News and Stories

Inspiring stories of young lives changed, news about SUNZ projects and ministries, and information about how you can get involved.

Lives of children and young people are changed as they are given the opportunity to discover Jesus and grow in faith. Check out the stories below to read about the young lives impacted through SUNZ ministries.

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Jack Wilson is one of our BE Kindred based in Christchurch,

working with Paul Humphreys and the SUNZCamps team.

Jack also contracts with Adventure Specialties Trust and

is completing undergraduate study at Ara Institute. 



What was your earliest involvement with SUNZ? 

I first heard of SUNZ through a friend who helped lead on the Alight camp in Kaikoura. He encouraged me to sign up as a leader for Gain camp in the Marlborough Sounds in early October 2021.  


Was the Beyond Experience (BE) program what you expected? Tell me about the mentoring and how you have grown in leadership?

At first, I assumed BE was just the way SUNZ kept volunteers onboard to lead camps. However, in my experience, BE has been much more than equipping me as a leader solely for camps. Through various opportunities, I have been supported in exploring my passion for theology, sustainability, and youth development in an outdoor setting. One way I receive ongoing support is through regular mentoring sessions with my Kaiarahi, where I am invited to unpack issues, I face in my leadership journey and receive feedback as to how I can grow in those spaces. At the heart of BE is a focus that invests in my future as a leader in Aotearoa, which goes beyond my experience at camps.  

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What project work are you doing with SUNZ now? 

Currently, I am working to develop a workshop which engages with the principles and practices of kaitiakitanga as a response to biodiversity loss in Aotearoa. My hope is that this workshop becomes one of many tools available to leaders who aim to help others explore sustainability.  


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What advice or encouragement can you give to teenagers? 

Some advice I found helpful as a teenager comes from a passage in Matthew 6, which states "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."This encouraged me to refrain from basing my identity off who I spent time with, what I wore and how much money I could make. I like how N.T Wright describes this dynamic saying: 

"You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship" In this case, the encouragement I received to seek first God's kingdom has transformed me and invited me to participate within it. Therefore, my encouragement would be the same for anyone else - to seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness!  


But how? I hear you say. My advice based on this Kingdom seeking approach is to belong, grow and influence: 

BELONG - connect with a church. Join a small group with others in a similar life stage to you. 


GROW - wrestle with questions. Read Scripture with others. Allow yourself to be challenged by other perspectives. 


INFLUENCE - commit to serving in a space your passionate about (for me that was and still is youth group). 


Side note: this is not a linear step-by-step process. My advice is to begin with seeking God's Kingdom using these aspects. Having influence leads to growth and belonging just as much as belonging leads to growth and influence 


Ngā mihi nui, Jack Wilson 



WAY2GO, Scripture Union’s Children’s Ministry Conference is happening again this year. Still navigating our way through life with Covid, this year we are again running a combination of big city and smaller centre workshops.

This year’s theme is The Great Invitation - Let’s consider afresh our call to make God’s Good News known to children and their families. 


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God’s Good News transforms lives and gives hope for the future. This year our WAY2GO children’s ministry conferences will explore how we can help children and families to experience this for themselves, for their families and their communities. As we consider our changing world, how do we best approach this, as we seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus who gave the greatest invitation of all?  

 We are excited to be able to offer workshop choices again this year, having adapted last year’s conferences to reflect the uncertainty of continuing to navigate life in the Covid era. It’s great to be partnering again with other children’s ministry leaders around the country who are passionate about discipleship and want to work with us on these conferences.

                                                                                                                                       Click here to find out more.




Please pray for us, there are many ‘moving parts’ to these conferences and at times it just seems like one thing after another. It’ll be great to gather again to support and encourage those involved in children and family ministry in Aotearoa New Zealand. Please also pray that our advertising and promotion goes out without a hitch and that information gets into the hand (inboxes) of the right people. There is much to give thanks for and much to pray for and we appreciate your partnership in this with us as well.



Every year the staff team of Scripture Union New Zealand meet for four days, an opportunity to gather for conversation, connection, and inspiration. It’s called a Staff Retreat, as we ‘retreat’ from our daily tasks and set aside uninterrupted time to be together.  

This year was particularly special, as we haven’t been able to meet in person for a couple of years. To meet face to face was so much better than via a screen.  

Highlights from our March 2023 staff retreat were: 

Relationship building 

We have a fewnew staff who have recently joined our team, so our time together gave space for connecting over mealtimes, walks along the edge of the beautiful Manukau Harbour and during our meeting times. We shared stories of what God has been doing in our lives and areas of ministry, and significant faith moments in the past. All these conversations have helped weave us together as a team.  

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Upskilling and inspiration  

We considered several topics. 

Making God’s Good News knownWhat does this mean for children, young people, and their families and whānau in 2023? During these sessions we asked lots of questions and talked together about the changing context of Aotearoa and what that means for our ministry. This is the beginning of a year-long project, and we are excited to see where God is leading us.  

Mental health and wellbeingIt may come as no surprise that this topic is becoming increasingly more important for our ministry. How do we care well for our volunteers, ourselves and the children and young people we work alongside? Several of our team have recently completed a Mental Health First Aid course, and we are beginning a process to see this training rolled out across our ministries and beyond.  

To gather around God’s Words in the Bible‘Scripture’ is in our name, so an important part of Staff Retreat is always the gathering around God’s Words in the Bible. This year we explored the call to follow and serve Jesus, through the life of Peter. We talked together about what does good Bible engagement looks like and what values SUNZ holds. This included working our way through our biblical hermeneutical principles.  


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Our final session together involved us gathering on the edge of the Manukau Harbour to write ‘God is Love’ in the sand and decorate it with stones and shells. As we did this, and prayed together, we recalled the story of Josiah Spiers, one of those present at the very beginnings of Scripture Union as a movement. He wrote in the sand ‘God is Love’,and invited children and young people to not only decorate the words, but to understand for themselves the love of God. All these years later, we have the privilege to carry on this ministry and give thanks to God who has been faithful throughout our history and into our future  

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By Annette Osborne 

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In March 2023, the SUNZ youth consultant team hosted three youth ministry training days called Anamata, to 80 attendees in Wellington, Dunedin, and Auckland. Our job as youth consultants is to support the people who journey with rangatahi on their walk with Christ and our Anamata program is a way to bring youth leaders together for supportive, instructional, and motivational events.  

Anamata, in tereo Māori this means a time to come, hereafter, the future. The workshops we have created for Anamata are designed to equip and enable youth leaders to lead effective, thriving youth ministries 

Each Anamata event offered nine interactive workshops, involving 90-minute intensives on topics ranging from youth leadership, self-care &mental health, Bible engagement, to building a healthy youth culture. We also offered youth leader training seminars for newbies to youth ministry through to veteran youth pastors too. You can see a copy of our Auckland program here.




 Anamata events are a wonderful opportunity for youth leaders to connect through prayer, discussion, and training and to encourage each other in ministry to young people across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“That was so worth the long drive, the conversations we had on the way home with the young leaders were fantastic. They got lots of practical insights about leadership that they can apply in our youth group.”- a key leader gives feedback to Lizzie Moore after an Anamata training day. 


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“It was really good! One of the better training days I have attended. The material was engaging and relevant and the korero was insightful. Another big benefit was the cost, it wasn’tvery expensive at all which is a big plus.” - from Anamata Wellington, March 2023 

“This was a beautifully presented workshop. I loved the theological and Biblical grounding for the content and how it also had practical things to take away and try out.” - from Anamata Dunedin March 2023 

SUNZ are now planning more Anamata events later this year, also offering them as shorter training sessions to individual churches or youth leadership teams 


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If you want to know more, please contact our SUNZ Youth Consultants. 

A gift to SUNZ could change the life of a young person as they discover Jesus and grow in faith!

Q&A from Exodus Prime in Waikanae

What are your biggest questions about Jesus and the Bible right now?

WILL: When Jesus touches someone, how does he magically heal someone?

What Bible stories have you learnt about? What did you like about that story?

WILL: When Jesus healed the two blind men. The two blind men are healed now.

What have you learnt about God?

WILL: That he is magical in every way!

ARABELLA: I didn’t forget this, but I needed this as a reminder – that he loves us no matter what. And that God created the whole universe, and he cared enough to create me too.

What’s been the best part of camp so far?

ARABELLA: Meeting people and getting to know my campers and other campers, also getting to know more people.

Would you come to another camp like this?

ARABELLA: Yes, definitely! The people here are amazing and so kind, the other campers are so easy and fun to be around.

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