Sunday, 27 April 2014

New Zealand Lutherans

The second part of the 'Lutheran Tradition' programme aired tonight on RNZ National. The bishop, Mark Whitfield, talked (at times it sounded like a bit like a lecture) on the history of the denomination in New Zealand and its German roots. It's not exactly a success story; Whitfield's total flock numbers around only 800 souls today.

Pastor & Mrs Te Punga, 1941
The historical information included some details I was unaware of, but it was surely a major oversight not to mention the church's only Māori pastor, Hamuera Te Punga, who left these shores circa 1912 to study in St. Louis, Missouri, married a German-American woman, and then returned to serve the sturdy Teutonic farmers of the Rangitikei and raise a family of remarkable high achievers, including the late Roi.

When asked about the effect of anti-German sentiment in World War I, Whitfield confirmed the stories I've heard and read myself.

The audio can be accessed here.

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