Baptist Union of New Zealand
The first Baptist church in New Zealand was established in 1851. The Baptist Union was formed in 1882. In the early stages many of the ministers - as well as members - came from Great Britain. At that time the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches were already well established in the country. Growth has therefore been moderately slow. Baptists make up less than two percent of the population. Most of the members of the church are active and very supportive of the work through church attendance, giving and service. The Baptist Church in New Zealand has developed mainly amongst people of European descent, and a mission to Maori people was begun in the 1950s. With the recent growth of many ethnic groups in New Zealand there are corresponding congregations developing.
In the year 2000 the annual assembly took a decision to refocus on the mission of the gospel in New Zealand and embarked on a journey of strengthening churches toward this end. "Growing Healthy Churches" has become the major emphasis, with a consultancy service provided by the union covering all areas of church life proving to be very effective. Mission beyond New Zealand is directed primarily towards Asia and South Asia, and continuing contact with neighbouring countries in the South Pacific.
Because of the congregational structure, most of the church's activities are built into the life of local congregations. These include work amongst children and youth, religious education at all levels, house groups for fellowship, prayer and Bible study, programmes extending into the community, care of the elderly, and other social outreach programmes. The union's role is to assist in the development of the above primarily through advice. The National Resource Centre serves the churches by providing all manner of administrative, legal, employment, property, and financial advice and services.
Carey Baptist College is an accredited pastoral and Bible training facility owned by the Baptist Union of New Zealand with a wide range of courses at various levels up to a Bachelors degree in Applied Theology.