New Zealand Salvation Army mourns loss of Maori leader
The Salvation Army in New Zealand is mourning the loss and celebrating the life of one of its most influential members after Auxiliary-Captain Hohepa (Joe) Patea, co-leader of The Salvation Army’s indigenous Maori work, was promoted to Glory.Aux-Captain Patea—together with his wife, Aux-Captain Teao Kauirangi (Nan) Patea—played a pivotal role in strengthening The Salvation Army’s Maori work, assisting Salvation Army corps, social service centers and Salvationists across New Zealand. His fluency in te reo Maori (the Maori language) and understanding of Maori tikanga (culture and protocols) were critical factors in helping The Salvation Army better serve within the bicultural context of Aotearoa (New Zealand).
Joe Patea met The Salvation Army in 2002 when he took part in a Salvation Army stage production called The Homecoming at Wellington City Corps that toured internationally. Although Joe was from a Catholic background and his wife Nan from an Anglican one, neither was a practicing Christian. But the seeds of commitment were being sown in their lives. The couple became adherent members and then took the step of becoming senior soldiers.
“We wanted to be uniformed soldiers but, more than that, we were called to be soldiers. We wanted to be immersed in The Salvation Army,” Joe Patea said.