It was the 1880s. Members of NZBMS began to form rela­tion­ships with tāngata whenua in the Rotorua area (Tūhourangi) and with Ben­galis in North­ern India. These were the initial, cross-cul­tural rela­tion­ships of mis­sional significance.

Trag­i­cally, mission to, and with, Māori ceased only a few years later as leaders of the time per­ceived Māori to be a tem­po­ral and dying race. While this has not con­tin­ued to be the story for all Baptist com­mu­ni­ties and indi­vid­u­als, for NZBMS there has been no work or sup­ported mission to, and with, Māori since those very early days. For too long we have worked and walked separately.

As we walk into 2023, we are explor­ing how we can best support and encour­age an estab­lished Māori leader in the mis­sional work and living they are already doing. We have called this work Mahi-Pai — meaning good and excel­lent works.

Sean Delany lives and works in the Te Tai o Aorere (Tasman) area. Sean is respected nation­ally in a variety of diverse com­mu­ni­ties, and as part of Te Kapa Rautaki. He is also a respected leader in the local com­mu­nity. Pastor of Motueka Baptist, Paul Cossey, is part­ner­ing with Sean and together they will be further encour­aged by the Motueka church.

Sean carries strong links to Te Āwhina marae and Motueka Baptist. He is one of those rare indi­vid­u­als who seems to know, and be able to gen­uinely connect with, every­one in his neigh­bour­hood. Sean is part of the incred­i­ble healing jour­neys hap­pen­ing in Mana Whānau Char­i­ta­ble Trust, he facil­i­tates outdoor con­nec­tion expe­ri­ences for the com­mu­nity, as well as running open mau rākau classes in the beau­ti­ful gardens of the local Baptist church. Sean humbly follows God’s quiet voice into every corner of his neigh­bour­hood, joining the hand-carved mission of God in every aspect of his life.

2023 will be a year of explor­ing with Sean and Motueka Baptist how and in what ways we can support and encour­age Sean’s work with tāngata whenua. We pray that this model will spread around Aotearoa; seeing gifted and respected Māori leaders sup­ported by their local Baptist church as they link with their local marae and tāngata whenua. Arotahi is com­mit­ted to finan­cially sup­port­ing Sean’s hand-carved mission for 2023; we would be hon­oured to have your backing as we look to develop and grow this work. Looking ahead, we hope to partner with Sean to create and expand a model where respected Māori leaders are sup­ported by the local Baptist church to lead inno­v­a­tive mission ini­tia­tives to, with, and for Māori.

Support Sean & Mahi-pai 

If you’d like to support Sean and Mahi-pai finan­cially then please con­sider donat­ing above. Dona­tions made within New Zealand to the work of Mahi-pai receive an NZ dona­tions tax credit.

Stay up to date

Stay up to date with Sean’s com­mu­nity work by signing up to our weekly mailout- updates and videos from our team to your inbox weekly.


The recent background: 

Over recent years the tragedy of pulling out of Māori mission has been doc­u­mented by respected researcher, Rawiri, and acknowl­edged by Mission Council with a formal and heart­felt apology made to Te Kapa Rautaki. Email for more infor­ma­tion on this research and the recent apology.