A Faithful Value


Art by Poppy Finn, Woodford House

(Honesty, Respect, Inclusiveness, Humility).

In Te Ao Māori a Rangatira is a chief. The word ‘tanga’ makes the word an abstract noun, thereby making the meaning of ‘rangatiratanga’ the qualities of being a chief. These qualities are not those of exerting forceful power over others, but rather to do with the ability to bind others together.

Ani Mikaere comments that the origin of the word rangatira “provides a clear indication that Maori leadership has nothing to do with the assertion of power by one (or some) over others. With ‘ranga’ coming from the word ‘raranga’ which means ‘to weave’ and ‘tira’ referring to a group, it is apparent that the task of the rangatira is literally to weave the people together.” Margaret Mutu adds that rangatiratanga is “high-order leadership, the ability to keep the people together, that is an essential quality in a rangatira. The exercise of such leadership in order to maintain and enhance the mana of the people is rangatiratanga.”

Here we have taken this complex word and approached it from three angles: honesty, respect and inclusiveness, and humility. Bible verses and reflections, stories for primary and secondary, opportunities to learn across our Tikanga, and karakia and prayers can be found under each link.

What makes this a Christian value?

In the Hebrew scriptures: the quality of a good king was measured against how justly he treated and protected the wellbeing of those in his society who were particularly vulnerable, often summed up as the widow, the orphan and the alien. The prophets had plenty to say to the kings who violated this expectation of those anointed to the role by God.

Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 and say: Hear the word of the Lord, O King of Judah sitting on the throne of David—you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. 3 Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you will indeed obey this word, then through the gates of this house shall enter kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their servants, and their people. 5 But if you will not heed these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.

Jer 22 L1-5, NRSV

In the New Testament Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God as an upside-down kingdom where the first will be last and the greatest will be the servant of all. (eg Mark 10: 41-45).

The resource pages under this value of Rangatiratanga reflect some of the qualities of leadership expressed within a Christian ethos: honesty, humility, respect and inclusiveness .