Our Church offers a place where the love of Christ is shared in a cultural context unique to Maori but not exclusive. Our role is to help people to strengthen their relationship with God and to find salvation through Jesus Christ. We also believe in providing an environment where people can connect with each other through whanaungatanga (fellowship), which ultimately builds community.
The Church of Te Wairua Tapu is located in the CBD of Sydney. Everyone and anyone that has connection in the Maori world knows where we are, if you don't, then you need to find us!!! it's an icon of the Maori community of Sydney! People from different cultures and age groups attend the different worship services we provide and we offer programs that enable men, women and tamariki (children) to grow in their faith in God and help them to retain their cultural identity. We also provide a safe place where people are nurtured, cared for and respected.
Sir Kingi Ihaka celebrated Holy Communion at St Luke’s – Randwick. There he was asked of the possibility of having a Maori priest visit Sydney occasionally, in order for Maori to be ministered to in their own cultural context. Approval was requested, and in June of that year, permission was granted by the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.
On the 17th February, an organisation named the ‘Christian Fellowship Outreach’ was formed. Within two years, 37 maori claiming to be members of the Anglican church signed a petition, humbly requesting that the Archbishop of Sydney consider registering them as a congregation in the Diocese of Sydney.
In June, the title ‘Christian Fellowship Outreach’ was replaced with – ‘Maori Anglican Fellowship’ (MAF), specifically identifying a Maori presence within the Sydney Diocese.
On the 21st October, Sir Kingi Ihaka was commissioned by the Archbishop, as the first Maori chaplain to the Maori community of Sydney. A week later at 11am, the first celebration of Holy Communion, predominantly in the Maori language took place at St John’s Anglican Church in Glebe. In January 1984 - the use of the Maori lawn section within the Anglican cemetery at Rookwood Necropolis began.
The Maori Anglican Fellowship became the ‘Sydney Maori Arohanui Fellowship’, to cater to the pastoral need of the whole of the Maori community, rather than focusing specifically on Maori Anglicans. 27th October 1985 - At 9.30am, a service of thanksgiving and dedication was given for the Maori Lawn Cemetery at Rookwood Necropolis. At 3pm, the official entry and thanksgiving service took place at The Church of Te Wairua Tapu. The church building at 587 Elizabeth Street, Redfern was originally gifted to the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney by the Catholic Apostolic Church, which in turn, was offered to the Maori Community as its spiritual centre. The building was accepted and named; “Te Wairua Tapu” (The Church of the Holy Spirit).
At 8pm on Tuesday the 27th October 1987, Reverend Te Wheoki (Jim) Rahiri Tahere was commissioned by The Most Reverend Donald Robinson as the 2nd Maori Chaplain to Sydney. During his tenure, the church building was transformed to cater not only for the spiritual needs of the Maori community, but also for their cultural needs. Maori art and craft was designed and erected inside the church building and it became the central place in which Maori brought their deceased to lie in state.
On Sunday the 17th July 1994 at 2pm, Reverend Ngarahu Katene was commissioned by the Archbishop of Sydney The Most Reverend Harry Goodhew to be the 3rd Maori Chaplain to Sydney. Reverend Katene established the Te Wairua Tapu Church Choir, which became well known not only throughout Sydney, but also in New Zealand. Ngarahu also initiated monthly services in Campbelltown and Penrith & introduced the Good Friday ‘Shadow Service’. Also, during Reverend Katene’s incumbency, the main roof of Te Wairua Tapu suffered serious damage due to a hail-storm. Sunday services were moved to St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Newtown, until the roof was fully restored.
As more Maori churches had established their own organisations, the fellowship amended its title to the name it carries today – "The Sydney Maori Anglican Fellowship".
Reverend Kaio Malcolm Karipa was commissioned the 4th Maori Chaplain, on Sunday 17th December 2000. Kaio served as Lay Assistant for both Reverend Te Wheoki Tahere and Reverend Ngarahu Katene before pursuing studies at St John’s College, Auckland; where he achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology & a Diploma in Secondary School Teaching.
On Sunday 4th November 2007 the commissioning of Kaio Karipa to be an Archdeacon took place in Christchurch. Family and members from Te Wairua Tapu attended this special occasion. Not only has Archdeacon Karipa utilised his theological knowledge in biblical studies but also encouraged better administration and management of the church. He encourages individual faith development, which allows more participation by others in the church to create different types of leadership with the same outcome, helping others in need of spiritual healing.