Introduction / History
New Zealand's history is short in time but long on development. Two prominent peoples have developed there in 700 years. The Polynesian Maori people migrated to New Zealand in the 1400s to take advantage of the fishing and natural resources offered by the South Pacific island. The European explorers began arriving in the 1600s with mass arrivals and the formation of settlements occurring in the 1800s. New Zealand combines Polynesian and European heritage with unique indigenous characteristics making it an interesting blend of culture, natural beauty, and opportunity.
Where are they located?
New Zealand is located 1200 miles to the southeast of Australia in the southern Pacific Ocean. Made up of three islands in close proximity, New Zealand offers a varied climate and a combination of plains, mountains, valleys, rivers, volcanoes, and ocean beaches.
What are their lives like?
The Maori have a long tradition of group singing and dancing as well as arts and crafts. Woodcarving is the most notable art of this culture. Most of the Maori have urbanized but may retain certain elements of their traditional history. The New Zealanders of European origin brought their enjoyment of art, music, science, performance, and recreation to the islands. New Zealand is a technologically advanced country enjoying wireless communication, internet connectivity, and the same modern conveniences as any other advanced nation in the world.
New Zealand also has a rich military history. From several intra-island skirmishes to a sizable presence in WW1 and WW2 fighting alongside the allied forces, New Zealand has a proud military history.
The economy of New Zealand has been historically rocky but recent years have noticed some stabilization. New Zealand's infrastructure, technology, educational access, and market economy make vocational endeavors there very similar to most other modernized countries throughout the world.
What are their beliefs?
The Maori brought their belief in a plethora of Polynesian gods and goddesses to the islands. The Europeans also brought their customary beliefs to New Zealand. Today, Christian Protestant faiths and Roman Catholicism dominate the native European groups and the Maori have assimilated into the mainstream culture to a large degree. Some Maori may continue to preserve their ancient belief system. With world travel being available to many people in these modern times, various faith practices may be found in New Zealand much like anywhere else in the world.
Cultural liberalism was firmly established in New Zealand beginning in the 1960s and continues to be a force today. Homosexual and other nontraditional lifestyle activists were successful in gaining government acceptance and protection of their causes. Urbanization of the Maori, university education availability, social liberalism, and legal activism have shaped New Zealand into a true melting pot of belief systems much like the rest of the world.
What are their needs?
Just like all areas of the world, New Zealand needs clear, consistent, and relentless presentation of Biblical Christianity.
* Pray that God sends workers into this field of opportunity and that He equips New Zealand citizens to perform His work locally, regionally, and worldwide.
Text source: Wallace Revels