“…May our mountains ever be freedom’s ramparts on the sea,” 5th verse of New Zealand’s National Anthem.(Wood-Bracken)
The often repeated cliche that missionaries came to Aotearoa to soften up the Maori so the land could be sold out from underneath them is an urban myth that desperately needs challenging.
As long as uninformed rhetoric like this continues to be perpetuated by our learning institutions and by those who have not taken time to understand how things unfolded in New Zealand’s earliest days, then the wound of division between Maori and Pakeha cannot be fully healed.
The Bible says the truth will set you free (John 8:32). In the specific context it is the truth that Jesus Christ came to set people free from the law and legalism that binds and blinds people to the spiritual heritage of humanity and the liberating power of love, mercy, justice.
In the context of our situation in New Zealand it may be that our ability to move ahead as a nation is limited until we recognise and show due respect to the missionaries and the impact of the Bible message in the founding years of Aotearoa.
If the true intentions of the missionaries are recognised along with the exploits of the Maori heroes of the faith who evangelised their own people then we can begin to recognise where our histories converge.
The true stories of our beginnings as a nation are at times painful ones but which nation has not had to work through such things? It is in working through or working out our differences that we discover what richness each brings to the wider story.
NB: Cindy Ruakere would like to give you her rendition of our national anthem. Please download it, share it, sing it and pray it. Gather before God and cover our isles and our people in prayer.
Right click on the links below and download:
Cindy Ruakere: New Zealand National Anthem (Mp3)
The Anthem Lyrics (PDF file)