Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Whānau bring +Richard home

Bishop of Te Waipounamu Rt Rev Richard Wallace has returned to Ōtautahi Christchurch accompanied by whānau, following his unexpected death in the North Island last week.

Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa  |  09 Jan 2024  |

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is mourning the sudden death of Māori Anglican Bishop of Te Waipounamu, the Rt Rev Richard Wallace QSM. 

Archbishop Don Tamihere, who is Pīhopa o Aotearoa and Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has farewelled his brother Bishop with the following words: 

“Ka tanuku te tīhi tapu o Aoraki, kua horo ki te pakihiwhakatekateka o Rākaihautū ki raro rā.
Kua mate ia nei koe e te Pīhopa, e te Upoko Ariki, e Rihari.
Kua riro atu ki te hao o Hinenuitepō.
Whoatu koe e hika ki o nui ki o rahi kei te pō.
Okioki atu rā ki raro i ngā pākau aroha ā Ihowa o ngā mano.
Moe mai rā ki runga i te rangimarie o te Ariki a Ihu Karaiti“

“The sacred peak of Aorangi is shaken in grief and delicate pieces of its shale crumble softly to the ancient lands of Rakaihautū below. They grieve for you our Bishop, chief among your people, our beloved Richard. The call of eternity is now upon you. 
May your spirit take flight to the place where your ancestors await.
Rest there beneath the compassion of the Lord of Hosts.
Rest in the everlasting peace of the Lord Jesus Christ” 

Messages of aroha and condolence have flooded into Te Pīhopatanga and Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu in the days since Bishop Richard’s unexpected passing in Wairoa (Hawke’s Bay) on Saturday. 

Bishop Richard Wallace (78) was the first Kai Tahu Pīhopa and the second Bishop of Te Waipounamu. As well as Kai Tahu, he had links to Ngāi Tuahuriri, Kāti Wheke, Taumutu, Koukourata, Kati Mahaki, Kati Waewae, Kāti Irakehu, Kāti Tama, Kāti Raroa and Kāti Maniapoto. Bishop Richard is remembered as a beloved shepherd and teacher to his ministers and people, and a rangatira and kaumātua to his iwi. 

In his leadership as Pīhopa o Te Waipounamu, Bishop Richard leaves a legacy of strengthened relationships between iwi and hāhi in many communities, in line with his vision for the Māori Anglican Church across the South Island.

Last week Pīhopa Richard had travelled to the North Island to minister at the tangi of Norman Dewes in Wairoa, a prominent Christchurch community leader of Ngāti Kahungunu descent. 

Yesterday he made his final trip home to Ōtautahi Christchurch aboard an Air Force Hercules, in recognition of his 11 years’ service in the force, and his service since 2019 as a designated Air Force kaumatua.

Bishop Richard was accompanied on his return home by close whānau, clergy from Te Hui Amorangi o Te Tairāwhiti and members of Ngāti Kahungunu, who had supported his wife Ven Mere Wallace, and whānau at Waipatu Marae on their arrival to collect Bishop Richard.

Bishop Richard Wallace, had grown up in the Rātana Church, but had dedicated himself to Te Hāhi Mihinare since his marriage to Mere Wallace, whose father had insisted Richard be baptised.

Later, when Richard moved to Christchurch, he was drawn into ministry as a kaikarakia (1982) while worshipping with the Philipstown Māori Mission. In 1987 he was ordained deacon under Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, then priested by Bishop Maurice Goodall at Christchurch Cathedral in the same year.

Over the ten years leading to 1999, Richard served in the Whakatū (Nelson) region as Māori Missioner for the Diocese of Nelson, then as a minita-a-iwi and a chaplain at Nelson Hospital.

Appointed as Canon of Te Waipounamu in 1997, Richard’s career also took in Ministry of Māori Affairs roles in social services: particularly in matua whangai (child and family services) and iwi development.

Bishop Richard maintained his mission to integrate church and community throughout his episcopate, and that vision was expressed strongly in the work he oversaw at the Te Waipounamu Centre at 290 Ferry Road, which he renamed Te Pā Mihinare. 

Bishop Richard arrived at the Te Waipounamu Centre late yesterday afternoon where hundreds of his people awaited his return. He will lie for two days at Te Tōmarangi o Ihu - the whare he built and had blessed only weeks earlier. 

On Wednesday 10, he will be taken to Christchurch Cathedral for a Eucharistic service of thanksgiving at 11am and then return to Wairewa Marae (Little River), where his funeral service and burial will take place at 11am on Thursday 11 January.