Thursday, February 2, 2012

Are New Zealanders racist or xenophobic or both?

Every so often a country should look in on itself and ask tough questions. We have had a long running saga about the selling of a group of dairy farms to some Chinese investors (e.g. here). While some concerns have been about economic issues (are we losing control of one of our major industries?) one has to wonder if the concerns have been driven by the fact that it is 'Chinese' who are involved, that is, whether motivating forces for criticism and carping have been fear of foreigners and/or dislike of people of another colour and culture. Such a wondering is underlined when we learn yesterday that a famous American film director, James Cameron, is buying a dairy farm here. There will not be a peep of protest about that from the Crafar farms' protestors, who include some of our politicians.

Do we need to grow up faster as a nation among the nations, accepting that our future is in the embrace of Asia and not of the North American-European continents?

An Anglican angle here? We could segue from thinking about aspects of our country which are less than satisfactory to thinking about our mission to those who are new immigrants in our islands. With some modest exceptions I suggest our missional strategy to Asian immigrants in our islands is under-developed. Those modest exceptions are pointing to the way to an exciting challenge for Aotearoa New Zealand in the 21st century.

As a member of a global communion of churches, our church has excellent resources to draw on to build congregations among people from all nations who gather in our nation.


Anonymous said...

I would be interested in your Anglican take on the racism side, especially as the church itself had decided to divide its key bodies on the basis of race.

Father Ron Smith said...

Margaret, on your question about whether ACANZP is racist - because of its splot into 3 cultural groups for synodical government:

I was present at the Auckland Synod Meeting, under Bishop Paul Reeves, then we first discussed the need for the redistribution of resources of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Pacifica along ethnic and cultural lines.

This was discussed with some quiet misgivings on the part of some of us clergy, who were concerned that such a move would require a very different structuring of ACANZP into 3 separate racial groupings (Tikanga): Maori, Pakeha, and Pacific Islanders - each of these groups being part of the Province.

Some of us felt this would be too radical a division of personnel and resources, perhaps leading to isolation of each of our groups from one another. However, despite teething problems (which are still not quite resolved), what has actually happened is that each of the 3 groups has had the advantage of working according to their own, different, cultural contexts - without opting out of a common convergence point through the Joint General Synod Meetings that are part and parcel of our set-up.

I see this arrangement as being a pretty good pattern of the 'live and let live' culture of Unity in Diversity, that used once to be the culture of world-wide Anglican polity; where individual entities in the Church may be trusted to test their own spirituality - but within the embrace of the larger body. No one cultural tradition is allowed to dominate another. Not a bad Anglican Polity, as I see it!

Such a polity, today, would allow the different Provinces of the Anglican Communion to carry out the mission of the Gospel in the context of their own community - with common reference, and adherence to the catholic creeds that spell out our commonality in Christ. Thus the Gospel tendency for inclusion is not compromised.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Margaret,
Yes, I broadly agree with Ron. Our arrangements are a way to ensure the best distribution of our resources, where "best" ensures authority over those resources is equally shared at the governance level (General Synod etc) and wholly empowered at the management level (each tikanga runs its own life etc). This is about the sharing of power in ways that do not default dominance to Western culture rather than a divison on racial lines.

My personal view is that these three tikanga arrangements are driven by the particularity of our history in Aotearoa New Zealand and should be provisional (i.e. not everlasting) as the overall ecclesiology of our church should be driven by theology/Scripture and not by history.

Andrew Reid said...

Peter, something that has borne fruit in Melbourne is Anglican congregations "adopting" an existing independent Chinese congregation, so that they become an official part of the parish and their ministers are ordained as Anglican ministers once they have done any further required training. This gives the benefit of additional resourcing and facilities to the Chinese congregation, while the parish benefits from building relationships with a non-Anglo community. Two parishes I am aware of are:
Holy Trinity Doncaster
St Hilary's Kew

Chris Nimmo said...

I haven't yet watched the clip (internet go-slow at the moment) so I can't be sure of what he says, but I understand Russel Norman was talking about the James Cameron thing this morning. It seems to me that it really is about the economics (unless one is Winston Peters).

That said, its probably better that they went to foreign investors than to a "local" outfit with "Sir" Michael Fay involved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughtful replies. However, I am not sure that they reflect what is felt "in the pews".

I am not Anglican so I may be misinterpreting the unease that people who are speak to me about, which is that many feel that the inherent equality of the Christian message -- that all are Children of God regardless of whether they are Jews or Greeks, male or female, slave or free -- is no longer the practice of the church. Instead in the famous quote from Animal Farm, within the Anglican church "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" but that it is very unwise to say so because you are immediately labelled "racist".

Obviously, you all will have a much better sense of whether this is the case or not.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Margaret,
Yes, on the face of it, our 3T arrangements are open to all the unease and easy criticism that exists.

I would simply urge that Anglicans and other Christians reflect carefully on NZ Anglican history when we were 1T rather than 3T: we were all one children under God but funnily enough when bishops were chosen they just had one colour. When Maori asked for a bishop all sorts of stonewalling occurred. When, eventually (and mostly because of the rise of Ratana), a Maori bishopric was created it was as a suffragan in a diocese led by a bishop of that one skin colour. Later that bishop was shut out from ministering to Maori in the Auckland Diocese. I won't go on more, you will get the picture: there are things which have not worked out well for Maori when we followed a 1T model: things that might satisfy our uneasiness about the 3T model.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter

Thanks for your comment. Yes I had been told some of that history, and I now have taken the time to look at the Anglican church page on the issue ie this

I do like to check the historical accuracy of historical events. There is a pattern of them being
reinterpreted when the issue is one where feelings run high.

I took for my test, the issue of the Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Simkin and his behaviour, and decided to take a quick look at the Papers Past website - which has reporting from the day.It turned up this article on the issue from the time:

It reports Bishop Simkin saying:

"The most urgent matter for the Church at the present time was work amongst the Maori people declared Bishop Simkin in opening the Auckland Diocesan Synod today. He added that it was unthinkable that the present position could be continued, as it was a process of drift. He expressed his strong belief that Maori clergy should be enabled to minister to both pakeha and Maori, and that disservice had been done to the Maoris by limiting the ministry of the Maori clergy to their own people."

So it would appear from this article at least that Bishop Simkin was concerned that the existing structures were not effective, and that he wanted to expand (not contract) the role of Maori clergy within the church.

A further article has Bishop Simkin pressing for the education of Maori candidates to the ministry as soon as possible.

I do wonder whether this is really what you meant when you said that the bishop was "shutting out the ministering to Maori in his region"? You could argue that he was wrong to think the alternative was ineffective, but I think to accuse him of wanting to "shut out ministering to Maori" would be, on the face of it, a mis-statement of his position.

As far as I am concerned the history on the website has failed an initial "sniff test" - and I would be very doubtful about making decisions based upon it.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Margaret
It matters to Maori that when there is a Maori bishop then their bishop is able to travel freely in Aotearoa. That Bishop Simkin forbade Bishop Frederick Bennett from ministering in the Diocese of Auckland is not noted to imply a comment on Bishop Simkin's own commitment to Maori within his diocese. But it is noted to observe a part of our church history that rankles with Anglican Maori and which motivated Anglican Maori to seek their bishop to have full diocesan status with right to minister freely across the whole of Aotearoa. It took from 1928 (suffragan in Waiapu) to 1978 (Bishopric of Aotearoa) to achieve this step.

Anonymous said...

Peter, you say "Our arrangements are a way to ensure the best distribution of our resources".

Please, for the sake of your overseas readers (and even for Kiwis), can you give the total number of paid Maori ministers Tikanga Maori now in the South Island/Te Wai Pounamu.


Anonymous said...

And it doesn't matter to the church whether by publishing this interpretation it may be slandering the name of one of its forebear Bishops by not presenting his reasoning and what he was wanting to achieve?

It may well be that what rankled was not the fact that Bishop Bennett was not welcome, but that he was being accused of being ineffective - but that this has been conveniently forgotten in the subsequent account !!!

I don't know if that is so or not, but I would hope that the Anglican church would have the integrity to ensure that someone with the right skills look at the evidence rather that just reacting to "rankles" which may or may not be valid.

As I say, I took this as a quick sniff test of the history as presented ... and I think at very least it raised serious questions about the historical accuracy of the account provided.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dave
I do not know the answer to that question. Some Maori Anglican ministers are military/hospital/prison chaplains (i.e. not paid for by Tikanga Maori resources). I suspect your question is specifically about Anglican Maori ministers paid for by Tikanga Maori resources. It may be as low as one (i.e. Bishop John Gray). But there are many ministers involved, from Invercargill to Motueka, who will be serving the Lord for love and depending on income from somewhere (I can think of a few whom I presume minister supported by superannuation).

By 'best distribution of resources' I am talking about resources available within our church for the whole church to access (i.e. not resources tied to dioceses or parishes, whether by virtue of being bequeathed in that way, or given in the regular offertory). The two largest such resources are the St John's College Trusts and the General Church Trust (and the former is significantly larger than the latter which is mostly spent on the running of General Synod).

By 'best distribution' I mean that Maori have the say in how their share of the resources are spent. Beyond that I have no comment to make on whether (by my lights) Maori are using their resources well. They are not accountable to me and do not report to me.

I hope this explanation may help readers unfamiliar with these things.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Margaret,
It is either a fact of history or it is not that Bishop Simkin forbade Frederick Bennett to minister within the bounds of the Diocese of Auckland. Do you deny that such prohibition is made?

It is also a fact of history or it is not that this prohibition rankled with Maori. Do you deny this feeling of Maori?

It is a matter of opinion/interpretation/evaluation whether Simkin had good reason to make his prohibition. I am making no comment about whether Simkin felt he had good reason for doing what he did. Indeed, since I assume that he was a sane and rational man, I assume he thought he did have good reason. No slander involved here.

But the key question in working through why we have a 3T church rather than a 1T church is whether Maori felt there was any justification for the prohibition by their lights. Clearly they did not and do not feel there was justification and consistently with that feeling they have sought the development and strengthening of their episcopacy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Peter. I think it would help if you were commenting on what I wrote rather than reacting to what I didn't write but you thought I did!!!

This reasoning suggests any group within the church should have its own separate structures whenever they feel strongly. This has immediate relevance to the current debates within the international Anglican church around homosexuality. Do you think here the international church should just set up two communions?

Belonging to a church that is renowned in its history for its willingness to split over the most trivial of disagreements, I would caution you that there is significant downsides to endlessly dividing oneself because one party feels strongly.


Anonymous said...

You are correct, Peter. There is one paid minister in the Te Wai Pounamu, the bishop. Can you or anyone think of any other Anglican episcopal unit where only the bishop is paid? Does that not appear shonky to you?

You write, “the key question in working through why we have a 3T church rather than a 1T church is whether Maori felt there was any justification for the prohibition by their lights.” Really?! That’s the “key question”! Very revealing.


Peter Carrell said...

I am afraid you have lost me Margaret! I recited some facts of our church history, got accused of slandering a deceased bishop and replied in an attempt to clarify that what I was saying was not slander. Now you tell me I am talking about things you did not raise with me. So, sorry, but I am very muddled now.

I do not think our church is likely to split over anything trivial, it certainly did not divide into its 3T structure with any sense of triviality. Yes, the 3T structure could be a precedent for a significant further division, e.g. between liberal/progressive and conservative wings of our church, but no one is mounting that argument that I am aware of, and the first thing they would need to do is to relate it to the arguments which lie behind the 3T arrangements and (personally) I am not sure how to make that relationship.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dave,
It is the key question in the sense that the key question is whether Maori may or may not have charge of their own ecclesial destiny. Or must they be beholden to leadership which is nearly always in the hands of another tikanga?

Do you have an alternative proposal to make for who should lead the Anglican Maori church at this time? Readers here might be interested to hear it!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dave
Thanks for confirming re the one stipendiary minister in Te Wai Pounamou.

No. I do not think that is shonky because I do not know enough about the overall set of factors involved to make a judgement.

Previously on ADU I have suggested that Tikanga Maori (throughtout Aotearoa) might usefully consider more attention to Sunday congregational work - the boosting of congregations could lead to more funds for stipends (as, generally speaking, is the case with Tikanga Pakeha). The reply has been that Tikanga Maori is following a different missional strategy, one which attends more to life on the marae, especially ministry at tangi.

Anonymous said...

Peter, you ask me, “who should lead the Anglican Maori church at this time?”

As I’m trying to work out exactly what you mean by this question, please could you help me by answering some of the following: who do you think should lead the Anglican Women church at this time? Who should lead the Anglican Chinese church at this time? Who should lead the Anglican Evangelical church at this time? Who should lead the Anglican gay church at this time?


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dave
I could (and happily do) put the question another way: given the history of Maori in relation to Pakeha in our land, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi (one nation, two peoples, concepts of rangatiratanga for Maori), and the history of Maori Anglican (the first Anglican church of NZ) and Pakeha Anglican (the later, settler church), do you think it appropriate for Maori to have the opportunity to determine much of their way of being church and to choose their own bishops from among their own people?

With respect to an Anglican Chinese church or an Anglican evangelical church or an Anglican gay church, we have some customs of making appointments of vicars who are (respectively) Chinese, evangelical and no parish that I am aware of which is wholly gay in identity and character to the point of insisting on successive vicars being gay.

Were we to have a network of Chinese or gay or evangelical churches which crossed various diocesan boundaries, should there be (respectively) Chinese, gay and evangelical bishops to lead those networks? I think that is a fair question to raise. One answer would be that in no case is there a history which runs parallel to the history of Maori Anglicanism which has a certain specialness. Another answer could be, why not?