Ngā Pou Amorangi (NPA) is a community of learners at Carey who are supporting each other to to serve humbly and competently within Māori and bicultural contexts, in order to make Jesus more fully known there. Some of the founding members of the NPA community reflect here on their involvement in NPA in its first year of operation in 2019.
The heartbeat of Ngā Pou Amorangi (NPA) can be found in the whakataukī, “Ko te amorangi ki mua, ko te hāpai ō ki muri.” It refers to the pōwhiri process running well when the spiritual leaders are at the front and the workers behind.
The whakataukī recognises that the upfront leadership roles and the behind-the-scenes roles are equally important for the community to thrive. For NPA, learners will be found in the classroom and the kitchen as often as speaking at the front, as they learn how to organise and lead every aspect of pōwhiri (year one), wānanga and other hui Māori (year two) and community‑wide strategic development initiatives (year three).
The following stories suggest something of our diversity and unity as a learning community. We are young and old, speakers of te reo Māori and complete beginners, experienced in Christian ministry and novices, graduate students of theology and those just starting formal theological training. Each one has something to teach the community and learn from it.
We are united by our desire to serve in Māori and bicultural contexts in ways that will draw others to want to know God and give him all honour and glory.
Ngā Pou Amorangi—the details
Ngā Pou Amorangi is a Māori leadership initiative designed to equip Christians to serve confidently in Māori contexts and beyond.
While new to Carey in 2019, NPA’s roots lie much further back in the work of Baptist Māori Ministries (now Manatū Iriiri Māori) and Te Whare Amorangi whose leaders are some of the foundational pou amorangi (spiritual leaders) for this learning community.
NPA is nestled within the wider Carey community, running alongside Carey’s formal NZQA programmes. In 2020, NPA can be taken as either a one-year certificate or a three-year diploma.
Both require commitment to four wānanga per year and mentored ministry placement plus formal theological education (minimum of one theological paper per semester towards an NZQA qualification). Auckland-based learners also commit to attending weekly hui and Carey chapel services. Each year, two NPA wānanga are opened to those outside of NPA to join us.
Applications to join the NPA learning community are invited from people of any ethnicity who feel called by God to serve within te ao Māori or a bicultural ministry context.
Nau mai, haere mai ki Ngā Pou Amorangi 2020.
Our whānau understand the Bible better—Kiwii Taranaki
Kiwii (Tainui) is training full-time for pastoral leadership through NPA. In 2019 he was a first-year student in the three‑year Bachelor of Applied Theology at Carey and a full-time NPA trainee undertaking mentored ministry at Te Rongopai, a Baptist fellowship that meets at Puna o te Ora, Pukekohe.
When I first went into the Carey library, I thought, “Crikey, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read all those books. Where do I start?” I thought I had to read them all. Now after one year, I’ve learnt a huge amount and I know I can pass the three years, but without Ngā Pou I don’t think I would have made it this far.
With Māori being here at Carey it has helped me feel settled. I can find comfort in learning even though I don’t have much schooling in my background. In class, while I’m trying to form a question, other Māori students just pop out the questions and it is things Māori that they ask, and I like the answers the lecturers give. Mission of God, Pastoral Care and Thinking Theology have really taught me a lot. I like the Old and New Testament courses too because they’ve taught me how to exegete the Bible. I learned that the Bible is not just one book. It’s more, so much more, and that’s what I’ve been telling the whānau now.
From NPA I’ve learned more te reo and understanding what’s happened to us Māori as a people. In my life I’ve blamed others but now I can’t do that anymore. I have to stand up and lead services, preach and also speak at tangihanga and I can do that. I’m prepared. My training has helped me to understand Scripture and use it properly, not just put anything in there. I am more confident to stand and do karakia, mihimihi and whaikōrero. Ngā Pou has helped me understand a lot about how to be pastors in a Māori context from a Māori lens. We’re able to express the Word of God to our whānau in a way where they understand it. Having this education and sharing what I learn is helping our whānau understand the Bible better.
Food for my soul—Val Goold
Val (Rangitāne o Wairua) is one of more than 60 people who attended one of the three NPA wānanga held during 2019.
One of the great joys of this year for me has been the opportunity to join in a few of the Ngā Pou Amorangi wānanga weekends. It is such a privilege to be able to soak in learning from people who have such mana and passion to share what God has taught them though life and communities.
It was inspiring to see a community of the hard-core Ngā Pou Amorangi students embrace all the immersive learning and to be so willing to share what they are learning with all who were able to come. The character of this learning community is one of commitment, depth, grace and creativity—and it is food for my soul to be included as part of the wider Ngā Pou Amorangi whānau.
Kōrero kia rere—Manaakinui Te Kahu
Manaakinui was in his final year of the Bachelor of Applied Theology programme when he joined NPA. This year he starts a Masters of Applied Theology while completing two further years with Ngā Pou Amorangi.
Kia ora, ko Manaakinui James Te Kahu ahau, he uri ahau nō Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Ngāi Tahu. Ko ahau tetahi tauira o Ngā Pou Amorangi. Tihei mauri ora.
Ko Ngā Pou Amorangi ēnei e tuhi whakaiti nei. Anei mātou e tū ana kia whakanui te mahi o te Atua: hapaingia ki ngā hapori, manaakitia ki ngā tangata, tīkanga ki te whenua, whakaako ki ngā tīkanga o ngā tīpuna ka tū maia, ka tū mana hoki.
Ko tētahi tauira, ko te whaikōrero. I te timatanga o te tau I noho tahi mātou ki wānanga e pā ana ki ngā mea o te whaikōrero, te karanga hoki. Ko te nuinga o mātou, he iti te puna matauranga, he iti te wheako hoki. Engari, i tū rangatira i o mātou pouako a matua Sam rāua ko Whaea Mate kia tohungia he huarahi pai ma mātou. I a mātou kaore i te paku mohio ki te tū ki te whaikōrero, ā, kua kū ngā kereru, kua rere ngā kupu ka whai i te kōrero. Poho kereru ana ahau ki te tūtaki ki ngā tane katoa! I tū ngā tane katoa ki te whaikōrero…mai i te hāhi iriiri! Ka mau te wehi! I puta mai te hā o tū me te hā rongo hoki! Ara, kua rere ngā mihi ki te whakanui te Atua.
Koira te mea nui ki ahau: kia whakanui te Atua i te ao Māori, me ōna tīkanga.
A seed for indigenous theology—Wendy Emsley
Wendy (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) is a registered Baptist leader living in Rotorua. She attended NPA wānanga and through NPA was mentored by a kaumātua in her role as a hospital chaplain.
Ngā Pou Amorangi is like a seed from which an indigenous theology and way of doing and being ‘church’ can emerge as opposed to the pot plant that has often been transplanted into the whenua of Aotearoa.
NPA stimulates, challenges and confronts my understanding and experience of who God is to me. Being part of NPA has allowed me to explore and examine an expanding theology and its application in a safe space.
At a personal level, NPA has been an anchorage whilst I have been inhabiting a liminal type of space. During this season, I have been asking some really big questions about who God is. I was able to belong and fit in with NPA and, at the same time, sit with and process these big questions without feeling like I was a heretic. In this transitional time I had also been experiencing some concerns about being Baptist. NPA has been able to hold me in a ‘Baptist space’ when, for a time, I wasn’t feeling particularly Baptist.
In this last year especially, NPA has been a spiritual lifeline for me. NPA for me is a puna wai ora, a place of revival and refreshment.
The convergence of worlds—James and Natua Kaa-Morgan
James (Tainui) and Natua (Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Pūkenga) are Carey graduates now working towards their Masters of Applied Theology. As tuakana (older siblings) to our undergraduate students, they were an integral part of NPA’s weekly hui in 2019.
E tautokohia ana ngā mihi kua mihia me ngā whakamiha kei tua o te arai. Ko James māua ko Natua Kaa‑Morgan tēnei. Tēnā tātou!
We are descendants of whale riders and war dogs, wayfarers on waka, voyagers sailing on stingray and karakia to bring many worlds together. Our eyes carry the night sky, our skin carries earth, our tongues carry incantations that still carve the Pacific Islands. We are the bounty that arrived on the shores of Hawaiki‑Tautau (Aotearoa). We are the prayers that were sown when our ancestors’ waka first encountered this land. We are the harvest of that which has been gestating in Te Pō long before us, and the gestation of those in Te Ao Mārama who await us. We stand in both worlds. We are tāngata whenua—the people of this land.
Ngā Pou Amorangi (NPA) is one of the few spaces whereby the Christian world and the Māori world, in all their ecosystems and existence, intentionally converge. Be it through weekly meetings, quarterly wānanga, or daily interaction with one another, NPA invites the Māori world and the Christian world to develop a robust and true relationship with one another. It’s a space much like the ones our ancestors occupied, where we must navigate upon unknown seas for the sake of finding new territories that will provide a better life for many generations to come. Although taniwhā come, karakia breaks forth. Although storms come, the journey endures. Although the night comes, the day is guaranteed. This is the nature of two worlds converging, and we stand in both worlds. We are tāngata whenua—the people of these lands.