The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas remembers founding Director - Manuka Henare

Event date: 
27 Jan 2021

Media Statement 

Caritas remembers founding Director – Manuka Henare RIP 

 

E tangi ana, e tangi ana, e tangi apakura ana mōu.  
Kua hū te wao tapu nui a Tāne, kua ngū te iere ō tōu reo.  
E te Mānuka tūtahi, e hoki ki ōu maunga kārangaranga,  
e hoki ki ōu awa, ou maungatapu ki Hokianga, 
ki Ngāti Haua o Whangape. 
Haere, haere, tukuna atu kia rere. 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand joins with the whānau, friends and associates of Manuka Henare in mourning the passing of this social justice Rangatira. He was a great advocate, academic, and champion of indigenous rights. 

Manuka was Executive Officer of the Catholic Commission for Justice, Peace and Development in the 1980s. He became founding director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand in 1992, following a restructure of Church justice, peace and development structures. After his time as Director, he continued to serve on the Caritas Board until 2005. 

Manuka was instrumental in shaping the identity and purpose of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. This was as an agency grounded in this land, concerned about issues of poverty and injustice at home as well as abroad, and drawing the links between them. 

“As a man of great mana, his words and wisdom continue to resonate with and influence our work today,” says current Caritas Director Julianne Hickey. “When we sought him out in 2019 for a reflection on 50 years of Catholic justice, peace and development structures, Manuka reminded us of our responsibility to read ‘the Signs of the Times’ in responding to social issues. This was a phrase from the Second Vatican Council, which he continued to apply to his then role as an academic.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he was one of several Māori Catholic leaders who helped the Church deepen its understanding, responsibility and commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi). 

While Director of Caritas, he wrote his PhD thesis on Māori understandings of He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (1835 Declaration of Independence) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. He contributed to the writing of two statements by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference on Te Tiriti, as well as numerous statements and submissions on issues such as employment law and international development aid.  

Manuka’s commitment to dialogue is summed up by his advice to new Caritas staff: “Always look for the truth in your opponent’s argument and the flaw in your own.” A true scholar, he embraced knowledge wherever it was to be found. 

We mourn his passing, but are grateful for the legacy he has left us to uphold and protect. 

 

ENDS 

 

For more information, please contact Community Engagement Manager, Roger Ellis at 04 496 1339; 021 526 264 or email to rogere@caritas.org.nz

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ agency for justice, peace and development, and incorporates Catholic Volunteers Overseas. We are working for a world free of poverty and injustice through community development, advocacy, education, and emergency relief. 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories. 

Follow Caritas on Twitter: @CaritasNZ Caritas on Facebook: facebook.com/caritasaotearoa  

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