Founded in 1966 by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand seeks to improve the lives of people suffering from poverty or injustice through community-based development, advocacy, education and emergency relief programs. Its work supports community development and emergency response projects in more than 20 countries throughout the Pacific, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with a focus on poor and vulnerable people, regardless of race, religion or nationality.
Approximately 90% of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s budget is spent on development, emergency relief, education and advocacy programs, both in New Zealand and internationally, to change the structures that lead to poverty and injustice. Its development programs include a wide variety of activities, including support for clean water supply and irrigation, strengthening primary health care, teaching farm management and sustainable livelihoods, skills development and credit for small businesses, disaster risk reduction activities, and improving the lives of women and indigenous peoples.
Internationally, as in Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas supports emergency humanitarian aid in countries affected by disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, famine and conflict, providing food, water, medicine, temporary shelter, blankets and psychological support.
Through Catholic Volunteers Overseas (CVO), its international volunteer arm, it deploys trained New Zealand volunteers throughout the Pacific.
Twenty-one Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand staff work at its headquarters in the capital, Wellington. Two others are based in Auckland, and a strong group of volunteers support Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s efforts throughout the country and internationally.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand partners include Caritas members, NGOs, church organizations, community groups, and other civil society organizations.