We are a Christian church bound together by the love of God and moved by that love to love one another as members of the body of Christ. The gospel is the overriding text which shapes and influences our relationships with one another in the one (Anglican) body of Christ in these islands.
These islands are the islands of Aotearoa New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific including Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. As long as we are the church of these islands it is right and proper within the bonds of godly love for one another that we are three tikanga, recognising the people realities of Aotearoa New Zealand (the two peoples, Maori and Pakeha, determined by the Treaty of Waitangi) and the people who live separately from us in the islands to the north of us.
Any attempt to reduce the tikanga of this church from three to two is an attempt to dismember this church, to break off one of the tikanga. That one tikanga being broken off might then be given some kind of refuge in the arms of another tikanga (e.g. Polynesia becomes a part of Tikanga Pakeha) does not alter the fact that a dismemberment will have taken place. Within the body of Christ any dismemberment, other than a voluntary and freely chosen one, is an act inconsistent with the godly love which binds us together as one body.
I hope that General Synod gives short shrift to these motions AND - please read on carefully - finds another pathway to deal with two matters, one of which is an opportunity and the other of which is a problem.
Our church has the opportunity to grow and to develop its life. But I wonder if we have a vision for the future? In particular I recommend a vision for a future in which we are one church in all ways, not just where our tikanga intersect at General Synod, various committees and commissions, and at St John's College. This vision is God's own vision expressed in (above all) John 17 and Ephesians 1-3. I have no problem with being what we are for the time-being as our separation into three tikanga enables certain things to be achieved in respect of working through our historical anomalies and injustices. But we should never let go of God's vision for the church and one day we must align ourselves again with it.
My further recommendation is that we develop a vision for the Diocese of Polynesia to become the Province of Polynesia. That would be a huge step and might take 100 years. But we will not get to it if we do not articulate the vision now and begin the steps which might make it happen. From our Aotearoa New Zealand side of things, we could begin now the steps, including legal changes, which would enable us one day in the future to generously and lovingly gift resources (taonga, yes, taonga) to our brothers and sisters across the sea. The development of this vision should not be an imposition from the Aotearoa New Zealand branches of the family to the South Pacific branch but a vision jointly shared and developed under God.
I assume, from some past hui I have been involved in and from my own experiences in three tikanga meetings, that a driver for the motions noted below is the manner of access to and authority over the major resources of this church, notably the immense funds of the St John's College Trust Board. 'The manner of' in the preceding sentence refers to the fact that currently no one accesses those funds except by a 'three tikanga process', that is, by way of meetings and conversations between the three tikanga partners. Such mutual submission is a gospel value but it runs against (my understanding of) tino rangatiratanga (i.e. control).
I am wondering whether the fact that some applications for funds in recent years by Tikanga Maori have been constrained, if not revised and even reversed as a result of the meetings of the three partners may be a driving motivation behind the motions below.
From a Maori perspective there seems to be a problem when it comes to accessing that which is understood as taonga which belongs to Maori. The access is fettered. One obvious solution would be to unfetter it.
Now I am not sure if, in one or more ways, the two motions below are in conflict, as the first motion acknowledges the appropriateness, under the Treaty of Waitangi, of Maori and Pakeha meeting together to decide things about the life of this church. But the second motion seems to imply a strong desire that even in a two-Tikanga church, Maori would have tino rangatiratanga over the resources which it believes belongs to it.
How might we solve this problem?
I suggest we Pakeha do a bit of thinking about what we have tino rangatiratanga over! Each of the NZ dioceses has its own trust funds which are spent on the ministry needs of the dioceses without recourse to conversation with Tikanga partners. It should not be a big deal* to carve up the St John's College Trust funds so that some of those funds belonged as firmly to either Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa and/or the five Maori hui amorangi as current diocesan trust funds belong to the dioceses. (*Just the odd Act of Parliament would be required!)
To make such a disbursement would be to empower Tikanga Maori as a whole or via its five hui amorangi in ways in which the NZ dioceses are already empowered. (We might also empower the Diocese of Polynesia at the same time!)
But the way to this radical change is not via the motions below.
FROM TAONGA (print version)
On page 10 of the latest print Taonga (accessible here) we read,
"But there are two motions on the General Synod agenda that do actually have the potential to finish the 3Tikanga church.
The first proposes a constitutional amendment that the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia become "a two-Tikanga Church for Maori and Pakeha ...".
And the second proposes that the constitution acknowledge the right of Maori "to exercise tino rangatiratanga" - absolute sovereignty - over taonga, as guaranteed in Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi. (It links with a restatement of the Anglican mark of mission about unjust structures.)."
In a footnote on p. 13 the text of the motions are given:
(the first referred to above). "That the constitution ... be amended to provide for:
a. a two-Tikanga Church for Maori and Pakeha (being all other citizens in Aotearoa New Zealand) within which there are no impediments to the exercise of tino rangatiratanga by Maori over taonga, and
b. appropriate relationships between Maori and Pakeha on the one hand and Pasefika on the other.
(the second referred to above includes these words) That Te Hinota Whanui/the General Synod:
a. acknowledge in its constitution the right of whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori to exercise tino rangatiratanga over taonga as guaranteed in Article 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi, and
b. undertakes to confront unjust structures that impeded the exercise of these rights.
To which we say ...