Fr Simon Story
The Hui Aranga Easter gathering of Māori from Catholic clubs around the North Island was held at Flaxmere, Hawkes Bay, over Easter weekend. About 1100 people transformed Flaxmere College into a marae for the long weekend.
Easter liturgies were celebrated and competitions held between the clubs in whai kōrero, kapa haka, religious questions, choral waiata and sport events. Hosting club Waipatu won the overall or aggregate award, the Pukekaraka Shield.
Hours of organising went into preparing the Easter hui and volunteers worked hard and long to make it a success. A thumbs up to the Waipatu Catholic Club for their hospitality and service.
The Hui Aranga has been held every year since 1946 and its kaupapa (theme) is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ in a Māori way. A stand-out feature of the liturgy was the ‘Passion of Our Lord’, on Good Friday. Pāuro Blake, a teacher at St John’s College and Waipatu club member coached his students in a dramatised Gospel of the Passion. The entire assembly was gripped by the level of theatre the boys achieved.
Attending the Good Friday service were Bishop Charles Drennan, Deacon Danny Karatea-Goddard of Te Waiora club, and many priests including Pa Hemi Hekiera SM and Pa Dave Gledhill SM, stalwarts of the Hui Aranga along with Pa Tipene Hancy, Pa Chris Martin SM. Reconciliation was held after the Good Friday service.
With so many participants at the hui this was a great opportunity for the evangelisation Pope Francis is seeking.
Thank you to all the parishioners of Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North who supported the liturgies at the Hui Aranga. Next year it will be held in Whanganui.
Fr Simon Story is Parish Priest, Sacred Heart, Hastings East.