WelCom December 2022
The New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) welcomed the Church’s new Te Rōpū Māori to their November meeting.
The new group’s purpose is to work with the bishops on NZCBC’s agenda items of importance to Katorika (Catholic) Māori.
Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington and NZCBC President, said Te Rōpū Māori was recently formed to sit alongside the NZCBC in discussing and giving advice on matters of particular pastoral interest to Katorika Māori.
‘The aim is they provide a well-grounded voice for Katorika Māori and work in partnership with the NZCBC, embodying a more synodal way for the Church,’ Cardinal Dew said.
Te Rōpū Māori’s inaugural delegates are from each of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s six dioceses. They include Manuel Beazley, Auckland; Fr Gerard Paterson, Hamilton; Korty Wilson, Palmerston North; Deacon Danny Karatea-Goddard; Wellington; Kathy Simmons, Christchurch; and Sharne Parkinson, Dunedin.
Cardinal Dew said Te Rōpū Māori is in its early stages.
The bishops have been wanting to establish a Māori group since a 2019 meeting they had with of the long-established Te Rūnanga o te Hāhi Katorika ki Aotearoa – an advisory council to the NZCBC, with representatives from each diocese and expertise that advises on the use of Te Reo Māori in a Catholic context.
They acknowledged the need for a Māori voice at the NZCBC meeting table and for a forum to be provided for Māori working in Māori Church communities to come together. It is a synodal way of doing things.
However, the recent formation of Te Rōpū Māori is not related to the 2023 Synod on Synodality. The timeline to the establishment of the new groups shows the NZCBC was planning for it before the Pope announced the Synod but organising it had been delayed by Covid-19 restrictions on meetings.
During the NZCBC meetings Te Rōpū members sit at the same table as the bishops for discussions of relevance. They may take part in these discussions. They were present, for example when the bishops heard from other agencies visiting the November meeting, including Caritas, Te Kupenga-Catholic Leadership Institute and the Catholic Education Office.
Te Rōpū Māori members will attend a scheduled meeting of Te Rūnanga o te Hāhi Katorika ki Aotearoa advisory group in February to reflect on refinements for the future and they will attend relevant parts of each of the four scheduled meetings of the bishops’ conference next year.