Peace Altar Frontal

We’d like to share the vision of the development of a memorial for Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kakahi and their followers.  We know of nowhere within the Anglican church where they are commemorated in a sacred object, and can think of no better place for this than the cathedral church for Taranaki.  The sacred object will be an altar cloth for daily use in the main sanctuary.  The design will include symbols for the community of Parihaka and the Taranaki Anglican faith communities.  Once the design has been composed, the cloth will be mounted on a frame in the Cathedral foyer.  We will invite every visitor to contribute a stitch.  In this way the altar frontal will bear the fruits of many hundreds of hands and prayers for peace, expressed in thousands of stitches.  The end result will be an embroidered artwork which represents the resurrected relationship of the Anglican communities of Taranaki with the community of Parihaka.


What does our faith say about peace?

  • The angelic proclamation at Jesus’s birth of peace and goodwill to all (Luke 2:14) illustrates the gospel of peace which Christians are called to both participate in and share with others.  As we do so we contribute to the coming of God’s reign of justice and peace here on earth.
  • The ‘sharing of the peace’ is at the center of our eucharistic liturgy.  Having first been reconciled with God through the confession and absolution, reconciliation with others flows forth. 
  • In the first centuries of the Church there was no sign of Christian participation in military service.  Upon conversion to Christianity, soldiers being unable to resign were instructed by the Church never to kill. 
  • Rather than passivity or violent opposition, Jesus taught peaceful resistance in the face of evil.  Most certainly this is not an easy option, the way of the cross results in sacrifice and great personal and communal cost.


In the face of land confiscation the people of Parihaka, led by Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi also chose peaceful resistance and civil disobedience.  When the community’s livelihood, wellbeing and survival was threatened, they responded by ploughing, removing survey pegs, fencing, marching and even setting up new communities on the confiscated land.  As the 2500 settler troops entered the community on November the fifth, 1881, the people of Parihaka welcomed them with song, dance and food?.  Despite this however, arrest, rape, relocation, ransack and death in exile followed.


This radical adoption of peaceful resistance contrasted to that of other Maori whose land and livelihood were also under attack during the late 1800s.  It was directly inspired by the gospel which they had received through the teachings of Rangihatuake, a former Nga Puhi slave who preached at Rahotu in the early 1840s and the Lutheran missionary Riemenschneider.


Hindsight and the recognition that history tells two sides to a story now indicate the many great wrongs perpetrated during this time.  Past grievances have begun to be addressed in our generation through mechanisms such as the Waitangi Tribunal.  At Taranaki Cathedral we wish to celebrate this costly stand for peace by the people of Parihaka.  By so doing we contribute to the conversations of reconciliation.  


Stitches underway
The first stitch was sewn on the first anniversary of the consecration of Taranaki Cathedral - by our Kaumatua.

We now invite you to offer a prayer for peace, and to embody that
prayer by the sewing of stitches. Our pilgrimage for peace
requires that we search for the image of our own faith
community, or one that is precious to us, and to place our stitch
in it.

We invite you prayerfully to sew into this sacred object, which
will, one day, rest on the Nave Altar in Taranaki Cathedral, New

As you do so, may you be reminded of God's
great love, and of our common identity as
God's children.

Nau mai, Piki mai, Rarau mai, Haere mai e
nga mana, e nga reo, e te iti, e te rahi, te
Te Taonga e hanga nei e tatou mo te Tepu a to
tatou Ariki a Ihu Karaiti hei whakamaharatanga
mo Te Whiti o Rongomai me Tohu Kakahi, me to raua Iwi
Whanau ara me ki, mo nga tangata o te Pihopatanga o
Taranaki, aha ko wai.
I te tau 2010 nga whanau me nga ropu whai whakaro huri nei i
te Pihopatanga o Taranaki i whakapumautia o ratau wawata, me
o ratou moemoea i runga i tenei taonga hirahira hei tohu ki te
Ao to ratou Kotahitanga i roto i te Karaiti.

He inoi atu tenei ki te katoa kia tuku whakamoemiti i nga wa
katoa mo te rangimarie ka tuituia i runga, i raro, i whaho, i roto
ara tatou kia herengia katoa tatou nga tangata ki te Kaihanga te
timatanga me te whakaotinga o nga mea katoa, Tui tuia kia kore
tatou e makere i te Arohanui o te Atua.
Nau mai, haere mai kia tuia e tatou tenei taonga hei panui ki te
ao, nei ra, te Tepu o te Atua to tatou Ariki (i roto i te whare nui o
te Ariki) o Taranaki, Ngamotu New Plymouth.
I roto to tatou mahi, nei ra ka puta te aroha
pumau ki te katoa, ara tatou nga tangata e
takatu nei i te mata o te whenua putanoa i te