World peace is on the agenda for the first public meeting held by the Tauranga Interfaith Council.

The group, the brainchild of Tauranga woman Oriel Reed, is a voluntary non-profit organisation of people who represent the diversity of religious traditions and faith communities within society.

Mrs Reed said the council's aim was to foster a mutual appreciation and good relations.

"To co-ordinate action and/or act on behalf of any of these communities in respect of religious issues and relationships with society at large and celebrate the unity contained within out interfaith organisation and traditions," she said.


The group now has eight members, including representatives from the Sikh, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Baha'i, Anglican and Methodist communities.

Mrs Reed, a Quaker, had been in the Bay for almost a year in 2012 when she actively started looking for an interfaith group to join.

Coming from Waikato, where there was an active interfaith group, she noted the need for one here and that sparked her into action to set up a group.

"I had always valued the concept of an interfaith organisation and support.

"I telephoned various church administrations in my quest and talked about the concept in action and the richness of relationships between different groups."

She had heard about problems associated with the idea too.

Mrs Reed contacted the Baha'i community after she was invited to attend a combined faith group hosted by the Anglican parish of Gate Pa.

"I was asked to bring a prayer, reading or song to share with everybody," she said.

After this initial event, members of the Anglican Church, the Baha'i community and Mrs Reed decided to meet again to start their own interfaith group.

Reverend John Hebenton said the group would open its doors next week for the first time, to hold an interfaith prayer meeting for world peace.

He said: "At a time when there is so much conflict, and so much of it seems religiously motivated, it is important that people of faith join together to pray for peace."

Various faiths would express their desire for world peace through prayer, music and the spoken word, and there were still opportunities for more faiths to be represented by presenting an item on the programme, he said.

"Regardless of your faith, anyone who is wishing to support world peace is welcome to this gathering," he said.

*The Tauranga Interfaith Council will meet at the Historic Village on October 14 at 7.30pm.