Church of shared worship

Komiti Maori member Te Aurere Beazley with Stuart Hartley, chairman of Komiti Maori. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d405149
Komiti Maori member Te Aurere Beazley with Stuart Hartley, chairman of Komiti Maori. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d405149

The Anglican-Maori Congregation Group is holding services, delivered by Maori people in their native language Te Reo Maori, every second and fourth Sunday, at St Georges Church in Safety Bay.

Chairman of the group Stuart Hartley said for more than 20 years, local Maori people had been holding worship groups, Tangihanga (funerals), christenings and confirmations in their own homes.

With a growing population of Maori people living in Western Australia, there is a need for a church service unique to the culture, he said.

‘We aim to provide church services with an emphasis on using the Maori language and cultural idiom ” similar to those available in New Zealand ” but in association with the Anglican Church in Australia.

‘Removal to Western Australia leaves an enormous cultural void in the lives of Maori people with no family infrastructure or Marae support. The provision of a church congregation goes some way to filling this gap by providing a platform of pastoral care for the Maori population,’ Mr Hartley said.

The services have been running for over a month and are attracting people from as far south as Bunbury and as far north as Joondalup.

Mr Hartley hopes additional church services will be established across WA, through co-operation with other Maori organisations, which will continue to protect their culture and language, especially with a younger generation growing up outside New Zealand.

Anglican Reverend Peter Brain allowed the Maori-Anglican Congregation Group the use of the church after a meeting with Bishop John Gray from New Zealand and Archbishop Roger Herft from Perth last year.

A worship group is held after the services, which includes the singing of Maori songs and fellowship.

The next Maori service, led by Minister Tiaki Rukuata, will be at St Georges Church in Safety Bay, on Sunday, September 8 at 12pm. Services are conducted in Maori, and everyone is welcome to attend.