Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa set for apology

By Ripeka Timutimu

The Māori arm of the Anglican Church of NZ, Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa, has agreed to apologise to ex-students and families affected by the closure of Queen Victoria and St Stephen's.

The Anglican Church works to cultivate peace, but that sentiment was lost when the doors of Queen Victoria and St Stephen's were closed.

Debra Jensen explains that the closures weren't done in a "good way".

So Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa has agreed to issue an apology to those ex-students and families affected by the closure of the two schools.

Archbishop Brown Turei believes if the closure of the schools was in any way Te Pīhopatanga's fault, that they must take responsibility.

In recent weeks, old boys from St Stephen's took a trip back to the school, reviving memories of the past.

It was easy to see the pain still lingered over the school's closure.

Archbishop Turei said if it helps to heal the wounds of the past, then Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa will agree to begin the process.

Hone Harawria, an ex-student of St Stephen's, was surprised at Te Pīhopatanga's decision, but says it's long overdue.

“An apology is good, but once the feasibility report is released, then funds need to be freed up so the doors of the schools can be re-opened.”

Ms Jensen questions what's to happen now that they have the land and the buildings to carry on this legacy?

Archbishop Turei was unsure when the apology to the Queen Victoria and St Stephen's families would take place, but it's a definite step towards forgiving any transgressions.