NEW ZEALAND: Winston Halapua becomes archbishop

May 12, 2010

Bishop Winston Halapua was elected May 12 to serve as the next bishop of Polynesia -- and therefore as one of the three archbishops of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The election was held in the context of the church's General Synod and included several presentations led by Lola Kolomatangi, on behalf of the Diocese of Polynesia, who said it was the custom of mothers in the Pacific to present "a cultural vestment" to its new leaders.

With that, Polynesian women brought forward various gifts and tokens -- Tongan tapa cloth, and three garlands, each representing Fiji, Samoa and Tonga -- which they placed around Halapua's neck.

He, in turn, took two of the garlands and draped them around the necks of the existing archbishops, William Brown Turei and David Moxon.

Halapua succeeds the late Bishop Jabez Bryce, who had led the Diocese of Polynesia for 35 years, and who died in February this year. Halapua was elected as an assistant bishop of Polynesia in 2005.

Bryce had wanted to strengthen the diocese's outreach in the far-flung islands it serves -- Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa -- and Halapua was one of three assistant bishops chosen at that time.

Halapua's ministry has an academic focus. He has a doctorate in sociology from the University of the South Pacific, and he came to New Zealand in 1996 to take up a post as a lecturer at St. John's College, the Auckland theological college where many Anglican priests are trained.

In 1997, he was appointed principal of the College of the Diocese of Polynesia in New Zealand, which is one of the three constituent colleges at the greater St. John's College campus. He has been deeply involved in the formation of many Polynesian priests, and as a lecturer at Auckland University's School of Theology. Halapua served as chaplain for the Lambeth Conference of bishops in 2008, at the invitation of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Halapua will be installed at Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral on August 1.

Halapua is married to Sue, who is also an ordained priest in the Diocese of Auckland, and they have two adult sons.

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