WIFCO Banner vertical .jpgThe Waikato Interfaith Council / Te Tīaho Uenuku (WIFCO) is a voluntary non-profit association of persons who collectively represent the diversity of religious traditions and faith communities which exist within our wider society.

The Council aims to:
• foster mutual appreciation and good relations between traditions and communities;
• coordinate action, and/or to act on behalf of any or all of these communities in respect of religious issues and relationships to society at large;
• act in an advisory and consultative capacity to the community.

The Waikato Interfaith Council is based in Hamilton, New Zealand.

For more information on WIFCO, our meetings and activities, please contact the Secretary at: <wifconz@gmail.com>.
For more information on WIFCO public events, please contact: <WIFCOevents@gmail.com>.

The Waikato Interfaith Council is a recipient of the 2012 New Zealand Diversity Award, presented by Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner, of the Human Rights Commission on 20 August 2012.

Check out our Facebook page at: <www.facebook.com/WIFCO>. "Like" our Facebook page to stay up to date on our events and announcements.


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The Waikato Interfaith Council will be holding an Interfaith Tree Planting event on Saturday morning 25 June 2016, 9:00am-12:30pm, at the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park (across from the Hamilton Zoo). Please come help us out with planting saplings and seedlings along with Waikato’s many and varied faith and belief communities. Members from the Anglican, Bahá'í, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, LDS, Methodist, Muslim, Presbyterian and Sikh communities plan to work together to help fulfill the vision of the Hamilton City Council to return the Waiwhakareke Reserve back to its original habitat. The event is sponsored by the Waikato Interfaith Council, The Hamilton City Council, and Friends of the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. The saplings and seedlings will all be provided by the Hamilton City Council. A light lunch will be provided by the Waikato Interfaith Council.
Event: Interfaith Tree Planting
Date & Time: Saturday 25 June 2016, 9:00am-12:30pm
Meet: at 9:00am sharp in the carpark across from the main entrance to the Hamilton Zoo, on Brymer Road, for an orientation session.
Bring: Please bring your gumboots, gloves, a spade/shovel, water bottle, and a smile!
This event will be held rain or shine, so bring wet weather gear if its raining!
Do your bit for the environment and join us for a fun-filled morning. It'll be a family-friendly event, so bring the kids (or grandkids!), the neighbours and your friends!
Please pass this on to others in your networks so we can have a big crowd. Remember, many hands make light work!
20160625 WIFCO TREE planting.jpg


The Religious Diversity Trust announced the formation of the Religious Diversity Centre of Aotearoa New Zealand at its Inaugural Launch Event, in Parliament on 30 March 2016. Speaking at the launch was the Centre’s First Patron, The Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current Administrator of the United Nations Development Program in New York. The Hon Christopher Finlayson (National), MP Su’a William Sio (Labour), and MP Marama Davidson (Green) also spoke at the launch event.
The Religious Diversity Centre has been established as a national organisation dedicated to fostering an appreciation for and understanding of religious diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. The work of the Centre will focus on advocating and promoting inter- and intra-religious understanding and dialogue, provide religious diversity training and resources for professional development, contribute expert advice for policymakers and media organisations, publish high quality research on issues of religious diversity, and engage at all levels in relationship-building and peacemaking. The Religious Diversity Centre supports the principles outlined in the National Statement on Religious Diversity; promotes cooperation, friendship and engagement between the diverse cultural, religious and ethnic groups present in Aotearoa New Zealand; and honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

COMPARATIVE WORLD RELIGIONS COURSE - Hamilton - Thursday nights May-June 2016

WIFCO is pleased to announce the start of Hamilton's first "Comparative World Religions" Course offered to the public through Fraser High School's Adult and Community Education (ACE) programme. Details: Learn about other world religions and “isms” and their importance in New Zealand’s secular society. This short course delves objectively into the origins, history, development, beliefs and practices of the world’s main religious traditions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism), and others that you may have only heard of or know little about (e.g. the Bahá’í faith, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism & Zoroastrianism). We’ll also explore the moral and ethical belief systems of Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism and Rationalism. Adult learners will gain a better appreciation for, and deeper understanding of, the world’s religions and belief traditions, helping to contribute to New Zealand's increasingly diverse multicultural and multireligious society. Term 1 (March-April) focuses on the Eastern religious traditions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Shinto, Taoism), while the Term 2 course will focus of the Western religious traditions (including Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam) and other ethical belief systems like atheism, agnosticism, Humanism and Rationalism. Term 2 will also explore the notions of religious funadamentalism and extremism. The course will be taught by Todd Nachowitz, PhD, a part-time lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato, and member of the Executive Committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO). Todd has lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal and is a specialist in the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia.
More Information: Details and registration information can be found by clicking here.
Registration fee: $65.
Meets: Thursday evenings, 7:00-9:00pm during school Terms 1 & 2 in 2016.
Dates: Course begins on Thursday 11 February 2016, 7:00pm, then continues for 8 weeks, with the last session on Thursday 31 March 2016.
Location: Fraser High School, 72 Ellicott Road, Nawton, Hamilton
This two-part course will also be offered again in term 1 & 2 in 2017.


The Waikato Interfaith Council's WIFCO Interfaith Choir is actively seeking new members. So if you love to sing and make music do drop by for our rehearsals, which are held on the first Sunday of each month from 3:00-4.30pm at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel (on the University of Waikato campus, Gate 1).
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The WIFCO Choir at a recent practice in late-2015.

The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) is pleased to announce that the Hamilton City Council continues to embrace the opening of each of its City Council meetings with an interfaith prayer. Begun in 2013, these are led by Waikato faith leaders from the Anglican, Bahá'í, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Methodist, Mormon, Muslim, Presbyterian, Quaker and Sikh communities. We would like to extend our vote of appreciation to Her Worship the Mayor Judy Hardaker, former Hamilton City Councillor Daphne Bell, and all Hamilton City Council members for including both majority and minority religions and belief systems in the opening of future Council meetings. This positive action sends an enthusiastic message of inclusion to all members of society and we sincerely hope that our prayers, led by a more representative selection of Waikato faith and belief leaders, may help guide and encourage our Mayor and City Councillors in fulfilling the obligations for which they have been elected. WIFCO believes that this is a significant milestone in local governance that embraces all members of Waikato's multicultural and multireligious communities. We hope that other Councils throughout New Zealand undertake such initiatives. If you, or your belief-based organisation, are interested in being represented at a future Hamilton City Council meeting, please contact us! We are specifically looking for representatives from any currently active faith or belief group in the Waikato that is not currently represented, and includes representatives from athesist/agnostic, and Humanist/Rationalist groups. For information on this and other WIFCO activities, please email the WIFCO Secretary at: <wifconz (at) gmail.com>.


Alan Hodgson (Abhay Charan Das), Rev Andrew McKean, Andrea Haines, Anjum Rahman, Dr Carrie Barber, Gayl de Boer, Jovi Abellanosa, Louis Paulussen (President), Dr Michael Walmsley, Mylene Rakena, Su Ellis, Rev Dr Susan Thompson, Sylvie Rabinovitch-Bolstad, Dr Teresa Fernandez, Dr Todd Nachowitz (Secretary), Wiremu Puke.
NOTE: We are also seeking representatives from all faith and belief communities in the Waikato. If you are interested in being represented on the Waikato Interfaith Council, please contact the WIFCO Secretary at <wifconz (at) gmail.com>.


You can contact us by email by clicking here, or by writing to us at:

Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO)

P.O. Box 11048


New Zealand

WIFCO is a member of the Human Rights Commission's Diversity Action Programme

Site created: 4 November 2008.
Site last updated: 8 June 2016.