New Zealand

A Blemheimite on the East Cape

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Natalie, one of this year’s Haerenga Interns who comes from Blenheim, shares about their recent trip to the East Cape. 

Our most recent adventure involved a two week trip to the East Cape – we did the whole circuit of the Cape starting from Gisborne and then heading North, ending with a rest day in Waihi. This was our cross cultural mission experience to give us a heads up before Fiji. I’m not sure if mission is quite the right word for it as I feel like we gave very little and in return got blessed with incredible hospitality and by the way in which people opened up their lives and stories to share with us.

Something that challenged me throughout this time was the issue of belonging. As one of the only Pakehas I initially felt unsure of what the cultural norms were. I was a bit uncomfortable as we went to a local Gisborne marae with a youth group. However as we were welcomed into communities and families in Ruatoria and Te Araroa, I ended up feeling more connected  than back at home!

A few of the many fantastic experiences: making cardboard swords and shields as part of a school holiday program, watching the sun rise at the most eastern point of NZ, listening to stories of the history of the land and the Maori people and watching God at work through ordinary people. It was also a really valuable time for building us interns into a team.

So now it’s back to the studies for a wee bit. On the horizon we have a weekend in Timaru participating in what is yet undisclosed business! I’m back at home for Queen’s birthday and then it seems we are getting a bit short on weekends before the big day, June 23rd, when we head off towards warmer shores! Flights are booked – Fiji, here we come!

To hear more from our Interns visit  their blog at

Haerenga on the East Cape

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Our Youth Mobiliser Kirstin writes. 

The NZCMS Mission Interns spent the last week of April journeying around the East Cape participating in various community activities and meeting amazing people. It was an incredible time of learning, growing in Christ and discovering more about cross-cultural mission. A highlight was the beginning of the trip when we had the privilege of joining with Kawea Te Rongopai for a few days. We were instantly struck  by the enthusiasm and initiation of the youth to participate in remembering how the Gospel was brought to the Ngati Porou people. We were also impressed by the amazing leadership team who made it all happen.

It is a great year to celebrate the Gospel’s impact in Aotearoa being 200 years since it arrived in NZ. However Kawea Te Rongopai is more than just a “remembrance” event. As we joined these young people it was clear that the focus was on knowing one’s story and identity (one’s whakapapa as well as as identity in Christ). Through this focus we ask: how is my story a part of the Gospel – God’s Big Story – both in the past and in the present? For the interns this message of identity is important for understanding mission and particularly how to journey alongside one another, encouraging one another to look for God’s story and to find ways to share these amazing Gospel story with those we journey alongside.

Kia Ora Kawea Te Rongopai team for welcoming the NZCMS Whanau into your journey!


What do you get if you cross 12 Kenyans and a chilly Scottish city?

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Believe it or not, Kenyans can survive the Dunedin Autumn! Over this past weekend I had the privileged of visiting our first reverse-mission team – a group of twelve passionate, trendy and intelligent Kenyans. And because this was an opportunity not to be missed, I brought with me our three Haerenga Interns. The plan was to throw these three into the midst of the action (while I document everything from behind my camera).

We left early afternoon in hopes of joining in at a combined youth event where the team would be present. Alas, we arrived just in time to hear one of the team utter the final sentences of his testimony. What he said was deep and powerful… but we missed it!

The next morning the team were scheduled to attend the Dunedin farmers market. To be perfectly honest, out of all the 300+ events they will be part of, this was the one I was most excited about. Here was an opportunity for them to meet with people who would never step inside of a church, a chance to glorify God in the public square (… and an opportunity for some great video!).

In contrast to the previous days, that morning we were greeted by some rather sour weather. I was the first to arrive and I half expected to be alone for the morning, but eventually the team drifted in. And, impressively, they weren’t shivering too hard under their warm coats and jackets. (Let’s not forget that Dunedin weather and Kenyan weather sit on the opposite end of the spectrum.)

The team had been assigned a space – thankfully under the train station shelter – where they could set up to sing and dance for passersby, a space jammed between a preserved goods stall and one selling various baked goods. Samuel was the first to arrive and with him came his trusty guitar. At first he thought performing with gloves on was a good idea, but within a few minutes he braved the cold and freed his fingers from their warm abode. As the rest of them drifted in things picked up. The volume and excitement grew as more and more Kenyan voices were added to the mix. A hand drum was brought out enabling our friends to start grooving to the music. Before long people were congregating on that narrow platform, gathering to watch these joy-filled, up-beat Africans move to the music.

What caught us all by surprise was the repeated request that we provide a way for people to give to these supposed ‘buskers.’ A guitar case was laid out, and within a few minutes it was packed full of apples, chillies, chilli paste, coins and cash… So much was given that we had to track down a (large) bag to haul it away in. What makes this even more exciting is that the team were preparing for an African cultural evening this Friday. To properly share a culture you simply have to have food, but the team didn’t yet know how they would fit this into their budget. All of a sudden, and without seeking after it, they have most of the produce and almost all of the money they needed to make that event a success! God’s provision is amazing, and somethings unexpectedly surprising.

With over 300 events they are involved with why share this story? No one ‘got saved.’ Nothing dramatic happened. But here were a group of world-class missionaries-to-New-Zealand rubbing shoulders with normal kiwis in the public square. There were actively and vocally worshiping the God of creation in the midst of stalls, families, sinners and saints. And here they were, depending on God to provide for them as they seek to reach out to New Zealanders. The reason this stands out to me is this is precisely what I’ve been involved with when I’ve traveled to other nations – but in this situation I was the local, the one on the receiving end, the one they had come to bless. To see all they are doing for me and my land is truly humbling. What an honour that God would send such people to my nation in this bicentennial year.