On Waitangi Day, I was honoured to speak on behalf of NZCMS at a picnic in Ōtaki, jointly hosted by All Saints and Rangiātea Anglican Churches. This was an opportunity for the Church, both Māori and Pākehā, to gather together and share stories about Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the Kāpiti Coast. There was a challenge for us as the Church to face our legacy from the past: to continue to live into the good, and repent of and leave behind what was not right or just.
I shared that as NZCMS now, we step into the legacy of the CMS missionaries who came to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Although NZCMS is not the same legal identity, we were formed out of the parent agency in 1892 and they are part of our whakapapa. Like our forebears, NZCMS continues to have confidence that the Gospel is good news for all people. NZCMS sends out Mission Partners around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ in partnership with local churches. We also support two Māori missionaries from te Takiwa o Manukau (a group of Māori Anglican Churches in south Auckland) who are called to share the Gospel with their own people.
As we step into the legacy from history, we also repent of actions made in the past which did not honour Te Tiriti. NZCMS was involved as witnesses in presenting an official apology, and later signing an agreement to make practical steps forward to restore a measure of justice over the lands lost to Tauranga Moana iwi in the nineteenth century. When I attended a hui in Tauranga in December, I was moved to hear the stories from the tangata whenua, and to see the Church stepping into this space in a powerful way. See more here.
There is a well-known Māori whakataukī (proverb) which says: Ka mua, ka muri. We walk backwards into the future. As we walk, we seek to walk with the twin footsteps of repentance and belief.
The time has come. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15).