Remembering Pastor Peter Hira
by Ann van Engelen
The Hira family and the local and wider communities across New Zealand, and the world, farewelled Pastor Peter Hira in late August.
Treasured husband of the late Vera, Peter was born on November 16, 1944 and died on August 21 after a long illness. They had three children, Steve, Angie and Michelle. He was a grandfather, brother, kaumatua and pastor to many.
“Granddad married my grandmother Vera, a women of Welsh origins, on October 28, 1967 — the day after her 21st birthday. He was a man of God whose legacy permeates the lives of countless people across the world,” said eldest grandson Caleb Griffioen.
“He became a pastor after training with my grandmother’s dad — Pastor Thomas Thomas. Granddad was one of the native Te Reo speakers who had to learn English due to the law change and often talked about his stutter growing up, and how when he converted to Christianity it disappeared.
“He was the first maori to be elected to the Assemblies of God executive board in the mid 1980’s and moved to Christchurch in 1988, operating their church out of the old Odeon picture theatre in Tuam Street. He became assistant superintendent of the AOG in 1992.
Grandad was kaumatua for Tuhoe Ki Wai taha and was involved in a diverse range of ministry across the community.”
After the earthquakes Peter and Vera started the Aranui Foodbank which fed people across the city through their then church, Christchurch Worship Centre. This was acknowledged by the Governor General of New Zealand.
“My grandparents were stabilising factors and known to respect all cultures, never excluding anyone for their beliefs. They saw many miracles through their faith and their legacy will continue for generations to come.”