Presbyterian Church to lead Waitangi Day dawn ceremony for first time

For the first time in the history of the Presbyterian Church, its ministers, led by the Church’s Māori Synod, will conduct the Waitangi Day dawn ceremony at Waitangi.

The televised service on 6 February 2015 will begin at 5am with the procession of the official party, which will include the leaders of Government and opposition political parties, led by Ngā Puhi hosts.

Prayers will be led by the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Moderator of Te Aka Puaho, the Presbyterian Church’s Māori Synod. The Bible reading will be delivered by the Rev Wimutu Te Whiu, Te Aka Puaho, and the Word for the Day will be given by the Right Rev Andrew Norton, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aoteaora New Zealand. The Benediction will be given by both the Rev Te Kaawa in Māori and Rt Rev Norton in English. The Lord’s Prayer will be sung by the Rev Amiria Te Whiu, minister in charge of Te Aka Puaho Taitokerau Māori pastorate.

The national anthem, E Ihowa, God of Nations, will be sung in Māori and English, led by musician and Presbyterian minister the Rev Malcolm Gordon.

The Rev Gordon will also perform a waiata he co-composed, Beneath the Southern Cross, whilst a cross sculpture is assembled by officials and visitors. The song commemorates the first sermon preached in New Zealand 200 years ago and was written for the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly 2014.

In his Word for the Day, the Rt Rev Andrew Norton will share his thoughts on manaakitanga.

“While this word is used in the context of offering hospitality it is far more than that. Manaakitanga is the mutual activity of honouring one another through kindness, generosity, respect and hospitality and it goes both ways!

“This is not trading lunches but the intention and action of showing honour to another. This is what I call the spirit of the Treaty. If there is no honour there is no Treaty. What comes after honouring are the details of the Treaty.

“We can talk at one another over a tribunal table to settle outstanding grievances, but we must share manaakitanga at all our tables in this land for the Treaty to become a living document,” says the Rt Rev Norton.


Rev Amiria Te Whiu
Ph 021 028 62462

Rt Rev Andrew Norton - Moderator General Assembly of Presbyterian Church
Ph 021 224 3554

Notes to reporter:

  • Te Aka Puaho is the Presbyterian Church Māori Synod and was constituted as a Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1955.
  • Download the Order of Service here