By Maureen Bishop
The Rev Arii Taimataora is a little anxious about her move to Mid Canterbury, but she is also looking forward to the challenges it will bring.
Mrs Taimataora will be inducted as minister of the Plains Presbyterian Parish this evening, Thursday, by the moderator of the Alpine Presbytery, the Rev David Coster.
She is one of just two women of Cook Island descent who are ministers in the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. The other, her first cousin, the Rev Tekura Wilding, is in the Southland parish of Winton.
Mrs Taimataora comes to the parish, which includes, Rakaia, Methven, and Mayfield, after eight years as minister at the Hoon Hay Parish in Christchurch.
“I am the first in my family to become a minister. I grew up in a Presbyterian church in South Auckland.”
It will be her first time living and working in a rural parish but although there are many differences, she is hoping there will be some similarities with life in the Cook Islands, where she has spent some time.
On visits to Mid Canterbury it was the landscape which appealed.
“The landscape captivated me but it didn’t woo me here,” Mrs Taimataroa said.
She admits that geographically the parish will be a challenge, but there will also be challenges as the former separate parishes work together to become one.
“I was drawn to the challenge. What is it going to look like in the future? It will be a great adventure but it will also be a challenge for the churches to work together.
“The most important ministry is equipping our leadership. We’ve got to be able to open our perspectives to the big picture.”
People she has met already have been very open and welcoming, she said.
Mrs Taimataroa’s husband, Tai, is a rugby administrator with the Suburbs Club in Christchurch and is very much used to dealing with young people.
The couple have four children, Frances, 22, Lamech, 20, Martha, 17 and Teatukura, 13, and also have two nephews living with them in Methven, Jarred, 16 and Tala, 14. Teatukura, Jarred and Tala are attending Mount Hutt College, while Martha, is presently in Rarotonga.