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Mana Māori and Christianity

A book tracing Māori engagement with mainstream Christianity has been the product of widespread collaboration across University of Otago departments, as well as academics, church leaders and iwi around the country.

Dr Lachy Paterson, Professor Murray Rae, Dr Hugh Morrison and Dr Brett Knowles: Their book explores Māori engagement with mainstream Christianity.

Mana Māori and Christianity (Wellington: Huia Press, 2012) is jointly edited by Dr Hugh Morrison (Education), Dr Lachy Paterson (Te Tumu), Dr Brett Knowles and Professor Murray Rae (Theology and Religion).

They drew material from 14 different contributors for the 322-page book, including a number of Māori scholars, as well as non-academics who could recount their history.

"It is really significant, too, in that very little has been written about Māori engagement with mainstream Christianity," Paterson explains.

"There are quite a few books on Rua Kenana, Ratana and people like that, but not a lot's been done on Māori interaction with the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church and Methodists."

Morrison says it also ranges over more recent trends rather than just dealing with historical topics.

"We've got people writing about Pentecostal denominations in the last three or four decades. One chapter is about Destiny Church which is a hot topic in a sense.

"Another chapter covers Mormon or Latter Day Saints' engagement with Māori and that's not been written about very much."

Rae says Māori were by no means passive recipients of the gospel: they were active adapters, even within mainstream denominations.

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