Last Saturday (28 October), some 1400 Maori, Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent), and Polynesians gathered together to celebrate the consecration of Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell. Several oversees guests were in attendance for the fulfilment of “Selwyn’s Vision”, the $15 million NZD (approximately £7.7 million GBP) project completing the cathedral on land purchased by George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand, in 1843. “Selwyn’s Vision” included the new Bishop Selwyn chapel and a new $4.5 million organ, which was on display before, during and after Saturday afternoon’s service.
Those guests included the Archbishop Philip Freier of Australia, Archbishop George Takeli of Melanesia, and Bishop Michael Ipgrave, of the Church of England’s Diocese of Lichfield. The Former Dean of Auckland, the Ven Jo Kelly-Moore, Archdeacon in Canterbury and a major force behind in “Selwyn’s Vision”, was also in attendance.
Archbishop Philip preached about the cathedral’s importance as a place of worship at the service. In particular he spoke about how it “points us to purpose and meaning.”
“It will be the place where this city can gather to celebrate and to lament, it will be the place of public debate and discourse, it will be the place of quiet private reflection and boisterous, noisy gatherings of thousands of young people, it will be the place of plainsong – and perhaps even a little bit of Hillsong.
“It will provide a narrative of Christian faith, and it will invite us all to join our own story of faith into this stream.
“Above all, this wonderful place points us to all the beauty and joy that surrounds us in this remarkable world, (and reminds us) of this simple, inescapable truth, with all its beautiful, yet disturbing consequences . . . that we are created in love, we are redeemed by love and we are called to love.”
Those in attendance at the ceremony commented on the way the three tikanga (cultural values and norms) of the church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
The recently-retired director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, former New Zealand Primate Bishop David Moxon, said: “To see the three tikanga woven together, liturgically, choreographically, musically . . . the colour and uniqueness and diversity of this place made a profound effect on me, and I have a very strong sense of God here in these islands, and in these people, in this place.
“The three tikanga seem woven even more intimately, more creatively, more carefully, more seamlessly. I was mightily impressed.”
Jo Kelly Moore, who served as Dean of Holy Trinity from 2010 to 2016, said: “What an extraordinary day this has been. I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world today.
“Now being in ministry in the Church of England, I’m very conscious of that journey that Selwyn made, to and from here, and the legacy that he began, and others have picked up. So this is a moment in history for the church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – and it’s just wonderful. The place is shipshape – and ready to serve.”