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Please post news items relating to interfaith activities here. This area is moderated so your submission will be reviewed prior to public release on this site.

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:  

Global Governance & the Management of Global Risks: The globalisation of spirituality

​Global Governance & the Management of Global Risks: The globalisation of spirituality

Upcoming Spirt of Work online talk - 28th September 2020, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, international lawyer Maja Goff and co-winner of the New Shape Prize (Global Challenges Foundation) will discuss prospects and potentials for our collective efforts to manage the most pressing issues of our times. For more information go to

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

​Week of Prayer for World Peace - 11 to 18 October 2020

Week of Prayer for World Peace - 11 to 18 October 2020

The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand between 11th and 18th October. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee 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 own observances and together with people of different faiths.  Leaflets may be ordered by sending a cheque made out to WPWP to: Week of Prayer for World Peace,
c/- Paddy Payne, 161 Seatoun Heights Road, Wellington 6022. Or internet banking to WPWP 06-0561-0072821-000. Or email or phone 021-505-215

The cost of the leaflets is: 100 for $42;  50 for $26;  20 for $12.50;  10 for $7.50;  1 for $2.00 (all prices include postage and packing). For other quantities use price for next lower quantity  e.g. for 70, use price for 50 (0.52 per unit) = $36.40

Also, thanks to Ricky Waters (Coordinator of the Unitec Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Team) for posting the readings each day to this Facebook page:

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
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Secretary, Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) / Te Tīaho Uenuku
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