Nga mihi o te wa Aranga ki a koutou katoa. Nga mihi hoki ki o tatou tini mate. No reira, haere e nga mate. Ko Arthur Warren ma, haere ki te wa kainga tuturu o to tatou Matua i te rangi. Haere, haere, haere atu ra. Ko ratou te hunga mate ki a ratou, ko tatou te hunga ora ki a tatou. Kia kaha tatou i o tatou oranga.
I would like to begin this article by saying I hope you all had a happy Easter holiday. By now the Easter eggs will be eaten, the final major Rotorua stockcar championship is completed, you will have returned from your trip away and hopefully you will have many more happy memories of whanau, friends and acquaintances stored in your memory banks.
For some people Easter will also be a time for remembering those who have passed away and bringing back the memory of their names and lives. Arthur Warren, my whanaunga, friend and fellow trustee for many years, was added to that list of people over the last Easter weekend. He passed away after a long hard fought battle with cancer. Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou ko to whanau e hoa.
What does Easter mean to you? Do you have Easter traditions? Does your whanau celebrate Easter in some way? Do you go away for a holiday, attend the final stockcar championship at Paradise Valley, eat Easter eggs or attend a church service?
I found some of the korero about Easter holy days leading into Easter quite interesting and it seemed to be a repeat of the same korero leading into last Christmas. To summarise the korero would be difficult but people seemed to be asking why we celebrate these holidays of Christmas and Easter at all and what place Christianity has in Aotearoa New Zealand.
What is the relevance of Christ today in a multi-faith world with more other religions being invited to New Zealand.
In order to realise the significance of something today I think we need to consider the influence of that thing in the past. For me the influence of Christianity for Maori is highly significant. The first publication in Maori was by a Christian missionary Thomas Kendall in 1815 who wrote a book entitled A korao (korero) no New Zealand.
History also tells us that in 1826 William Williams started translating the Bible into Maori and in 1827 William Colenso published the first Bible, which comprised of various chapters.
In summary, Christianity played a major role in the development of te reo Maori as a written language.
History also outlines that our nation's founding document of the Treaty of Waitangi was established through Christians working with Maori. We all agree that the hurried translation into Maori was not the best, but to my known knowledge there were no other faiths besides Christianity involved in the development of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Maori enjoy many religious faiths today and Easter means many things to many people. For Christians such as myself it is a time of remembering that Jesus died on a cross for everything I did wrong, he was buried and gone or as young people would say, he was toast.
However, written Maori scripture tells me he returned from the dead so that I could have a relationship with Te Atua while I have my Easter holiday, catch up with whanau, go to the Easter stockcar champs, eat a bit of Easter chocolate and a few Easter buns and celebrate the lives of my mates such as Arthur Warren. I hope you had a good Easter.
- Ngahihi o te ra Bidois is from Te Arawa and is an international leadership speaker, author and consultant. His book is available at Mcleod's book store and the Lakeside cafe in Rotorua. His website can be viewed at www.ngahibidois.com.