1. How do you spend your time outside of Tearfund?

While my work at Tearfund keeps me fairly busy, I enjoy catching up with friends and family around New Zealand when I get the chance. My wife and I are also pretty involved in our local church, The Auckland Baptist Tabernacle, where I’m on a music team, a trust board and I deliver sermons from time to time. Outside that I like to read and walk our Huntaway, Zoe, around Cornwall Park, or on any of the fantastic Auckland beaches.

2. What’s your favourite Bible verse?

Not so much a verse perhaps, but a story I really like is where the apostle Paul - in Acts 27 - is being ship wrecked on Malta. Despite being a prisoner, Paul stands up before his fellow prisoners, the sailors and the soldiers and tells them, “…keep up your courage, for I have faith in God it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some Island”. I love this. There is Paul, having heard from God, providing courage and leadership to a stricken crew, despite knowing full well they are about to be shipwrecked. Such faith, that God will come through despite the impending hardship. Also, such awareness of the needs around him and a willingness to rise above it and minister – even from the position of a prisoner.

3. What’s something you’ve done that makes you feel really proud?

Together, with colleagues at Tearfund, we recently worked very closely with a family based trust in New Zealand to super charge our work protecting women, boys and girls in Southeast Asia from modern slavery. They, and we, are passionate about the prosecution work against traffickers that Tearfund is involved in, and we are all eager to see this funded at the size needed to turn the issue around. We will launch this initiative later in August in the Waikato among a select group of people capable of joining this work and making a real difference. Already we’ve seen hundreds of lives transformed, we now want to see thousands transformed across the region.

4. If you could witness any event from the past, present or future, what would it be and why?

On my father’s side of the family, my great-great-great-great grandmother was the daughter of a Māori chief in the Waikato, who married a Scottish flax trader and settled in Port Waikato in 1830. I’d love to meet them both, experience Aotearoa at the time, and gain some perspective on the challenges we all face today in New Zealand’s continuing journey of better bi-cultural relations and understanding in this beautiful land.

5. Who are your heroes?

While I love the work of Clapham Sect in halting the slave trade from the UK, I particularly admire a little known work of British shipping agent, Edmund Dene More, who exposed the enormous scale of abuse and slavery taking place in the Congo under the cover of the Belgian King. Edmund dug into freight records and unearthed an elaborate cover up that saw rubber and ivory coming one way, to Antwerp in Belgium, while arms and soldiers - rather than payments – were being freighted back. It just goes to show that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and desk clerks are no exception!

6. What are you most grateful for?

I am particularly grateful for my partner in this adventure of life. My wife Himali is a GP, a writer, a gardener, a bee keeper. She travels with me from time to time and we enjoy exploring this fascinating world together when we get the opportunity.

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7. What is it about Tearfund that made you want to work here?

Tearfund’s mandate as the relief arm of the protestant evangelical church world-wide was particularly attractive to me. Christ’s church is tasked with taking care of the poor – scripture has over 2,000 references to the poor, wealth, injustice etc – and I love thinking that the church is in a much better position to practically attend to this, because of the work of Tearfund. For me, faith is as practical as it is relational or theoretical. Those elements were not divisible in Jesus’ ministry and neither should they be in ours.

8. Within Tearfund’s work, what do you care most about and why?

One shouldn’t have favourites! However I do love Tearfund’s efforts to help families elevate their incomes through agriculture. It’s slow, steady work, but it provides a proven route out of poverty and dependency. It also enables farming communities who work in cooperatives to build strong bonds, enables ministry over time into these communities and strengthens peace, security, prosperity and dignity. There is a reason so many of Jesus’ stories involve things that grow – think mustard seeds and fig trees. God really is a gardener and so should we be.

9. What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I love the connections across the church, both here in NZ and abroad. There is a rich tapestry of work that God is undertaking and I have the immense privilege of touching on so many elements of this.

10. What does ‘Faith in Action’ mean to you?

While faith is deeply personal, it is never only that. It is also relational, interconnected and at times quite public. ‘Faith in Action’ is the ability to take your faith and weave it into your closest relationships, your work place and your charitable activity in ways that bring God’s Kingdom to earth a little more (as Jesus prayed). It’s participation with God in renewing all things. There is no shortage of ‘things’ God would like help in renewing!

11. What change do you dream to see in the world?

I dream of a world where the church has absolute confidence in its role and truly is the salt and light it is called to be. One where it leads the list of organisations bringing ground breaking solutions to matters of injustice. The church has, many times in its history, fulfilled this role, only to shy away at other times. It’s not a judgemental church – though some things should certainly be judged – it’s a compassionate, determined, sacrificial church reaching into areas of poverty, injustice and depravation and bringing about lasting change.


Recent posts

Out of a mother’s nightmare comes hope after toddler falls from a second-storey window

Out of a mother’s nightmare comes hope after toddler falls from a second-storey window

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 — Compassion International

When three-year-old Brisaida fell from the second storey of her house, her mother couldn’t utter a word. How was her daughter going to receive the urgent help that she needed in a country where health services are inadequate? Read on to find out how this story ends. 
 

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Sponsor gives the gift of space to sleep

Sponsor gives the gift of space to sleep

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 — Compassion International

Paulin and his siblings used to spend their nights barely fitting in their small house. But Paulin's family received a financial gift that allowed them to build a house. Now they have space to spread out at night. 
 

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Ten photos that bring to life our Empowher women

Ten photos that bring to life our Empowher women's events

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 — Grace Ellis

Tearfund hosted two Empowher women's events, one at Eastgate Christian Centre and one at The Upper Room. The events were a great opportunity to bring women together, be encouraged and do something powerful in the lives of mothers and babies in Indonesia through our new Mums and Bubs project. Take a look at ten photos that bring to life the events!
 

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New Zealand fails to fully meet minimum standards to eliminate trafficking

New Zealand fails to fully meet minimum standards to eliminate trafficking

Monday, 26 July 2021 — Morgan Theakston

On July 30, it is World Trafficking in Persons Day and we're shedding light on why the recent US TIP Report has downgraded New Zealand to Tier 2. When it comes to government efforts to prosecute and prevent human trafficking, New Zealand is falling behind the UK, US, Australia, France and many other countries.
 

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Siblings are top achievers despite their struggles

Siblings are top achievers despite their struggles

Monday, 26 July 2021 — Compassion International

Although they were found struggling to survive, educating their children has always remained a priority for Nitsuha and Amanuel’s parents living in Ethiopia. With support from Compassion, the siblings scored the highest grades in their classes.

 

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What you need to know about keeping your sponsored child safe

What you need to know about keeping your sponsored child safe

Tuesday, 06 July 2021 — Compassion International

As a child sponsor, you may have noticed some changes in the letters from your child and our communications about them over the past several months. The Information Age has created new risks. So, Compassion and Tearfund are making ever-greater efforts to protect children’s names and locations — and, therefore, their privacy and safety.


 

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Did you miss the Empowher event? Here

Did you miss the Empowher event? Here's a recap!

Monday, 05 July 2021 — Grace Ellis

On Thursday, June 24, Tearfund hosted Empowher, a women’s event, at The Upper Room. The event was an incredible opportunity to bring women together, be encouraged, and do something powerful in the lives of mothers and babies in Indonesia through our new Mums and Bubs project.
 

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