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Te Hāhi Mihinare: Mātauranga meets the word

Award-winning author Dr Hirini Kaa discusses the ways in which Mihinare (Māori Anglicans) engaged with the settler Anglican Church in New Zealand and created their own unique church, and how this casts light on the broader question of how Māori interacted with and transformed European culture and institutions.

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The emergence of Te Hāhi Mihinare — the Māori Anglican Church

Conversion, literacy and the dissemination of knowledge was always going to be a contested space. Mātauranga was the worldview shaped and formed here in Aotearoa, and when it met centuries of European thinking and knowledge about another people’s ancestral stories, the outcome was nothing short of spectacular.

In his book Dr Hirini Kaa explores the emergence of Te Hāhi Mihinare — the Māori Anglican Church. Anglicanism, brought to New Zealand by English missionaries in 1814, was made widely known by Māori evangelists, as iwi adapted the religion to make it their own.

Te Hāhi Mihinare — The Māori Anglican Church was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2020.

About the speaker

Dr Hirini Kaa (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata) is a historian and Archdeacon for Mātauranga in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand (following family members serving in the ministry).

Dr Kaa has worked in the social services sector, as an academic at the University of Auckland, for his iwi, and now with Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa (the Māori Anglican Church) focusing on mātauranga (knowledge and ways of knowing). Since researching and presenting the historical documentary series The Prophets for Māori Television, he has gone on to become a significant media commentator on a range of critical topics.

In 2021 Dr Kaa was co-winner of the NZ Historical Association’s W.H. Oliver Prize for the best book on any aspect of New Zealand History and winner of the NZHA Erik Olssen prize for best first book for Te Hāhi Mihinare. He was also co-winner of 2021 Ernest Scott Prize (Melbourne University), which is awarded annually to a work based on original research that contributes to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library

The Friends of the Turnbull Library, Ngā Hoa o te Whare Pukapuka Turnbull, offers a monthly programme of public talks that are free to all. The public programme highlights the work of researchers who draw on Turnbull material for their projects.

Friends of the Turnbull Library

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A photo of a Māori man standing in front of carved poupou and tukutuku panels.
Dr Hirini Kaa.