Karaititanga: Reflections on my Christology – Part 2

Christology in my prayer life

My grandmother taught me that karakia day and night was essential to life. We pray in the morning to ensure that we have a good day; and we pray at night to protect our wairua from harm as we sleep. That’s the prayer life.

Image 3: Crucifix, Rosary beads, incense stick – a small prayer space in my bedroom, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Dr Byron Rangiwai - Image 3

(B. Rangiwai, 2017, private collection).

Morning prayers

Morning prayers begin with the burning of incense from an Indian shop

A tiny image of Lord Ganesh

remover of obstacles

decorates my incense stick holder

This is intentional

My room reeks of Patchouli

He hōnore, he korōria

Ki te Atua

Lord Jesus, watch over us this

day and bless the whānau

In nomine Patris et Filii

et Spiritus Sancti



Christology in my social life

I am friends with people from literally ALL walks of life. I see Jesus almost everywhere. In film. On the streets. In the reflection of my glass of whiskey. Even in the face and presence of a drag queen on Ponsonby Road, posing as a warped version of the Virgin Mary.

Image 4: Lady Trenyce Bhone, SPQR Café and Bar, Ponsonby Road, Auckland

Dr Byron Rangiwai image 4

(B. Rangiwai, 2017, private collection)

Lady Trenyce Bhone:

“My performance is about the appropriation, by gay culture, of Christian, and in this case, Mariological iconography. This work evokes a feeling of gross imitation and defamation, underpinned, quite ironically, by a deep sense of admiration. In many ways, the blatant blasphemy of my replication defeats the iconic image of the Blessed Virgin, almost shaming her, suggesting that I am of a higher power than Mary. I am the embodiment of the ‘Virgin in a condom’” (personal communication, June 22, 2018).

SPQR Jesus

SPQR Jesus is caaamp!

She claps her hands

She does couture poses

and vogues while waiting


She fills the wine glasses

to the brim

and loves to see people

getting loved-up and


SPQR Jesus serves-up

Crayfish linguini

made by Polynesian chefs

who moved out of Ponsonby

‘cos the rates were too high


Christology in my devotion

I always nod in the direction of a cross. I solemnly bow toward an altar. And I genuflect with both sincerity and drama when in the presence of a tabernacle. I attribute this respect toward crosses, crucifixes, altars and tabernacles or aumbries to both my Katorika and Mihingare whakapapa. My theology of the Eucharist is that it is the spiritual body and blood of Jesus and that I should venerate it.

Image 5: Altar, tabernacle and reredos/retable, St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney

Dr Byron Rangiwai - Image 5

(B. Rangiwai, 2018, private collection)


Jesus is home

When Jesus is home

he’ll leave the light on

But when the light is off

Jesus is out shopping


Jesus is like a genie in a lamp

he can fit into small spaces

like a tabernacle

or a chalice

or on a shiny paten


The priest holds his fingers


After handling the wafer

For fear of dropping

Jesus particles on the floor

Feed the people with the


of the un-dead Son


Rinse those pinchy

Pincer-like fingertips

with water and swish

it round the blood-stained



His portly face goes bright red

when he swallows deeply

the remainder of Christ’s blood

floaty bits ‘n’ all



Baxter, J. K. (1988). Collected poems James K Baxter. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Brown, B. (2014). I am the Māori Jesus. In R. Whaitiri & R. Sullivan (Eds.), Puna wai kōrero (pp. 48-54). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.

Holman-Hunt, W. (1900-1904). Light of the world [painting]. Retrieved from: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/history-collections/the-collections/collections-highlights/the-light-of-the-world

Holman-Hunt, W. (1905). Pre-Raphaelitism and the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. London, United Kingdom: Macmillan.

Osborne, J. (1995). One of us. Relish. Philadelphia, PA: The Crawlspace.


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