a carnival at Cashmere, a fete at Kaiapoi and had a garden party at the school. But the war had a depressing effect, both on finances and on recruiting: by its end in 1918 the roll was down to nine.

The elderly buildings were a1so deteriorating, and the school moved in 1921 to Ferry Road in Christchurch, becoming Te Wai Pounamu Maori Girls' College. The Marsh family home was converted for up to twenty boarders. Of the running costs, a quarter came from fees paid by parents and the rest from the diocese, from subscriptions and from Government scholarships. After two years in the city Winifred Opie was married and resigned at the end of 1923. She and her staff were described as "a beacon light to the lives of the scattered girls of the southern Maoris".

For the next fourteen years sisters of the Christchurch-based Community of the Sacred Name were in charge. In March 1927 the fine chapel in indigenous style was dedicated, with its kowhaiwhai ornamentation; the cost was mostly met by an anonymous gift. Over the years other buildings were improved. But at the end of the decade the economic depression hit Maori as hard as anyone, and fees became impossible to collect. In 1932, with the roll standing at nine, the founder Charles Fraer died and a carved memorial inscription was placed in the chapel as "he tohu aroha". His loss was offset by the arrival that year of Hilda Harding, who became Principal in 1937 and was to remain for a further twenty-five years.

The Second World War had a comparable effect to the first, the roll falling from 23 in 1938 to ten in 1941. But in 1939 the college council gained an energetic new secretary, John Stewart, who obtained a number of four-­year scholarships from businesses and from individuals, which covered the school fees for the secondary course. In 1941 Kia Rewai founded the Old Girls' Association, joining the council nine years later. Kia had arrived at Ohoka from the Chatham Islands in 1920 at the age of nine, and was to become a leading figure in the preservation and renewal of Maori culture in Canterbury; she was appointed MBE for her war service overseas. One well-wisher from Little River who helped the school with wartime gifts of provisions made a specially good investment, for he married the Hilda Daniels who became Principal.

Numbers were back to 23 by 1943, and up to 33 by 1945 when a new dormitory and classroom wing was built. The appointment of a new teacher meant the assistant Miss Tahiwi, who served the school for fifteen years, became matron and leader in Maoritanga. Of the 21 who left between 1941 and 1946, sixteen did the full course, all becoming teachers or nurses. Full registration as a seconday school was granted from 1946.

The school was now full with 41 girls, and further extensions were made in the next two years. Girls now began also to be attracted from the north. An assembly hall, generously supported by the Williams Trust, was opened in 1955 and named Hikurangi. In the prosperous fifties 85% of expenses were covered by fees. Between 1945 and 1960 School Certificate passes averaged over 60%, above the national average and nearly three times the Maori average. The school excelled equally in sport, song and Maoritanga.

The jubilee celebration in 1959, organised by the Old Girls' Association with a service at Phillipstown and a pilgrimage to Ohoka and Tuahiwi, was a kind of watershed. Large co-educational schools in Christchurch and elsewhere were now offering a range of courses that a small school could not; it was too small to meet modern educational needs. In 1964 the Board had to double the fees paid by the forty-five girls. The next year the college became a boarding hostel for girls who were taught at Avonside Girls' High School. Hilda Daniels had resigned in 1961 after thirty years, the council finding it impossible to "evaluate her wonderful, self-sacrificing service." 

The roll had fallen below thirty by 1970 and the board reluctantly decided to close the college at the end of the year. But a deputation of younger Maori became an Action Committee which succeeded in recruiting girls and raising money to subsidise fees. The college's objective was clearly stated "to improve integration" by getting girls through School Certificate and to university.

Now that in the church ministry to Maori was once again being undertaken by Maori themselves, it was natural that the care of the girls should also be in Maori hands. In 1971 Whakahuihui Vercoe, who had been a military chaplain in Canterbury, became Principal and chaplain for the next five years. But this Maori responsibility for the day to day welfare of the college only brought to the fore the question of executive control: the college was governed by a Board appointed by the diocese, with a Pakeha chairman.

Vercoe was succeeded in 1976 by Te Waaka (Sonny) Melbourne, a Tuhoe with considerable ministerial experience including charge of the Waitomo pastorate. He saw the college as an extension of Maori community life, promoting its protocol and values. By April 1978 the financial situation was such that Bishop Pyatt was hoping the Principal might find part-time employment outside the college.

His authority had been weakened by the removal of his disciplinary power of suspension, and some proposals he presented failed to eventuate because of cultural attitudes and misunderstandings. Others were as a compromise put into effect, but most events came under the scrutiny and sanction of non-Maori custom.

A Maori expected a problem to be discussed frankly among those concerned; but the college Trust Board chose to exercise its power over a Maori in Pakeha fashion.

Melbourne and his wife Cherry moved north in 1978 and were replaced by a matron, Mrs Reihana (Keith) Parata. The roll dropped in 1979 from 38 to 25, but in 1981 Mrs Parata was congratulated for "pulling the College out of the doldrums", and Ripeka Parata for her award of an American Field Scholarship. But after a year "fraught with difficulty" Ian Menzies was succeeded in the Board's chair by Bruce Te Kooro (until his transfer to Papua New Guinea), who expressed both "profound satisfaction with the achievements of the girls and serious trepidation regarding our financial position."

There was an annual diocesan grant of some $1,400. A Council was now inaugurated, comprising members and others elected by contributory bodies, but lasted only a couple of years. In 1984 the roll reached 42, and fifty in 1986; in that year Puamiria Parata was selected as a representative at Te Maori exhibition in Chicago.

The eighties were a time of rapid change. The church's commission on the Treaty of Waitangi, including the Ngai Tahu elder Tipene O'Regan, made its first report in 1986. The difficulties in majority control of Maori work were plain. In November 1989 a joint commission of Diocese and Te Pihopatanga was appointed to consider the college's future. It was agreed to transfer the college to Te Pihopatanga.

For nearly eighty years it had been treasured by the people, and may well be seen as the Anglican church's major tangible gift to Ngai Tahu. Although never a tribal institution, it had educated the daughters of most of the leading Ngai Tahu families. Now perhaps it would really be theirs at last. But transfer to Maori control could not solve the financial difficulties at a stroke. If the diocese could not afford a full-time chaplain, neither could Te Pihopatanga.

If Pakeha could not make the college pay its way, neither could Maori. Consultation with the people would only yield an entirely predictable result: everyone wants to see their and their mother's alma mater survive. So Bishop Vercoe, himself a former Principal and chaplain but also with military experience, bit the bullet. The college was closed in March 1990; the formal change of ownership occurred on 4 October.

Missioner and Archdeacon

In this environment, up the road at Phillipstown John Robert Kuru Gray was inducted as vicar and missioner on 20 November 1987.  Of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu and raised at Tokomaru Bay, he trained as a nurse in Invercargill and then moved to Christchurch. He was deeply impressed by the prophecy of his dying mother: he should return to help their people in the south and enter the ministry, while she would die the next day. Next day she died, and he became involved in the church at Phillipstown.

Attending an annual meeting with his uncle and namesake, he was surprised to find that he and not his uncle had been elected to the vestry. He served as churchwarden and for five years as lay reader before fulfilling in 1982 his mother's vision in ordination.

His adult education began with business studies, and he managed a security company for some years. At the University of Canterbury he gained the certificate in Social Work and at Otago a certificate in Pyschiatry. In Invercargill he worked in the Labour party for Norman Kirk, who "really got me into politics because he related to the Maori people"; later on community leaders persuaded him to seek, with some reluctance, the Southern Maori nomination.

After ordination he worked for Anglican Social Services with enjoyment because he was counselling in particular young Maori.  He led the establishment of the residential Arahina House for the relief of substance abuse and addiction.

For Gray the remodeled church of the Good Shepherd was the community's "watering hole", to serve both races and all religions. The nave was now the wharenui, separated by sliding doors from the worship area, while the former hall became the wharekai to cater for 150 people. John Bluck has told of the Christmas party to which 32 were invited and 92 showed up and were fed like royalty; these were cooks with oil in their lamps to spare.

In 1991 the gift of a military building was put to educational use in training minita-a-iwi and lay ministers. Twelve students ­met weekly in study for the Social Services diploma of Te Pihopatanga. Anglican bicultural partnership was demonstrated in November when Allan Pyatt, former Bishop of Christchurch, lay in state at Te Rau Oriwa marae before being taken to the cathedral for a requiem.

The minita-a-iwi were supporting the Mission in the community: Pohatu at Cathedral Grammar School, Wallace as Matua Whangai officer and Wihapi Winiata from Ohinemutu in the Iwi Authority. Moeawa Callaghan became youth co-ordinator.

In August 1990 Peter Tauwhare was appointed assistant Missioner, overseeing ministry at Tuahiwi, Rapaki and other settlements in the diocese: there was a special challenge in Te Tai Poutini, where he resided for a year seeking to heal divisions among the people. The Mission had now taken over its whole financial administration from the diocese. The former college became Te Waipounamu Cultural Centre, including a Kohanga Reo taught by Joni Streeter and Helen Gray, and taking polytechnic student boarders with other agencies also using the centre.

Another field of bicultural ministry was opened in Christchurch when John and Heather Flavell were inducted on 28 February 1991 to St Ambrose, Aranui, also to serve in Parklands Co-operating Parish. The challenge at St Ambrose was to turn a faithful inward-facing church towards the community. Heather also took up chaplaincy work at Princess Margaret hospital.

The Garden Project was an important social ministry, and a strong youth ministry was developed. But John was seen as the vicar and Heather as his Maori-funded assistant; a truly bicultural ministry was not understood by the largely Pakeha vestry. In 1994 the Flavells moved to new ministry in Murihiku.

Special attention was given to ministry among women, and in 1991 Helen Gray was appointed coordinator of Kahui Wahine in Te Waipounamu, organising the national Omaka marae in Blenheim in February 2000. Every aspect of the hui was run by women themselves, except the catering for which Kahui Tane took full responsibility. In a historic reversal of customary roles, Kahui Wahine was claiming autonomy.

Earlier a major advance in November 1991 was the first ordination in Te Waipounamu of a Maori woman, Karetai Joni Streeter, to serve at Phillipstown and later at Hoon Hay. She twice went to her Te Arawa people for their consent to her taking the traditional role of kuia into the church: as she said, "Maori women are only coming over the threshold."

At the time of her ordination to the diaconate by Bishop Vercoe she feared it might be a generation or two before a Te Arawa woman became a priest; but the speed of change was now such that only a year later she herself was priested. She was then appointed Community Worker at Phillipstown.

]oni Streeter was joined the next year by Miriam Nora Henderson, a Ngai Tahu of Arahura, who became the "Reverend Kaumatua" for Te Tai Poutini. Hers was perforce a ministry in the midst of raruraru, but a successful church komiti was formed under her guidance. The vision of a rebuilt church was fulfilled early in 1999.

The old St Paul's at Arahura had been turned to matchsticks by a whirlwind in 1975. Now as part of the diocesan sharing of resources, the disused St Christopher's church at Otira, lovingly cared for by Ranui Ngarimu and others, was relocated to land leased for the next 40 yrs by Miriam and Bill Henderson on the banks of the Arahura river; it was dedicated by Bishops Gray and Coles with the name Te Tapuwai i te Aratika (The Sacred Waters of the Pathway of Righteousness).

That pathway was promptly taken to the streets of Brazil by the Hendersons' school teaching daughter Teena, who as head girl of Te Wai Pounamu College had won scholarships to Germany and to Italy, and now became probably the first Anglican Maori missionary overseas since Henare Taratoa in the 1850s.

A New World and a New Bishop

But the year of Te Waipounamu's first women priests was the same year that Bishop Vercoe saw "The old world is indeed passing away and the new order is now among us." The changes to the Constitution and the restructuring of the Hui Amorangi meant for everyone "traumatic changes within ourselves", just as the whole creation groaned in travail.

The rest of the decade was indeed a time of pain and toil, but out of that a time of new birth and growth. The Hui Amorangi Trust Board was set up through Te Hinota Whanui in October 1994 for the control of assets. Bishop Vercoe's first priority in his 1993 report was education and ministry formation, which became the Hui Amorangi's theme for the last years of the century.

Part of the pain lay in the alienation from the Hui Amorangi of the Ngai Tahu people of Tuahiwi and Arowhenua. The iwi had long been a minority in the population of Canterbury, but since the war they had become a minority also among the Maori people. The same condition was inevitable also in the church. The estrangement was hardened by the closure of Te Wai Pounamu College, born close to Tuahiwi and the means of advancement for many Ngai Tahu women. Although there were now a few Ngai Tahu clergy, it seemed that Pakeha ownership was being exchanged for control by other iwi.

The revised Constitution offered a solution for a mixed congregation like St Stephen's: any organised body in the church may "be and act under the joint authority of Te Pihopatanga and a diocese", with their agreement. At the end of the century such arrangements for Tuahiwi were in the process of negotiation, while the church remained for the time in Rangiora parish with ministry from Maurice Gray and others. In the case of Arowhenua it was reported that "the local people wish the land to remain vested with Church Property Trustees" of the diocese.

The period was marked by several further ordinations. Ministry training classes were now held every Monday evening. New deacons in Christchurch in 1992 were Potene Puru Coleman and Nancy Caroline Tauwhare, Peter's American wife; in 1993 Jim Walker-Grace who three years later took charge of Aranui; and in 1994 Martha Mavis King-Tamihana.

Sandy ]amison was appointed Social Work administrator in 1994, responsible for the diploma. A Ngati Porou minita-a-iwi Warihi (Wallace) Tauhore arrived in 1994 from Tai Rawhiti but died two years later; Tamati Pewhairangi came from Te Rau Kahikatea as assistant priest in 1995.

The growth of ordinations blossomed, after an electoral synod, in the ordination on 17 February 1996 of John Gray as first Bishop of Te Waipounamu. When Bishop Selwyn visited Moeraki in 1844, only the third missionary there after Bishop Pompallier and James Watkin, he remarked that bishops were more common than clergy.

But Te Waipounamu had to wait more than 150 years for one of its own. Bishop Gray, who now held the Queen's Service Commemoration Medal for welfare and education, had been warning the community of signs of civil and racial disorder, suggesting the Anglican model of partnership might be adopted by the nation.

Netane Jim Biddle, who had in 1993 joined the staff at Lincoln, followed Archdeacon Wi Tamarapa, who had moved up from Dunedin, as kaihautu of the new educational Taapapa; and was installed as Canon. Moeawa Callaghan, a former bank manager, returned to Christchurch with degrees of BTh and MA after five years' university study in theology at St John's College and at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in San Francisco.

On Biddle's resignation in February 1999 she took over as kaihautu until her appointment to Te Rau Kahikatea in 2000. Adrian Toki from Gisborne was priested in 1996, and Rangi Nicholson from Auckland was lecturing at Canterbury. Andy Joseph from Nelson became chaplain of Queen Mary Centre and vicar of Hanmer. New deacons in 1997 were George Ehau, Wharekawa (Sandy) Kaa and Barney Moeke; sadly both Kaa and Moeke were widowed during the year. Turi Hollis, a former diplomat and adviser to the Education and Training Support Agency, arrived as chaplain at the University of Canterbury in 1997 and in 1999 as part-time Bishop's assistant was installed as Archdeacon. In 1998 together with Wiremu Quedley in Dunedin and Graeme Grennell in Nelson he organised for Te Waipounamu the Hikoi against poverty.


It is with great sadness, Bishop John Robert Kuru Gray, Pihopa o Te Waipounamu, passed away at 10am, Friday 13th November 2015.

Bishop John lay in state at Te Hepara Pai, 290 Ferry Road, Christchurch before he travelled back home to be buried at Tokomaru Bay, Gisborne.

He was ordained deacon in 1982, priest in 1983 and consecrated Bishop on 17 February 1996, and is the first Māori bishop of the South Island, Aotearoa - New Zealand.

Moe mai e te Rangatira, e te pononga a te Atua, moe mai. 

Article in Anglican Taonga with photo essay click here


Richard Wallce was elected as Bishop elect on 23 September 2016.

Consecration and Installation on 21st Janaury 2017.