Getting Your Kiwi’s Straight

I write this post as a response to the confusion on the Jolly Blogger post about Kiwis and the Emergent church and also because many of you ask.

Images-1-1 A kiwi is:

1) a flightless bird native to New Zealand

2) a fruit formerly known as the Chinese Gooseberry

3) a person who comes from New Zealand, also known as GodZone country.

Emergent Kiwi (Steve Taylor) is a New Zealander with one of the best books on Emerging Church – Out of Bounds Church. as well as an interesting blog post A-Z of the Emerging Church

Paul Fromont is Prodigal Kiwi

Duncan MacLeod is Post Kiwi, since he now lives in Australia.

There are plenty more Kiwis where they came from like Rachel, who blogs at Cre8dJournal and Stephen Garner at Greenflame. And even more Kiwis have dispersed around the globe and are acting as salt of the earth and light of the world. Yeehhh Kiwis!!!

I am one of that blessed dispersion, the issuing forth of export-quality Kiwis to bless the families of the earth d;-] I am Tall Skinny Kiwi, because I was born in New Zealand and left when I was 17. I am also 6ft 5ins and fat-deficient.

Please do not confuse Kiwis with Aussie bloggers like Phil Baker and Andrew Hamilton who might be interesting and on rare occasion have something to say (The Emerging Missional Church: Thoughts in Progress” by Darren Rowse is a good example) . . . but PAH LEAZE do not settle for anything less than the GENUINE KIWI ARTICLE.

Do I hear an AMEN from God’s Chosen?

Before the blogging thing took off in 2001, Kiwis were assisting the emerging church in their own country and in UK – where the name “alt. worship” is often given to the similar phenomena. There was the breakthrough book The Prodigal Project, at the time the best book on the subject, written by 2 Kiwis (Mark Pierson and Mike Ridell) and one Aussie (Cathy Kilpatrick). Mark Pierson also helped kick off the festival known as Parachute, which is interesting because in UK, Greenbelt is organized and run primarily by emerging church people. In the early-mid 90’s Mark was a huge inspiration to people like Tom Sine and myself with his innovative Baptist church in Auckland. In 1999, when we created the multimedia worship installation in Austin Texas called “Ecclesia”, I got some good advice on multimedia labyrinths from Mark. I also took the idea of projecting onto sheets in the middle of the room rather than walls from him.

Anyway, when I say Kiwi – thats what I mean.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Darryl says:

    Is it true that Aussies are Kiwi wannabees? 😉

  • hope says:

    hehehehe Kiwis are good in salads….My g’ma always used to peal them for us and we would eat them….where exactly is new zealand? Aussie (even thought i am not one) are cool.

  • graham says:

    Hate to get picky on a tongue-in-cheek post, but I really wouldn’t describe Greenbelt as being run primarily by emerging church people. I think it’s far broader and less partisan than that.
    But I’m a Brit, what do I know? 😉

  • andrew jones says:

    hi graham
    maybe you are right since you are a Brit and I am just a Kiwi who lives in UK. But ever since the previous Director Andy Thornton (Late Late Service-Glasgow) took me in the Greenbelt office in London back in 2000, i have been noticing that all the people who seem to run Greenbelt are part of emerging churches in UK.
    Becky seems to bear the heavy weight of Greenbelt now and she is the wife of Kester Brewin- VAUX London whose book on the emerging church “The Complex Christ” is one of the very best.
    I have been speaking at Greenbelt recently and the guy who heads that up is Oliver from Feast (formerly HOST) in London
    Jonny Baker (Grace, looks after the worship side and he is a key emerging church figure.
    The key speakers and inputters over the years (Graham Cray, etc) are all mentors and teachers for the emerging church.
    The new forms venue is a showcase for alt. worship from emerging churches around UK
    I could go on. Have you seen something that i am missing?
    Maybe you are looking for the emerging church in UK to be more elitist and argumentative, but in fact it is just part of the church landscape – nestled in and functioning well within and outside the established church. Theres a good model for USA to follow . . .

  • will says:

    So you’re not an Aussie? (snark, snark)

  • j says:

    “Theres a good model for USA to follow…”
    Elitist indeed…

  • Dan-D from Canada says:

    Another Kiwi of Note: Peter Jackson, the man who brought the Lord of the Rings films to the big screen. Also, virtually every extra, stagehand, cameraman, make-up person, gaffer, costume designer, gopher, stuntman, stuntwoman, set designer, set builder, director, songwriter, and swordmaster was a kiwi as well. New Zealand is also called “Hollywood of the South Pacific”. Andrew is only slightly less well-known than Peter.
    Dan-D from Canada (Canuck [n]: a resident of the continent of North America that graciously shares its land with the Americans, and even lets said Americans pretend they are the only ones there.)

  • Paul Fromont says:

    AMEN! Isn’t new Zealand at the top of the world; I can’t understand why people refer to us as being “downunder”…We’re such a small % of the worldwide population; it’s great to be part of the “whanau” (‘family’). Cheers Andrew, from a much smaller Kiwi

  • Stephen says:

    Could be worse. You could be misrepresented as “Tall Skinny Zespri“.

  • steve says:

    Amen. Good stuff Andrew:)

  • Too right mate. I worked in the export of kiwi (fruit) for 3 years. Now I am an export. Fortunately for me I can join up as an Australian citizen and keep the NZ passport.
    People ask me who I cheer for when the rugby’s on. I was brought up to cheer for New Zealand and anyone playing Australia.
    BTW, Mark Pierson is blogging at Urban Seed in Melbourne.

  • Perhaps the Kwiwi’s are the Irish of the South Pacific. Although I’m not sure if they have suffered as much as the Irish and we’re still waiting for the Kiwi version of the Celtic missionary movement.

  • graham says:

    No, I’m certainly not looking for emerging church to be more elitist! 🙂 But I think it’s not accurate to make the term so wide that it can envelope anyone.
    In my experience at Greenbelt, they have always resisted being labelled as part of any one particular group: evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal or emerging. They are certainly “fringe” and “marginal” bu t there are fringes in all sorts of directions.
    “The key speakers and inputters over the years (Graham Cray, etc) are all mentors and teachers for the emerging church.”
    But that’s not the same as being emerging church folk, is it? We could say the same of NT Wright and Stanley Hauerwas who would both explicitly claim to not be part of the emerging church.

  • andrew jones says:

    hi graham
    the term ’emerging church’ in my usage, does not envelope everyone but only those expressions of church and ministry that take contextual form inside the emerging culture, and those people who are focusing on that demographic. That makes them a minority.
    As for the level of impact and imput into ministry in the emerging postmodern culture, the speakers you mentioned are free to choose their level of involvement.
    i think the problem might be that my definition of who is participating in “emerging church” is broader than some. I see emerging church as a missional contextual response of impacting the emerging culture with the gospel, rather than a group or network to join. And those involved in it are normally involved in both emerging and traditional at the same time – like myself. So its really hard to define someone as “emergent” or not emergent.
    We are all part of the body of Christ.
    Brits often use “Mission shaped church” rather than “emerging-missional church” as the Americans do, but it is basically the same if the context of emerging culture calls for it.
    although even in UK, the CMS sponsored website uses the word quite freely and they are based in London. And Church Missionary Society would not be described as elitist.
    If we talk about emergent church as a label (which it is not) or compare it to belly buttons (insies and outsies) then we will end up with a dualist church and run into all kinds of problems and divisions.

  • David Wayne says:

    Thanks for clearing things up for me Andrew and a g’day mate to you. Oops, is g’day an appropriate greeting to a New Zealander, with it having all those Aussie connotations?

  • random links

    Last year I wrote a slightly tongue in cheek A-Z of the emerging church. It has leapt back into blog circulation thanks to tallskimpykiwi [sic] and I like how it is (sort of) being “open-sourced” ie added to here. One…

  • Bronwen says:

    Yay for the emergent kiwi dispora!! (from a kiwi export to the US).

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