Greetings to you all as we look forward to a fine Waitangi weekend.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
I begin with a traditional Maori karakia which I pray for and over the whole Church:
He hōnore, he korōria ki te Atua
He maungārongo ki te whenua
He whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa
Hangā e te Atua he ngākau hou
Ki roto, ki tēnā, ki tēnā o mātou
Whakatōngia to wairua tapu
Hei awhina, hei tohutohu i a mātou
Hei ako hoki i ngā mahi mō tēnei rā
Honour and glory to God
Peace on Earth
Goodwill to all people
Lord, develop a new heart
Inside all of us
Instill in us your sacred spirit
Help us, guide us
In all the things we need to learn today
It is fitting, is it not, to pray for the whole nation on what is our nation’s proper birthday – Waitangi Day! It is fitting also to think about what Waitangi means for each of us because one thing is clear, if we don’t take some personal responsibility for making Waitangi truly a part of our own hearts then we will not see the blessing that can flow from a united country and united peoples.
This Maori proverb says it well:
He waka eke noa.
(A canoe which we are all in with no exception.)
In other words, we are all in this land together so we may as well start working together for each other and leave no one behind.
This nation was begun with a deep sense that we should create a fair and just society. We should not lose sight of this precisely because there are still deep injustices to be dealt with today.
Let us welcome all into our canoe.
Let us help all to know they belong here.
Let us work while it is still light!
Rt Rev Richard Dawson
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand