He Moemoeā Our Vision

Te Whakaminenga Chapter 2014 calls us to
whakawhanaungatanga make right relationship happen.

In our South Pacific context Mercy comes to life
in unfolding spirals of reflection and action.

The weaving expresses the value of manaakitanga hospitality
common to the cultures of Aotearoa, Tonga and Samoa
and all is held in the colours of the ocean
that surrounds and connects our island nations.

Nga Takahinga Kia Kotahi Our Bi-cultural Journey

Through baptism we are called to share in the mission of Jesus.

As Sisters of Mercy we are called to live our charism in response to the Mercy of God in a particular expression of justice and compassion.

It is in living out the mission of our baptism and the charism of Mercy in Aotearoa New Zealand that we commit ourselves to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

This is shown through our willingness and ability to continue developing an understanding of our relationship with Tangata Whenua in our exploration of life together and our ministry in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Statement of Intent - Nga Takahinga Kia Kotahi Our Bi-cultural Journey 2004

The statement above reflects the bi-cultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand, a country uniquely founded in 1840 by Treaty between indigenous Māori Chiefs and the British Crown. Te Tiriti o Waitangi Treaty of Waitangi recognises Māori as Tangata Whenua, first people of the land. In applying the Treaty the key principles of partnership, protection and participation interpret Te Tiriti as a whole – its intention and spirit.

As religious women called to Mercy, Te Tiriti o Waitangi invites us to consider who we are as individuals and as a community of women committed to gospel values and the discipleship of equals. As individuals and as a congregation committed to being a merciful presence in the world, we continue the justice-seeking tradition which promotes the beauty and richness of human diversity as a gift from God.

United in Mercy, grounded in prayer, shaped by the witness of Jesus and the example of our founders, we are called to cross the boundaries of our day, embracing our responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Te Tiriti invites us to establish a firm grounding in who we are individually and congregationally so that we may come to partnership with Māori strengthened by the knowledge of our individual family and cultural identity, an informed history of our country, and the story of the origins, development and charism of our congregation.

Key principles of Treaty-based practice

‘In the Treaty of Waitangi,
we find the moral basis for our presence in Aotearoa New Zealand
and a vision that sets this country apart.’

Aotearoa New Zealand Bishops 1995

Principles inherent in Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

  • Partnership This principle is aimed at achieving equality and equity between Māori and other New Zealanders. Partnership is expressed in decisions and outcomes that reflect the equal status of both partners. This principle allows that fairness and natural justice may mean unequal sharing of resources to achieve equality of outcome.
  • Participation This principle is aimed at ensuring positive involvement of Māori in all aspects of New Zealand society. It focuses on tino rangatiratanga, enabling Māori to live and develop as Māori in a Māori way. It may involve a shift, for those in the dominant culture, from 'helping' to 'walking alongside' as equals.
  • Protection This principle is aimed at developing initiatives to protect Māori interests, both directly and indirectly. The principle acknowledges as genuine interests both those named expressly by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and those identified by recent court and tribunal decisions.

Theological principles:

  • Restoration This principle recognises the injustices incurred by Māori in the process of colonisation, involving loss of mana, land and natural resources, culture and language. It admits  that Māori expectations of Te Tiriti have not always been honoured, and that the structures of colonisation have often left Māori disempowered. It welcomes the call by the Catholic bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand (1990) to create new 'structures of grace' that will mean justice and peace for all.
  • Letting Go This principle expresses the paradox of the cross: only in giving do we receive, and in dying to our prejudices and old ways of thinking are new patterns of living discovered for ourselves and others. The same idea is mirrored in the Māori notion of mana tuku: a willingness to share totally, so that all are enriched. Implicit in this principle are both the need for a change of heart and mind, and the pain that comes in letting go.

Consultative principles

  • Relationship with iwi This principle calls for ongoing clarification as to why Māori are being consulted. Does the process involve restoration of what is theirs, advice as to what is culturally appropriate, or simply a matter of courtesy? The answer to this question will clarify the issue of whom to consult. Mana whenua are the people in whose region the entity is located. It is important to clarify a hāpu or wider tribal relationship.