Passionfest: refreshed with hope for reconciliation

Passionfest: refreshed with hope for reconciliation

It must be safe to say that every attendee at last weekend’s Passionfest in Waikanae came away with appetites sated, not just by the food and coffee.  The festival was a smorgasbord of deeply moving presentations and workshops, all on the theme of reconciliation.

Hannah Chapman (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Whakatōhea, Irish) encouraged and challenged everyone with her presentation on the reality of the Treaty and what it means for her whanau and as a Christ follower.  The camp attendees were also blessed with a viewing of Tātarakihi: Children of Parihaka, the documentary following the descendants of Taranaki Māori who were wrongly arrested and transported to gaols and forced labour projects around the South Island.  The viewing was brought to the festival by Whaea Maata from Parihaka, who generously fielded questions about the journey of tracing the brutal experience of Te Whiti o Rongomai and the men of Parihaka.

Other contributors included Andrew Judd, Mayor of New Plymouth and self-confessed “recovering racist,” who shared about the incongruency of expecting Māori to walk daily in the Pākehā world, whilst Pākehā rarely take time to walk in Te Ao Māori.  Former Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin and ethical make up company founder Bonnie Howland also shared, whilst workshops were held by Rwandan friends Emile and Persis Pacifique, whose Rwandan community is connected to St Paul’s Waiwhetu in Lower Hutt; and a number of other missional communities connected to the diocese.

When attendees weren’t in the most inspirational sessions, they were having engaging conversations over coffee, eating pizza cooked in the brand new diocesan pizza oven, worshipping in the chapel, dancing at the hoedown and singing until the early hours around the bonfire.  If that wasn’t enough to keep bellies full, Bishop Justin was on hand with his delicious (and large) pots of dahl and morning pancakes!

Morning Bible studies were led by Chris Marshall, Tom Duncan and Jeff Troughton, and gave solid theology on the topic of the festival, and Rev. Stephen King arrived to host Eucharist, tying the whole weekend together so beautifully in a time of sharing and prayer, before attendees were sent back out into the world.

A huge vote of thanks is due to the Anglican Youth Ministries youth workers who pitched in the night before the festival in a significant way – inclement weather had flooded large parts of the monastery, shifting huge amounts of river gravel and dumping it outside the kitchen door!  The team mucked in and shifted the lot, making way for the sun to shine and the festival to proceed as planned.

And of course, a massive “well done” to our own Rev. Scottie Reeve for the passion (pun semi-intended) and drive to organise such a meaningful event – everyone in the diocese is proud of you!