The St Faiths Anglican Church in Rotorua is in line to become a registered New Zealand heritage building, however, vestry member Don Bennett says their ultimate goal is to achieve a New Zealand Māori Cathedral status under the Anglican Church.
Don Bennett (Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa) says, “Basically it is a cathedral but it is not recognised as a cathedral yet so we are working on that now.”
Achieving Cathedral status under the faith means acknowledging the presence of a Māori bishop within the church. Don Bennett says since 2013 discussions about becoming a Māori Cathedral have been in the pipeline.
Bennett says, “When it's given that it sort of lifts the church to another level, everything else will be bestowed on this church and it sort of sets it up.”
Don is the son of the first Māori Bishop of the Māori Diocese of Aotearoa, Frederick Augustus Bennett. It is his dream to see St Faiths become a Māori Cathedral.
Bennett says, “This recognition will bring more of the Pākehā church, who would want to adopt St Faiths as their permanent church.”
St Faiths are currently waiting for confirmation from the Māori heritage council on a proposal to list them as a wāhi tūpuna, Don Bennett is confident that this will happen but it's the Māori Cathedral status it wants.