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Te Rūnanga o te Hāhi Katorika ō Aotearoa is the national Māori advisory group appointed by the bishops.
It advises the bishops on the pastoral care of Māori.
The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the bishops on relationships with people of other faiths; develops networks with other religious communities; takes part in and encourages New Zealand Catholics to engage in national interfaith dialogue at all levels: national, diocesan and local, and liaises with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
A number of Catholics are involved with national and regional interfaith forums.
The Conference has a Secretariat located in Wellington, and a number of agencies and offices to assist the bishops in carrying out functions together. It has two Commissions, the Commission for the Church and the Commission for the Church in Society, both made up of bishops. The visit of Pope St John Paul II to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1986 was a time of great significance for Māori, as he was the first Pope to explicitly recognise their identity within the Church.
The unique identity of the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand within the global Church flows as it always has, from the presence of Māori, who have been part of the Church since the time of Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier.
The aim of the Committee is to further understanding, mutual respect and dialogue between Catholics and members of other world religions in New Zealand, and to work with people of other faiths for the good of the whole community.
For this reason, the Committee is also registered with the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme.
The inaugural meeting is being held in Auckland on the 25th of May and will include the celebration of Mass, the opportunity for reconciliation and an opening blessing from Bishop Patrick Dunn.
More information on these and other interfaith events is available on the New Zealand Interfaith Group website.