The Archbishops and Primates are the Senior Bishops of Tikanga Māori, Tikanga Pākehā, and Tikanga Pasefika, equally sharing the Primacy in Te Hāhi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Ngā Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia).
Te Hāhi Mihinare is a member of the Anglican Communion, a fellowship of autonomous Anglican Churches throughout the world. The Churches are bound together by the four instruments of communion: Archbishop of Canterbury; Lambeth Conference; Anglican Consultative Council; and the Primates’ Meeting.
Both within and outside the Church the Archbishops are viewed not only as spokespersons, but as teachers, preachers, and advocates; they are looked to as providers of pastoral care, spiritual guidance, and theological insight and instruction. They are required to represent the Church in matters of government and community, answering questions in courtrooms and in front of the media. They are regularly sought as patrons, keynote speakers, contributors, and governors. Internationally, the Archbishops are increasingly called upon to provide theological and spiritual insight from the context of the Three Tikanga Church; they are asked to offer wisdom into a myriad of spaces and contexts, including indigenous, theological education, ecumenical, interfaith, and community service networks.
In 1841, George Augustus Selwyn became the first Archbishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, under the title of Bishop of New Zealand and Metropolitan. There have been many changes in leadership and title over the last 182 years, bringing us to the shared primacy that we know today.