Wikaira whānau. Source / Provided
Shane and Bronwyn Wikaira, and their 10 children are one of the hundreds of families across the country that are participating in a 24-hour fast from food and water in the hopes of lifting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shane Wikaira (Ngāpuhi) says that fasting is not just a biblical teaching that was introduced to Māori upon the arrival of Christian missionaries, but rather a practice with traditional origins.
“It is an ancient practice from our ancestors, I remember the history from those times – when they would journey to the houses of learning, they would fast - they wouldn’t eat or drink.
"The principle was to strengthen their spirit within them so they could hear the holy spirit, the carrier of knowledge and communication from heaven, from God to them,” Wikaira says.
The logistics of the fast outlined. Source / Facebook
The charge for the worldwide fast came only last week, from Russel Nelson, president and spiritual leader of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalised," Nelson says.
Wikaira re-emphasises that this invitation is for everyone all over the world, regardless of faith or ethnic background - to demonstrate spiritual unity and togetherness in an effort against the relentless virus that is currently plaguing the world.
“It’s for other churches as well! The call, the request, is for us to unite, no matter which church, no matter which faith you are from. By uniting, we shall achieve our goal, because this Coronavirus has affected everyone.”
People participating in the fast are taking to social media to uplift and encourage each other as they go without food and drink. It is clear by the different posts that people of many different faiths are fasting together.