The Right Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio of Auckland is the new Moderator or elected leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. He begins his two-year term from the evening of Wednesday 3 October 2018.
Fakaofo is minister at Onehunga Cooperating Parish in Auckland. He is named after the Tokelau island of Fakaofo, where he was born to Samoan parents who were missionaries. Tokelauan is the first of his five languages. He attended school in Auckland.
Fakaofo moved to Wellington where he worked for Arohata Women’s Prison and as a foreman at Ford Motors. He was involved in church as an elder and lay preacher at the Porirua Pacific Islanders Church of Christ The King. A keen sportsman, Fakaofo played Wellington Rugby League premier grade for 12 years.
From 1992, Fakaofo studied to be a Presbyterian minister at the Knox Theological College in Dunedin. After completing his training, he was minister at St Margaret Presbyterian Church, North Shore, until 2005 when he moved to his current church of many cultures in Onehunga.
Fakaofo says during his two-year Moderatorship he will focus on relationship. He says the Church like New Zealand society is increasingly multicultural and cross-cultural and that churches must reach out to people and form the kinds of one-on-one relationships that respond to different but similar deep-life experiences.
“Church is where we can make connections and support one another in our faith journey, make life a little less hard for each other. It is the place where we can share our similarities; we have all faced need and strife.”
Fakaofo has served the Presbyterian Church in a variety of roles: he was the Moderator of the Church’s North Shore Presbytery in 2001, and he was the first Moderator of the Northern Presbytery from 2011 to 2012. He has also represented the Church at many ecumenical assemblies and consultations held in the Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
Fakaofo is married to Ruth and they have four adult children: Sei married to Jordan; Risati married to Nadia; Liana married to Manase; Tiale Okko and one grandson, Kalos Charles.
The Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio was installed as Moderator at the beginning of the General Assembly 2018, at the St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel, Christchurch, 7.30pm on 3 October 2018. The service involved the transfer of a ceremonial cloak (Te Korowai Tapu) and the laying on of hands by past Moderators. The installation was preceded by a powhiri at 7pm.