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

Eradicating racism in our own lives to create a better future

Eradicating racism in our own lives to create a better future

Friday, 25 September 2020 — Sean du Toit

Racism is not an event or a belief. God can and does change us to view people as those whom he loves and we must love. In the future we are called to create, and which God is creating now through his people, there is a celebration of diversity and no racism.

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Why Tearfund

Why Tearfund's partnership model works

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 — Keith Ramsay

Tearfund’s approach is to work through trusted faith-based partners who are part of the communities they serve. Because poverty is complex, we believe that local experts are best placed to find local solutions which will bring lasting change. So we come alongside our local partners, joining them in the work they are doing, and supporting them to deliver the best aid and development programmes possible.
 

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Your 5 most common ethical fashion questions for 2020 answered!

Your 5 most common ethical fashion questions for 2020 answered!

Monday, 21 September 2020 — Tearfund New Zealand

The landscape of the fashion industry has changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic. Every single part, process and person within the trade has been affected. Because of the change in landscape, we’ve also had to adapt, by creating a new Ethical Fashion Guide and report.
 

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Ethical Fashion: A challenge to change

Ethical Fashion: A challenge to change

Thursday, 10 September 2020 — Annie Newton-Jones

Hi, I'm Annie and I’m speaking at The Justice Conference next month on October 31st! Be sure to tune in and hear me unpack the topic of ethical fashion! For now though, keep reading for a little taste of what I’ll be sharing and how you can take some practical steps to make fashion better for all of us, including vulnerable garment workers. Let’s create change through fashion together!
 

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How a single cow helped an entire family break free from poverty

How a single cow helped an entire family break free from poverty

Monday, 07 September 2020 — Kate Kardol

Nalayini and Chinniah have overcome more obstacles than most couples do in a lifetime. When a brutal civil war turned their world upside down, they worked hard to rebuild their lives and find a way out of poverty. Now, they are breaking the chains of poverty for the next generation.
 

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Meet Lisa, named after her father’s sponsor

Meet Lisa, named after her father’s sponsor

Wednesday, 02 September 2020 — Compassion International

A Compassion graduate named his daughter after his former sponsor. He vowed to work hard as a way of thanking her for the great role she played in his life. His five-year-old daughter Lisa is extremely proud of her unusual name.
 

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Four huge numbers showing the impact of child sponsorship amid Covid-19

Four huge numbers showing the impact of child sponsorship amid Covid-19

Tuesday, 01 September 2020 — Compassion International

Between April to June 2020, Tearfund’s church partners distributed millions of food parcels and hygiene kits, delivered hundreds of thousands of cash transfers and medical assistance. See how generous supporters are making a difference and meet some of the children behind the astonishing numbers.
 

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