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Kiwi Gods: Religion and New Zealand

Kiwi Gods: Religion and New Zealand

The significance of religion in New Zealand is to be explored in a major series of free public lectures starting this week at Victoria University.

Organised by University's Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, the lectures explore religion from a variety of angles including sport, Mâori Christianity, sexuality, nationalism, youth and justice.

Stout Research Centre Director Dr Lydia Wevers says religion is an issue that is often not properly discussed in New Zealand.

"There has never been a comprehensive history of religion in New Zealand. The histories that have been written tend to focus on a particular faith or church.

"New Zealand is often described as a very secular country. Education, for example, which is often a flashpoint for religious controversy in other countries is highly secular in New Zealand. But even so, there is quite a strong religious presence in New Zealand, a presence that is often not openly acknowledged.

"In this lecture series, which we hope to publish as a series of essays, we've attempted to look at religion from a variety of different angles. For example, Jo Randerson, a playwright and daughter of an Anglican bishop, delves into the perspective of being young and Christian whilst Ghazala Anwar looks at the view of a Muslim woman practising her faith in Christchurch, the mosque furthest from Mecca."

The series begins on Wednesday with an overview by Victoria Professor Paul Morris and concludes with a lecture by Victoria Emeritus Professor Lloyd Geering on June 16. The lectures run from 4.10-5.30pm at the Stout Research Centre, 12 Waiteata Rd. The full listing is:

March 31, Paul Morris, Kiwi Gods

April 7, Kevin Ward, Sport and Religion

April 28, Lyndsay Head, Mâori Christianity

May 5, Margaret Mayman, Translating Sexuality and Gender—Reflections on New Zealand

May 12, Mike Grimshaw, Believing in 'New Zealand': Religion and Nationalism

May 19, Jo Randerson, Being Young and Christian

May 26, Kathryn Rountree, Feminist Spirituality

June 2, Ghazala Anwar, The Furthest Mosque: Christchurch, New Zealand

June 9, Chris Marshall, A Religious Perspective on Restorative Justice

June 16, Lloyd Geering, Turning Point: 1967—The Year That All New Zealand Talked Religion

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