Welcome to the story of CAP in Aotearoa...

How do you love your neighbours?

Christians Against Poverty NZ began with a prayerful answer to this question.


Alpesh is a solo dad, with three kids to feed. Paralysed with debt, he saw nowhere to turn but to high-cost money lenders.


Luna and her teenage son barely left the house. “There isn’t money for the bus… you feel down. You don’t want to share your down-ness with everybody, so you just stay home.”

Sharon and Mike

Sharon and Mike took money from the power bill to buy groceries until the power got cut. “We’d be sleeping in the living room together … the kids more sick than ever.”

In 2007, Heather and Gareth Jones arrived in Aotearoa with four local contacts. They had scarcely enough money to cover two months’ expenses. But they  were armed with experience. They had spent the previous ten years serving people living in unmanageable debt and poverty at CAP UK.  Filled with faith, they believed God would go before them and make a way. 

Heather and Gareth met with local Pastors who could plainly see the needs in their neighbourhoods. Partnerships formed. With these churches’  wisdom and  insight combined, CAP UK’s poverty alleviation services were adapted to a New Zealand context.

Within two months, two local churches were equipped to visit the homes of 25 clients – providing life-changing help to neighbours like Alpesh, Sharon, Mike and Luna. 


“I felt like I was talking with friends. I felt so relaxed, like CAP were people that were keen to help me. For the first time I felt like I wasn’t alone.”


“Calling CAP, the guy was so kind and really good at listening.  I’m not Christian, but when we did the karakia, the prayer, it felt really warm. I felt relieved someone cared.” 

Sharon and Mike

“We can sleep! We can think…  You’re literally saving lives. Not just ours but generations, like our children… they’re learning a different way of looking at money.”

Read the full origin story of Christians Against Poverty, by ordering a FREE copy of the book, Nevertheless.

CAP’s impact in Aotearoa

From those small seeds, CAP NZ now has 56 Debt Help centres open, from Kaitaia down to Dunedin. CAP has also branched into another 142 local churches, each of whom run one of the other free CAP services in their communities.

New Zealanders have gone from hardship to living debt free!

million dollars in unmanageable debt and bills repaid or written off


people using CAP Debt Help say it's 'life-transforming' or 'a great help'


of people stay free from unmanageable debt two years after going debt-free

Every $1 you donate to CAP Debt Help multiplies to $4.90 worth of social benefit to Aotearoa. (Source: ImpactLab, September 2020)

Thanks to you and the local church, free help has been provided to 26,800 New Zealanders! Why not watch their beautiful testimonies?

Meeting the complex needs in local communities

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people. It is people. It is people.

Unmanageable debt impacts more than just material poverty. It also affects taha whānau (family relationships), taha hinengaro (mental and emotional health), taha tinana (physical health), and taha wairua (spiritual health). That’s why CAP’s long-term practical help takes a whole-of-person approach, including sharing that there is a God who loves and values every single one of us.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe – or don’t believe – you are welcome here. Haere mai.

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This is the origin story of Christians Against Poverty: from one man's act of faith to tens-of-thousands discovering life in all its fullness.

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“God has given us a 21st Century answer to one of the most pressing social needs within society today. Jesus met people's needs with love, compassion and practical help. Our desire is to simply do the same and watch the miracles unfold.”

John Kirkby, CAP Founder

“I feel a deep connection to this land, Aotearoa. I am humbled to work alongside the church to help people find freedom from the oppression of poverty – and to share the good news, so that we thrive as a nation.”

Sam Garaway, CEO, Christians Against Poverty New Zealand