The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa/New Zealand (Te Hāhi Tūhauwiri) is the umbrella body and Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in New Zealand.
Quakers have a long history of involvement in New Zealand. The Quaker Nelson in 1843. New Zealand Friends formed a Yearly Meeting, independent of London Yearly Meeting, in 1964.
Early concerns of Friends there included running Wellington (1907 to 1945) to enable rural children to attend secondary schools, and, since the Defence Act 1909, opposing conscription and acts of war. The Society was active in setting up Corso, originally the Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas, in 1944. It was one of the original constituent bodies of the National Council of Churches, now known as the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Monthly meetings under the care of the Yearly meeting in New Zealand include Waitemata North, Bay of Plenty/Auckland, Waikato/Hauraki, Palmerston North, Whanganui and Taranaki, Kapiti, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. In 2005 there were approximately 590 Friends in New Zealand, but about 1500 people, including children, are associated with the Society.
An event possibly unique to Friends in New Zealand is the nine-day-long residential Summer Gathering, held early each year (New Zealand midsummer), usually in a camping environment outside a city, for Friends and friends of Friends of all ages to get to know each other and have fun. Opportunities are provided for serious discussion and study, often with guest speakers, as well as for light-hearted activities (such as bonfires, concerts and fancy-dress parties), and for plenty of informal relaxation. Summer Gathering is valued as an informal way for New Zealand's small and scattered Quaker community to retain its cohesion.
In 1920 a co-educational Friends' Primary School, offering non-militaristic education, was opened in Whanganui. It was closed in 1969 and sold, but seven adjacent hectares of farmland were retained as the site of the Friends Educational Settlement, nicknamed "Quaker Acres". The Settlement consists of about 15 separate family homes, plus communal buildings. Many Friends see this as a Quaker "marae". The community is outward-looking and active in local affairs. Weekend seminars are run on themes such as mediation, meditation, social justice, parenting, sharing of faith, men's and women's weekends, and more.
The Māori name "Te Hāhi Tūhauwiri" was given to the meeting in 1994 by the Maori Language Commission. Its elements are: hāhi = "church"; tū = "stand"; hau = "breath/wind/spirit" and wiri = "tremble". It has been translated as "The people who are moved by the winds of the Spirit" or ""The faith community that stands shaking in the wind of the Spirit." Previously, the expression "Ngā Hoa Tapu" (the sacred/religious friends) was in use.
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