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Interfaith Org NZ welcomes you in the spirit of understanding and cooperation between all of the faiths in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The website was started in the 1990s to support the sharing of news and events of interfaith groups throughout the country. In addition it has links to many other interfaith sites and resources, a multifaith calendar and a picture gallery of interfaith activities.

For more information about this site or to submit news and events, please contact Paddy Payne: or +64 21 505 215.


Celebrating the Temple of Understanding's 60th Anniversary

​Celebrating the Temple of Understanding's 60th Anniversary

FORUM2020: Science, Spirituality, the Climate Emergency and Our Future & Global Interfaith Prayer Service for the Earth

Proudly presented by the Temple of Understanding in collaboration with Marble Collegiate Church, New York City

World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists, and youth environmental activists come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis with strategies for inspired collective action. 

Over forty international speakers will be offering their wisdom and perspectives through keynote addresses, diverse panels, inspiring prayers and sacred music.

Free Online Events Oct 16 & 17, 2020

More information and registration here:  

Extension of consultation period to 31 October 2020: Burials and Cremations

​Extension of consultation period to 31 October 2020: Burials and Cremations

The Ministry of Health has extended the consultation period regarding proposed options to modernise the legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the period for accepting submissions has now been extended until 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 31 October 2020.
We wish to thank those who have already submitted. Should you wish to provide any additional feedback, you are welcome to do so. Please provide any additional feedback to this email address, indicating whether it should be considered in line with an earlier submission.  
The consultation document and related survey can be found here:     

For more information contact The Burial and Cremation Team, Environmental and Border Health, Public Health, Population Health and Prevention, Ministry of Health

New report reveals teaching religion in our schools reduces extremism

​New report reveals teaching religion in our schools reduces extremism

Religious Education in schools can strengthen multi-culturalism and reduce extremism in our wider communities, according to a new report.

The report found schools offering Special Religious Education (SRE), Religious Instruction (RI) and General Religious Education (GRE) were ideal settings "for children to develop an understanding of peace and tolerance.” The goal of teaching students how to live harmoniously with others in a contemporary and diverse society is a pillar of modern education, said the report. "Multicultural education is a key instrument in achieving social cohesion.” 

The report was written by world-renowned academics Professor Zehavit Gross (the UNESCO/Burg Chair in Education in Human Values, Tolerance and Peace at Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Professor Emerita Suzanne Rutland, of the University of Sydney. 
The report highlighted the recent mass shootings in New Zealand, suicide bombings in Sri Lanka and the San Diego synagogue shooting as potential topics of discussion among students. For example, religious education teachers could discuss the fear and concern which affected Muslim, Christian and Jewish students in Australia, the report found. Removing in-faith education from government schools detracts from the government's multicultural aims by denying students a crucial avenue to explore their own religious identity and heritage. The report found SRE and GRE played a key role in dismantling stereotypes and strengthening social cohesion. Professor Gross said the belief that religion is irrelevant in a postmodern world is a myth. "Religion continues to play a major role in our public life and acknowledges the legitimate spiritual needs of each individual." Professor Rutland said religious belief and spirituality provide students with an anchor for their individual identities and contribute meaning to their lives. A strong grounding in one's individual identity, combined with knowledge of other religions, helps to combat extremism by teaching respect for diversity. Christian SRE CEO Murray Norman said it was vital students were provided with a safe place to explore their religious identities.

August 22, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk

2018 Census statistics on Religious Diversity

2018 Census statistics on Religious Diversity

As many of you know, the 2018 New Zealand Census statistics were released earlier this week on Monday 23 September. The released figures however, are always just raw numbers of census respondents. In order to make some sense of these figures I have compiled and published the attached chart, which should make it easier for those of us interested in the religious demography of New Zealand to make sense of the raw data. This includes portraying some of the intercensal growth in the various categories.

I hope that you will find this information useful.

Please remember that it is a first draft and I would warmly welcome comments and suggestions for improvement. I am also preparing a written article to accompany the Table, which will include additional analysis and summarise long term trends. For the moment, in the interest of getting these figures circulated I am just providing the basic information. 

There are interesting trends to note, such as the phenomenal increase in our Jain and Sikh populations, along with a tremendous increase in those responding with 'No Religion’ and ‘Object to Answering’. Both Hinduism and Islam also continue on strong growth trajectories. 

The decline in those adhering to the numerous Christian denominations has slowed down a bit in the recent Intercensal period (although adherence to Christianity now only makes up for 37% of those stating a religious affiliation, compared with 48% in the 2018 Census stats). Since the 2013 Census, New Zealand is no longer a Christian-majority country, although it maintains its status as the religion with the most adherents in New Zealand. Secularity is still in the majority (48.2%). Buddhism has also has lost more than 9% of its 2013 population. 

Most surprising however, is the significant decrease of those stating adherence to Judaism, which has lost 23% of its population over the course of the most recent intercensal period (after remaining flat for the previous intercensal period). This may be due to increasing antisemitism and a Jewish population that may be increasingly unlikely to identify as such. This decline is indeed newsworthy and I’ll be working on a statement in the coming days. 

Much more work and analysis needs to be done on these statistics and figures, so I’ll keep you posted as the research progresses. 

If you are distributing this PDF, please make sure to include both the chart on Page 1 and the Notes on page 2, i.e. please do not simply print out the first page and ignore the accompanying notes. If distributing printed versions, please make sure to include Page 2 as the back side of a double sided page. 

This PDF is available for download on our website at <>.

Todd Nachowitz, PhD
Director, EarthDiverse
mobile: +64 27 432 7590
email: <>
bio: <>
web: <>
facebook: <>
Secretary, Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) / Te Tīaho Uenuku
email: <>
web site: <>facebook: <>

Start Time
End Time
Week of Prayer for World Peace - National Various10/10/2021 12:00 a.m.17/10/2021 11:59 p.m.
The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace. The Week will be observed around the world from 10 to 17 October. A leaflet has been produced with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day. The theme of the leaflet is developed for worldwide distribution by the Week of Prayer for World Peace multi-faith committee based in Great Britain. Religious communities throughout New Zealand are encouraged to celebrate the week both in their observances and together with people of different faiths.
Aotearoa New Zealand Interfaith NetworkThe Aotearoa New Zealand Interfaith Network is part of the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme and is a mailing list that brings together faith communities, interfaith groups, government agencies, academics and individuals interested in interfaith ...
Auckland Interfaith CouncilAuckland Inter-Faith Council (AIFC) was formed to provide a platform for inter-religious dialogue and networking, and to create a model showing cooperation among religions.
BBC Religion & EthicsThe BBC's site on religion and ethics with information areas on Atheism, Bahá'í, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Mormonism, Paganism, Rastafari, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Unitarianism, Zoroastrianism
BBC Religion & Ethics programmesThe BBC in the UK have many radio and television programmes which can be viewed online
BeliefNetWe are a multi-faith e-community designed to help you meet your own religious and spiritual needs -- in an interesting, captivating and engaging way ...
Canterbury Interfaith Society We are a voluntary non-profit association of people representing diverse religious communities in Christchurch and the wider Cantebury area.
Center for Interreligious UnderstandingThrough educational programs and policy leadership, the CIU brings people of all faiths together to learn about our history, our shared values and why we must live and work together toward a society of justice and peace ...
Centre for Faith and the MediaThe Centre for Faith and the Media is an independent, non-profit organization to inform, advise and help media and the general public achieve a stronger understanding of spiritual history, practices and values in Canadian society.
Council of Christians and JewsThe Council of Christians and Jews brings together Christian and Jewish Communities in a common effort to overcome the evils of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination between people of different of religions and ethnicity.
Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith GroupOur group was formed here in Dunedin in the aftermath of the events of September 11th 2001 out of spontaneous expressions of solidarity and goodwill between leaders of our three faiths, the police and the Dunedin City Council.
Interfaith Council of Nelson-Tasman (IFCNT)The Interfaith Council of Nelson-Tasman was formed to provide a platform for inter-religious dialogue and networking, and to create a model, to be inclusive of all, to open the door to their hearts, showing cooperation among religions and humanity.
Interfaith Encounter AssociationThe Interfaith Encounter Association is dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East through interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural study ...
Interfaith Youth CoreOur interfaith leaders are building a movement of young people from all faiths and traditions who are working together to change the world
Interfaithnet Asia PacificInterfaithnet is a group of Interfaith Ministers who graduated from interfaith seminaries in the USA, UK and Canada and who are practising as congregational ministers, chaplains, celebrants, spiritual counsellors and healers, pastoral carers, social ...
International Association for Religious FreedomThe International Association for Religious Freedom is a registered charity based in the United Kingdom which has the aim of working for freedom of religion and belief at a global level ...
International Council of Christians and JewsThe ICCJ serves as the umbrella organisation of 38 national Jewish-Christian dialogue organisations world-wide.
Internationally recognised Values Education ProgramLiving Values Education Program (LVEP) is a comprehensive values education program. This innovative global character education program offers a wide variety of experiential values activities and practical methodologies to educators, facilitators, parents
Multifaith Action SocietyFounded in 1972, the Multifaith Action Society (MAS) is a Canadian registered charity dedicated to the facilitation of interfaith education and dialogue. For over forty years, MAS has worked to build bridges between groups in British Columbia.
PBS Religion and EthicsSince its debut in 1997, RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY has set itself apart from the mainstream media by providing distinctive, cutting-edge news coverage and analysis of national and international events in the ever-changing religious world.
Peace NextPeace Next is the official social network of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
Pluralism Project - On Common GroundThe Pluralism Project's fantastic resource, "On Common Ground" has recently been turned into an on-line resource, and is well worth a visit if you've some time to explore.
Regional Interfaith Network (RIN)The Regional Interfaith Network (RIN) website was established in Melbourne, Australia in December 2010 following a unanimous recommendation made at the 5th Regional Interfaith Dialogue held in Perth, 2009
Religion Media CentreAn independent, impartial body helping journalists and other media professionals to cover religion.
Religions for PeaceReligions for Peace is the largest international coalition of representatives from the world's great religions dedicated to promoting peace
Religious Diversity CentreA national centre of educational and research excellence, fostering an appreciation for and understanding of religious diversity amongst all New Zealanders.
REonlineReligious Education Online. REonline is a family of websites, with at its centre. Great resources for education of children of all ages.
Scarboro Missions Interfaith DepartmentIn recent years, the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department in Toronto, Canada has committed itself to building a website featuring curriculum and useful educational resources for interfaith work.
Spiritual "non-secular" Discussion ForumSpiritual / Gnostic / Mystic Discussion Forum for all sincere seekers of Ultimate Truth
The Interfaith AllianceThe Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation - the national non-partisan advocacy voice of the interfaith movement. Our 150,000 members are from more than 70 faith traditions and people of good will ...
The RevealerA daily review of Religion and the Press.
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 Interfaith Groups in NZ

Religious Diversity Centre
University of Otago House
385 Queen Street
P.O. Box 5543
Auckland 1141
New Zealand

Auckland Interfaith Council
Pres: Mrs Ruth Cleaver,
General Enquiries:
Facebook: Auckland Interfaith Council 

Waikato Interfaith Council
Sec: Dr Todd Nachowitz,
PO Box 11048, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3251

Tauranga Interfaith Council
Rev John Hebenton TSSF,, 021-679-202 
Facebook: Tauranga Interfaith Council   

Hawke's Bay Interfaith Council
Pres: Dorothy Brooker
Vice Pres: Tony Franklin-Ross,
Sec: Angela McKee,

Palmerston North Interfaith Council
Mary Eastham, 

Wellington Inter-Faith Council
Chair: Rakesh Naidoo,
Vice: Harvinder Singh,
Sec: Ian Hamilton,
Treas: Pushpa Wood,
Deputy Treas: Mere Fiore,
Enquiries to:

Interfaith Council of Nelson-Tasman
Sec: Catriena Wilkinson

Canterbury Interfaith Society
Dianne Downward

Dunedin Interfaith Council
Chair: Geoff Mitchell
Sec: Max Gillies

Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group
Chair: Dr Haizal Hussaini, 
Sec: Ken Baker,

1-29 Oct
Buddhism - During the month after the rainy season retreat, lay people may offer the Kathina-robe as part of the general alms-giving ceremony.
29 Oct
Islam - Mawlid al-Nabiy is the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad. The festival begins on the previous evening .
31 Oct
Wicca - Halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, this is a high energy time when the whole earth sings of growth and regeneration. Birds are nesting, deciduous trees leafing, flowers are blossoming and the increasing sun power quickens both sap and blood.   To the Maori, this was Whiringanuku, the fifth month, when ka whakaniho nga mea katoa o te whenua i konei ('all things now put forth fresh growth'). A good flowering of ti kouka (cabbage tree) is said to be a sign that a long, fine summer will follow.   Beltane is the third of the Spring celebrations in the Druid and Wicca tradition. The invigorating energies of spring growth are flowing at their strongest through the earth, and indeed through us too.   The two elemental symbols for Beltane are water (healing and the time of the first swim) and fire ('destroyed the powers hostile to humankind, purified the air, and allowed human and beast and vegetation to thrive and become fertile')
1 Nov
A day to honour Christian saints throughout the ages
3 Nov
Bahá'í Faith - Qudrat (Power), the 13th month of the Bahá'í year.
6 Nov
10 Nov
14 Nov
Sikhism - Bandi Chhor Divas means 'the day of the prisoner's release.' It commemorates the return of the sixth Guru, Sri Hargobind Ji, to the holy city of Amritsar after his release from detention. Since he was released on the day of Diwali, the 'Festival of Lights', the Sikhs in Amritsar illuminate the city.
14 Nov
Hinduism - Diwali (Deepavali) is perhaps the most popular Hindu festival. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is dedicated to the Goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, in the rest of India. As with several festivals, Diwali is associated with one of the stories about the destruction of evil by Vishnu in one of his many manifestations.
14 Nov
Jainism - Mahavira (6th century BCE), the 24th Tirthankara, attained nirvana and release from the cycle of rebirth (moksha).
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