NEW ZEALAND PROPHETIC FOUNDATIONS: FIVE IMPORTANT VOICES
by Nathan Shaw
This prophetic word was shared at the NZ Prophetic Council in Christchurch on 21st Feb 2019.
God’s heart is for people and nations. In the same way that He has prophetic destinies for individuals, He also has prophetic destinies for nations. God is always working to shape and mould nations according to their prophetic destinies. In discerning the destiny and direction of a nation it is important to understand the things that God has spoken to previous generations. New Zealand has a powerful prophetic destiny as a spiritual barometer and prophetic model for other nations. It’s time for New Zealand to reconnect with her prophetic foundations and step into her ultimate destiny. Over the last year my heart has been stirred to seek God about these foundations. During this time He highlighted five important voices.
1. Toiroa: A Maori Prophet
Māori have always had prophets and seers. Prophets and seers help to prepare people for things that are yet to come. The Māori prophet, Toiroa, foresaw the arrival of Europeans. If fact he saw many detailed things about these unknown people, including the way they dressed and the way they travelled. In 1766 He prophesied about them, “Ti ingoa o to ratou Atua, ko Tama-i-rorokutia, he Atua pai, otira, ka ngaro ano te tangata,” which translated into English means, “The name of their God will be Tama-i-rorokutia (Son-who-was-killed), a good God, however the people will still be oppressed.”
Three years after this prophecy the English explorer, Captain James Cook, arrived in New Zealand on his ship HMS Endeavour. I believe Toiroa’s prophecy anticipated two important moves of the Spirit. The first was a profound move of the Spirit in which the vast majority of Māori embraced Tama-i-rorokutia—the Son who was killed. The second move of the Spirit is still to happen. It will lift the oppression that Toiroa mentioned.
2. The Maori Conversion: An Act of Intercession
History reveals the hand of God preparing Māori for a great destiny. In 1814 Samuel Marsden, a missionary with the Church Mission Society (CMS), preached the gospel in New Zealand for the first time. Three significant things stand out about this event:
Marsden’s invitation to preach came from the respected Māori chief, Ruatara. Ruatara had prepared the ground for Marsden’s arrival. 400 Maori were present. Ruatara became known as Te Ara mo te Rongopai which means the gateway of the good news!
It happened on December 25th, the day we celebrate the birth of Tama-i-rorokutia.
Marsden’s message was, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy!” The connection with Toiroa’s prophecy, which mentioned “a good God,” is hard to ignore.
As significant as this event was, Christianity was not immediately taken up by Māori. The first baptisms were recorded over ten years later, but there were only a few. Things didn’t really change until the baptism of Ngapuhi chief, Rawiri Taiwhanga in 1830. From our vantage point this marked the turning point of something huge. In 1830 this wasn’t obvious. Things progressed quickly.
By 1834 there was a noticeable increase in the number of baptisms. CMS missionaries recognized that something significant was beginning to happen.
By 1839 there was a huge increase of baptisms in the Bay of Islands. For CMS missionaries it was undeniable that God was doing something hugely significant.
By 1842 God’s work among Māori was undeniable. The work was so phenomenal that even the government noticed and commissioned a survey to know its extent. Through extensive research of CMS records and early census data, mission historian, Malcolm Falloon, has estimated that by 1852, ninety to ninety five percent of Māori professed Christianity! Wow!
Three further things should be noted about this extraordinary move of the Spirit.
Firstly, the focus of CMS missionaries was discipleship rather than conversion. It was normal for Māori to go through a year of instruction before being baptized.
Secondly, the phenomenal conversion of Māori happened predominantly in Māori villages through the outreach of Māori teachers. European mission stations played a significant part in the revival but it was the Māori they instructed who took the message into the villages.
Thirdly, conversion led to radical changes in lifestyle.
Māori not only welcomed Samuel Marsden to preach in 1814, they also welcomed Tama-i-rorokutia into their lives in record numbers. This released a profound voice of intercession before God’s throne. The Biblical record shows that intercession is frequently an act. Abraham offering Isaac to God was an act on intercession that opened the door for God to offer His own Son on the cross 2000 years later. Jesus’ death and resurrection was an act of intercession that opened the door for men and women of every tribe, tongue, people and nation to come before the throne of God. Māori embracing Tama-i-rorokutia in record numbers from 1830-1850 was an act of intercession that rose from New Zealand and ascended before God’s throne where it was received, recorded, and awaits fulfilment (see Revelation 8:3-5).
3. Te Tiriti—The Treaty of Waitangi
In the middle of the Māori Conversion a significant document was written and signed. The Treaty of Waitangi “was drafted with the intention of establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and giving Māori the rights of British subjects. It was intended to ensure that when the declaration of British sovereignty over New Zealand was made…the Māori people would not feel that their rights had been ignored” (Wikepedia). The spirit of the Treaty was to unite and protect.
The Treaty was signed for the first time at Waitangi, February 6th, 1840. From there eight additional copies of the Treaty travelled around New Zealand to receive signatures from Māori chiefs and leaders. In 1840 Māori were by far the majority—90,000 would be a good estimate. In contrast there were only about 2,000 Europeans. Subsequent to the Treaty being signed there was a large increase in European immigration. This increase was anticipated and the Treaty was initiated to protect Māori.
Conflicts concerning the meaning and interpretation of the Treaty, particularly to do with land ownership, led to the New Zealand Wars between 1845-1872. During and after the New Zealand Wars the Treaty was often disregarded. The Treaty of Waitangi laid the basis for a partnership between Māori and European. History shows that it became the basis for much division and conflict. Differences between Māori and European culture led to misunderstandings, rather than richer understandings. Often Māori and European saw each other as obstacles to their destiny, rather than a key to a much higher destiny. In terms of British colonies the Treaty was unique. God’s heart was for a partnership: two different cultures—each with strengths and weaknesses—combining their strengths, overcoming their weaknesses, and learning from each other.
Secular history doesn’t acknowledge the spiritual battle that was being fought over this partnership. Satan feared the authority and glory that would come forth from the partnership—an authority and glory destined to impact many nations. As Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Demonic forces worked to deliberately wound the relationship between Māori and European while it was still in its infancy. One of the main strategies was to blind both races to God’s plan.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed during a phenomenal move of the Spirit among Māori. From the perspective of missionaries working with Māori the Treaty was important to prevent settlers from hindering this phenomenal move. The Treaty of Waitangi had a voice. It spoke of God’s purpose at the foundation of a new nation. Although the voice of the Treaty was muted by subsequent generations, the true spirit of the Treaty will resound once again. It will speak with a greater authority than ever before.
4. Maori As A Prophetic Message
Every person is wonderfully and fearfully made and is a message that reveals unique aspects of their Creator. The same is also true of people groups. Māori as a people are a unique message. They are pioneers, warriors, seers, team players, community minded, creative and deeply spiritual. They reveal something of God that is important for an end-time generation. It is not by accident that the Māori war dance known as the haka has become known internationally through performances by New Zealand’s world renown rugby team, the All Blacks. The Māori people are, and will be, a prophecy to an end time generation. The impact will go around the world. One of the reasons for conflict after the Treaty of Waitangi is because Europeans didn’t fully appreciate Māori as a prophetic message—a gift that was intended to enrich the lives of a new group of pioneers called to New Zealand by God.
5. The Land
The land has a voice. I don’t mean to sound mysterious. I’m simply referring to a very Biblical concept. Many times in the Bible God’s creation is personified and has its own voice. God and creation are distinct, but God’s Spirit moves through His creation. Speaking of Israel, Isaiah says: “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). When Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees because people were praising Him, He responded: “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). The Apostle Paul, understanding this ancient world view, declares without question that creation groans because it yearns to be delivered from bondage (Romans 8:19-22).
Not only does the land have a voice, but God also sets apart specific territories for specific people groups. Paul makes it clear in Acts 17:25-26: “God gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Just like we are set apart for God-ordained purposes, lands are set apart for their purposes. It’s not something that I can explain, but in some way the land knows this. The land has a voice because it knows its destiny. The main contention between Māori and European has been the land. The land has a voice. Although this sounds mysterious and mystical to Western mindset, it is something with which Māori are familiar.
Māori and European are privileged to be on the land known as New Zealand or Aotearoa. The land has been destined by God to host them. When there is wounding between the occupants of the land, the land hurts. The voice of the Spirit also speaks through the land. It speaks of healing, forgiveness, restoration, unity and destiny. The enemy greatly fears God’s purpose for Māori, European and the land of Aotearoa.
The Māori Conversion from 1830-1850 was an act of intercession that released profound blessing over the land. In contrast, whenever the Treaty of Waitangi was dishonoured it released a curse over the land. The blessing that came through the Maori Conversion is much greater than the curse that came when the Treaty was dishonoured. Light is greater than darkness. The story is still unfolding. The light will overcome the darkness.
A Destiny Like No Other
New Zealand is unique in so many ways. So is her destiny. The profound authority that will come from New Zealand will be far greater than her size. New Zealand will have a voice that will reverberate all the way back to Jerusalem. Consider these five voices: The voice of the Māori prophet, Toiroa; the Maori Conversion of 1830-1850, which was a voice of intercession before God’s throne; the voice of Te Tiriti, a treaty between two peoples; the voice of Maori as a people uniquely fashioned by God; the voice of the land. There are so many voices, but it’s important that we hear the right voices. These five voices speak of a destiny like no other. God’s Spirit speaks through all five.
New Zealand stands at a pivotal point in her history. Destiny awaits. Those who listen will hear what the Spirit says (Revelation 2:7). Those who know their God will arise and do great exploits (Daniel 11:32).
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.
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