Rekindle the Vā of Papatūānuku

During September and October, our church took inspiration from the national Methodist Church’s decade long focus on climate justice, Rekindle the Vā of Papatūānuku. Vā is a term used by many Pacific cultures to denote space between, or relationship with, and Papatūānuku is te reo for Earth mother. The emphasis of our Durham Street Festival of Rekindling the Vā of the Papatūānuku was on connecting with and honouring nature. This involves acknowledging the spiritual significance of the environment and recognising that we are not separate from the natural world, but rather a part of it. Being ‘in touch’ with creation is the first, and perhaps most important step on our journey for climate justice.

As part of the festival, Durham Street Church members spent two weekends exploring the Castle Hill Kura Tāwhiti conservation area and helped support the communal gardens and extensive river-side areas of Christchurch Methodist Mission’s Guild Street Social Housing. Next was a visit to Addington Farm (a local community garden) where we had the chance to pick peas, bag microgreens and plant seedlings, as well as learn about the community garden and how it supports itself. The festival finished up with a sunny picnic at Pūtaringamotu Riccarton Bush followed by an exploration of the last remaining podcarp forest remnant in Christchurch, with its dense stands of giant kahikatea and birdsong echoing through the bush.

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