The Friends scattered throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands first met in Annual Conference at Wellington in July 1909. Annual Meetings have been held regularly since then. Recognition as a Quarterly Meeting of London Yearly Meeting was granted in 1914. We became a Yearly Meeting on 1st January 1964. A Young Friends Meeting was established at Yearly Meeting 2007.

There are Yearly Meeting Committees for a wide variety of activities, including:

  • Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand,
  • Futures Group (climate change and sustainability)
  • Treaty Relationship Group (dealing with Indigenous Peoples concerns).
  • Penal reform
  • Quaker Learning and Spiritual Development
  • Outreach, including Quaker lecture
  • Children and Young Persons Committee

Other Committees for Quaker internal matters: Respect and Safety, Handbook Revision, Children and Young People’s Support Committee, Oral Histories, Summer Gathering, Quaker book sales, Wider Quaker Fellowship.

Yearly Meeting has representatives on a range of National Committees of other organisations, e.g. Alternatives to Violence Project, NZ Head of Churches Group, to name some.

Following the closure of Friends School in 1969 some remaining land is being used as the site of the Quaker Settlement, a community of families and individuals, established in 1976 to further Friends work and to provide a centre of study and retreat, and for gatherings of various kinds.

“Summer Gatherings”, held in various locations each December-January. Held separately from our YMs, they are an integral part of the Quaker community life. For 6 to 8 days Friends (about 100 to 120) live together (sometimes camping style) for the joy of fellowship, growth and recreation.

Young Friends Gatherings. Annual camps are organised so that Junior Young Friends and separately Young Friends may have fellowship in their respective communities.

In 1989 the Yearly Meeting stated its commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and its promise of partnership between the settlers and the indigenous people, Maori, as a foundation document for the whole nation. The recognition of this led to the inclusion of Aotearoa in the name of the Society. Subsequently the Maori Language Commission granted the name of Te Haahi Tuuhauwiri to the Society. This translates as “The faith community who quake in the winds of the Spirit”. Yearly Meeting in July 2008 saw the adoption of a public statement on Constitutional Reform as a further step in the working toward recognition of the indigenous peoples rights within the country.

There is a Friends’ Centre in both Auckland and Wellington for the furthering of local Friends’ work and convenience of visiting Friends. There is also limited accommodation at Friends House, Waiheke Island and at the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui.

Quaker Faith and Practice of Britain Yearly Meeting is widely used and referred to. In 2003 a New Zealand edition of local material was produced entitled Quaker Faith and Practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. There is also a local version of Advices and Queries. There is ongoing work being carried out on the Quaker Handbook to ensure we are up to date with the ongoing needs of the Society.