Christian charity group Tearfund NZ has been forced to stop its sponsorship work in India after Government officials there moved to block aid groups from distributing funds.

The organisation is among 11,000 international aid groups who have been prevented from distributing money in the country and will affect up to 145,000 sponsored children.

Of that number, 1100 children in India are being sponsored by generous New Zealanders.

The news comes as the Indian Government said it was not in its national interest to receive funding from such aid groups.


Chief executive of Tearfund NZ, Ian McInnes, acknowledged they were still somewhat at a loss as to why Indian officials have made the move.

But he pointed to the fact they were a Christian faith-based entity and that the country was moving more towards a Hindu-nationalist leaning.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB today, McInnes said: "It really is something of a tragedy and this is just a crack-down, it would seem, across [non-governmental organisations] - and not just, in our case, a Christian faith-based NGO.

''We're really left asking for reasons for this.

"We're told we're not conducive to the national interest - that's extremely vague.''

Tearfund NZ was first registered in the early 1970s and is now one of New Zealand's biggest aid agencies, raising approximately $14 million a year to offer support in 24 countries.