New Zealand: A Spiritual Thirst
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
Auckland, New Zealand
August 13, 2006
Mother Moon arrived in Auckland, “the city of sails,” late in the evening of August 11, after about 18 hours of traveling across the South Pacific. Dr. and Mrs. Chung Sik Yong, Enrique Ledesma, Steve and Suzie Evans, Leona Didsbury, Andrew Lausberg, some Ambassadors for Peace and many bright, enthusiastic New Zealanders formed the welcoming party.
On August 12, there was a rare opportunity to take a short outing to the Western Coast on winding roads bordered by sheep farms, with the animals like thousands of white dots on green hills. The fresh air and beautiful views, with a chance to get a few minutes of exercise, were very refreshing on this windy, wintry day.
New Zealand is a beautiful land of 4 million people and maybe 20 million sheep, on two major islands. Auckland, the largest city, and Wellington, the capital, lie on the North Island. On the South Island are the Southern Alps (larger than French, Swiss and Austrian Alps combined), where “Lord of the Rings” was filmed. Though generally prosperous and politically liberal, e.g., prostitution is legal, New Zealand is also troubled by family breakdown, youth alienation, high suicide rates, etc. There are four primary groups: whites of European descent, who arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries beginning with Captain James Cook (70-80% of the population); native Maori population (15%); Pacific Islander immigrants from Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati (8%); and Asian immigrants (5-8%). Census forms allow people to check more than one category. Christianity came to New Zealand from Australia; a key missionary was Samuel Marsden.
On the morning of August 13, we heard reports and reflections from Dr. Yong, Dr. Walsh, Rev. Ledesma, Rev. and Mrs. Evans, Rev. Lausberg, Geoff Prentice, and other local leaders. In the early afternoon, Hyun Jin Moon, his wife Jun Sook, and Jin Man Kwak arrived from Manila following the Youth Federation for World Peace and World CARP Rally there August 10-12.
The main event was very well organized. The hall was set for 500, and several hundred additional chairs had to be provided. It was the best turnout of any event held in New Zealand. Rev. Evans presided during the traditional Maori welcoming ceremony and performances by several talented choirs, including a large Tongan choir. Anglican Vicar Rev. Jennifer Chalmers offered the invocation. Sir Peter Tapsell, former Speaker of the Parliament, offered welcome remarks. Dr. Walsh presided over the main program, and Dr. Yong delivered the Chairman’s Address.
Fresh off the plane from his recent programs in Japan and Philippines, Hyun Jin Moon arrived in New Zealand to join Mother Moon for the tour in Oceania and Hong Kong. He arrived on stage exuding vitality and maturity, and he presented the Founder’s Address with confidence and power. Mother Moon presented her Keynote Address with grace and dignity. She seemed pleased and comforted to be once again with Hyun Jin and Jun Sook. Together they officiated at the prayer of blessing for marriages.
The program ended with a mass choir singing “We Are the World.” With the lyrics projected on the screen, everyone stood and sang along for an inspiring end to a great program. Afterward, there was a dinner for 40 of the closest Ambassadors for Peace. Rev. Ledesma invited delegates to share their reflections:
- A governmental minister from Fiji praised Mother Moon's and Hyun Jin’s emphasis on family, and she described how many government policies, including welfare policies, were undermining the family.
- A delegate from Samoa, representing both the National Council of Churches in Samoa and the World Council of Churches, praised the UPF and expressed belief in its potential to exceed the achievements of the World Council of Churches.
- Rev. Jennifer Chalmers reported feeling privileged to attend the event and to be part of UPF. She said there is a spiritual hunger for this message, which reaches deeply into the human soul. "This is the largest event I have attended here in New Zealand,” she said. “It shows that UPF is growing and has a message that people are thirsting to hear."
- A Muslim leader from Wellington said the program and the message touched his heart.
The following morning, Jin Man Kwak translated as Mother Moon spoke, encouraging all to learn Korean language and acknowledging the assistance of the Ambassadors for Peace, during the four months she had been on the tour. “In the 1950s and 1960s, middle and high school students went out into the Korean countryside to teach,” she explained. “These people are the core leaders of our movement now. New Zealand and Australia have special missions as mother nations to educate the island nations in this region. New Zealand has been sleeping; I want you to wake up, fly and take off. There is nothing that you are lacking—you have the truth, you have True Parents, and you have the worldwide foundation. You only have to convey to others what has transformed your life.”
Mother Moon acknowledged the many young people present and called their singing group the Sun Hak Choir, New Zealand. "I want the 2nd generation to have a great dream,” she said. “We are all happy people, but this happiness must be multiplied and spread. We promote the ideal of the true teacher, true parent and true leader. You have to spread this teaching and reach out to the university students on all the island nations." She gave a special donation for education and asked Hyun Jin to report on events in the Philippines.