31 March 2012
St Joseph’ Levin and St Mary’s Otaki marked Waitangi weekend in a joint celebration of Sunday Mass on Pukekaraka Marae.
The poignancy of the occasion, a first for the Horowhenua Pastoral Area, was highlighted in this historic setting.
Mass was celebrated in Te Reo Māori beneath sacred Pukekaraka.
The grotto of Our Lady and Reconcilation Wall overshadowed those gathered alongside the whare E Hine nui o te ao katoa, special not only for its uncommon dedication to a woman.
Tui gloriously voiced praise from surrounding karaka tree.
Fr Gerard Whiteford sm recalled in the homily his immersion in things Māori when newly ordained. He had asked a trusted kuia who was able to speak on marae. The kuia replied that those who ‘stand and talk have first sat and listened’.
Fr Gerard noted that Mary’s words in the gospel are brief – ‘Be it done to me according to your will’ and ‘Do whatever he tells you’.
Celebrations continued after Eucharist with a shared picnic lunch and barbeque. The young (and not so young) played cricket and softball on a wicket and diamond seriously manicured and rolled during the preceding week.
Three umpires cast arbitrary eyes over proceedings but with little credibility or impact. The players were a headstrong bunch that made the rules as they went.
Consensus was strong, however, in acknowledging the day as a huge success which needed to be repeated often.
Image: Watching sport on Waitangi Day in the lea of Pukekaraka mountain.