New Zealand consists of two main islands in the South Pacific Ocean just west of 180° longitude.
The original inhabitants, the Māori people, are Polynesians who navigated the oceans by observing the stars, and wind and ocean currents. It is thought they settled there between 1200 and 1300 AD. The first Europeans to arrive were led by a Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, in 1642. A Dutch mapmaker named their discovery Nieuw Zeeland. British and French explorers arrived much later, notably James Cook in 1769. Whalers, sealers, traders, and missionaries followed. On February 6, 1840, the Māori chiefs and a representative of the British Crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi, ostensibly a friendship agreement, but one which eventually enabled British settlers to buy or take over Māori lands. In the 1860s, war broke out over property rights as the Māoris realized they were being squeezed from their ancestral holdings. The Māoris were no match for British muskets. Today, the majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent (70 percent), with the indigenous Māori being the largest minority (15 percent), followed by Asians (15.3 percent), and non-Māori Pacific Islanders (9.0 percent).1 Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional Head of State.
Coming of Seventh-day Adventist Missionaries
In early June 1885, Stephen Haskell visited Auckland on his way to Australia, tossing overboard sealed bottles stuffed with Bible studies in the hope that some would float to shore and trigger an interest in his message. During his stop-over in the harbor, he explored possibilities for evangelism, concluding that the libraries of the Mechanic’s Institutes would gladly receive his denominational books. He appealed for someone in America to donate $5,000 for the initiative.2
After helping to establish the Seventh-day Adventist mission in Australia, Haskell hurried back to New Zealand, as he said, “to try my hand alone.” He carried a letter of introduction to the American Consul in Auckland. Fortuitously, this gentleman recommended a boarding house for Haskell, one operated by Edward Hare. Hare was a family member of one of the early European settlers, former Methodists who had severed their connections with the church “on account of their peculiar views.” Edward Hare was an Orangeman and a member of the Blue Ribbon Club, a temperance organization. There were, therefore, a number of common interests between Hare and Haskell, and within weeks Hare and his wife began to observe Saturday as the Sabbath. Hare began to canvass denominational books and periodicals with some success.3
Haskell spent over a month in Auckland, conducting Bible studies and establishing a small company of Sabbath-keepers who began meeting regularly in the Temperance Hall at Mount Eden. Edward Hare then escorted Haskell north to remote Kaeo where the rest of the Hare clan lived. During a visit of three weeks, filled with extensive Bible studies, the family decided to observe Saturday, forming a second company of adherents. These were the first groups of Adventist believers in New Zealand.4
The early converts met with resistance from other faiths, two in Kaeo being summoned to appear before the resident magistrate for working inside their own home on a Sunday.5 Nevertheless, the believers were resolute and formed tract societies to distribute Adventist literature among friend and foe alike. The Kaeo company was the first to form a tract society in 1886,6 followed by the Auckland members in 1887.7 In 1889, the New Zealand Tract Society was formed to coordinate the distribution of literature by a growing number of Adventist companies throughout the North Island.8 At the same time, the Auckland members, under the ministry of Arthur Daniells, were busy building their own church structure in MacKelvie Street, suburban Ponsonby. They began to use it in June 1887 before it was completed a few months later. It was the first Seventh-day Adventist church in New Zealand.9
Expansion and Diversification
Further evangelistic campaigns resulted in additional converts in large centers such as Napier and Wellington. These extended across the Cook Strait, Mendel Israel being the first to pioneer the South Island with a crusade at Blenheim in 1891.10 In order to provide a sense of unity among the scattered membership, a camp meeting was held at Napier in March 1893. It was the first American-style camp meeting held in Australasia, the preaching enjoyed by all present and the initiative declared to be “an unqualified success.”11
After approximately twelve years of evangelism, there were twelve organized Adventist churches throughout New Zealand.12 Records also indicated there were twelve book sellers working from door-to-door selling titles such as Bible Readings for the Home Circle, Patriarchs and Prophets, Man the Masterpiece, and Ladies’ Guide.13 In the same year, 1898, health evangelism was initiated when Adolf and Florence Brandstater began offering hydrotherapy treatments in Christchurch.14 This work was enlarged with the opening of the Christchurch Sanitarium in the suburb of Papanui in 1900.15
Up until 1900, the focus of mission endeavors was entirely on the European population. One Māori woman had been baptized at Kaeo16 and a small number had become members of the company at Tolago Bay. Not until 1901 was a missionary appointed to specifically work among the Māoris. Dr. Joseph Caldwell and his wife, Julia, settled at Raglan to engage in medical work among the Māoris. However, Julia Caldwell tragically succumbed to malarial fever a few months later and Joseph returned to America. William James Smith resumed the work in 1906, locating at Gisborne. During his term, a monthly Māori periodical, Te Karere o te Pono (Messenger of Truth), was published. Read Smith, a nursing graduate, replaced William Smith, but unfortunately after less than two years he contracted typhoid fever from his Māori patients and died in 1910. In 1914, Reginald Piper began evangelism among the Ringatu clan in the Bay of Plenty region. High hopes were held for this enterprise because the Ringatus were Saturday keepers.17 These people resisted other teachings of the Adventist faith and specialized efforts for the Māoris were soon abandoned in favor of pitching crusades to attract all races.18
Efforts to serve people’s health needs through hydrotherapy facilities and direct nursing reduced prejudice again Adventists in New Zealand. The operation of cafeterias and the production of health foods in the name of preventive medicine also garnered good will. The Adventist-owned Sanitarium Health Food Company (SHF) opened its first New Zealand manufacturing factory in suburban Papanui, Christchurch, in 1900. Later, two more factories were opened, one in Auckland and another at Longburn, north of Wellington.19 The first SHF cafeteria in New Zealand began business in November 1906 in the heart of Wellington.20 Subsequently, a network of cafeterias and retail shops were developed throughout the major cities.
A significant venture into health services by the Adventist Church occurred with the opening of the Auckland Adventist Hospital in January 1974.21 A high standard of care was maintained, but recurring heavy operational costs forced its sale in December 1999.22
From the time that the first Adventist converts were made in New Zealand, young men and women who wished to train in medical or ministerial lines had to make the long and expensive journey to California or Australia. Church officials soon recognized that a training school on home soil would serve their purpose admirably. For this reason, a boarding school was opened on a rural property near Cambridge in the center of the North Island. It came to be known as Pukekura, meaning in the Māori language “I love the place.”23 The building was dedicated on February 3, 1908.24 In under five years, plans were made to sell Pukekura and move south to another property closer to the developing membership in the South Island, one which provided better soil for agriculture. Farmland was purchased at Longburn near Palmerston North and a Tudor-style building was erected in 1912. It was named Oroua Missionary School, dedicated on April 30, 1913.25 Today it is called Longburn Adventist College.26 In addition to this major training institution, many elementary schools have functioned in both islands, the earliest being at Cambridge when Pukekura closed. The second elementary school opened at Christchurch in 1914.27 By 1934, these two schools were closed and three others were operating, one at Hamilton and others at Gisborne and Papanui.28 During and after the Second World War years, more Adventist elementary schools were opened.
The New Zealand Pacific Union Conference is administered from offices at 18 Fencible Drive, Howick, Auckland.29 Within its territory lie the North New Zealand Conference (NNZC)30 and the South New Zealand Conference (SNZC).31 The NNZC office, located at 47 Ben Lamond Crescent, Pakuranga Heights, Auckland, administers sixty-three churches with a membership of 11,013. The SNZC office, located at 614 Sir William Pickering Drive, Russley, Christchurch, administers twenty-two churches with a membership of 2,270. No medical institutions are conducted but three main secondary schools are maintained. These are located at Auckland, Longburn, and Christchurch.32
Radio and television evangelism is conducted through Hope Channel. Radio programs are aired on FM radio and television screening is scheduled 24/7.33
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) New Zealand has a central office at 124 Pah Road, Royal Oak, Auckland, from where Pacific Island charitable projects are initiated and emergency services are on stand-by.34
“ADRA New Zealand.” Facebook, 2019. Accessed December 3, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/adra.newzealand/.
“Annual Statistical Report 2019.” General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics and Research. Accessed December 4, 2019. https://www.adventistarchives.org.
A. Z. “Kaeo, New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, October 1886.
Braucht, F[rederich] E. “The Christchurch Sanitarium.” Union Conference Record, November 1, 1900.
“A Brief History of New Zealand- New Zealand Now.” Immigration New Zealand, November 28, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nz/history-government/a-brief-history.
Carswell, W[illiam] R. “The Maori Mission, New Zealand.” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914.
Cole, J[ohn] M. “New Zealand Conference.” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914.
Daniells, A[rthur] G. “New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 1887.
Daniells, A[rthur] G. “New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1887.
Daniells, A[rthur] G. “New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, September 1887.
Daniells, A[rthur] G. “Organization of the New Zealand Tract Society.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1, 1889.
Davies, Joanne. “Auckland Adventist Hospital Sold.” Record [South Pacific Division], December 18, 1999.
Farnsworth, E[ugene] W. “New Zealand Conference.” Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898.
Farnsworth, E[ugene] W. “New Zealand Conference Proceedings.” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898.
Gilson, W[illiam] J. “Our Church School Work.” Australasian Record, April 2, 1934.
Hansford, G[eorge] F. “Health Food and Cafe Work in New Zealand.” Union Conference Record, May 6, 1907.
Hare, Edward. “Notes from New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, June 1886.
Haskell, S[tephen] N. “New Zealand.” ARH, July 28, 1885.
Haskell, S[tephen] N. “The Cause in Australia.” ARH, January 5, 1886.
Haskell, S[tephen] N. “The Work in New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, January 1886.
“Hope Channel New Zealand.” HopeChannel, 2019. https://www.hopechannel.com/nz.
Israel, M[endel] C. “Wellington and Blenheim, New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1, 1891.
Jenkins, Douglas I. “Opening Ceremony, Auckland Adventist Hospital.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, March 25, 1974.
McCullagh, S[tephen]. “Notes from New Zealand.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, May 1, 1893.
Mills, J[oseph]. “Oroua Missionary School.” Australasian Record, June 23, 1913.
“Monthly Summary of the Australasian Canvassing Work.” Union Conference Record, May 1898.
Olsen, O[le] A. “New Zealand.” Union Conference Record, February 24, 1908.
Parr, Robert and Glyn Litster. “What Hath God Wrought!” The Sanitarium Health Food Company Story. Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company, n.d.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2018.
- “A Brief History of New Zealand- New Zealand Now,” Immigration New Zealand, November 28, 2018, accessed November 27, 2019, https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nzhistory-government/a-brief-history.↩
- S[tephen] N. Haskell, “New Zealand,” ARH, July 28, 1885, 473.↩
- S[tephen] N. Haskell, “The Cause in Australia,” ARH, January 5, 1886, 9.↩
- S[tephen] N. Haskell, “The Work in New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, January 1886, 11. See also Hare, Edward; Hare, Eric B; Hare, Reuben Ethelbert; Hare, Robert; Hare, Metcalfe.↩
- A.Z. “Kaeo, New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, October 1886, 155.↩
- Edward Hare, “Notes from New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, June 1886, 91.↩
- A[rthur] G. Daniells, “New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, September 1887, 144.↩
- A[rthur] G. Daniells, “Organization of the New Zealand Tract Society,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1, 1889, 236.↩
- A[rthur] G. Daniells, “New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1887, 128.↩
- M[endel] C. Israel, “Wellington and Blenheim, New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, August 1, 1891, 236.↩
- S[tephen] McCullagh, “Notes from New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, May 1, 1893, 140.↩
- E[ugene] W. Farnsworth, “The New Zealand Conference,” Union Conference Record, December 15, 1898, .↩
- “Monthly Summary of the Australasian Canvassing Work,” Union Conference Record, May 1898, 67.↩
- E[ugene] W. Farnsworth, “New Zealand Conference Proceedings,” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898, 19-20.↩
- F[rederich] E. Braucht, “The Christchurch Sanitarium,” Union Conference Record, November 1, 1900, 13-14.↩
- A[rthur] G. Daniells, “New Zealand,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 1887, 27.↩
- W[illiam] R. Carswell, “The Maori Mission, New Zealand,” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914, 49-50.↩
- See Maori Ministry New Zealand.↩
- Robert Parr and Glyn Litster, “What Hath God Wrought!” The Sanitarium Health Food Company Story (Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company, n.d.), 51-52, 55-59, 65, 74-81.↩
- G[eorge] F. Hansford, “Health Food and Cafe Work in New Zealand,” Union Conference Record, May 6, 1907, 7; See Sanitarium Health Food Cafes, New Zealand.↩
- Douglas I. Jenkins, “Opening Ceremony, Auckland Adventist Hospital,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, May 25, 1974, 8-9; See Auckland Adventist Hospital, New Zealand.↩
- Joanne Davies, “Auckland Adventist Hospital Sold,” Record [South Pacific Division], December 18, 1999, 4-5.↩
- See Pukekura Training School, New Zealand.↩
- O[le] A. Olsen, “New Zealand,” Union Conference Record, February 24, 1908, 8.↩
- J[oseph] Mills, “Oroua Missionary School,” Australasian Record, June 23, 1913, 6.↩
- See Longburn Adventist College.↩
- J[ohn] M. Cole, “New Zealand Conference,” Australasian Record, September 28, 1914, 31-33.↩
- W[illiam] J. Gilson, “Our Church School Work,” Australasian Record, April 2, 1934, 5.↩
- See New Zealand Pacific Union Conference.↩
- See North New Zealand Conference.↩
- See South New Zealand Conference.↩
- “New Zealand Pacific Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2018), 274-276; “Annual Statistical Report 2019,” General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, accessed December 4, 2019, https://www.adventistarchives.org. See Auckland Adventist High School; Longburn Adventist College; Christchurch Adventist School.↩
- “Hope Channel New Zealand,” HopeChannel, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019, https://www.hopechannel.com/nz.↩
- “ADRA New Zealand,” Facebook, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/adra.newzealand/.↩