Welcome to the Hikoi Rangihoua/ Kiwi Camino Project
Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat and Conference Centre is a place of rolling hills, crashing waves and soaring gulls. A place where you will experience warm hospitality, conversation, healing and spiritual encounter. And at its heart, is the beautiful Ruatara chapel which looks out to the ocean and offers rhythms of daily prayer and contemplation.
It is here that a dream was birthed. What about a Kiwi Camino?
The notion of pilgrimage resonates with kaupapa - the principles, ideas, plans and values shared by the people, past and present, whose vision, leadership and imagination have made Vaughan Park what it is today.
Contemporary dreamers, Anglican priest John Blundell, historian Allan Davidson, and Anglican priest and Director of Vaughan Park, Iain Gow, (who had previously walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela), came together to share their ideas about the possibility of creating a pilgrimage walk - one similar to the Camino de Santiago yet specific to Aotearoa New Zealand.
With the blessing of the Governance Board of Vaughan Park, these three, in partnership with The Diocese of Auckland/Te Pihopatanga o te Tai Tokerau, began to realise the dream.
AN ECUMENICAL VISION
The story of Christianity in Aotearoa New Zealand is not owned by one church denomination. It is told and sung in many voices, interweaving traditions, cultures and, backgrounds. The Kiwi Camino then will be truly ecumenical in spirit and experience. Embryonic partnerships are being nurtured with the Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and with others who are reflecting on how they might become ‘followers of the Way’.
A new name is being considered for this Pilgrimage Walk: Hikoi Rangihoua (Walk to Rangihoua)
A CAMINO/HIKOI FOR ALL PEOPLE
Aotearoa New Zealand has awesome walks and tracks through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Hikoi Rangihoua though, will be a little bit different.
It will wend its way through a beautifully changing landscape to Rangihoua, north of the Bay of Islands, where the Tangata Whenua, the indigenous people of the land, first welcomed the Christian Gospel. There are a variety of tracks, ranging from secondary roads and beautiful bush tracks, through towns and villages, via ocean vistas. Already we are thankful and indebted to our friends at the Te Araroa Trust for granting us access to walk along part of the Te Araroa Trail
Rangihoua is described as a ‘thin place’, a place of transformation, inspiration, reconciliation and, peace. It beckons people from many religious traditions and spiritual backgrounds. Those with a certain faith, an emerging faith or no faith; the ones yearning for meaning and purpose in life, those who want to reverence the sacred, hear each other’s stories, and as John Blundell says, ‘walk with others along the Way.’
At 350kms, taking around 25 days (walking an average of 18kms/day), we hope that this pilgrim journey will also be enriched, en-route, by the gifts of hospitality, friendship, and kindness offered by people of goodwill, of different faith traditions and churches.
HIKOI RANGIHOUA/KIWI CAMINO FRIENDS’ GROUP
In April 2017, Geoff Harper joined the Vaughan Park team part time, as Project Developer of the Kiwi Camino/Hikoi Rangihoua. A Steering Group was also formed and along with the formation of an Ecumenical Committee, we are now in the project development phrase, committed to working together in a spirit of trust and friendship.
So, we are looking for FRIENDS to join us in our dreaming and envisioning of the Kiwi Camino/Hikoi Rangihoua.
- Could you help us continue to design the track so that it journeys past churches, historic and significant places of interest and where hidden gems may be found?
- Could you walk parts of the track, writing notes for us, to help the development of resources for the pilgrims following in your footsteps?
- Could you or your church offer hospitality to pilgrims?
- Are you or your church in a position to assist financially with supporting someone to join a Hikoi or the development of the project?
If you would like to join our Friends’ mailing list for periodic updates or would like to help us with the development of the Hikoi Rangihoua, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW WILL THE PILGRIMAGES EVOLVE?
The first Hikoi Rangihoua pilgrimage took place in May 2017 when people from different religious traditions and spiritual backgrounds came together to walk from Parnell to Vaughan Park at Long Bay. This was followed by a 4 day Hikoi in the Bay of Islands area in December. We have received valuable feedback and have been working on the development and refinement of other stages since.
Throughout 2018, Vaughan Park will offer group-guided pilgrimages as part of its ministry to all people, and we sense that our dream may organically discover a life of its own.
Ultimately we want pilgrims to be free to walk their preferred daily distance, begin where they wish, stay where they want and make the pilgrimage their own. And as part of the ongoing development of the Walk, we hope to offer a Hikoi App for Android and iOS. The App will include route details, accommodation options, cultural and historical information and daily prayers and reflections to accompany you on your Way.
RELEVANCE FOR TODAY
The friendship between Chief Ruatara and Samuel Marsden was key to introducing the Christian gospel to Aotearoa New Zealand and had a profound and transformational effect on our nation.
Some 2000 years later, we believe that the Hikoi Rangihoua will, in a uniquely Kiwi way, honour the faith of our Tupuna, (our ancestors) and gift a contemporary spiritual journey of awareness, connection and hope, enriched by cultural diversity and by moving our feet gently upon the beauty of the earth.
Kia tau te haere! Buen Camino! Safe journey! Bon Voyage!
Blessings from us all on the Team.