Christmas is Hope says newly elected bishop of Te Tairawhiti

Te Tairawhiti
Press Release

Newly announced Bishop-Elect Don Tamihere will work with the Church whanau to ensure Christmas should be a time of peace and hope, not of despair.

Reverend Don Tamihere(44) knows about the challenge for whanau at Christmas. Born in Gisborne and raised “on the Coast”, Don says that he is proud of his Tairawhiti upbringing and iwi connections. “I was a typical coastie kid, hanging around marae, riding horses, surfing, and getting up to mischief. But I also saw whanau that went without, both without the physical and the spiritual blessings that should be found in abundance at this time of year.”

Unfortunately for many Christmas is a time of pain and despair. Women’s Refuge sees an increase of up to 30% more women and children needing their help during Christmas. The foodbanks led by Church social services are overflowing as parents and children go without the basics of survival. Consumerism is driving what should be a beautiful time for whanau. 

Don is Chair of Te Aka Ora Charitable Trust, the Gisborne-based social service that works with whanau in need “We see every day the great need of our whanau, as well as the beautiful work of the good people in our communities who want to transform lives”. As a Gisborne-based minister for the past 15 years, Don has also experienced the highs and lows of his community, as well as that of communities across Te Tairawhiti. 

As a leading Maori biblical scholar currently undertaking his PhD Don also knows that Christmas is a powerful message of hope and transformation of communities and nations. “A child was born into our midst as a message of God’s hope and love. From this vulnerability great change came to an oppressed people. We need to find that hope again in our Christian message”.

As Bishop-elect Don will spend the next few months before his ordination listening to the people of Te Tairawhiti both inside the Church and in the wider communities. “Our ministers are the backbone of their hapu and iwi: tending to the paepae, leading the tangi, blessing the whanau. We need to take the treasures of the faith passed down from our tipuna and work to renew hope amongst our people. Our tipuna accepted this message of hope, and so can we.”

And as a father of three children, two at secondary and one finishing her tertiary studies, Don knows the challenge of whanau through his own experiences. Alongside his wife Kisa as an early childhood educator who is proud of her Samoan culture, Don looks to Christmas as a time to celebrate whanau while praying for and serving those who go without.  

Don will be ordained as Bishop and begin his role as leader of the Church in March 2017.

Bishop of Aotearoa, Archbishop Brown Turei has announced the Reverend Don Tamihere has been elected Bishop of Te Tairawhiti.

Electors from the Anglican Maori Diocese of Te Tairawhiti gathered in Manutuke from October 7-8, where they nominated Don as successor to the current bishop Brown Turei, who will be retiring in April. Te Tairawhiti covers the eastern seaboard of the North Island.

Reverend Don Tamihere, Bishop Elect of Te Tairawhiti
Office: 06 8678856

Mr Selwyn Parata, Advisor to Bishop Elect

Reverend Dr Hirini Kaa, Advisor to Bishop Elect (English language)
Mobile: 021 2445292