WelCom February 2020
Parishes everywhere are welcoming new members who come from other parts of the world to live and work in New Zealand.
In the Archdiocese of Wellington, priests and seminarians newly arrived from overseas for a life of mission in Aotearoa-New Zealand, are welcomed to their new ‘home’ through a programme called ‘Landing the Waka’. The programme introduces the newcomers to our culture and aims to familiarise them to, what for many, is a completely new way of life.
Last November, Landing the Waka welcomed six priests and seminarians who had recently arrived for placement in the archdiocese: Frs Isaac Songer, India; Jacob Kuman, Papua New Guinea; Paul Finlayson, a New Zealander based in the Philippines for 35 years; Marlon Teblin and Rico de la Torre, Philippines; along with three seminarians Mathew White, New Zealand; Emilio Capin, Philippines; and Kinh Nguyan, Vietnam.
For five days, hosts introduced the newcomers to a slice of life in the Wairarapa. The ‘induction’ week began with a visit to Papawai Marae in Greytown where the manuhiri (visitors) were welcomed with a pōwhiri and hāngi and introduced to other aspects of Māori culture.
The group later visited a dairy farm where farmer Vince Monk talked about spirituality and farming and his connection to this sacred place. A demonstration of working dogs rounding up sheep enthralled the group, but rain meant the sheep were too wet for a planned shearing demonstration.
After being given an overview on New Zealand history and culture, the guests compared cultural practices from their own different places of origin.
The Wairarapa hosts warmly welcomed the visitors who were invited to share family meals in four Wairarapa households – Helen and Ben Masters in Martinborough, Gerard and Sharon Penman in Masterton, Carol and David Mullany in Carterton, Denise and Joe Morrison and Jane and Gregory Bourke in Carterton. The evenings of food and hospitality were a highlight.
Landing the Waka facilitators and supporters included: Msgr Gerard Burns, Vicar General; Mary-Ann Greaney and Maya Bernardo, Parish Leadership Ministry; Danny Karatea-Goddard, Vicar for Māori, and Linda McGregor, Clergy Healthcare Co-ordinator, as well as parishioners from Upper Hutt and staff from Wellington’s Catholic Centre.
Mary-Ann Greaney is Director Parish Leadership Ministry for the Archdiocese of Wellington.