WelCom October 2020
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The original agreement set up an inalienable relationship. The present Covenant renews the original agreement.
It recalled the partnership established when local Māori invited the Catholic Church to come and live there, at Pukekaraka. It marks the sharing of these lands in ‘perpetuity for the practice of the Faith’.
The original Covenant was signed by tipuna of the local hapū of Ngāti Kapu and Archbishop Redwood for the Archdiocese of Wellington.
This time the signatories were Alex Hakaraia, Trustee for Ngāti Kapu and Cardinal John Dew, Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Wellington.
Others to sign, on Sunday July 26, included Oriwia Raureti, Chair of the Pukekaraka Marae, Danny Karatea-Goddard, Vicar for Māori in the Archdiocese of Wellington, Monsignor Gerard Burns, Vicar General of the Archdiocese and Fr Alan Roberts, Parish Priest.
All those present on were invited to sign.
A unique aspect of the agreement is that it has a basis in the kaitiakitanga – the Word of God.
The document signed is based on the Covenant between God and God’s people, as presented in Leviticus chapters 25 and 26.
It is in te reo Māori and English.
There was a pōwhiri at the Marae of Hine Nui o Te Ao Katoa, Ōtaki, to welcome Cardinal Dew. Four copies of the Kawenata were signed there.
A taonga to capture the spirit of the Covenant and remind people of its significance was explained.
It is made from matai sarking from the 123-year-old Pukekaraka Mission House.
It is designed, so two pieces to fit together. Each has a stone from the Ōtaki River on it. A carved pattern link the two.
This taonga was later separated into its two parts.
Alex Hakaraia gave one half to Cardinal Dew to take to Wellington, and the other half will be kept by Ngāti Kapu ki Pukekaraka.
When there is a significant meeting to celebrate, share and pray, the two halves will be joined again.
After the signing, the Covenant and taonga were carried to the Church of St Mary’s and solemnly placed on an ancient korowai.
Eucharist took place with Ngāti Kapu and parishioners.
Cardinal John Dew said in his homily, ‘This is a new beginning, an opportunity for all to renew the Mission Pope Francis calls us to, to bring love and justice to our world.’
Parish Priest, Fr Alan Roberts, noted, ‘This Covenant is a promise from the Cardinal to guarantee respect to Ngāti Kapu who the Church will always honour as fellow Kaitiaki (Guardians) of the Word of God.’
He noted that a celebration would take place with a Mass on the Marae later in the year.
Thus the unique place of Pukekaraka within the Catholic Church was renewed.
Kawenata renewed at Pukekaraka
In 1851, Māori in the Otaki area, Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti, invited the Catholic Church to use their land for a mission, and in 1854 gave land for a school as well. This partnership was initially strong, but over many decades it waned. Over the last 5 to 6 years a lot of work has gone into preparing a Kawenata – a Covenant – which would honour the original intent of the givers of the land. That work reached its fulfilment with the signing of the Kawenata on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
The Covenant is symbolised by a mauri, which has two parts that belong together. The part on the left remains at Pukekaraka in the care of Te Ngāti Kapu and the part on the right will be cared by the Archbishop of Wellington and his Vicar for Māori.
Whenever Cardinal John Dew – or his successors – visit Pukekaraka, both pieces will be brought together so the Kawenata is remembered at all events.
‘I found the occasion to be very moving and deeply meaningful,’ said Cardinal Jon. In signing the Kawenata and in the symbolism of its mauri we have rediscovered the beauty of relationships – between Ngāti Kapu and the Church of the Archdiocese, between all of us, the relationships we have not just of place, but in our dignity as the daughters and sons of God.’
Cardinal John was also presented with a carved tokotoko as a tribute and symbol of strength and honour. The kōrero about this tokotoko, made from black maire with a single paua inlay in the handle, will be featured in a coming edition of WelCom.