1 Oct 2018

Incoming head of NZ Presbyterians to draw on Pasifika background

1:00 pm on 1 October 2018

A Samoan-Tokelaun reverend is hoping to promote multi-culturalism as the elected leader of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.

The Reverend Fakaofo Kaio will be installed as moderator during the church's General Assembly this week.

Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio

Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio Photo: Supplied/ https://www.presbyterian.org.nz

Mr Kaio was born in Tokelau to Samoan missionaries and moved to New Zealand as a teenager for schooling.

He described himself as a child of the mission field and of the Pacific.

"I have always known that you have got to stand up for who you are but you have got to also treat everyone the same," he said.

"You are not there to fight anyone, you are there to help people to know the word, the good news, better." Mr Kaio said.

Mr Kaio, who speaks five languages, said he valued culture and relationships.

"I think it's one of those parts of who I am that I enjoy communicating with people in their language. That builds relationship. If you can say something, especially greetings, goodbye, to people in their language and say their name, their given name in their language, it's very meaningful."

Mr Kaio said his journey through the church had been wonderfully inspiring.

"I've been privileged to work with so many cultures, so many languages, so many people of different nationalities. Not just the Pacific Islands and I think if you see them all mixing, talking and working things through, it is very inspiring."