Te Raukura is an important symbol to the tribes who affiliate to the Taranaki rohe. This symbol is captured in the form of a white feather, or a plume of white feathers. Te Raukura represents spiritual, physical, and communal harmony and unity. It is an acknowledgement of a higher spiritual power, which transcends itself upon earth. It is a symbol of faith, hope, and compassion for all of humankind and the environment that we live in.
There are various accounts of how the Raukura feather became such a significant symbol to the people of Taranaki. One such account refers to a gathering of people at Parihaka who witnessed an albatross landing on one of its courtyards, dropping a single feather before departing. This feather became the Raukura, and was honoured by Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti-o-Rongomai, the prophetic leaders of Parihaka, and its community.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that our Level 4 lockdown would drop to Level 3 in a week. The reason is most of our nearly five million citizens did their essential work: staying home in their bubble, washing their hands and when they did go out for the limited reasons allowed, kept social distance. The result is that, as of Thursday of this week, there were only 3 new cases of infection identified, 8 people in hospital and only 370 active cases.
Last Sunday we focused on the Easter Story. This Sunday we focus on the ANZAC story.
You can be forgiven if you are experiencing spiritual whiplash, for they are oppositional narratives. While I’m sure it is only coincidence that they are juxtaposed so closely to each other, it is a helpful reminder of our human condition and our predilection for redemptive violence. For one is a white poppy story and the other a red poppy one.
On the 28th of February 1961, the small Catholic Hospital in Zambia where my uncle was due to be born was going to close due to violent uprisings and sabotage. My uncle was due on the 27th and my grandmother drove up and down-pot holed roads to make sure he came early!
The hospital packed up and a white doctor accompanied the nurses up country where they we all raped and killed. Life involved sleeping with guns under the pillow and doing housework with revolvers in their apron pockets. Continue reading Reflections on ANZAC Day→
This coming Tuesday New Zealand “celebrates” ANZAC Day for the 101st time since the battle of Gallipoli where 7447 young Kiwis died or were wounded for “King and Country”. Forty young men from our congregation were in their number. Six, or 15%, did not return. Continue reading ANZAC Day…A time to imagine peace→
Tomorrow is the 100th observance of ANZAC Day. The first was one year after 2779 New Zealanders, 8500 Australians, 44,000 from France and Britain and their empires, and 87,000 Turks died at Gallipoli. It is a day of remembrance for those sacrificed on foreign soil for “King and Country.” It is as popular as it ever was. Thousands will rise early to attend the Dawn Parade. They will hear prayers, sing Lest we forget, listen to Laurence Binyon’s fourth verse from his poem For the Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
I hope a few of those stirred to tears during the playing of The Last Post will also remember those 2600 brave souls who in the face of tremendous public scorn opposed the folly of war. Conscientious objectors paid a high price. They lost their civil rights, including being denied voting rights for 10 years and being barred from working for government or local bodies. At least 273 were imprisoned for failing to serve, some of them Unitarians. Continue reading War against peace hidden in Panama Papers→