Essay: The constitution of the Anglican church in Aotearoa/NZ, 1857 and 1992

Felicity O’Brien

In what ways does the Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, in both its original (1857) and revised (1992) form reflect an Anglican understanding of the nature of the church and in what ways is it distinctive?

This essay examines the two versions of the Constitution of the Anglican Church in New Zealand in its 1857 and 1992 versions. It examines the hallmarks of Anglicanism contained in both versions, and comments on ways in which they are unique, both in their modernity and in their reflection of their environment in New Zealand, Aotearoa and Polynesia.

In New Zealand when the treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 the Church of England had already had considerable presence in Te Hāhi Mihinare, the Mission to Maori, with Maori evangelists and catechists[1] led by Church Missionary Society members from England.[2] However settler Christianity “acted with little regard for either the missionary contribution or Te Tiriti.”[3] George Augustus Selwyn was consecrated bishop at the young age of 32 and came to NZ in 1841. Continue reading