Tearfund NZ was born out of Tearfund UK. In the 1960’s when 40 million people worldwide were made refugees by war or disasters, coverage of the suffering sparked a spontaneous outpouring of compassion among UK Christians. These Christians sent money to the Evangelical Alliance and a fund was created to distribute the cash to evangelical agencies caring for the needs of refugees around the world. The Evangelical Alliance was determined to marry Christian compassion with practical action.
Powerful images, striking design and provocative messaging such as ‘they can’t eat prayer’ propelled Tearfund onto the Christian stage, urging a new, radical understanding of what it means to bring good news to the poor, caring for their physical as well as spiritual needs.
Tearfund UK was registered as a charity on 6 March 1973. In 1975 the Evangelical Fellowship of New Zealand embraced the idea of a humanitarian arm of local churches. With a $10,000 grant from Tearfund UK, Tearfund NZ was birthed, raising $2,000 to construct a village well in Guinea Bissau in its first ever project.
From small humble beginnings, Tearfund has grown to become one of the largest aid agencies in New Zealand, raising around $14 million a year to support around 29 partners in 24 countries.