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First Māori woman to become a bishop in Aotearoa New Zealand

Posted on: September 18, 2019 10:30 AM
Bishop Waitohiariki
Photo Credit: Anglican Taonga

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] More than a thousand people joined in the celebrations for the ordination of Bishop Waitohiariki Quayle as Bishop of Te Upoko o Te Ika who became the first Māori woman to be ordained a bishop in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The celebration service on 12 September was held in the Anglican school Rathkeale College, Masterton, and was a day of excitement and celebration with the voices of women and young people playing a key part through readings, songs and prayers.

“We are overjoyed at this opportunity to celebrate the first Māori woman ordained bishop” said the Bishop of Polynesia, Archbishop Fereimi Cama. “This is a great achievement for Tikanga Māori and a breakthrough for the whole church.”

Waitohiariki Quayle said the highlight of the day was seeing the body of Christ gathered together as one family with everyone playing their part. “I don’t believe in dividing people, in saying you are this or that. We have to be a lot more kind to one another – all of us – all the time,” she said.

Waitohiariki Quayle belongs to the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Whakatōhea tribes and was ordained in 2013. Since 2015 she has served as Archdeacon of the Māori Pastorate of Wairarapa. Until recently the Bishop elect held the role of Māori community health services manager at Whaiora Māori Health based in Masterton.

A long-time advocate of women’s leadership in the church, Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel, preached at the service.

Speaking to the bishop elect in her sermon she said: “You stand proudly now at the helm of a metaphoric waka wāhine (historic canoe fleet of women) which has been navigating its way across this church for many, many years . . .  we are surrounded on all sides by that great cloud of bold and beautiful witnesses – ngā wāhine toa, ngā wāhine whakapono humarie o Te Pīhopatanga, me te Hāhi puta noa ki Aotearoa me Poronehia (Women of strength, beautiful Māori Anglican women of faith, and of the Church throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.) Their names are too many, their memories too precious, their incredible legacy is now so perfectly safely entrusted to you.”

As Bishop of Te Upoko o Te Ika, Bishop Waitohiariki will shepherd the Māori Anglican Church across the lower North Island regions of Taranaki, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington.

Archbishop Don Tamihere was joined as celebrant for the ordination by Archbishop Fereimi Cama and Archbishop Philip Richardson and bishops from across the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.


This story was based on an original story written by Anglican Taonga. You can find this story here.