4 October 2022
Kia ora koutou. Talofa lava. Greetings.
I am Rev Hana Popea, the Church’s new White Ribbon New Zealand Ambassador.
Some of you know me but for many I will be a fresh face. Hopefully that will change as I take up opportunities to visit presbyteries, parishes and Presbyterian events to discuss and share what our parishes and Church can do to help prevent family violence in our communities.
I look forward to building on the work of our former Church White Ribbon Ambassador, Very Rev Ray Coster who is now enjoying a well-earned retirement, and to exploring new ideas.
Presbyterian Church White Ribbon is fortunate to have generous financial support from the Albert Anderson Estate, so if you would like me to come and share at your church event either in-person (or via Zoom) please email me.
As I think of what I can bring to the Church’s White Ribbon campaign, I think of my experiences in ministry and life which have made me realise that there’s a big gap between listening and actively hearing the silent suffering of women and children who experience violence and abuse within our society.
I know that our parishes play an important role in closing this gap. We already have many people in our parishes working and volunteering with community organisations that seek to prevent violence towards women and children. The challenge is how to connect our people with each other, with other churches and cultures, with White Ribbon, so we can all access and share training and resources. Together, we might create a church support network. This idea is still a work in progress, and I will be seeking your input as I ease into the role.
My mission for the kaupapa of White Ribbon is to help others to find their voice, to break the cycle of abusive behaviour, to create an open talanoa process and to facilitate educational programmes towards healing, caring, and the restoration of healthy relationships.
A little about me. I was born in Samoa and studied at Samoa College. I have a Bachelor of Theology and Post Graduate Diploma of Ministry from University of Otago. In 2005 I was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and have been in parish ministry for 17 years. I have been minister at St Ninian’s Uniting Church in Karori, Wellington, since 2016. I am married to David Dell.
I bring a Pasefika perspective to issues of family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. My work with White Ribbon will be informed by my interest in family violence prevention and my ongoing study and work with children and youth around resilience. This is an important part of my ministry and brings together my work as a minister, my experiences as a Pasefika woman, and as a mother raising a son.
I know that our churches working together can help make New Zealand a place where healthy relationships thrive, positive attitudes are empowered, and loving and safe environments are the daily experience for all women and children.
I will be in touch again before our Church’s White Ribbon Day November campaign. Until then, if you have any thoughts or questions, please email me.
Rev Hana Popea
PCANZ & White Ribbon NZ Ambassador