WelCom February 2020
Ko Hokianga, te Kohanga
o te Hāhi Katorika ki Aotearoa
Hokianga, the cradle of the Faith in Aotearoa
Pilgrims from Te Ngākau Tapu parish in Porirua were farewelled at a Miha on Friday, 10 January 2020, to begin their Hīkoi Tapu to Hokianga in the Far North. In Tāmaki Makaurau more pilgrims joined the group led by Pā Gerard Burns, parish priest of Te Ngākau Tapu.
‘Whāia te Whaea’ – Follow the Mother (Our Lady) – was the banner of the Hīkoi Tapu with Ka Waiata as the pilgrim hīmene.
The pilgrimage focused on the Māori Mission and early missionaries including katekita, the Marists, Mill Hill priests, Mercy sisters and the Venerable Suzanne Aubert; the pilgrims’ experience and growth in faith; and the connection of Catholicism and Māori spirituality in building a bi-cultural Church.
The first visit of the pilgrimage was to the grave of Pā Wīremu Hakopa Te Awhitu sm (1914‒1994), at Okahukura near Taumarunui. Pā Te Awhitu was ordained the first Māori priest in 1944.
In Ponsonby, Auckland, the pilgrims visited the Pompallier Diocesan Centre and the original St Mary’s Convent Chapel where Pīhopa Pomapārie (Bishop Pompallier, 1802‒1871) celebrated Mass.
In Hokianga, the pilgrims stayed at Motutī marae. At St Mary’s Church, a kilometre away from the marae, Pīhopa Pomapārie has been laid to rest under the altar and Pā Henare Tate (1938‒2017) is buried in the urupā outside the church. The Raiātea Resource Centre is being built at Motutī Marae to house Pā Tate’s collection of over 10,000 artefacts and papers. ‘Kaihoe i a Raiātea’ including Sr Magdalen Sheahan dolc are entrusted with the centre’s development.
The pilgrims attended the annual Miha at Tōtara Point, which commemorates the first Mass celebrated in Aotearoa on land in 1838 by Pīhopa Pomapārie. Bishop Stephen Lowe presided at the concelebrated Miha.
Other visits included:
- the graves of Sr Makareta (Basil) Gilbert, sm and Mill Hill priest Fr Teo Wanders at Waihou where the Spanish-style church has two names, Hāto Kereti (St Cletus) and Hāto Remehio (St Remigius).
- Sr Makareta worked for five years at Te Ngākau Tapu in Porirua;
- the grave of Mercy Sister Mary Zita rsm, Irihapeti Ihaka, at Pawarenga;
- the church of St Hemi at Mitimiti next to Matihetihe Marae and the Red Gate in memory of those whose kōiwi (bones) were cared for by hapū after the SS Ventnor sank in 1902.
In Kororāreka – Russell – the pilgrims visited Pompallier House and the St Peter Chanel National Shrine followed by a guided tour of the Treaty grounds at Waitangi.
The final night of the Hīkoi was spent at Hiruhārama on the Whanganui River at the Compassion Sisters’ convent. Miha was celebrated there with local whānau on Wednesday 15 January, the final day of the pilgrimage.