News Story

Blossoming Interfaith Relations in Hastings, New Zealand

Representatives from several faiths join together to celebrate the start of Spring

The annual Hastings "Flowers in Praise" event was replaced this year by the Blossom Festival “Interfaith Exhibition,” part of the Hastings District Council annual blossom festival celebrating the arrival of spring.

The theme for this year was "Symbols of Faith."

The event, which highlighted the diversity of the religious groups involved, was planned by Hawke’s Bay Interfaith and the Flowers in Praise community under the direction of Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.


Ten exhibitors from a range of religious groups had exhibitions of symbols relating to their faith and beliefs at the Wesley Methodist Church in Hastings on 14 and 15 September.

A gold coin donation was the entry for the exhibition and proceeds were presented to the Hastings St. John’s Ambulance at the civic service.

The festival culminated in a colourful and captivating Interfaith Civic Service, with music, mihi, call to prayer, prayers in multiple languages, dance, a rousing Samoan choir, reciting of holy texts, and sharing of inspirational messages from civic and religious leaders.

Participants and speakers included individuals from a range of cultural and faith-based groups.

Organiser Rev. Dorothy Brooker of the Hawke’s Bay Interfaith Council was grateful to everyone who participated. 

“I would like to thank the faith communities for being willing to share their faith so beautifully,” she said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was represented by President Paul McKee of the Hastings Stake, Bishop Leutele from the Napier Ward (congregation), along with several others from the Church.  

President McKee said, “I came away from the interfaith service with a confirmation that we are all God’s children and that we need to respect each other's faiths."

"As we develop a greater understanding of each other’s beliefs, we realise that everybody wants to achieve the same outcomes—a closer relationship with God and a greater love and understanding of each other in the community." 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.