14 Mar 2013

Maori Catholics welcome Pope Francis I

6:50 pm on 14 March 2013

Maori Catholics are celebrating the election of the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, an Argentine cardinal from Buenos Aires, has been selected as the 266th pontiff.

He succeeds the position from Pope Benedict XVI who was the first Pope to resign in 600 years.

The new Pope has taken on the name Pope Francis I but will be known amongst Maori Catholics as Pāpā Werahiko Te Tuatahi.

New Zealand Maori Catholic Council executive member Danny Karatea-Goddard says Maori Catholics will appreciate his advocacy for social justice.

He says Katorika Maori will be excited about the appointment of the first ever South American Pope from Argentina.

Mr Karatea-Goddard says Maori parishioners will identify with the fact Pope Francis I comes from an impoverished country and a place that is deeply involved with social justice issues.