Sir Kingi Ihaka
Reverend Te Wheoki Rahiri Tahere
Right Reverend Ngarahu Katene
Archdeacon Kaio Malcolm Karipa
While visiting Sydney in 1979, Archdeacon Sir Kingi Ihaka was asked if it was possible for a Māori priest to visit Sydney occasionally, so that Māori could be ministered to in their own language and cultural context. The Anglican Diocese of Sydney was approached with the request and approval was granted.
Early 1980, the newly formed Christian Fellowship Outreach, began to petition for registration as a congregation to the Archbishop of Sydney. Two years on, 37 Māori Anglicans signed and lodged the petition, resulting in official registration. In 1982, the Christian Fellowship Outreach was replaced with the Māori Anglican Fellowship.
Archdeacon Sir Kingi Ihaka was commissioned by the Archbishop of Sydney, The Most Reverend Donald Robinson in 1984, as the 1st Māori Chaplain to the Māori community of Sydney. The first celebration of Holy Communion was held at St John’s Anglican Church shortly after the commission and was conducted predominantly in Te Reo Māori.
The church building at 587 Elizabeth Street, Redfern, was originally gifted to the Anglican Diocese of Sydney by the Catholic Apostolic Church, and in turn was then offered and accepted by the Māori community as its spiritual centre. It was gratefully accepted and named The Church of Te Wairua Tapu. On the 27th of October 1985, Te Wairua Tapu officially opened its doors, following the planting of two Pohutukawa trees at the Māori Lawn Cemetery at Rookwood Necropolis. In that same year, the Māori Anglican Fellowship became the Sydney Māori Arohanui Fellowship.
In 1987, the Reverend Te Wheoki Rahiri (Jim) Tahere was commissioned by The Most Reverend Donald Robinson as the 2nd Māori Chaplain to Sydney. During his tenure, Te Wairua Tapu was transformed to cater not only for the spiritual needs of the Māori community, but also for their cultural needs.
Reverend Ngarahu Katene was commissioned by the Archbishop of Sydney, The Most Reverend Richard “Harry” Goodhew to be the 3rd Māori Chaplain to Sydney in 1994. Reverend Katene established the Te Wairua Tapu Church Choir, and initiated monthly services in Campbelltown and Penrith, he also introduced the Good Friday Shadow Service. As more Māori churches had begun to establish their own organisations, the fellowship amended its title to the name it carries today, The Sydney Māori Anglican Fellowship.
Reverend William King Hohua Mei joined the Te Wairua Tapu fellowship in the early 1990’s and from 2006, became a welcomed Kaumatua Priest. Reverend Mei is renowned for his Te Reo and translating Māori himene, as well as his commitment to the Maori community and his passion to spreading the gospel.
Reverend Kaio Malcolm Karipa was also commissioned the 4th Māori Chaplain in the year 2000 by The Most Reverend Richard Goodhew and holds that position today. Kaio Karipa served as Lay Assistant for both Reverend Tahere and Reverend Katene before pursuing studies at St John’s College in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2007, family and members of Te Wairua Tapu celebrated the commissioning of Reverend Karipa to be an Archdeacon in Christchurch, New Zealand. Archdeacon Karipa has dedicated over two decades to the spiritual wellbeing of the Māori community in Sydney, and its surrounding regions in the south, west and northern areas of New South Wales. Since its beginning, 13 people from this mission became ordained priests and currently 5 kaikarakia make up the ministry team that supports Archdeacon Karipa.
In recent years, through the generosity of the Māori community, the church building has been undergoing major maintenance and renovation, resulting in a more functional, welcoming, and beautiful building. Te Wairua Tapu shares the building with the Living Water Church, a tangata whenua or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific ministry, delivering several weekly programs targeting local Aboriginal community members, which started on 21 May 2017 when an official powhiri was held.
Te Wairua Tapu continues to serve the Māori community through weekly Eucharistic Services and Bible Discussion meetings at Redfern, monthly Services at Moorebank, Quarterly Services at Wollongong, dedicated weekly Prayer Groups, Church Choir and Men’s and Women’s Ministries. Annual events like the Good Friday Shadow Service, Memorial Service and the ANZAC Services are a highlight in the church’s calendar. Te Wairua Tapu continues to support the wider Māori community with annual Maori events and celebrations, Sydney based Kapahaka groups and the Sydney Marae Alliance.