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Honouring Haane Manahi – for God, the altar cloth

The minister at St Faith’s Church, Pastor Tom Poata, talks about one of the taonga from Prince Andrew – the altar cloth.


The Queen gave a sword. The second thing the Queen gave was a picture of the Queen and some statements that were to be read to the people of Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa Whānui about the deeds of their elder, Haane Manahi, and the third thing was the cloth you see behind me. There are three precious emblems on the cloth. On the far side is the cross of Christ, which serves as a symbol for God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The emblem in the middle is the coat of arms of the Queen of England, and on this side, are the ferns that represent Aotearoa, but they serve here as a memorial to the days of old, of the ancient world, the times when warriors came home from war in the battles of old, the old world. In those days, the champion in battle would wear a wreath of laurel leaves on his head. That’s what this is, but instead of laurel leaves, they are New Zealand fern leaves. And the statement, “For God, for King and for country” flows from this. And on both sides, you see there is a poutama stepped tukutuku symbol, which we Māori know represents the climb to the infinite. Above those three things are stars shining, and even though the pattern of those stars is like the cross of Christ, they also represent stars.