Ordaining a #PihopaHou

This Saturday sees the ordination and installation of Don Tamihere as the second Pihopa o Te Tairawhiti in the heart of Ngati Porou. As Bishop of Tairawhiti, Don will be responsible for overseeing the work and ministry of the Maori Anglican church throughout the East Coast, from Potikirua in the North to Porangahau in the South.

Ordination (Motuhanga) is an ancient traditional act where people are set apart to carry a sacred role. In the Mihinare tradition people are ordained as Deacons to serve in the community, as Priests to provide local leadership and undertake special karakia, and as Bishops to lead and guide faith communities. Don was ordained as a Deacon in 2003 and as a Priest in 2004.

Ordination is also believed to be a calling from God to serve. The Church, whanau, hapu, and iwi that support Don believe that God has called him to serve his people for the rest of his life.

Don has been a dedicated Priest under the direction of the late Archbishop Brown Turei. Last year, when Archbishop Brown Turei announced his retirement, Don was among those being considered as a replacement.

The decision to nominate Don as the successor to Archbishop Brown Turei was made by an electoral college, a gathering of around 100 Tairawhiti church and iwi representatives, held at Toko Toru Tapu Church, Manutuke, in October last year. Don’s nomination was then formally sanctioned by the House of Bishops – all the active Anglican Bishop’s currently serving in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia – and by General Synod, which is the governing body of the Anglican Church, with 92 members drawn from Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.

The Tikanga of Ordination

Don will be ordained at Porourangi Whare, Waiomatatini Marae, which is a sacred place full of significance for him, his whanau, and his iwi. The service will be led by the Archbishops of our combined Church: Archbishop Philip Richardson representing Tikanga Pakeha, Archbishop Winston Halapua representing Tikanga Pasefika, and Bishop Ngarahu Katene as the delegated representative of Bishop Muru Walters, the senior bishop of Tikanga Maori.

The ordination service has several important components to it. It will begin with a powhiri to welcome manuhiri that include bishops and representatives from across the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, students and staff from Te Aute and Hukarere Colleges, representatives from local hapu and iwi, international guests, local dignitaries including the Mayor of Gisborne, as well as the Principal Defence Chaplain of the New Zealand Defence Force. 

Honoured guests also include Koka Mihi Turei and the whanau of the late Archbishop Brown Turei, and whanau of the late Archdeacon Dr Hone Kaa, who were important mentors to Don.

After being welcomed both in the powhiri and in the karakia, Don will be presented to the Archbishops by representatives of the Church, of his whanau and of the iwi of Te Tairawhiti. Expectations for the role of the Bishop will be read aloud to the congregation, and Don will be invited to declare his willingness to take up this sacred mahi. 

Then will come readings from Scripture and the kauwhau, where several people, including leading Anglican educationalist Dr Jenny Te Paa, Rev. Dr Hirini Kaa, and iwi leader Selwyn Parata, will share their hopes and dreams for the Bishop’s ministry.

The next interesting component is Te Whakaherenga (The Commitment). In this part Don pledges to follow and uphold the tikanga of the Church. 

All the Bishops present will then come forward and join Don for Te Whakataranga (The Invocation) in which everyone prays for the Holy Spirit to come and be present with Don and all those gathered. This is followed by Te Motuhanga (The Ordination), which is an ancient Christian and biblical tradition dating back more than 3000 years. Don will be ordained according to this tradition by the Archbishops through the laying of hands upon him and prayers for the Holy Spirit to empower him in his new ministry.

Don will then be presented with symbols of the office he will now hold as a Bishop. These include a Kakahu (cope, or cloak) and Mitre (Bishop’s headwear, symbolic of the Holy Spirit); a cross necklace; a ring, and a pastoral staff representing his role as shepherd of the people.

Don will then be presented back to the iwi and installed as their Bishop, taking his place amongst the people. In Pakeha tradition this means he is given a particular seat, and many whare karakia have seats reserved for the Pihopa. In this case, being on the marae, it will be done differently. Don will be escorted onto the marae atea – the grass area in the front of the marae, and the place where teaching, debate, and fellowship takes place – and there the mana of the role that he carries on behalf of the people will be reaffirmed. The service will then conclude with the Kai Hapa (Holy Communion) where those gathered will remember the goodness and hope of the Gospel story. 

Music will be a highlight of the karakia, including both beautiful traditional himene as well as waiata a ringa, haka and other forms of creative celebration. 

Throughout the karakia Don will be supported by his wife Kisa and their whanau. These include their children Tiana, Danielle, and Ethan, and their nephew Toka, who all currently live with them and have been active supporters of Don’s ministry for many years. 

You will be able to follow the service on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #PihopaHou If you are present we encourage you to share the hui, just please be mindful of others who participate through prayer and love.