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NZ Archbishop To Take Over Till New Polynesian Leader Chosen

Maori archbishop, Don Tamihere, 45, will be temporarily taking over the duties of the Anglican Archbishop of the Diocese of Polynesia for the next few months. The outgoing Archbishop of
15 Jul 2018 10:00
NZ Archbishop To Take Over Till New Polynesian Leader Chosen
Archbishop Don Tamihere at the Anglican Church’s Moana Anglican Services and Teaching Centre in Suva on July 14, 2018.

Maori archbishop, Don Tamihere, 45, will be temporarily taking over the duties of the Anglican Archbishop of the Diocese of Polynesia for the next few months. The outgoing Archbishop of Polynesia Winston Halapua is set to receive a farewell ceremony at the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Suva today.

Archbishop Halapua, 73, has spent 52 years of his life serving the Anglican Church and the past eight years as its Archbishop of the Polynesian Diocese.

Archbishop Tamihere, who is from Tairawhiti in Gisborne, New Zealand, said he was looking forward to his time here in Fiji.

“I will be here for a few months before the new Archbishop comes in. They have had a really great archbishop who has done a lot to promote the needs and the thoughts of the people and serving the islands in the South Pacific.

“Our Anglican church actually covers Fiji, Samoa and Tonga so we share in that region the leadership amongst the three archbishops. We have the Maori archbishop, the Europe archbishop and the Polynesian Archbishop,” Archbishop Tamihere said.

“The three of us actually hold one position so our model of leadership is unity and we try and promote that throughout the church to express the same unity.

“I have been in Fiji lots of time for the past 23 years when I was in the youth ministry for the church and have been coming here for youth gatherings.”

Talking about the future of Diocese of Polynesia, he said: “Our focus is choosing the next Archbishop and we don’t want to make a lot of changes so we will call all the Anglicans in the region to pray to choose the right person.

“Once the people who are electing choose a new leader and once it is confirmed, I will go back. I am just really proud of what the Archbishop (Halapua) has done and I want to acknowledge what he has done for the church and this building is the testament.

“The church is in a really good place and it seems that Fiji is in a really good place. There are still some challenges just like we have in New Zealand, so the work of the church is very important.”

Archbishop Tamihere, who is the Anglican church’s youngest archbishop, said he previously never thought that he would end up taking the role of an archbishop.

“I am the youngest Archbishop and most of the archbishops around the world are in their 60s. It was never my dream to be an archbishop. I worked in the church and enjoyed doing youth work so there was a stage, I told my family that I wanted to become a priest. When my bishop at home talked about retiring, so when it was time to choose they chose me.

“My great grandfather was the first priest in the region, but that’s more than 100 years ago. I have family members who are priests, but never an archbishop in the family,” he said.

Archbishop Tamihere said he also hopes to see younger archbishops in years to come.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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