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Te Piri Poho



Te Piri Poho: To Embrace Christ

The intimate and devoted relationship between Christ and the beloved disciple, referred to above, is the inspiration behind the name ‘Te Piri Poho’, translated as, ‘to embrace Christ’.


Disciples are those who emulate this embrace, which means embracing the one who gave his life for the world so that the world might know God’s love.


The vision of Te Piri Poho is to be found in this image of embracing Christ in service of that which God loves while resisting those forms of life that seek to separate us from Christ, leading to death.

Participating in Christ’s love demands, in part, a discipleship of the mind shaped by the virtues of authenticity, integrity, compassion, and a respect for all God’s creation. It is tika, pono, and aroha.

The kaupapa / purpose of Te Piri Poho is to foster a network of intellectual discipleship, theologians and scholars broadly working within the Anglican tradition, contributing research and resources in service of God and the mission of the church in Aotearoa and the Pacific.

Te Piri Poho is hosted by St John’s College / Hoani Tapu Te Kaikauwhau i te Rongopai with a mandate to support scholarship and theological engagement throughout the province through networking, information and research-sharing, mentoring, seminars, and conferences.

A distinctive feature of this network will be its locatedness in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.


To embrace Christ in this part of God’s world involves a set of covenantal commitments as laid out in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which for Anglicans / Mihinare requires the manaaki of distinctive, contextual theologies emerging from their Three-Tikanga Church. This contextual focus sits alongside the valuable international contributions members will make in the areas of biblical, theological, historical, and ministry studies.

The Anglican Communion’s fourth Mark of Mission urges us to ‘transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind, and pursue peace and reconciliation'. (Source)



Over its existence, St John’s Theological College has been the host to some significant research, including that by Māori and Pasefika scholars.


In recent years some 20% or more of the student body has been pursuing postgraduate qualifications. Those postgraduates have formed a community of vibrant enquiry and deep theological reflection. Important work has been produced, particularly in areas related to the life of the church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and the Pacific. Seminars and conferences have helped foster networks and support for the mission of the church.


Developing Te Piri Poho as an Anglican research network is a further step to strengthening research and scholarship and broadening the reach of the College’s mission. It is a development encouraged by the College Board - Te Kaunihera - and supported by faculty and staff.


Ngā Pou o Te Piri Poho

The five pou (aims) of Te Piri Poho have been carefully and collectively considered, striving to be inclusive and honouring of all voices but especially those that have been silenced.


This perspective is critical in light of the impacts of colonisation and historical and intergenerational trauma in Aotearoa New Zealand.


To foster a culture of theological scholarship and research excellence as part of the mission of the Anglican/Mihinare Church of Aotearoa and the Pacific, in its proclamation of the gospel, disciple-making, and ministry of reconciliation, primarily through facilitating a network of established and emerging scholars working in academia, the church, and/or in public life.


To develop an online presence to coordinate events, connect scholars, and disseminate research across Aotearoa and the Pacific. To primarily take the form of a dedicated website and social media presence, regularly featuring new content and updates with contributions from across the Anglican Communion.


To actively promote Indigenous and Oceanic theologies by highlighting emerging researchers, building research collaborations, facilitating mentoring opportunities, and hosting visiting scholarships for Māori and Pasefika scholars. To also encourage non-Indigenous scholars engaging in Te Tiriti and Aotearoa-specific research that examines the church’s history of missions, colonisation, and settlement.


To critically examine the theologies and structures informing the church’s response to historic abuse, historical and intergenerational trauma, exclusion, and violence, which includes but is not limited to, theological responses to gender and sexuality, women’s leadership, disability, climate change and sustainability, as well as to promote responses and texts that imagine a more just and flourishing future.


To promote contributions from a variety of disciplines and creative outlets that illuminate the complex and compelling task of Christian discipleship today, including the aesthetic and embodied dimensions of arts, musicology, creative writing, and multi-media. To also invite engagement with, and responses to, other religions or modes of life deemed secular as an expression of Christian hospitality and mission.


Love is patient, love is kind and envies no one.
Love is not boastful, never conceited,
never rude nor selfish;
love is not quick to take offence.


Love keeps no score of wrongs;
love delights in the truth;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope and its endurance.
Love never gives up.


Love never comes to an end.
There are three things that last forever:
faith, hope and love,
but the greatest of them all is love.

- ANZPB/HKMoA 2020, 136


The Epistle Reflection above from the Anglican Prayer Book of Aotearoa New Zealand, based on 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13, outlines the nature of love. When we engage in research in love, we are doing Christ’s work.

Professor Linda Smith (1999, 120) identifies seven Kaupapa Māori practices that guide Māori researchers:

  • Aroha ki te tangata (a respect for people)

  • Kanohi kitea (the seen face; that is, present yourself to people face to face)

  • Titiro, whakarongo … korero (look, listen … speak)

  • Manaaki ki te tangata (share and host people, be generous)

  • Kia tupato (be cautious)

  • Kaua e takahia te mana o te tangata (do not trample over the mana of the people)

  • Kaua e mahaki (do not flaunt your knowledge)


Smith (1999, 120) writes that ‘these sayings reflect just some of the values that are placed on the way we behave’. These values are also apparent in the Epistle Reflection above. (Source)

carvings background te piri poho.jpg


The Creative Projects within Te Piri Poho have been created by members of the St John's Theological College and wider Anglican community.

More creative projects will be added in the future.

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