By Jack Ryan
Interesting...Memorial attendance really hasn't changed much in 17 years. It was 27K (and change) last year...and the same in 1998. Meanwhile, the population of NZ has grown by 1 million in that same period (26%).
The 2017 "Ratio 1 publisher to..." has slowly increased to 1:340 in 2017-- the worst ratio in NZ since 1986...31 years. Clearly the efforts of JWs in NZ to even keep up with population growth has stalled.
"Peak publishers" has basically stayed flat, only fluctuating within a small margin since 2008...nearly 10 years.
By Guest Nicole
Dan King says he was hit over the head with own crutch after asking a doorknocker to leave.
An elderly, disabled Whangarei man is warning people to be careful who they answer the door to after allegedly being attacked with his own crutch following an altercation with a door knocker.
Dan King, 75, says the man, claiming to be a Jehovah Witness, had called at his place twice prior to the altercation. Each time the man was alone and King found it difficult to get the man to leave.
"I told him I was not interested and asked him not to come back again. In spite of that he returned three times in close succession."
King says he received these bumps and abrasions after being hit with own crutch.
King called 111 and reported the attack to the police and has since filed a formal statement with the Whangarei Police who have advised they are investigating the incident.
On Wednesday,Â RodÂ Spinks, media spokesperson for Jehovah's Witnesses in Australasia, says they we were unaware of the allegation and had since initiated a request to determine whether anything is known of the allegation locally.
"The local congregation would not encourage members to call on a householder who had requested they not call.
"We fully support the efforts of the police to protect the community and would always recommend that any such concerns be immediately reported to the police."
KIng who walks with the aid of crutches or uses a mobility scooter, has a sign on his door asking salespeople not to call and a sign on the gate saying 'private property no entry'. He says he finds it difficult to get to the door and doesn't want to be bothered unnecessarily.Â The door knocker returned again on November 3.
"I was annoyed when he returned the third time after being asked not to. On this occasion I asked him five times to leave The debate then got rather heated and he grabbed the crutch and hit me over the head. I had to grab the verandah rail to stop from falling onto the ground."
King says the man is intimidating and has heard he is using the same approach with others in the area.
He says he is speaking out in the interests of public safety.
Read more:Â https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/whangarei-leader/99371411/Elderly-disabled-man-hit-over-head-by-door-knocker
By Bible Speaks
Two New Earthquakes In New Zealand almost 6 degrees. Praying nobody hurt.
We will seek information from our Brothers
'They're preying on my grief': Elderly widow claims Christian group sent her religious pamphlets just days after her husband died in an attempt to convert her while she is 'most vulnerable'By Jack Ryan
An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband.
Sue Judd's 77-year-old husband Neville died peacefully in his sleep at their home in Mapua, New Zealand, on May 2.
She put a notice in her local newspaper on May 3 and 4 with an address provided for people to send messages of condolence to the family.
A few days later, Mrs Judd received a handwritten letter from a woman – along with pamphlets promoting Jehovah's Witnesses, she told stuff.co.nz.
An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband. File photo
She said she was horrified to received unsolicited messages from the religious group, a Christian denomination known for its door-to-door evangelism.
'They're sending it to me unsolicited at a time when I'm at my utterly most vulnerable,' she told stuff.co.nz.
'They're preying on me and my grief.'
She added: 'It's so disingenuous. If they really cared, you'd think they'd arrive on the doorstep with some baking or something as anyone else does.'
Mrs Judd described the letter – which included Bible verses – as 'nonsense,' saying the focus was to convert rather than console her.
The New Zealand woman said the religious group, known for its door-to-door evangelism was 'preying on my grief.' File photo
And another letter arrived three weeks later from a 90-year-old woman, also contained leaflets about Jehovah's Witnesses.
She added that they had affected her mourning process – and called on the church to stop targeting grieving families.
It comes after former Jehovah's Witnesses elders admitted that they deliberately targeting those who had recently lost loved ones, considering them 'ripe fruit.'
Vince and Michele Tyler revealed last year they knew members who would trawl through obituaries or visit cemeteries in a find people to convert.
But a current senior elder of the faith said it had no policy to target the recently bereaved.
By Guest Nicole
Thieves capitalise on booming black market for the fruit amid soaring demand
Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand. Photograph: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images
Surging local and international demand for avocados is fuelling a crime wave inNew Zealand.
Since January there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruit stolen at a time.
It is suspected many more thefts have gone unreported.
Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each (£2-3) across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand.
According to New Zealand Avocado in 2015 an additional 96,000 New Zealand households began purchasing avocados, and local growers – largely geared towards the lucrative export market – have been unable to keep up with the surge in demand.
The recent thefts have taken place in the middle of the night, with the crop either “raked” from the tree and collected in blankets or sheets on the ground, or hand-picked and driven away to pop-up road-side stalls, grocery stores or small-scale sushi, fruit and sandwich shops in Auckland.
Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there had been “spates” of avocado thefts during his time in the police but nothing as sustained as the current activity.
“These stolen avocados can carry risks,” he said.
“They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals.”
Jen Scoular, New Zealand Avocado CEO, said the recent thefts were concerning, but a bumper season of locally-grown avocados should flood the New Zealand market in coming weeks, reducing the incentive for thieves.
“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organised operation here, more opportunistic,” she said.
“This stolen fruit will only have made it to the local markets, it would never reach our export markets.”
Scoular said avocado farms in New Zealand were getting increasingly savvy about protecting their crop, and many had installed automatic lights and alarm systems.
By Guest Nicole
First came death, then came a Jehovah's Witness.
It led to Wellington woman Jean Sergent-Shadbolt turning the tables on what she called the "predatory" religion, by door-knocking a stranger.
She was looking for the woman who hand-delivered a personalised letter to her and her dead flatmate, friend, and step-cousin Michael Boyes, three months to the day after his high-profile death from a sudden brain bleed.
A leading Wellington Jehovah's Witness has now apologised and insisted the letter's timing was a coincidence, but Sergent-Shadbolt believes it could be a rogue Witness targeting grief.
The letter, from a Sue Roberts, urged her to get in touch, and left a return addresss to a house on Farnham St, Mornington, a few suburbs away from her Aro Valley home.
Nobody was home when Sergent-Shadbolt visited on Sunday, so she returned on Monday to discover Sue Roberts had never lived there.
She wanted to ask if she had been targeted after the death of her friend, whether Roberts knew he was dead, and what right the religious organisation had to impose on her grief.
The address was the home of Wellington West Jehovah's Witness co-ordinator Ron Winiata, who apologised to her and said the timing of the letter was an unfortunate coincidence.
He refused to give Roberts' address, but did pass on a phone number.
"We have got her name, but your address," Sergent-Shadbolt told him, accusing him of double-standards. "But she has got my name, my address and the name of my flatmate, who is dead."
Receiving the letter, especially three months to the day after Boyes' death, was "predatory", she told him. "It feels like harassment."
Winiata said that, if the letters upset people, Jehovah's Witnesses would revisit their approach.
The group never set out to upset people: "It is to help people who are in times of need."
When called, Roberts refused to give her address but said "no hurt was ever intended", and she was "more than happy to apologise".
Yet Sergent-Shadbolt still believed she may have been targeted deliberately. A few weeks before the letter arrived, a Jehovah's Witness had come to her door. Sergent-Shadbolt had sent them away, in the process telling them someone close to her had died.
Heather Henare, from grief counselling service Skylight, was not aware of any cases of religions targeting grieving people, but people in grief were more susceptible to sales pitches.
"It is a time, unfortunately, people take advantage of people."
Massey University history professor Peter Lineham, who specialises in New Zealand religion, believed the letter's timing was coincidental.
But, if targeted, it could be a sign the religion's members believed Christ was coming again soon and so were trying to recruit members.
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