Pitotori Naera, pictured in 2008, has been an Anglican priest in Northland for many years.
An Anglican priest has resigned from his position after having an affair with a woman he officiated a marriage for a few months earlier.
Reverend Pitotori (Peter) Naera, from the Far North, told an Anglican Church tribunal he “didn’t know it was against the rules”.
A tribunal decision from October 2022, stated Naera indicated he wouldn’t be willing to undertake counselling or training on issues relating to the affair, as he intended to resign.
The tribunal noted the affair was not a “one-off” incident and the woman he was having an affair with had been married to her husband less than six months.
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The couple had been together almost 20 years before their marriage and had a child, which Naera knew, the church said, and the affair ended their relationship when the woman’s husband found out.
“Her husband was extremely distressed at discovering the affair,” the tribunal stated.
“Reverend Naera said he didn’t realise this was a breach.”
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The tribunal noted Naera had been a senior priest in the church for many years and he could “reasonably be expected to know entering into this sexual relationship was a serious breach of the standards of ministry”.
Naera said he didn’t realise his affair with the married woman breached standards for ministers until her husband made it clear he would complain to the Ministry Standards Commission.
He continued the relationship with the woman, which the tribunal said suggested a “lack of insight” into the seriousness of the misconduct.
The tribunal said the aggravating factors were that the affair happened just months after he officiated the wedding of the husband and wife, it lasted for over six months and it only stopped when the husband confronted him.
The church found Naera guilty of misconduct for breaching the requirement of chastity, which was to refrain from “adultery and fornication”.
Naera was told he would not be allowed to hold any office or ministry within the church for four years. If his position was restored he would need to undertake training in boundaries and attend regular supervision.