Our Communities: Christians

The Catholic Church in New Zealand is a part of the worldwide Catholic Church, which, inspired by the life, death and teachings of Jesus Christ, and under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Roman curia in Vatican City (within Rome), is the largest Christian Church in the world (Source: Wikipedia).

Catholics first arrived in New Zealand in the 1820s, following British settlement.

Catholicism is the largest New Zealand Christian denomination with 492,384 members (about 11.07%) of the total population (Census 2013).

New Zealand has one Archdiocese (Wellington) and five suffragan dioceses (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Palmerston North). There are 530 priests and 1200 men and women religious.

Largest in Auckland

In 2006, around 55% of New Zealanders identified themselves as Christian, with first Anglicanism then Catholicism and Presbyterianism being the largest denominations.

The Census recorded 508,437 New Zealand Catholics, a 4.7% increase on the 2001 census. This represented about 12.3% of the overall population of New Zealand, which was measured at 4,143,279 people on census night.

The number of Catholics increased by 12,900 between 1996 and 2001 and by 22,800 between 2001 and 2006, and the Catholic Church was the largest denomination in the Auckland region (where 31% of the total New Zealand population resides and where most immigrants settle).

Census 2013 showed decline in adherents by 16,000 members.

However, the decline in the membership of the mainline non-Catholic denominations was greater and Roman Catholicism had become the largest New Zealand Christian denomination, surpassing Anglicanism for first time in history.

Catholics accounted for 14% in Census 1901, though at that time the Church was only the third largest denomination.

Low turnout

Approximately 25% of New Zealand Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass compared to 60% in the late 1960s. The number of priests, nuns and brothers has declined in recent years, while the involvement of ordinary people has increased.

Catholic organisations remain heavily involved in community activities including education, health services, chaplaincy to prisons, rest homes, and hospitals, social justice and human rights advocacy.

Christians are known for their pacifist approach to life, sharing their love and penchant for peace not only with the members of their community but also other ethnic groups.

Indian Christians in New Zealand form a minority group, within which are a number of other smaller communities including Christian, Anglican, Protestant and St Mary’s Orthodox, to mention a few.

Prayer Power

Four thousands of years, people around the world have experienced the comfort, solace and peace of mind that prayer brings to them and their families.

‘Jesus Calls,’ is a Ministry that attracts millions of people around the world to pray for someone who is in distress – not just out of physical ailment but out of mental agony, marital incompatibility, physical deficiencies and a thousand of problems, complaints and hopeless situations.

Prayer Towers

More than 50 ‘Prayer Towers’ of ‘Jesus Calls’ have been established in many parts of the world, allowing people to congregate and pray. In Auckland, New Zealand’s first Prayer Tower commenced functioning on November 17, 2012 with the benevolence of businessman Charles Pandey and his family.

Located at 1/80 Carr Road (Mt Roskill), the Prayer Tower is open from 9 am to 6 pm (Monday to Friday) for all people and Healing and Blessing meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7 pm.

Interfaith Meeting

The Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee, comprising members of almost all major religions, organises an Annual Meeting under the patronage of Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn at Catholic Church of Christ the King in the Auckland suburb of Mt Roskill on Saturday, November 22, 2014.

Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, who was appointed as Minister of Ethnic Communities (a newly created Ministry) last month, will be the Guest Speaker at the event.

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