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Weaving Together of Strangers – The Haerenga Story (Issue 20)

Haerenga means journey. I don't think there could be a more suitable name for the last four months we spent in Christchurch. It all began in February when I arrived at the airport late, excited and sleep deprived to see Kirstin, Natalie and Warena waiting for me. Quick introduction were made, and once I'd passed the initial shock of finding out I'd be sharing a room (plus discovering Warena’s strange obsession with people’s heights), Haerenga had begun for me.

During our time in Christchurch we studied at Laidlaw, attended training workshops, had volunteer mission placements, and unearthed the realities of living in community. I’ve found living in community to be an interesting challenge – forming solid community rhythms sounds all good and well, but a big flat of busy people make it hard to find time to sit and be a family together. And then when tension inevitably arises it can be tough to deal with. Thankfully I’ve had wonderful people around me who offered support in any way I needed it – whether it was someone providing me with my own space for a bit or a confidential ear to talk to when I just had to vent. These people really showed me what it was to feel God's love in everything that was happening.
Our Laidlaw study and training workshops were both rewarding and challenging. Through them the three of us were really woven together as a team. We shared the stress of trying to finish assignments. We reflected and wrestled together in our beliefs, actions and attitudes when faced with something different, new or thought provoking.
One of the most valued parts of our time in Christchurch for me was my volunteer placements. I was working with the Shirley Community Trust in their community cafe and with their fortnightly dinner. This time changed my perspectives on some ideals I held dear and gave me endless opportunities to connect with people and hear their stories.
I'm so glad to have had the other two interns journeying with me as we finished our time in Christchurch and prepared ourselves for Fiji. In these four months of Haerenga my faith has been more developed, stretched and strengthened than in any other time of my life.

We are presently recruiting Haerenga Interns for 2015. If you are interested or know someone who might be please contact for further details or visit


This was originally published in Intermission (July-August 2014)