South Taranaki marae provides setting for spiritual ceremony
Culture and religion came together at a special ordination ceremony on Saturday.
Following a powhiri onto Okaiawa's Aotearoa Marae, in South Taranaki, the Reverend Mele Prescott and the Reverend Vincent Nuku were ordained, in the presence of whanau and other members of the Anglican faith.
Dr Winston Halapua, who is Prescott's uncle, was among those officiating the ceremony, along with the Most Reverend Philip Richardson, who is the Bishop of Taranaki and the Archbishop of the New Zealand Dioceses.
Prescott has worked at the Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary's in New Plymouth since November as curate and youth enabler and was "really humbled" at the prospect of being ordained.
Born to Tongan parents, she grew up in the Anglican church and became involved in youth and children's ministry.
Before moving to Taranaki, she worked in Auckland as a youth pastor and coordinated several Polynesian youth groups.
Nuku, who is of Ngati Ruanui and Ngaruahine, said the ordination was an important event for his whanau. Aotearoa Marae was the papakainga of his father, which made the day extra special.
"I don't know if they have had an ordination here in Taranaki at a marae for a very long time," he said.
Nuku became a deacon seven years ago and has worked in the area of youth ministry. He is currently based at St Cuthberts church in Manaia.
He also works at the 2NuiCODE programme run by Ngati Ruanui in Hawera, which gives young people opportunities to work with high tech innovation, including robotics.