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GSSC backs justice for iwi

General Synod Standing Committee has met with the Otamataha Trust to further the Church's support for their people over the Te Papa lands of Tauranga. 
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Taonga News | Photos by Wayne Tait   |  18 Dec 2019  |

The General Synod Standing Committee of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is backing Ngāti Tapu and Ngāi Tamarāwaho as they continue their quest for justice over the loss of their Te Papa lands in Tauranga Moana.

On 5 December 2019 Archbishop Philip Richardson, Bishop of Manawa o Te Wheke Ngarahu Katene and members of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia’s General Synod Standing Committee committed to a new stage on the journey toward justice with the Otamataha Trust at a meeting in the historic grounds of “The Elms” in Tauranga.

This latest meeting follows onto the next stage from the May 2018 apology given to members of the Otamataha Trust at Te Hīnota Whānui-General Synod in Taranaki, and the Archbishops’ December 2018 face to face confirmation of this Church’s apology for the loss caused by its CMS missionaries and its commitment to work with the Trust on its journey toward justice.

Archbishop Philip Richardson and members of the General Synod Standing Committee(GSSC) – whose task it is to further the work of the Church on this goal – met with Otamataha Trust Chair Puhirake Ihaka (of Ngāti Tapu), Deputy Chair Peri Kohu (of Ngāi Tamarāwaho and Ngāti Tapu) and other Trustees, including kaikaranga for the meeting Sylvia Hemoata Willison. Also offering support were kaumatua and iwi members as the Trust and Church established the next practical steps forward in the process to restore a measure of justice over the lands lost to Tauranga Moana iwi in the nineteenth century.

Also present to pledge their support for the next stage were Bishop of Waiapu Andrew Hedge and Director of NZCMS Rev Rosie Fyfe – whose organisation holds no legal connection to the original CMS who made the sale, but which has chosen to lend their moral and practical support.

On hand to represent the wider Church’s commitment were General Secretary Rev Michael Hughes, GSSC members Rev Jo Crosse and Ven Ngira Simmonds, Tauranga Rohe Missioner Rev Wiremu Anania, members of the Diocese of Waiapu Standing Committee, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Tauranga Dale Williamson and the Vicar of Gate Pa, Rev John Hebenton.

“We are walking together into the next stage, which we are hopeful will soon produce concrete results in line with the support mana whenua hope for, as they seek recognition and a measure of restoration for this injustice – which has caused so much pain for so long.” said Archbishop David Moxon.