Andrew Smith writes from Wellington, New Zealand:
Auxiliary Captain Joe Patea of the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory was Promoted to Glory from the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington early on Monday morning 4 April, after a lengthy illness. Joe will be remembered by many Chatham folk as a member of the Maori kapahaka (cultural) group that formed part of the Homecoming Tour party with Wellington City Band, which visited Chatham in 2002 as part of a UK tour. At the time Joe and his wife Nan were not Salvationists but they felt a calling to The Salvation Army following the tour and were enrolled as soldiers in the Wellington City Corps some months later. They subsequently entered full-time ministry as the Territorial Maori Ministries Co-ordinators based at THQ.
Joe’s tangi (funeral) will take place on Tuesday afternoon, 5 April.
The prayers of Chatham Salvationists and friends would be appreciated for Aux Capt Nan Patea and for Joe’s whanau (family) in these days of grief, and for the ongoing work of Te Ope Whakaora (The Salvation Army) amongst the Maori communities of New Zealand.
The following is an extract from the official bulletin issued by the office of the Chief Secretary for the New Zealand, Figi and Tonga Territory:
Takina te kawa, kua topea te Totara nui i Te Wao o Tane. Koia tenei ko Joe Hohepa Patea.
It is with sadness that we advise of the promotion to Glory from active service of Auxiliary Captain Hohepa (Joe) Patea, at 6.50 am on the morning of Monday 4th April 2011 at Mary Potter Hospice, Wellington.
Hohepa (Joe) Patea (of Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi descent) was born on 22nd February 1949. Brought up in the Catholic Church Joe became involved in The Salvation Army when he was invited to take part in a Salvation Army stage production called â€œThe Homecomingâ€. He became an adherent and then a soldier. Joe testified â€œThe Salvation Army has shown me how to have a close relationship with God by way of the Gospelâ€
Joe was commissioned as an Auxiliary Captain on February 15th 2008. His appointment as Kaiarahi mo Nga Minitanga Maori (Leader, Maori Ministries) was one he had previously held as a lay person and he continued this service into officership, along with his wife Nan. Joe described himself as a â€œpononga o te Atuaâ€ (servant of the Lord).Together Joe and Nan have become a taonga to The Salvation Army in the way they serve as a cultural resource.
Recently Joe experienced an extended time of ill health but throughout this time his faith remained strong and his strength came from the knowledge that God was with him. He did not let his health concerns hold him back from his calling and ministry. He said â€œGod didn t owe me good health, but my gratitude to God is from John 15:16, â€œYou did not choose me, (says Jesus), but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit â€“ fruit that will last.â€ God chose me, and even now he is still choosing me to go out and bear fruit. As soon as I could walk, with a stick, I went back to doing ministry work with Nan.â€