Religion vs Religion in New Zealand

By Martin Roth

I grew up in New Zealand where rugby football often seems to have the status of a religion. So it is interesting to view a conflict in Christchurch, NZ, between a local rugby club and Coptic Christians, who plan to build a new church nearby.

The whole issue is complicated, but the club is aggrieved that it may lose access to facilities it had taken for granted.

“It’s a community asset and it’s been that way for so long . . . I know we don’t really have a leg to stand on because it’s privately owned by the church now but the whole thing is just disappointing.”

He felt the club had been locked out of a facility that “is part of our history” and the council had not considered the “loss of services” to park users.

But not everyone feels aggrieved:

Deb Jackson, from the Airport Guesthouse opposite the clubrooms, said she had “no problem whatsoever” with the proposed church. “When that was a rugby club, we had issues with drinking and people throwing bottles . . . and peeing in letterboxes.”

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