I am reminded of what Brad Pitt says in the movie, “World War Z” as he speaks to a family who is held up in their apartment, “movement is life.”
From my perspective, that is what Te Haerenga (The Journey) has been about, a movement where whānau Māori are given the platform to be able to express themselves as who they were created to be. Te Haerenga has been about connecting Māori to Io Matua Kore/Jehovah/God through its culture. It has been recognising that God has left His finger-print on the Māori culture which brings about an authentic Christianity. It is about recognising that Io has had a relationship with our ancestors and is now wanting to fellowship with His chosen people of now.
Three years ago, a dialogue began where Ray Totorewa and David Moko shared their hearts and what Te Haerenga is about to some of the Motueka Māori community. This is where I come in as the ‘Māori co-ordinator’ for the local Baptist Church.
In June 2012, we began to roll out the wānanga which were received with open arms and minds, making an impact on local whānau who have been active ever since. There are many testimonies of how changes have taken place in people’s lives that is evidence that Io/God is real and still relevant to Māori in this day and age. Te Haerenga seems to be like a ‘rebirth’ where people are discovering for afresh, their culture with a renewed strength to take-on life’s challenges, recognising that they are treasured by the Almighty as a people who have something valuable to share with the rest of the world.
I believe the fruits speak for themselves with regards to the ministry and what God is doing within the hearts of whānau here in Motueka. There has been a marked increase in Sunday church service attendance as well as regular meetings during the week. Our whānau are sensing a movement, a spiritual movement that is happening in Motueka and throughout the country. This is being spoken by the so-called, “new converts” which shows a sensitivity to the Spirit. Will we begin to see that miracles of old? Movements such as the Ratana Movement which was powerful in its time and saw people released from bondage, set free, healed, renewed and revived.
I have heard that God pours out his blessings before a revival. I am seeing this come to pass with people’s new found faith, grabbing life by the horns, God’s abundance of food, money and the like. Why has it taken so long to happen I ask?
There must be recognition of Māori and what God is doing through them. He is using the foolish things of the world to set the captives free. The simple things which are sometimes overlooked and pushed to the side.
Earlier last year, I wrote of a prophecy by King Tawhiao which was written in the late 1800s:
“Mōku e hanga ko tōku whare, ko ngā poupou, he mahoe, he patete. Ko te tāhuhu, he hinau.” I will build my house, the poupou being made of mahoe and patete. These two woods are of an inferior quality. They represent the dispossessed, the down-hearted, the outcasts, sick and the lame whilst ‘hinau’ is a superior wood which represents God.
I asked a friend earlier this year, “what would revival look like?” Would it be a place where people are honest with themselves and others, where love abounds and the unseen, common folk are given a platform to speak from, to declare their praises for the Almighty, where His Spirit is able to move in an environment that doesn’t try to control everything outside of its understanding? Is it a place that is void of ‘whakamā’ and malice, where people are free to be themselves, warts ‘n’ all? I believe Io Matua-nui-i-te-rangi is working out His glory through a people who have known Him since the dawning of time, tangata whenua who He place here in Aotearoa to be guardians and stewards of this great place we call home.
We have also faced adversity from the enemy which can be a sure sign that we are on the right track. As you know it goes with the territory, remembering that we are in enemy territory, strangers in a strange land, waiting to go home.
Our job is to go out into the hy-ways and by-ways to promote Te Haerenga to our young and old. This is for a season, so let us make the most of it.
Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou e rau rangatira maa, hurinoa. Maa te Ariki o ngaa ariki a Ihu Karaiti koutou, taatou e manaaki, e arahi kia puta atu ai taatou ki te wheiao ki te ao maarama e!