New Maori bishop for the South Island
Leading Anglican Richard Wallace has been ordained as the new Maori bishop for the South Island.
About 400 people visited the tiny Onuku Marae, near Akaroa, on Saturday to see Wallace ordained as Bishop of Waipounamu with spiritual responsibility for Maori Anglicans from Picton to Bluff as well as Rakiura and the Chatham Islands.
Hundreds more well-wishers came to a service at Te Wai Pounamu centre on the Ferry Rd in Christchurch on Sunday.
He will be the second Bishop of Waipounamu and first Ngai Tahu leader in active iwi governance to serve as a bishop. He was elected to the role in October last year and succeeds the late Bishop John Gray who had links to Ngati Porou.
Gray died in November after a long illness. In February he was suspended from his role after comments that offended Jewish and Muslim communities.
Wallace was previously Archdeacon of Te Tai Poutini – the West Coast – where he still heads a Ngai Tahu governance board in South Westland.
Wallace was born in 1945 at Little River and baptised at the tiny Onuku church in 1945. He went to high school in Motueka.
He then joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force and worked as an aircraft technical engineer for 11 years.
It was during that time he met his wife Mere and was baptised in the Anglican Church.
Wallace later moved to Christchurch and joined the Philipstown Maori Mission.
In 1987 he was ordained deacon under Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe. He was made a priest by Bishop Maurice Goodall at Christchurch Cathedral in that same year.
In the 10 years to 1999, Richard served in the Nelson region as Maori Missioner for the Diocese of Nelson, then as a minita-a-iwi and a chaplain at Nelson Hospital.
He was appointed Canon of Te Waipounamu in 199.
He has also had roles with the Ministry of Maori Affairs in social services: particularly in matua whangai (child and family services) and iwi development.
His experience includes working with youth, particularly in education. His work includes overseeing apprenticeships as well as religious tutoring, social work, and teaching iwi development.
Wallace said he hoped that as Maori Bishop he would forge new relationships between the Maori Anglican Diocese of Te Waipounamu and tangata whenua of the South Island.
He also hoped to mentor young people into leadership roles to the church.
- The Press