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Archbishop Fereimi Cama, Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, has died aged 66

Posted on: July 2, 2021 11:55 AM
Archbishop Fereimi Cama
Photo Credit: ACNS/Alex Baker

The Bishop of Polynesia, Archbishop Fereimi Cama, Primate of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, has died. 

Archbishop Fereimi Cama, one of the three primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, has died. A communiqué today from the Diocese of Polynesia, which he served as Diocesan Bishop, said that Archbishop Fereimi died this morning at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. He was 66.

Archbishop Fereimi had served as Archbishop since March 2019, when he was consecrated Bishop of Polynesia, becoming the first Fijian to serve as an archbishop in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. He has been a strong leader on climate justice advocacy and natural disaster preparedness.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has a unique three-person Primacy, reflecting the three Tikangas, or cultural streams (Pākehā, Māori and Polynesia), within the Church. Archbishops Don Tamihere (Māori) Philip Richardson (Pākehā), paid tribute to their co-primate, saying: “our hearts echo softly with the ancient laments of our people, sung for you Archbishop Fereimi; our shepherd who has departed from us, gone beyond the veil, taken to the place of eternal rest.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also paid tribute, described Archbishop Fereimi’s death as “a great shock to the whole Anglican Communion”.

Archbishop Justin said: “on behalf of the whole Church of England and myself, deep condolences to Archbishop Fereimi’s family, to Archbishop Don and Archbishop Philip, and the Province of Polynesia, Aotearoa and New Zealand. Our prayers for you all.”

The Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Revd Dr William Adam, said: “on behalf of the Anglican Consultative Council and the wider Anglican Communion, I send sincere condolences to the family and friends of Archbishop Fereimi Cama and to the Diocese of Polynesia and the Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

“Archbishop Fereimi had a significant ministry that spread from Fiji, through the diocese and province to the whole Anglican Communion. He was a wise and pastoral bishop and primate; and he contributed to the life of the Anglican Communion both as a primate and as a member of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Archbishop Fereimi began his career as a Methodist school teacher, before switching to the Anglican Church during the first Fijian coup in 1987. He was ordained as both deacon and priest in 1990. By 1997 he had gained a Bachelor of Theology degree and was appointed Assistant Priest at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Suva, where he later became dean and served until 2012. He then became priest in charge of the parish of St Matthew’s Samabula. In 2016, he was appointed Vicar of St Peter’s Lautoka, where he served until becoming Bishop of Polynesia and Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. 

Archbishop Fereimi Cama is survived by his two daughters, two sons, and two grandchildren. His funeral will take place on Friday 9 July at Holy Trinity Cathedral Suva. The funeral will be livestreamed from the Diocese of Polynesia Facebook Page.  

  • Click here for in-depth coverage following the death of Archbishop Fereimi Cama, by Anglican Taonga, the news service of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.