Christianity is on a precipitous decline in New Zealand (37% in the 2018 census). The largest group is now “no religion” at 48%. New Age spirituality focuses on individualism and nature, and attracts many Kiwis (New Zealanders) who feel disappointed by the Church. But 24/7 prayer rooms and other recent prayer groups prove that God still moves in the Kiwi Church! The recent decline is more a case of the pruning of nominal Christianity – what remains is much more alive. Praise God for new growth in charismatic and Pentecostal groups, and new evangelical movements in mainline denominations. Pray that God will pour His Holy Spirit into the Church and draw back the many who have left.
The continuing Maori cultural revival and the rapidly increasing Maori population move Maori interests higher on the agenda. The state is still coming to grips with its obligations to the Maori. Cultural dislocation in the past was a main cause of social problems such as high unemployment, relative poverty, crime, domestic violence and youth gangs. 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.
New Zealand's cultural diversification continues apace as the nation's prosperity, stability and freedoms attract immigrants. But natural increase now outstrips immigration as the largest cause of population growth (much is attributed to higher birthrates in minority populations). Challenges remain to meaningfully employ and to integrate some of these groups into the broader society. Two-thirds of Asian migrants live in Auckland, where they comprise 20% of the population. Increasing numbers of churches reach out to new immigrants with English-language classes and other practical assistance, which creates significant opportunities. Pray for these groups:
- Polynesians immigrate to NZ to seek 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. Many live in poorer areas of South Auckland where poverty and lack of employment are common and crime is high. But increasing numbers enter higher-profile professions such as sports, the media and the arts. Christian roots are common, but the younger generation is increasingly non-Christian.
- Chinese immigrants have a long history in New Zealand. Immigration has recently increased, with mainland Chinese swelling the numbers of those from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Chinese churches and congregations with a significant Chinese membership are multiplying. Pray that they may be challenged to daring discipleship and missions.
- Indians in increasing numbers immigrate from Fiji, India, Malaysia, South Africa and elsewhere. There are a number of Indian Christians and some outreach, but a lack of Indian Christian leadership.
- Other Asian groups, including refugees/migrants from Southeast Asia (growing in number), and the Japanese community, are predominantly Buddhist. Attempts are made to reach them, and there are some Japanese congregations.
- The 7,000 Jews have some Messianic believers and ministry to them (CWI and others).
- Muslims are a small but fast-growing community from different parts of the world. They are assertive in establishing their own congregations - there are now around a dozen mosques in Auckland alone. There is definite need for outreach from Christians; little has been done to date.
- South Africans and Koreans are two growing minorities with many churches already established. Pray for their integration into the wider Christian community; they have great potential for outreach and mission.
- Get all of this content and daily notifications in our free mobile app. Download here ›
- Sign up for a daily e-mail that gets you the featured prayer point of the day straight to your inbox.
- This content is a curated selection of points from our book, Operation World. Find out more about it and all the rest of Our Publications ›
Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.