Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa dates back to 1840 when a group of Scottish immigrants and their pastors landed at the place where the city of Wellington now stands. In 1848, the Otago Presbyterian Church settlement was founded. It embraced the southern part of the colony and was administered by its own synod. The rest of the country was cared for by the northern church's general assembly. In 1901, an act of union merged them in what is now the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. The church's 23 presbyteries cover the whole country and include a growing number of Pacific island parishes, and a Maori synod which cares for Maori people. The PCANZ is the third largest denomination in New Zealand. Despite a decline in membership, it maintains a well-trained parish ministry, overseas mission in partnership with various indigenous churches, and a very active programme of social service. The church is involved in around 118 union and cooperating parishes, with the Anglican Church, Associated Churches of Christ, the Congregational Union and Methodist churches.
Through the late nineties the Presbyterian Church clarified its direction. It adopted a mission statement and the goal of developing and sustaining healthy congregations. The statement emphasizes the importance of structures to support congregations. The focus is on leadership development, serving the needs of youth and families, enhancing structures and processes to respond to a changing environment, contributing to debate on spiritual, cultural and ethical matters and communicating the church's identity. Alongside presbyteries and parishes, achieving these goals is the work of the council of the assembly, the assembly service team and policy groups. Groups including resourcing for mission policy, administration and finance, equipping the leadership, connecting with society and overseas mission and partnership policy, all exist to support the church in its work.