From the earliest years of the Christian mission in Tauranga to the present day, our city has seen many moves of God that have touched people across every age, culture, and denomination. Tauranga is known as a place of abundance in the natural, and also has seen great fruitfulness of the Spirit. Our city has been a place of ‘firsts’, as significant moves of the Holy Spirit have gone out and touched the nation.
By the end of the 1830s in New Zealand, the number of people committed to following Christ and attending local gatherings was over 30,000, in a population of approximately 80,000. A revival of this magnitude within a short period of time, and among those with no previous knowledge of the gospel, had never been seen before. In Tauranga, the missionaries could not provide enough workers to disciple the number of converts.**
William Williams arrived in Tauranga in 1840, and his first open air service was attended by over 1000 people. He records at the time that there were 20 Maori missionaries in the region, and over 8000 attending Sunday service regularly. Alfred Nesbit Brown records in his mission journal that during 1840-1842, he baptised 680 adults and 504 children. In proportion to the population at the time, this was significant.
Over subsequent decades, other historical revivals have taken place in this city and region, and many have been impacted through the power of the gospel and the presence of God. Some of these moves have been marked by large numbers of salvations, signs and wonders, healing and deliverance, charismatic renewal, and by the churches multiplying across the region.
Tauranga means ‘a place of refuge’ or ‘a safe anchorage’. For many, this name is a powerful declaration over this region. There are many prophetic promises that have been declared for decades over this place which speak of great abundance, a place of birthing new things, a light to the nations, and a place that is marked by reconciliation and uncommon unity.
Many have come here, feeling led to move to the city, and are expectant for a move of God that will awaken this city to its redemptive purpose.
Although the early Christian mission in this region has been complex and not without human error, in recent years the desire has arisen from many to seek forgiveness and reconciliation from the past, and thus move forward in unity of the Spirit to see a city revived, and transformed by the power of the gospel.
** Source: A Brief History of Revival in New Zealand – Jenny Sharkey