February 2024

  • Contact those who contribute to Bush Telegraph here
  • Subscribe to Bush Telegraph and other ministry publications here.

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Global Mission
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Church Schools
Presbyterian Research Centre
CWS Notices
Church Register
Social Media
Subscribe to publications

From the Moderator

Tēnā koutou katoa

I trust you have all been able to have some time of rest and relaxation over the December/January period. It is good to have a change of pace without the usual commitments that can rule our days. Time to spend with family and friends, to enjoy unstructured days, to maybe explore new places or read new books. All things to recharge us for the year that lies ahead.

I recently returned from a holiday in Tasmania where I worshipped at Scots-Memorial Uniting Church in Hobart. The minister, the Rev Dr John Broughton, and the congregation asked me to convey their greetings to our Presbyterian Church here in Aotearoa New Zealand. They were a very welcoming community, and many expressed how they loved to visit New Zealand.

Coming up

Coming up is a busy time. I recently attended a site blessing and groundbreaking service at John Knox Rangiora, and this weekend we gather at Ohope for time with Te Aka Puaho and Turakina Maori Girls' College old girls, staff and whanau. This will be a very significant event for all. Following this, I will travel to Waitangi with the Moderator of Te Aka Puaho Rev Tamiana Thrupp, and Honey Thrupp, where we will together be involved in the services on Waitangi Day. This is an important event for our Church to be involved with. I recently sent our Church a message for Waitangi Day, you can read it here.

Also coming up end of February is a CWM Pacific pre-assembly meeting in Fiji. This is in preparation for the CWM Assembly in Durban, South Africa, in June. I look forward to meeting with other delegates who will be attending and learning more of the work of CWM.

New Year of challenges and opportunities

As we go into this New Year of challenges and opportunities let us always remember that God goes before us, is beside us, and all around us. This knowledge can comfort us, empower us, and give us strength in difficult times.

"You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure for ever." (Psalm 16: 11).

Ma te wa

Right Rev Rose Luxford

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear friends and colleagues

On one of the not so pleasant days of the early Wellington summer I watched the film “Boys in the Boat”. I had read the book a number of years ago. The book and film are about the University of Washington rowing eight’s journey to winning a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games. I think if I asked people to name an athlete associated with those games the name Jessie Owens would be the most popular answer. The book and film are not about one, they are about the team.

The author of the book, Daniel James Brown, spent time with members of the rowers who were still alive. On meeting one of those – Joe Rantz - and hearing his story, he said he could write a book about Joe. Joe said he couldn’t write a book about him, but he could write about the boat – not about one person – but about what they had done together.

Apart from one member of the eight who died early, the rest had reunion rows every few years until they were quite old. The families kept in touch. They bonded together for the rest of their lives. So many metaphors and deeper meanings came when I read the book and reemerged from watching the film.

In an age where we idolize or demonize individuals, what would it look like if we changed the focus to what we have and have/could do together? From ‘I’ to ‘we’.

Assembly minutes, Book of Order update, and matters for consideration by presbyteries and church councils

All Assembly minutes have been posted online. The Book of Order has been updated online also. Follow-up information and actions required by presbyteries and church councils has been sent out. If your church council has not received a copy, please contact me.

Staff update

Grace Webster, our Assembly Office administrator, has resigned from her role so she can study full-time. We thank her for all she has offered and undertaken in the past four years and wish her all the best as she relocates to Auckland and begins the next adventure. We will announce her replacement in due course.

Council News

The Council News was published in December and can be found here. If you have not self-subscribed to Council News, use this link to do so.

Assembly Office closed over Waitangi Day

The Assembly Office will be closed on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 February.

Update your office bearer contacts

We use electronic communication to share information, update on important matters, and pass on other news. The ability of our Office to do this is dependent on church councils advising updates of key contact people, changes in email etc. Please pass on any changes to Kate so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate people.

Wayne Matheson
Assembly Executive Secretary

Presbyterian Church Schools

Presbyterian Church Schools: Structure, Part 1

It is time to greet a new school year.

And every year I get asked to order one of our 12 schools to change something. And I must explain that this office and the national Church cannot do this. So, in the following articles I aim to clarify the organisational structures Presbyterian Church Schools work under in the hope readers will spread this knowledge to reduce the misunderstandings.

Firstly, this Resource Office was set up to provide information, support school staff, and to network. It was never envisaged as a regulatory body and has never been given this power by anyone it works with.

Secondly, the PCANZ has never set up or been in control of any of the Church schools. I believe Rev Ryhan Prasad (Scots College Presbyterian rep.) is responsible for this succinct explanation: “Our Church schools were set up by Presbyterians not the Church”. So, while ministers, elders, congregations, presbyteries, or even General Assemblies were involved in their establishment, there was no coordinated national push to develop these schools. Neither was there an assumption that parish churches should have an adjoining school, as had been the case in Scotland.

The high value placed on education ensured Scottish Presbyterian colonists set up schools early in Aotearoa New Zealand. But even in Dunedin, these early schools were for everyone. It is only in the early 20th century that private Presbyterian schools were opened, mainly to teach beliefs not taught in government-funded schools. Anglican and Catholic schools were set up early in our history for this reason too, as were later denominations and religions (eg. New Life, Seventh Day Adventist, Islam, etc).

Of course, there is more to this story which I will unpack in next month’s edition of Bush Telegraph.

Stephanie Wells (Rev) 
Director of Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office

Global Mission


Happy New Year to all as 2024 gets under way. By the time you read this, Jae Ahn from the Korean Presbyterian Church in Auckland will have arrived and begun his role as English teacher at Talua Theological Training Institute in Vanuatu, where he will serve until the end of the year. Jae also has experience in photography and videography and hopes to share some of these skills with the students as well, as a way of contributing to their ministry training.

Global Mission will be covering Jae’s expenses as well as offering a small stipend. If anyone would like to make a contribution towards these expenses, donations can be made to Global Mission 02 0500 0086963 10.

Global Mission will be hosting the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s new finance manager this month. Melten Ataur will be visiting New Zealand to learn more about our context and meet some of the PCANZ staff and members who are involved in our partnership with the PCV. We hope this will help Melten as he grows into his new role.


Messages from Myanmar were received over the New Year break – unfortunately these shared news of more suffering as the result of ongoing conflict there between the military junta and ethnic defense forces.  One involved an airstrike on a school and village which left many civilians dead and wounded. These events in Myanmar are largely unreported by the world’s media.

One of the main projects we have continued to support is farm development at Tahan Theological College. They have been badly affected by outbreaks of fighting and are still harbouring internally displaced persons. Their principal sent an email saying, “However, we are comforted through your earnest prayer, love and support.  We hope in the near future we will be overcoming all of these hardships by the grace of God.” Please continue to uphold the people of Myanmar and especially the members of the Presbyterian Church in prayer.

Phil King
Global Mission Director

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Block course commences

Our summer block course commences on 8 February in Dunedin. There will be six NOM interns and three LOM Probationers attending. In addition to our regular faculty, Rev Nikki Watkin and Rev Dr Hyueen Kim will also be lecturing.

Presbytery training events

We have been planning a series of training events in all presbyteries for 2024. Please keep an eye out in your presbytery communications for details. The first events will be at Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu’s gathering on 9 March, and in Northern Presbytery (Whangārei) on 16 March.

Host a NOM intern

If your church is interested in hosting a NOM intern for 2025/2026 we are now beginning to gauge interest. Please email me for an Expression of Interest form. We will begin the process of considering where interns will be best suited for their placements mid-year.

Welcoming our Dean

Finally, we welcome Rev Dr Ivan Martinez to the faculty of KCML. Ivan and his family arrived in Dunedin at the beginning of January. Ivan commenced his ministry as Dean of Studies on 8 January. It is wonderful to now have a full faculty in operation.

Rev Dr Geoff New
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Presbyterian Research Centre

New ebooks

We have updated our holdings of ebooks that are Bible commentaries for Lectionary Year B.  Many of these have been purchased via our MS Waugh Book Fund for New Testament studies.  

Here are three lists of ebooks that are practical aides for your Bible study and worship preparation during the seasons of Epiphany, Lent, and Easter this year.

Anyone can view these texts, and you can login to your Hewitson Library member account to download them.  Don’t have a member account?  Email us at Hewitson Library.

  1. Gospel list
  2. Epistles list
  3. Old Testament and Acts list

Jay Robinson
Presbyterian Research Centre 

CWS Notices

Christmas Appeal

Thank you for your prayers and gifts at Christmas.  If you would like to support our appeal to Share Food, it is not too late.  Your gift will enable families to improve their livelihoods and well-being.   Small farmers can learn locally appropriate, low-cost ways of gardening, sell food at a local market, and prepare for disasters and climate change. Learn more about the challenges of living in rural Sri Lanka in Somawathie’s story, or read the latest update on human/elephant conflict. Treasurers are reminded to please send congregational offerings and donations for processing.

World Day of Prayer 

Please join the annual World Day of Prayer on Friday, March 1.  Women’s groups are organising community services throughout the country to begin this global event.  The materials which include resources for children and Bible study have been prepared by Palestinian Christian women.  They work with the theme, “I beg you… bear with one another in love” based on Ephesians 4:1-7 and use the symbol of an olive tree. The women encourage you to join them in informed prayer and prayerful action.  For more information, contact Zella.

Gaza Palestine Appeal

Please continue to pray for peace in the Middle East and an end to the war Gaza. Thank you for donations for some of the many people affected. The Gaza Palestine Appeal is supporting our partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees to provide practical support in the south.  Medical staff are treating over 400 people a day at the Primary Health Clinic and running psychosocial sessions for children and mothers, as well as providing additional support in extremely difficult circumstances.  Donate today.

Speaker Available

If you would like CWS, or Tim our National Director, to speak in your church, please contact email us.


Rangatahi Noho Marae Ohope for Year 11-13 students -26-28 April

Hosted by Te Aka Puaho and the PYM Youth Leaders Network, Year 11-13 students are invited to Rangatahi Noho Marae 26-28 April at Ohope Marae in the Bay of Plenty. Students from Presbyterian churches and Church schools are invited for two days of fun, food, faith, leadership development as we explore our bicultural past and future, see more here.

New Zealand Hymnbook Trust call for writers

The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust has been collecting and publishing New Zealand hymns and songs for the last 30 years, beginning with “Alleluia Aotearoa” in 1993. The most recent collection, “Hope is our Song”, was produced in 2009. NZ has a great reputation as a fresh, interesting voice in the world of Christian music, with a considerable body of hymns sung and appreciated all over the world. Shirley Erena Murray and Colin Gibson have been huge contributors. No doubt there is a whole new generation of poets and musicians out there, giving glory to God with their music for worship! This is a preliminary call to that generation of new writers. We are keen to know what’s out there, with a view to compiling another collection. If you write hymns and songs, please email us so we can discuss further when the time comes.

WCC Ecumenical Institute at Bossey's 2024 interfaith summer course – July/August

Bringing together young people from Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities, course theme is "People and Faith on the Move: Migration in Judaism, Christianity and Islam". For people aged 20 and 35 years interested in and actively participating in interfaith dialogues. Distance learning component of the course runs 8-26 July, followed by a residential period 29 July-16 August. For further information and to apply see here.

Conversation with A Rocha founder Peter Harris – February in Auck, Wellington, Chch, Dunedin

Come join a conversation with Peter Harris - an inspiring leader and author, with years of experience and wisdom in engaging Christians and church communities around caring for creation. February dates: 10th The Flagship Education Centre, Auckland, 10am-12:30pm; 12th St Andrew's Centre, The Terrace, Wellington, 7-9pm; 17th The Kiosk Christchurch Botanic Gardens, 7-9pm; 19th Leith Valley Presbyterian Church, Dunedin, 7-9pm; 22nd church@126, Point Chevalier, Auckland, 7-9pm. See details here

PCANZ Children and Youth Ministry Safety WOF training - March 

Three online Safety Warrant of Fitness training sessions will be held online in March. All those working with young people need to complete our full Safety WOF training. The WOF training is five hours long in total, only needs to be completed once, and is totally worth it to ensure we are looking after the young people entrusted to us. For more info and to register see here.

NZ Christians in Science Mentoring Programme mid-2024 to July 2025

Are you a science or theology student, undergrad/postgrad, or a young professional/post-doc? Following a brilliant pilot year, New Zealand Christians in Science is excited to announce its second year of its Mentoring Programme. In-depth discussions on science and theology literature with peers and NZCIS mentors, running from mid-2024 until July 2025. Email Nicola to apply.

Your church can access discounted computers, phones, software and more 

If your church has its own Charities number, you can register with Techsoup NZ to receive discounted software and hardware including: new and refurbished computers and monitors; servers and networking gear; security cameras and sensors; mobile phones; printers; Microsoft Office; Windows 10; Adobe; Cloud subscriptions etc. See more here

Need guidance on hacked email & increasing your email security?

Has your email been hacked? Have you received fraudulent email and you aren’t sure what to do? See the Church website for guidance on what you can do to keep you and your email contacts information safe, here.

Book now for first term holiday in Hawke’s Bay: Glen Innis 

Summer is fully booked. Maud Hooper house is available for either week of the first term holiday 2024 so get your booking in early! Those with school aged children are urged to book soon for the 2024 school holidays. See the Glen Innis page for available dates from late February to late March 2024, plus see the booking criteria and other details.

The Gift of Summer day retreat – Moeraki, 17 February

A contemplative day retreat drawing from the deep well of Celtic Christian wisdom and imagination. A spiritual, intuitive and creative way to discern and experience the presence, love and grace of the Holy. You don't need any artistic or drawing experience. Guided by the Rev Dr Hilary Oxford Smith with harpist Julie Saraswati. Details here.

Need advice? email e-Minister a real, ordained PCANZ minister

Got questions concerning faith and personal life issues? Not ready to go to worship or approach a minister in person? Email e-Minister, a real, ordained Presbyterian minister who is bound by professional ethics to respect confidentiality. e-Minister will endeavour to reply within 48 - 72 hours. See more here.

Church Register

For any queries concerning the Church register, contact Kate Wilson. 


Josh Olds, Alpine Presbytery, 3 December 2023.
Maugapaia Ropeti-Lupeli, Northern Presbytery,7 December 2023.

Reinstatements to the Rolls

Rev Dr Guy Pilkinton, other recognised minister Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 6 December 2023.

Ordination and Inductions

Rev Shirley Spooner, ordained and inducted local ordained minister, Whanganui - St Pauls -St Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 26 November 2023.
Rev Josh Olds, ordained and inducted national ordained minister, Christchurch - The Village Presbyterian Church, and leader Local Shared Ministry Team, Prestons New Mission Seedling, Alpine Presbytery, 3 December 2023.
Rev Maugapaia Ropeti-Iupeli, minister Drury Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery,
7 December 2023.

Minister Changes

Rev Dr Andrew Callander, Minister Emeritus to senior active and stated supply, Motueka Uniting Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 20 November 2023.
Rev Ron Bennett, minister Te Awamutu Presbyterian Parish, ended as moderator Kaimai Presbytery, 31 December 2023.
Rev Wilson Orange, Minister Emeritus, to moderator Kaimai Presbytery, 1 January 2024.
Rev Luisa Fruean, from part-time to full-time minister Tokomairiro Cooperating Parish, Southern Presbytery, 28 February 2024.


Rev Judy Bedford, Minister Emerita, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, 1 December 2023.
Rev Rilma Sands, Minister Emerita, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, 1 December 2023.

Non-PCANZ Ministers in PCANZ Parish Stated Supply

Rev Shelley Alexander (Uniting Church in Australia), stated supply minister Palmerston North – Pathways Presbyterian Church, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu,19 October 2023.
Rev Hilary Oxford Smith (Church of Scotland), stated supply minister Oamaru – St Paul’s Maheno Otepopo Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbytery, 1 October 2023.

Non PCANZ Ministers in PCANZ Parishes

Rev Janet Marsh (Methodist), retired as minister Motueka Uniting Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 19 November 2023.


Rev Alan Judge, presbytery clerk and executive officer to Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 20 December 2023.


Rev David Balchin, minister Wellsford Cooperating Parish, Northern Presbytery, 9 December 2023.
Rev Tom Etuata, Minister Emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 10 December 2023.
Rev John Hunt, Minister Emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 2 January 2024.

Parish changes

Pauanui Presbyterian Parish, Kaimai Presbytery, dissolved 16 December 2023.
Waimate District Cooperating Venture, Alpine Presbytery, UCANZ Parish, dissolved 31 December 2023.
Waihao Glenavy Community Church (Presbyterian), Alpine Presbytery, created 1 February 2024.

Social Media

Check out in one handy place the links to the social media of the Presbyterian Church and its ministries including websites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and video.


Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more


Check out our job vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table and featured ministerial vacancies for the latest vacancies available in Aotearoa and around the globe.

Subscribe to publications

Self-subscribe to Bush Telegraph, Council News and to PCANZ ministries publications – see details here.