COVID-19 disrupted but could not stop the sixth New Zealand Pacific Union Conference constituency meeting on February 14.
Enough delegates from around New Zealand were able to attend the East Auckland City church in person to make an amendment to the constitution allowing Pacific delegates (Cook Islands, New Caledonia, French Polynesia Missions), NZPUC secretary-treasurer Kingsley Wood and SPD delegates Pastor Glenn Townend and Rodney Brady (Australia) to join via Zoom.
The International Dateline meant that the session started Sunday in New Zealand and New Caledonia, while in Wallis and Futuna, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Pitcairn it was Sabbath afternoon.
“We moved into a time of uplifting praise and worship in both French and English, with reports from our entity leaders of God’s blessings in our conferences, missions and Longburn Adventist College in the past five years,” said Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, NZPUC president. “They also highlighted challenges and plans for the future.”
Halfway through the Sunday session, COVID-19 struck again as New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, announced increased restrictions to start at midnight, meaning delegates from around NZ had to get home before curfew.
Delegates were able to vote through a new executive committee, with Pastor Tupa’i retained as president and Mr Wood as secretary-treasurer, leaving the rest of the agenda to the executive committee.
“Kingsley and I are grateful for the confidence placed in us,” said Pastor Tupa’i. “We are very appreciative to our delegates for their patience, our staff for their adaptability and the SPD leaders for their counsel.”
The session that began at 11am local time was finished by 9pm.
“Our theme was “Endurance Inspired by Hope” (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3) which proved to be appropriate with what we faced and I am sure we will continue to [face] in these increasingly uncertain times,” said Pastor Tupa’i.