Whakakotahitanga: Gathering as one people 

As we have partnered with Te Aka Puaho to discern God’s heart for out time together this year five strong themes emerged:

  1. Turangawaewae – A place to stand 

Maori have a strong sense of the importance of land as a means of understanding one’s identity. Turangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered or connected, a place to call home. 

All people are welcome 

Our hosts from Te Aka Puaho hold a strong conviction that our church Marae at Ohope is a place that we can all call home, our Turangawaewae, a place to stand. It is our dream that Ohope Marae will become a special place for you- Turangawaewaean extension of your home, one that helps define who you are and where you come from, a place that you invite others to. 

All cultures are welcome 

Although Maori tikanga is an important aspect of the Marae our hosts are eager for the Marae to be a place where all cultures are honoured and celebrated. This reflects the DNA of our church which is beautifully multicultural.  

Nau mai haere mai – Welcome! 

2) Whakapono – Growing in our faith 

As always we desire for Connect to be a place where we all have the opportunity to grow in our faith. We have a tremendous opportunity to engage in creative and culturally diverse expressions of worship. We also can lean into some important values that we hold as part of our Presbyterian DNA, including that we are: 

Shaped by Scripture: In our church we place a very high value on the reading, teaching and authority of scripture.  Hebrews 4:12 

A Priesthood of all believers – One of the core beliefs of the Presbyterian church is that God doesn’t just work to direct the church through one or two appointed leaders, rather God works through ‘the priesthood of all believers’ meaning that all members of the church have the capacity to speak into the direction of the church. It also means that church is not a spectator sport, rather we are all called to contribute our God-given gifts. Romans 12:4-8 

Always Reforming: Believe it or not creativity and innovation are part of our founding DNA. Our reforming founders believed God was leading them to create a new expression of church appropriate for their time, our challenge is to continue to innovate the way we do church and mission as we are led by His Spirit. Isaiah 43:19 

Shaped by multiple cultures: The Presbyterian Church is a cross-cultural and multicultural Church with a bicultural commitment. We are all one under Christ. We are so blessed to have a great variety of cultural influences and we want to celebrate them and let them shape our worship, fellowship and mission as .  Revelation 7:9-10 

3) Tikanga Maori 

Connect this year is an amazing opportunity for us to be immersed in important aspects of Tikanga Maori. To do this we will have helpful videos on important aspects of protocol on the marae which you can view prior to attending. At Connect the learning will continue with workshops and teaching but most importantly from the chance to spend time  

 Celebrating the Bi Cultural Partnership 

The forming of Te Aka Puaho is our own unique story of bi cultural partnership. The relationship between the PCANZ and the Tuhoe people began with a trusting bond that formed between Tuhoe tohunga Rua Kenana and Presbyterian Missionary John Laughton. We can learn a great deal about working biculturally and cross culturally in our contexts by reflecting on this story 


4) Hauora – Well Being 

This year we felt the need for a special focus around wellbeing. We have all been shocked by the saddening statistics regarding young people’s struggles with anxiety, depression and suicidality. In the wake of the Christchurch shootings our nation is also processing a major tragedy. We will provide workshops, people and resources to help you maintain your own wellbeing and nurture the wellbeing of young people. We will take a special interest in Maori approaches to this challenge.  

5) Tauira – Discipleship 

We see an intentional approach to discipleship as vital to our churches ministry, over the Connect weekend you will not only have the opportunity to hear about important aspects of discipleship you will also be invited to participate in helpful practices that you can take and replicate in your own context.