Presbyterian Church announces new Pasifika leader

Media release:

A Commission was appointed to oversee the process to bring a nomination to the Assembly of a person to be elected as the Church's Moderator.

The Commission is pleased to inform the Church and wider community that it will be bringing the name of the Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio to the General Assembly in October 2018 for election as Moderator of the Assembly.

Fakaofo would be Moderator for a period of two years from the 2018 General Assembly through to the 2020 General Assembly.

Fakaofo is honoured and humbled to have been selected.

Fakaofo says the Church like NZ society is increasingly multicultural and cross-cultural and that ministry must reach out and form the kinds of one-on-one relationships that respond to different but similar deep life experiences.

He says the Church is about relationship – forming them and nurturing them. “It is the place where we can share our similarities; we have all faced need and strife. Church is where we can make connections and support one another in our faith journey, make life a little less hard for each other. I believe our Church to be full of people with a giving pastoral heart to help.”

Fakaofo says his background is in ministering to a congregation. “The entire diverse Presbyterian Church will soon be my congregation and I am ready to respond to what they ask of me.”

Fakaofo’s Samoan parents were missionaries with the London Missionary Society in Tokelau. He is named after the Tokelau island of Fakaofo where he was born. Tokelauan is the first of his five languages. He attended school in Auckland and later moved to Wellington where he was an elder and lay preacher at Porirua Pacific Islanders Church of Christ The King.

Fakaofo studied for ministry at the Knox Theological College from 1992. After completing his training in 1994, he ministered at St Margaret, Belmont, North Shore until 2005. He then ministered at Onehunga Cooperating Parish where he still serves today.

Fakaofo served as the Moderator of the North Shore Presbytery in 2001, and he was the first Moderator of the Northern Presbytery from 2011 to 2012.

He has served the wider Presbyterian Church as its representative at many ecumenical assemblies and consultations held in the Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

In his youth Fakaofo was a keen sportsman and played Wellington Rugby League premier grade for 12 years.

Fakaofo is married to Ruth and they have two adult daughters, two adult sons and one grandson.


Notes to reporter:

  • Download a hi res image of the Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio
  • The Moderator is the elected spiritual head or leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. The current Moderator, from 2016 – 2018, is the Right Rev Richard Dawson.
  • General Assembly is the Presbyterian Church’s national decision-making body that meets every two years. All parishes may send representatives to Assembly. These representatives discuss and vote on recommendations brought to Assembly.
  • The Presbyterian Church is the third largest denomination in Aotearoa New Zealand, with more than 300,000 people identifying as Presbyterian in the 2013 Census, and 30,000 regular church attenders.