8 Dec 2014

Catholic leader supports biligual prayer

8:30 am on 8 December 2014

A Maori leader in the Catholic Church supports the idea of a bilingual prayer to be recited in Parliament, but holds some reservations about the idea of not using the current karakia.

David Carter.

David Carter. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

Speaker of the House David Carter asked MPs whether they would like to adopt a new prayer, which would see references to "true religion" and "Jesus Christ our Lord" removed.

A decision will be made next week on whether to change the prayer used in Parliament since 1962.

Danny Karatea-Goddard is the vicar to Maori Catholics in the Palmerston North Diocese and believes there is some merit in a bilingual karakia, saying it reflects the Government's commitment to biculturalism and the Treaty of Waitangi.

However, he says the Catholic Church would be disappointed if Parliament did not acknowledge God and this would be a departure from New Zealand's Christian heritage.

In the meantime, a Ngati Awa cultural adviser and tohunga (spiritual leader), Pouroto Ngaropo, says from a traditional non-Christian Maori perspective, it is important for Parliament to embrace spiritual values and to recognise that there is a "higher force" than the Speaker of the House.

  • Lord, hear our prayer?