Moderator's Christmas Appeal for Ohope Marae

5 December 2022

Tēnā koutou. Greetings to you. 

Haere mai tatou, kia koropiko, kia tuohu; kia tukua nga turi ki te aroaro o Ihowa, to tatou Kaihanga.

Ko ia hoki to tatou Atua; ko tatou tana iwi e hepara ai, nga hipi a tona ringa. 

Te Maungarongo, at Ohope Marae, stands on the hill overlooking Ohope and was first established there in 1947. 

The marae was the first Church-owned marae in Aotearoa New Zealand. Its creation was the dream of Very Rev John (Hoani) Laughton. He saw the need to establish a place for the bicultural partnership implicit in the relationship of the then Maori Synod Te Hinota,  now Te Aka Puaho, and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, as a whole. 

The marae does not display itself flamboyantly, rather, it is ringed by native bush on the slope of the hills. I, like many who have gone before me and those who visit it today, find it a peaceful sanctuary; open to all, available to all, and a place of significance for all. 

Our Council of Assembly has a tradition of holding here one of its in-person meetings biennially. We are welcomed and reminded of our history, give thanks to God for those who have gone before us, and are challenged to continue to be people who are committed to work together within the mission of God. 

At a recent Council of Assembly meeting, Te Aka Puaho advised Council of the need to undertake some earthworks to retain a slope to the side of Te Maungarongo at the marae. 

We also heard how  for much of the previous two years, COVID restrictions required the marae to be closed. This meant that while the marae still had expenses, there was no income and no opportunity to build reserves to pay for this work. 

Council warmly and unanimously agreed on behalf to the wider Church to underwrite the cost of this work to enable it to proceed.  

Council believes that in giving thanks to those that have gone before, and acknowledging Te Maungarongo as a treasure, an icon, we should offer to the Church as a whole an opportunity to both continue to thank God for this place and to contribute financially to the cost of this work. I am writing to you, and your church, your church council, and your presbytery, inviting you to consider this invitation to partner in this way. 

Donations can be made to:

Your gift will contribute directly to this project and continue to ensure this remains a place of welcome under the maihi – the sheltering arms of Christ and God’s church. 

Kia ora rawa atu 

Right Rev Hamish Galloway 
Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand