New Zealand
August 27

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Area 267,515 Two mountainous main islands 1,600 km southeast of Australia.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 3,861,905 +1.02% 14 per sq. km.
2010 4,207,078 +0.83% 16 per sq. km.
2025 4,694,964 +0.67% 18 per sq. km.

Nearly 75% of the population live in the North Island.

Capital Wellington 350,000. Other major city: Auckland 1.1 mill. About 30% of the population live in the Auckland area. Urbanites 84%.


Roughly 15% of the population would consider themselves of more than one race.

European 77%.

Polynesian 18.2%. Maori 510,000; Pacific Islanders 193,000 (Samoan, Tongan, Cook Is, Niue, etc.)

Asian 4.3%.

Other 0.5%.

Literacy 99%. Official languages English, Maori. All languages 17, two of which are indigenous.


Highly efficient export-oriented agricultural industry with timber and tourism also becoming important. Painful and radical restructuring, ending of subsidies and partial dismantling of the welfare state enabled the country to weather the two major international recessions of the 1990s. There is a considerable 'brain drain' to Australia and elsewhere. HDI 0.901; 18th/174. Public debt 50% of GNP. Income/person $15,720 (50% of USA).


The Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori and the British in 1840 granted the latter the right to settle in exchange for guarantees of Maori land and natural resources. The present dispute is concerning the degree of sovereignty the treaty granted the British. Independent of Britain in 1907. A stable parliamentary democracy with the British Monarch as head of state.


Freedom of religion. No established church.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 61.71 2,383,182 +0.3%
non-Religious 35.00 1,351,667 +1.9%
Buddhist/Chinese 1.13 43,600 +8.7%
Hindu 0.95 36,688 +6.2%
Muslim 0.46 17,765 +4.4%
Other 0.40 15,448 +3.8%
Jewish 0.17 6,565 +5.0%
Baha'i 0.09 3,500 +1.0%
Sikh 0.09 3,476 +3.4%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 63 20.60 796 -1.6%
Independent 12 1.94 75 +3.9%
Anglican 1 15.54 600 -1.3%
Catholic 1 12.17 470 -0.3%
Orthodox 3 0.22 8 +5.2%
Marginal 18 3.87 150 -0.6%
Unaffiliated   7.37 284 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Anglican A 667 84,034 600,000
Catholic C 325 315,436 470,000
Presbyterian P 700 52,821 440,000
Methodist P 150 16,492 110,000
Latter-daySaints (Morm) M 188 56,376 84,000
Baptist Union P 260 23,000 53,000
Ratana M 96 19,162 32,000
Assemblies of God P 230 14,535 25,000
Christian Fellowships [4] I 150 12,000 24,000
Christian Brethren P 240 12,987 20,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 183 15,850 20,000
Salvation Army P 110 6,400 13,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 85 10,000 13,000
Apostolic P 105 5,500 10,000
Orthodox [3] O 9 5,592 8,500
Ringatu M 34 5,030 8,400
Elim Pentecostal P 126 5,035 7,200
Lutheran P 20 1,800 5,100
Assoc Chs of Christ P 39 1,717 4,000
Cong Union of NZ P 8 320 4,000
Reformed Chs of NZ P 18 2,308 3,300
Other denoms [74]   1,240 86,400 144,300
Total Christians [100]   4,983 752,800 2,098,800

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 22.1 854 -0.8%
Charismatic 9.5 366 +0.6%
  Pentecostal 2.5 96 +3.4%

Missionaries from New Zealand
P,I,A 1,836 in 84 agencies, with 1,400 to 114 countries.

Missionaries to New Zealand
P,I,A 326 in 56 agencies from 29 countries.

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Answers to Prayer

1 A moving of the Holy Spirit in the 1960s brought renewal and widespread change in nearly every denomination. Many new charismatic congregations emerged and mainline denominations became more evangelical – a marked feature in the large Presbyterian Church. Over the 1990s new Pentecostal denominations emerged. Apostolic and Elim churches showed some growth. The Brethren and Reformed churches have reversed their decline.

2 New Zealand is ranked fourth in the world for missionaries sent out per head of Christian population.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The rapid secularization of society has led to declines among Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists and, to a lesser extent, Catholics. Those with no religion rose from 1.1% in 1951 to 26% in 1996. Church attendance is declining and in 2000 was 14% of the population, but only 19% of attenders are in their 30s, and 8% in their 20s. There is growing interest in New Age religions, but the Church is criticized as too traditional, so the decline is set to continue unless God intervenes. The Presbyterians are sorely divided over such issues as the practice of homosexuality. Earlier Pentecostal and charismatic growth has slowed and the attrition rate is high. Many Christians pray for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit – pray with them for this.

2 The lack of meaningful interfacing between Christians and the secularized majority is giving concern. New initiatives sparked by Willow Creek, use of Alpha courses and special seeker services are helping, as is the Christian schooling network. Pray for relevance, authenticity, vibrancy, and winsomeness in witness for believers. The decline in the welfare state has also given churches more awareness of opportunities to help the poorer sectors of the community with local food banks, budget counselling, etc. Pray that these avenues of community ministry might bear spiritual fruit.

3 Extensive church planting during the 1990s yielded mixed results – more churches were planted, but many of these were less viable because conversions did not increase. There has been a greater emphasis on increased cooperation between denominations in planting viable rural churches and starting work among immigrant minorities. Pray for an effective, unified witness that impacts the unconverted.

4 Young people are deeply affected by the strong secular emphasis of the state education system and relatively few are active Christians. Pray for the ministry of SU in secondary schools; TSCF(IFES) and CCCI in universities are important. TSCF has a specific ministry to the increasing numbers of international students. There is a popular Christian music festival, Parachute, which has a large following. In a nation of sports-lovers, there are some fine Christian sportsmen and women. Pray for more athletes to become wholesome role-models for young New Zealanders and by their bold witness draw many to the Saviour.

5 The missions vision of the New Zealand Church is an example to many other lands, but has faltered in recent years. The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement courses have had significant impact leading to new candidates for Bible School training and then going into missions as a result. Pray for these and their preparation for cross-cultural service. There are 19 residential Protestant Bible schools, of which the largest and best known is the Bible College of New Zealand in Auckland, and some 60 part-time schools. Pray for this missions vision to be nurtured by pastors and embraced by whole congregations.

6 A Maori cultural revival and compensation for infringements of the 1840 Treaty have impacted the non-Maori majority. Many Maori resent their cultural dislocation which has put them at a social disadvantage – high unemployment, relative poverty, crime, youth gangs, welfare needs are the result. Syncretistic sects such as Ringatu and Ratana as well as the Mormons have gained large followings. Very few attend evangelical churches. Pray that Maori may find their full cultural blossoming in embracing the fullness of the gospel and pray for a new generation of Maori evangelical leaders to emerge.

7 New Zealand's increasing diversity of cultures presents new challenges. Many immigrants find that they have few job opportunities commensurate with their training, and unemployment is high. Increasing numbers of churches are reaching out to new immigrants with English language classes and other practical assistance which has created significant opportunities. Pray for these groups:

a) Polynesians have immigrated to NZ seeking employment. Large communities of Samoans, Tongans and Islanders from the NZ-administered Cook, Tokelau and Niue Islands live in the cities. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world, with over 100,000. Many live in poorer areas of South Auckland where poverty and lack of employment are common and crime is high. Many go to church but young people are generally disillusioned with their churches.

b) Chinese immigrants have a long history in New Zealand. Recently immigration has increased, mainly from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Although 75% claim to be 'Christian', only 12% of these attend church regularly. There are a growing number of churches with a significant Chinese membership. May they be challenged to daring discipleship and missions.

c) Indians are increasing in numbers, especially from Fiji since the 1987 and 2000 coups. There are a number of Christians and some outreach, but there is a lack of Indian Christian leadership.

d) Southeast Asian refugees and the Japanese community are predominantly Buddhist. Attempts have been made to reach them and there are Japanese congregations in Auckland and Christchurch.

e) The 4,000 Jews (400 of these are recent migrants from the former USSR) have one CWI couple and several others seeking to reach them.

f) Muslim outreach is being developed, but there has been little lasting fruit to date.

g) South Africans and Koreans have increased in numbers. Many are active Christians. Koreans have started 60 churches in Auckland alone. Pray for their witness and integration into the wider Christian community.

8 Specialized Christian ministries:

a) Radio Rhema has a wide coverage and listenership throughout the country. Programmes are also produced for ethnic minorities and young people (Life FM).

b) Open Air Campaigners has a unique evangelistic and mobilizing ministry among Christians for outreach.

c) Alpha Courses are in wide use and increasing numbers of people are involved.

d) Prison Ministries are active in many prisons. Many prisoners have been converted. Pray for them in the difficulties they face following their release.

e) The JESUS film has been shown in public cinemas as well as being widely available on video. Pray for lasting fruit from the project to distribute a copy of this powerful video to every home in the country.

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