Tuesday 5 August 2008

Can any good thing come out of Dunedin?

Dunedin. Just a tad north of the South Pole. Hills. The world's steepest street. Grey, Calvinist weather (yup, that's two locals in the pic taking a stroll on the beach!), Rugby's "House of Pain."

Once in the long ago I lived in Invercargill, even closer to the icebergs. Forget the Aussie pretenders - we're talking the real Down Under. It was a brief tenure, but I have fond memories of life as a "mainlander." Fond but chilly. Well, mainly chilly. These days I've a continuing association with the South Island through Otago University (New Zealand's oldest and coldest seat of higher learning) where this Aucklander is chipping away (from a safe temperate-zone distance) at a degree in theology. I'd chance a reference to ice-picks, but not all Scots-descended Dunedinites are famous for their sense of humor (which explains a great deal about Presbyterians in general.)

Frankly, I woudn't have imagined a COG-related Kiwi blog coming from such sub-arctic climes, unless Max or Fraser decided to further their agenda (let the reader understandeth.) But then - great burning Scarfie sofas - it appears one has. Peter, take a bow. Pull on a jumper and an extra pair of socks then click across to check it out.

First impressions? Nice job.


Anonymous said...

Dunedin and its adjacent territories have been the domicile of COGGERY for decades,now.

It could be said that the fervour south these folk are,the better.

We are of the understanding that it has been known for these folk to embark upon the DRANG NACH NORD ,the march up north, at which point in time these Herbalites protest in front of our Parliament,replete with placards and posters which read that the end is nigh.

These Coggers have been known to become involved against the lifetime driver's licence,the cortege of motor vehicles rendezvousing outside the offices of the local civil authority.

To borrow a Gavinism,life is lived to the max in this part of the Antipodes.We cannot deny their sincerity,misplaced though it might possibly be.They do attract some slight following though we fear that the pickings are rather slim.


Anonymous said...

Can anything good out of Dunedin?

One observes they are trying to
cult-ivate a COG blog.

With all that sofa burning in Dunedin,they must be a fairly laid-back lot.

Dunedin and districts have a number of self-appointed spokesmen for the Almighty who have put pens to paper and maximised their opportunities.

One understands the Central Library has been the beneficiary of many profound theological opusses/opi which were free to any who cared to read.

In Dunedin many are cold but few are frozen.The harvest appears to indeed have been small.

What indeed can we say.Perhaps they needed to discard the kilt and repant.

One is also of the understanding that a number of Feast of Tabernacles have been held in the South Island with attendees from other Cogger factions.Truly,a wonderful thing for former brethren to assemble and observe Succoth, but not intense.Motel rooms were far more comfortable.

As for their agenda, keyboards more qualified than this humble one could doubtless add some pertinent comments about the Work in the deep South.


Anonymous said...


I enjoyed learning about New Zealand. I did an internet search on New Zealand and found several interesting sites to learn more about the history and the geography of N.Z. as result of your AW blog post. For those us reading your blog entry that is unfamiliar with Dunedin, here is a summary of Dunedin that I cut and pasted from the tourism website:

Dunedin Highlights

Dunedin city is renowned for its proximity to incredible wildlife. Visits to see the world's rarest penguins, the world's only mainland breeding colony of the Royal albatross and rare New Zealand sealions are all possible within a short drive of the city centre.

Dunedin is also memorable for its historical architecture. It is regarded to be one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Look for the massive stone Flemish Renaissance-style Dunedin Railway Station, the University clock-tower building and the Gothic Revival Dominican Priory. Dunedin even has an authentic castle—Larnach Castle was the grand home of an early politician. You might also want to visit Baldwin Street, the world's steepest residential address.

It's easy to learn about things in Dunedin. Apart from being New Zealand's first university city, it has an abundance of museums, galleries and heritage homes with amazing stories to tell. You can even discover the history of beer brewing at the Speights Brewery.

Dunedin offers all the facilities you would expect within a modern, thriving city, without the traffic jams and parking problems! Daily life is vibrant, positive and upbeat. Cafes, restaurants and bars compete for space with a fabulous mix of shops and entertainment venues.

End of Excerpt

Gavin, how big is COGism in New Zealand, and how big was WCG in New Zealand during its hey day? I remember when I was a boy learning about where all the WCG congregations were worldwide from the Good News Magazine map listing, and I seem to remember there was a congregation in Dunedin.


Anonymous said...

Helpful info on Stones' blog- thanks for pointing it out.

Having a look at the Flickr page(by clicking on the photo on the blog) reveals some great photos!
So far, this Te Waewae Bay photograph is one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog entry to be quite interesting. Being from the USA, I never knew much about New Zealand. I didn't even realize that there were two separate islands, or that the South Island was that much closer to the Antarctic region. All of that has been remedied recently, as I've done a bit of research.

Prior to this, what little I did know came from the Anthony Hopkins movie, "World's Fastest Indian".


Robert said...

Sounds so great, just the place you would go for a "Feast"!

Anonymous said...


Robert said...

And if you find yourself in New Zealand be sure to check out the following groups. Gavin is really spoilt for choice!

Auckland Believers Synagogue, Auckland.

David & Lynda Crawford (group),

Congregation of YHWH, Wellington.

Anonymous said...

How come you didnt publish my comment on your island map. I asked where is this place...near Newfoundland?

Anonymous said...

COG congregations in the Deep South were never large.

Dunedin congregation numbered maybe 10 to 20 people on a regular basis.Students, from other areas, studying at Otago University helped to enlarge the numbers.

Over the years,Dunedin was served from Christchurch,was it not,with preaching elders such as Jack Croucher,Neville Frazer,Sutcliffe(forget the Christian name) with Alec Harrison as deacon/local elder at one time,and of course,Gavin's current Faithful Church of God contact who served as deacon in Christchurch.

There was also a very small congregation in Invercargill(Invergiggle) at one time,as well.

There were other luminaries but it was so long ago that memory dims.Doubtless,others can elucidate upon the history of the church in this area.


Anonymous said...

Side note: "Apostle" Pack slams Wineland in latest sermon. Calls him a goofy fellow who is a false prophet! Claims he should be put to death!

Ha! The pot is calling the kettle Black!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asks how big COGism in NZ currently is? A good question.

"Worldwide",the Tkach clique, might have some 80 adherents NZ wide today.The splinter groups may possibly number between 300-500 but that is only an estimate.

In its heyday,perhaps from 1975-1983,Worldwide possibly would have had 750 attendees weekly across 15 to 20 churches nationwide.That is not large.Any number of single urban churches in NZ cities would exceed this number,easily.

These congregations were served by a number of ordained and lay preachers,maybe 30-40 nationwide at its peak.

At Feast of Tabernacle sites during 1975-1982 you might average 1200 people total which included overseas visitors.

There was an office in Auckland which had maybe 8 to twelve staff at any one time during its years of operation,1968-1995,say.

When HWA departed this life ,things started going downhill for Worldwide.It had been on the slide,for years,however.HWA died in Jan 1986,did he not?So take that as the beginning of the end.

So,Worldwide had a useful life in NZ of about 27 years.

And now they have gone a thousand different ways,some to mainstream,others to Pentecostal and Evangelical,others to small schisms and splits with a variety of wonderful names...United,Living(now,should that be renamed Loving?),Faithful,Philadelphia,and the Reformed Revivalists which the writer is thinking of joining.

Hallelujah,praise the Lord.

Any number of ex-COGgers(or should that be CODGERS) have now become fully-fledged authors, offering a wonderful array of expository material,for all views,perceptions and tastes.Their material is free,though should you care to proffer monetary appreciation,I am sure that such would not disdained.No refuseniks here.We have now become a most enlightened lot,having thrown off the shackles of Herbalism.BI is not in vogue,though many cling precariously to this dogma.

Yea,we have become a collective of home-spun philosophers,peddling our wares,though free, to the converted and semi-converted.

I trust this is of some help.


Anonymous said...

Byker Bob,

Your pseudonym would suggest a Harley Davidson background.

About 3 years ago, a team of 5 kiwi bikies,mounted on 3 BMW 1200s,
one 950 whatever and one 650 whatever,did a tour of Mexico,USA,Canada and Alaska.

They wrote a book about it called "Backblocks America", by Jo and Gareth Morgan,husband and wife.

Gareth Morgan, PhD, is a very successful economist and financial adviser here in NZ.Their book is published by Random House.I don't know if you can get it over there.

Gareth is an avowed unbeliever,whilst one of his fellow bikies was a Lutheran lay-preacher from the lower part of the North Island where that religion has its HQ in NZ.

Of course, Gareth and this laypreacher have many interesting heave-hos on religion,especially when they come to the Bible Belt,to which a couple of chapters is devoted.They get to see the Amish and Mennonites in Ohio and go to a service in a more mainstream church.

They travel to Norlins where Katrina struck, and hear some of the locals say that the dissipation in that city attracted divine retribution.

The book is very well written and if you can get your hands on a copy you should find it well worth reading.

Jo and Gareth Morgan have also ridden over the Silk Road previously, which was the subject of a yet earlier book.

They do remark that inland America is very parochial and only aware or concerned about the happenings in their home or next-door state.

My own grandmother was born in Missouri to an itinerant (Ana)Baptist preacher which family eventually emigrated to this country.When pursuing genealogical matters you get to appreciate just how big your country is.

Hope this little diversion gives you an insight into Kiwi thinking.



Anonymous said...

Way back in '87 I travelled with friends from Pasadena to keep the FOT in Rotorua. Afterwards, we drove down to Wellington, and took the ferry across to the south Island.

I remember visiting Christchurch (is that wizard character still around?) and I think we flew to Oz out of Dunedin, but I'm not sure of that now.

NZ was amazing - varied from rain forest and stinking mud bogs to alpine mountains. It was a little weird too, with wizards holding forth in town squares, very anglo citizens mixing with Maoris, and warnings of metal roads. Hell, I even asked a local church member if the metal roads got slippery in the rain - and he took my question seriously. Only later did I find out the truth.

Nice place and nice people, but you got the feeling that you found an out of the way hidey hole from the rest of the world.


Anonymous said...

Back in my distance radio-listening days (aka "DX") I would have picked up the local Dunedin station.

I remember the world's only professional radio listener lived a little further south, in Invercargill.

Anonymous said...

If I can namedrop, the fellow in Invercargill was Art Cushen, MBE. His most notable achievement was probably when he wrote letters to the families of POWs he heard listed by the belligerents over shortwave.

I wonder if he ever listened to HWA/GTA? When I was a listener, only offshore ("pirate") stations like Radio Hauraki played them in NZ.

Anonymous said...

Insanity -

Thanks, I listened for Dave to flip the switch on Goofy, but started nodding off after that.

I did wake up to hear how shocked everyone was at rising prices and other economic woes. Don't these guys believe their own prophecies? Or is their COG supposed to be exempt?

Ministers sell their homes? Whoa!

Interesting that Dave raised the point of massive funding that may have hit the WCG in the early 60s. I've seen speculation about this by a few COG critics.