Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Counseling Issues & South Pacific Communities

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Counseling Issues & South Pacific Communities

Article excerpt

Counseling Issues & South Pacific Communities. Edited by Philip

Culbertson. Auckland, New Zealand: Accent Publications, 1997.

344 pp. NZ $38 (approx. US $18) (paper).

Pastoral care in several islands in the South Pacific is the subject of this ground-breaking book. With sections written by persons indigenous to that particular island culture, the book describes pastoral care as viewed in the cultures of the native Maori in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niuean, Samoan, Tongan, and Pakeha (non-Maori) in New Zealand. Philip Culbertson, an Anglican priest teaching Pastoral Care at Auckland University, compiled the chapters, and edited them, while also providing a helpful, general introduction to culture and pastoral care viewed cross-culturally.

A common theme to the sections is the affirmation of a particular culture while remaining open to change. Each of the writers attempts to describe the pastoral care as actually practiced and lived in her or his particular culture, without influence of western conceptualizations of pastoral care. Winston Halapua, in the section he wrote on Tonga, best describes the thesis of the book, in addition to the thesis of his particular section: ". . . pastoral care in South Pacific Island cultures requires the utilisation of all aspects of indigenous gifts and values which have withstood the test of time, even those which have lain dormant for years" (p. 251).

For persons not living in the South Pacific, this book helps us with our ethnocentrism. We have tended to see the way we practice church, with the pastoral care embodied in it, as the best way for everyone everywhere. Our emphasis, for example, on the individual person is viewed differently when seen in the light of communal cultures; this is seen most starkly in Jean Mitaera's description of pastoral care in the Cook Islands as the practice of genealogy (p. …

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