26 Feb 2015

Outspoken bishop suspended from post

1:02 pm on 26 February 2015

An Anglican Maori Bishop who recently provided refuge to a Christchurch family to avoid deportation, has been stood down from his post as head of the church's Te Waipounamu Diocese.

The Marsden Cross memorial at Hohi.

Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

A statement from the church said Bishop John Gray has been suspended while the church investigates complaints about him.

Last month the archbishops of the church apologised for comments made by Bishop Gray, which they said offended Jews and Muslims.

Bishop Gray made statements about the Holocaust, Al Qaeda and Palestinians, which he said were accidentally uploaded to YouTube.

The statement said Bishop John would retain the title of bishop throughout the investigation but he would not hold office as the Bishop of the Waipounamu diocese, until the matter was resolved.

Archbishop Brown Turei has appointed the vicar-general of Te Pihopatanga, the Right Reverend Te Kitohi Pikaahu, to lead the Waipounamu diocese, which covers the South Island.

Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa is the Maori Anglican Church of Aotearoa.

Last week Bishop John Gray offered the Ravet family a home within his church's grounds.

The family have lived in New Zealand for 11 years but the parent's work permits have expired, and they face being sent back to Chile.