Home 9 Uncategorized 9 Te Reo o Hewa | Synod 2021-24

An article shared by

DoPN Synodal Team

Published on

February 17, 2022


This synthesis document is the culmination of communal spiritual discernment. It aims to express the fruits of the synodal process, indicating how the Holy Spirit’s call to the Church has been understood in the local context.

This synthesis document is the contribution of the Diocese of Palmerston North to the local phase of Synod 2021-2023. This document was published on 10 June 2022 and can be accessed below.

Te Reo o Hewa | Explanation of the name

From the peaks of Maungā (Mount) Ruapehu and rays of the rising sun, the name ‘Te Reo o Hewa’ was gifted to this synodal process and to the diocesan synthesis document.

This name was gifted following a gathering of families at Mihiroa Marae, in Pakipaki, for the Hinepuaraurangi Rā Wairua (a form of retreat). This gathering is connected to the Māori movement of Māramatanga, and has taken place in Pakipaki for 35 years. The Marae is where Māori can go to express every part of our being.

“The Rā is a day set aside to give thanks and share dreams and aspirations, and to help bring them to fruition. We pray, sing, dream, eat, and celebrate miha (mass), and five mokopuna (young people) were baptised. The hardest part of our Rā is that we have to say goodbye.”

This Rā is named after Hinepuaraurangi, which in Greek is the star called Atik, part of the Perseus constellation. There is a smaller cluster surrounding this constellation that is called Te Paki o Hewa/Te Paki o Hiwa.

Hewa/Hiwa help us form our dreams and aspirations and it is the star Hinepuaraurangi/Atik who brings these dreams and aspirations to ‘Divine Fruition’. Each sunrise gives hopes to our dreams and light to our plans.

This name is about giving light to the dreams and aspirations that have emerged from the local synodal process, which took place under the southern skies and with these stars overhead.


This synthesis document is the culmination of communal spiritual discernment. It aims to express the fruits of the synodal process, indicating how the Holy Spirit’s call to the Church has been understood in the local context.

This synthesis document is the contribution of the Diocese of Palmerston North to the local phase of Synod 2021-2023. This document was published on 10 June 2022 and can be accessed below.

Where to from here?

This series of videos aims to explore ‘where to from here’ and captures some of the key themes that emerged in the synodal process in the Diocese of Palmerston North.


Discernment & Local Process

Many people have been involved in this unique synodal process from across the Diocese of Palmerston North. This includes those who prepared the local process, those who organised groups to gather for a Spiritual Conversation and make a submission, those who promoted the process in their community, those who enabled our primary and secondary school students to participate, those who read each submission in a spirit of discernment, those who represented part of the diocese at the Pre-Synod Hui and those who drafted the synthesis document. 

These people, through their participation, reflect the diversity of the Diocese of Palmerston North (including in their ethnicity, age, gender, vocation and connection to the Church).

The diocese wishes to thank all participants for opening their hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit and engaging in this process. 

The process and those who have been involved is outlined in more detail in the Diocesan Synthesis and various appendices.

Local Pre-Synod Hui

The Pre-Synod Hui was held a fortnight prior to finalising the synthesis document and was a significant part of this synodal experience.  The purpose of the hui was to come together to pray, listen, reflect and discern on themes that were emerging from the submissions. Due to restrictions on numbers, representatives were invited to this hui, which aimed to be a gathering of a representative cross-section of the people of the diocese.  

Participants offered reflections on understandings of synodality and after being presented with the emerging themes, began to explore how the people of the diocese are being called to respond. Some of the practical suggestions that had emerged through the submissions were integrated into the day. This resulted in an experience of small group sharing opportunities, the use of both Māori language and cultural practice, tikanga, and concluded with an interactive celebration of the Eucharist. Overall, there was a strong sense of the Holy Spirit throughout the day. 


Collection of the various resources produced during the Listening Stages to enable participation in the synodal process.


The NZ Catholic Bishops Conference compiled a National Synod syntheses document from the diocesan phase of the Synod 2023 process and the national hui held in Wellington in June to synthesise the diocesan documents.

Six strong themes have emerged from the diocesan and national Synod processes undertaken in the Catholic Church of Aotearoa New Zealand – Inclusion, Gathering, Leadership, Education and Formation, Mission, and Synodality and Change.

The role of women, biculturalism, and abuse in the Church cut across those six themes.


Click here to read the National Synod Synthesis Document


The Catholic bishops of Oceania say their people’s reflections for the global Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church left them feeling “peace and joy”, but also called them to be prophetic and ready to “model ourselves on the love we proclaim”.

The bishops met in Fiji in February for the quadrennial assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania. They spent part of that gathering considering the region’s response to the Synod’s Working Document for the Continental Stage, titled Enlarge the Space of Your Tent.

The Oceania response was drafted by a writing and discernment group, which synthesised reports from the four bishops conferences and the local Eastern Catholic Churches.

In a context of prayer and contemplation, the bishops reviewed and refined that document, which the FCBCO’s executive council recently approved and submitted to the Synod Secretariat in Rome.

The document has now been published.

Continental Stage Overview

Some 30 theologians, pastoral workers and bishops gathered from 22 September to 2 October at Frascati near Rome to draft the working document for the continental phase of the Synod. The document is referred to as the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS). It brings together the syntheses submitted by Bishops Conferences, religious orders, Catholic organizations, movements, dicasteries and others.

The Synod Office received 112 submissions from the 114 Bishops Conferences in the world which is unprecedented.

The DCS will be released in Rome on 27 October. It will be the subject of reflection and discernment in the continental gatherings. These gatherings will each produce their own document, which will be used by the Synod Office to draft the working document for the October 2023 Synod Assembly.

Some continents are able to have ecclesial assemblies involving bishops, priests and lay people gathering together. In Oceania this was judged to be too expensive and difficult, so a different process has been developed. To ensure that the response to the DCS is ecclesial and includes substantial clergy, religious and lay input, there will be a reflection and discernment process on the DCS in the dioceses of Oceania. The responses will be synthesized into one synthesis from each of the four Bishops Conferences. A Discernment and Writing Group convened for a week in January to create one document which will was used as the continental draft for consideration by the Federation of Bishops Conferences of Oceania at its Assembly in February. The final version approved by the Assembly was submitted to the Synod Office in Rome by 31 March 2023.

About these carvings

These carvings are from the entrance to Te Rau Aroha, The Diocesan Centre in Palmerston North. This centre is a place of work, gathering, training, formation and celebration and the carvings illustrate the connection with the Mana Whenua (home people) of the region, Rangitane. 

A new age is expressed by the use of the traditional (red, white and black) and more specifically the new colours. This symbolises the ever evolving nature of the church, the faith and our diocese.

The apex of the carvings, pictured here, represents the people embracing Christianity. This is represented by a figure representing the people, Māori and settlers, who have come to embrace Christianity.

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