Thursday, April 30, 2009

forgiveness and Kiwi culture

News from Bible society that well known Kiwi author, Joy Cowley, is writing a children’s book about Tarore.

“In 1835, Bible Society published 100 copies of the Gospel of Luke in Maori. In 1836, missionaries gave one of these Gospels to a young Maori girl, Tarore, at a mission school near Matamata. Tarore‚Äôs subsequent acceptance of the Christian faith and her murder at a young age had a great impact upon the Maori people with many coming to faith as a result.”

The risk of this is hagiography, overwrought emotional embellishment at the expense of truth, and the choice of Joy Cowley is wise in helping to avoid this.

The opportunity is to tell a Kiwi story in which forgiveness does have legs. I noted a few weeks ago the lack of such stories in Kiwi workplaces a few weeks ago. (This did spark quite some discussion among my theological colleagues, one of whom pointed out the differences between Pakeha and Pacific Island peoples, given a number of recent high profile incidents when Pacifica have shown public forgiveness.)

Anyhow, the Tarore story is the telling of a Kiwi story: of the murder of a 12 year old, of her father who preached forgiveness at her funeral, of the Bible stolen from the 12 year old which was then read, leading to the conversion of one of the murderers, and being instrumental in the spread of the Christian gospel down the lower North Island and into the South Island, through Tamihana son of the paramount chief, Te Rauparaha.

So forgiveness does have legs, in at least one place, in our Kiwi past.

Posted by steve at 11:44 AM


  1. i see they are giving this to kids via CEC… am i right in thinking there isn’t RE at Waltham school? perhaps opawa could buy copies and give them to the kids there?

    Comment by lynne — April 30, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  2. This is fantastic news. As I live in Tauranga I have been over to some of the graves and the waterfall track that plays an important part in the story. Cant wait for the book. when is it planning on being released??


    Comment by Ozy Mandias — April 30, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

  3. I find the story of Tarore’s father such a powerful one. I used to work in a girls school when we explored her story the students were amazed at the power of forgiveness.

    Comment by KSW — May 2, 2009 @ 12:08 am

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