There are 4 thoughts on “The Māori Latter-day Saint Historical Narrative: Additions and Amendments”.

  1. Kia ora e Rangatira. Thank you fir the article it was a wonderful read. It has come to my attention from a brother in my ward who is close to one of the Apatoro of the Ratana faith that is the Ratana Church gave a diary of Wiremu Ratana to President Nelsen when he came to Aotearoa recently.

    Robyn Potangaroa a Catholic and descendant of Wiremu Potangaroa the waring Chief and brother of Paora told me that he believes the Kawanata was about the our Church and not the Ratatana Church.

    I recently found a drawing of the original flag of Paora Potangaroa in a whakapapa book of Nitama Paewai. I gave the drawing to Robyn who had a replica flag made based on the oral accounts but had never seen a drawing of it which was different to his design. (Sorry Robyn if I’ve got that wrong).

    As for the meeting among tohunga to create the Io religion spoken of by Elsmore. II need to look at the reference and get in touch with her about tha because it’s teka. The oldest written I have about the Supreme Being comes from Horeke in the Hokianga and is dated 1838.

    Tohunga didn’t get together to restylise whare wananga curriculum to match or compete with a foreign theology as many regretted becoming Christians and saw that their tohunga power dimished because of the adoption of the western ways of life that broke Tapu. If such a meeting happened it must have happened everywhere at once in Aotearoa. Tribes in New Zealand are fiercely independent of one another even today and one tribe would not adopt the outcomes of a hui of another and change the whare wananga curriculum who’s foundational teachings were based on the mana of ancient oral history peculiar to that tribe and whom derive their korero of their origins which is very tapu. For example not all tribes signed the Treaty. Not all tribes adopted the Kingitanga even after a lengthy stint of lobbying and campaigning.

    It’s a complex subject which I have spent years researching.

    He pai to korero o te hitori hahi.

    Heoi ano

  2. I believe that there have been at least four instances, with which I am aware, where groups of people who were clearly prepared for the Restored Gospel. The first was in England, where our first missionaries found whole congregations of Seekers anxious for our message. Then, somewhat later, something like this took place for a short period of time in Wales. The most recent instance of a people prepared was the awkward, unexpected and sudden demand by people in sub-Saharan Africa join the Church.

    The other instance involves Latter-day Saint missionaries discovered that both indigenous Seers had prepared people to become Latter-day Saints, and that this same people were opened to dreams and visions. This was in New Zealand beginning in December 1882. Through email and by phone, with the publication of this review essay I have now had many conversations about my effort to set out and defend what I call the Maori Latter-day Saint historical narrative.

    I have found it useful to set out a chronology. On Christmas Day in 1818 Samuel Marsden, the Anglican (CMS) flogging parson from Australia, delivered in English the first Christian sermon to probably Maori in what is still a very isolated place north of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s Northland. It was then 14 years later that the first Maori was baptized. Then, in the next fifty years, most Maori became Anglicans (or Methodists), with a few becoming Roman Catholics. However, after truly stunning early successes, and after the CMS missionaries had managed to teach the Maori to read a Maori Bible, especially those who had become Anglicans had lost confidence in the version of Christianity brought to them primarily by CMS missionaries.

    Then, 68 years after Marsden’s first Anglican sermon to some Maori, on Christmas Eve, William Bromley, who was the Australasian Latter-day Saint Mission President, with two recent Pakeha converts, discovered that a Maori had an encounter with the Apostle Peter, and by the evening of Christmas Day three Maori had been baptized. I like to point out that I arrived in New Zealand in 1950, when the Church of Jesus Christ in New Zealand was essentially a Maori community of Saints. And now, 69 years later, which is half the time that there have been Maori Latter-day Saints. I am still very much in thrall to the stories of how Maori became Latter-day Saints, which included at least a half-dozen Maori seers who prepared the way for both our missionaries and their message, and the many truly remarkable instances of dreams and visions that brought a host of Maori into the Church of Jesus Christ.

    This should explain why I focused detailed attention on only three of the twelve essays in this fine collection. And also why I have endeavored to show the serious flaws in secular Religious Studies categories and explanations–that is, in efforts to explain away the crucial details of the Maori Latter-day Saint historical narrative. This also explains why, while I find Marjorie Newton’s Tiki and Temple (2012) to be a reasonable narrative account of the faith of Maori Saints, I have previously demonstrated some of the serious flaws in her Mormon and Maori (2014). There are also others who have gone down the same road with similar results.

  3. Lou, you are doing good work. Do not come down…
    During the days when there was a New Zealand Pageant at the Temple, the prophecies of these Maori seers began to be known among the general church membership. But when that pageant was discontinued for understandable reasons, so did familiarity with that heritage and those prophecies.

    • Keith:
      I very much appreciate your remarks. I have plans for at least one additional essay in which I stress again the place of those Maori seers in opening the door for Latter-day Saint missionaries and their message. However, I have argued that ultimately it is Maori Latter-day Saint scholars who both can and must make the full range of their own historical narrative known.

      Robert Joseph has an unfinished book manuscript that is essentially a extension of an essay he published years ago. Rob is assembling the accounts of Maori seers as well as a large number of dreams and visions that brought individuals and hence also extended families into the Church of Jesus Christ. God willing, I will see to it that this book is published in an inexpensive print on demand edition in both New Zealand and Australia, as well in the United States. I want to see Rob’s scholarship easily available where it is needed most.

      My other concern it to respond to efforts by those charmed by secular religious studies explanations who downplay, brush aside or strive to explain away the truly remarkable manifestations of the divine in the lives of Maori Saints. I obviously worked some of this into my review essay on Selwyn Katene’s most recent collection of essays on important Maori Latter-day Saints. I am also pleased that Selwyn is working on a third volume in this series.

      I am hoping that Selwyn takes seriously President Nelson’s instructions on the name of the Church, and also ceases to use the label Mormon in the way he does. We do not do ourselves a favor by talking about Mormon this and that.

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