Move for bi-culturalism at the synod

4 Frances Wilson


For Frances Peho Wilson, of Te Ngakau Tapu parish in Porirua, the synod was an event of “total reliance on the Holy Spirit”.

Among the optional groups, she joined one looking at the archdiocese’s bicultural relationships.

She said, “It was wonderful to hear everybody in the group very, very strongly for biculturalism” and wanting to take it further.

She shared how one woman from a parish said they were doing “only little things but they were very genuine and sincere in wanting to move from being a monocultural group”.

“Before we can embrace multiculturalism, we need to grow our biculturalism,” said Ms Wilson, which in her eyes is a place “where the indigenous peoples are recognised in a monocultural dominant Church”.

Many Maori don’t come to Church because they don’t really feel welcome —it’s not their place.

Her parish of Te Ngakau Tapu (Sacred Heart) is a Māori parish, open to anyone.

There is Miha Māori (Mass) every Sunday at 10am in a bicultural theme, and a 5pm Mass in English — “something for everyone” she said.

She is waiting for the time when “we can embrace true biculturalism within Catholicism and everyone is aware of their own culture. Once achieved then we can successfully move into multiculturalism”.

One of the recommendations emerging from Ms Wilson’s group was: “The archdiocese embraces biculturalism as an integral part of all its activities and decisions and is a voice for righting the wrongs.”

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