A Loving Value


Art by Abbey McCormack-Young, Cathedral Grammar School

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

1 Cor 12:12

What it is:

Kotahitanga is about togetherness, lifting each other up, offering support to others and receiving it back.

“Tahi is the Māori word for ‘one’; ‘kotahi’ is the Māori word for single or ‘one in particular’, and ‘kotahitanga’ is the Māori word for unity. From one you can infer oneness, unity and the whole value set that goes with that, which is about reciprocity, a sense of knowing yourself in order to be able to know others, to be articulate in your culture and confident in that in order to be able to recognise and respect that in others.”

Trevor Moeke, in the video below.

Kotahitanga recognises the importance of self-awareness in order to value the mutuality of relationships, along with respecting and honouring our connection with others.

“Kotahitanga values the ethic of working together, with energy and enthusiasm, towards the achievement of common goals. We should celebrate our distinctiveness, as an institution and as individuals, whānau, hapū and iwi; while also revelling in our shared experiences, understandings, philosophies and interests.”


What it is not:

Kotahitanga is not about domination over another or asserting the ‘rightness’ of my viewpoint and beliefs on others and insisting that they see things my way. It is not about everyone having to think, or believe the same things or act in the same way in order to have unity.

1.Ma te kotahitanga e whai kaha ai tātau
In unity we have strength

2.He waka kōtuia kāhore e tukutukua ngā mimira. 
A canoe that is interlaced will not become separated at the bow. “In unity there is strength. In the highly developed craft of building ocean going waka the bow section was laced to the centre hull. The waka provides a metaphor for tangata whenua, in that a people interlaced will not be separated and through that unity we find strength.”


What makes this a Christian value:

Our identity in Christ enables us to value the gift which each person is to the whole. Christ then, becomes the source of our unity.

1 Corinthians 12:4-13 and Romans 12:3-21 both emphasise the ways in which each individual part is valuable in order for the body of Christ to be able to function as a whole and needs to be honoured as such. 

This can be a challenging thing when people have a different perspective or approach to life than us. Our natural tendency can be to reject them or assert our ‘rightness’ over their ‘wrongness’. The call to embody Christ’s humility and love which Jesus expressed as serving others, enables us to hold one another up and find unity together.