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Toitū te Tiriti!

Statement on the Government Policies to Undermine
Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840

As the tertiary theological institution of the Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa Methodist Church of New Zealand, Trinity Methodist Theological College reiterates our commitment to the mission of the Church “to reflect and proclaim the transforming love of God” by upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 and categorically acknowledges Te Tiriti as “the covenant establishing our nation on the basis of a power-sharing relationship.”

Te Hāhi Weteriana has been on a Bicultural Journey for 40 years, derived from Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 and guided by values and beliefs of a covenantal relationship between Tangata Whenua and Tauiwi. As we celebrate this milestone in our faith journey towards reconciliation, restoration, and solidarity, we are deeply dismayed by the new policies of the Coalition Government to undermine Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 (specifically the proposed Treaty Principles Bill).

We challenge, oppose, and reject the policies that attempt to redefine Te Tiriti, erase co-governance, disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora (the Māori Health Authority), and to remove te mana o te reo Māori (the authority of the Māori language). These are not innocent political decisions or policies. Rather they reflect the racist and hegemonic colonial legacies of the ruling class. This is evident in the Coalition Government’s decision to repeal our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We believe that Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 is a covenant that reaffirms the pre-existing rights of tangata whenua. Instead of addressing the breach of those rights and reiterating tino rangatiratanga, the Coalition Government seems to have declared war on tangata whenua, reminding us of what is going on in Gaza—colonising, dispossessing, and wiping out a people’s rights and culture.

We restate our allegiance to Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 as the founding document of our nation and call upon all people of goodwill to reaffirm Māori rights to define, decide, and protect who they are through the flourishing of te ao Māori, mātauranga Māori, and te reo Māori.

Upcoming Important Dates:


15 January 2024: College Year Begins

15-17 January: Enrolment & Registration

25-27 January: Staff Retreat & Planning

Block 1 (Summer): BBS612 Bible & Tiriti | 30 Jan - 2 February 2024 (JH & TR)
This course begins with a brief exploration of early Christian missionary contact with Māori in Aotearoa and the translation of Te Paipera Tapu. It will examine the role that the Bible (and Christian missionaries) played in the creation and translation of Te Tiriti of Waitangi, particularly in relation to the notion of kawenata/covenant. It will explore the way in which the Bible was used to support British colonial expansion in Aotearoa and the way in which Māori subsequently employed biblical texts to denounce the injustices that accompanied the numerous instances where the treaty was breached. Finally, in light of this history, we will explore the obligation of contemporary Christians in Aotearoa to commit themselves to the process of healing and restoration in relation to bicultural partnership in this land.
Block 2 (Summer): BMS520 Mana Tiriti: Treaty & Church | 1-6 February 2024 (TR)

This course begins by exploring the role of church societies in the establishment and development of Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840. Students will examine and analyse institutional church approaches to contemporary Treaty issues, with a focus on whenua (land) and reconciliation. Students will also examine the roles and responsibilities pf justice seeking churches and their commitment to bicultural, Te Tiriti-based relationships.

23-24 February: College Orientation

25 February: Sevice of Beginnings

Block 3: BTS510 Intro to Theological Studies | 4-8 March (Dr George Zachariah)
This course will survey the landscape of theological studies to give students an overall understanding of the field, and its development over the years; to introduce students to basic beliefs of the Christian tradition, and to enable them to do critical theological thinking and reflection on public and contextual issues.
Block 4: BMS510 Te Ao Tawhito | 18-22 March (Te Aroha Rountree)
This course examines and explores the world through a distinctively Māori/Moana lens, where Māori /Moana language and tikanga take precedence. Students will examine the impacts of European contact on Māori/Moana societies, highlighting specifically the role of Church Missionary Societies in colonisation. Students will apply critical analysis to the Māori prophetic movements of the nineteenth century as social and political mediums of protest against colonial oppression.
TALANOA OCEANIA 2024: Indigeneity: Belongings & Subversions | 4-6 April (UTC, Parramatta)
This talanoa provides a place and space for inspiring the imagination in exploring and celebrating the richness, diversity and complexity of our Pasifika cultures and how Indigeneity informs (or challengers) the notion of belongings and inspires subversions. We invite proposals that explore and interrogate how the theme and subthemes intersect (or not) to inform, disrupt, shape, influence (or hinder) engagement with the world and/or subversions through the creation of new knowledge, thinking and praxis.

Mid-semester Break | 13-28 April 2024

SYMPOSIUM: reWeaving Theological Education| 24-25 May (Trinity & St John's College)
Block 7: BTS520 Re-storying Christianity I | 27-31 May (Dr Gladson Jathanna)

This course retells the story of Christianity from the first century CE to the Reformation era, and pays close attention to the development of the Christian tradition, key theological debates, schisms, and issues that shattered the unity of the movement.

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