A recent NZ Herald article listed from a travel destination survey, New Zealand's favourite holiday destinations overseas and the list of places within New Zealand they favour.
What is obvious from even a cursory peek is that New Zealand missionaries go to very different places.
The major New Zealand Christian missions including the Baptists, the Anglicans, the various Pentecostal and other Protestant church groups the non-western countries is where their focus is squarely placed.
I am also independently able to attest this privately through our New Zealand young writers who have travelled on short term missions to these self same destinations. This is no 'praise the missionary' motif, rather a well trod and proven path in Christian service.
Some of these New Zealand missionary destinations include:
It would take up the entire space for this article if I were to list all the African countries where New Zealand missionaries have trod. It must be remembered this includes those who perform professional contract duties such as 'water', 'engineering', 'agriculture', and 'administration'.
New Zealanders have a penchant for such 'service' overseas in places where such helps are desperately required. This has been a hallmark of Kiwi missions. There is significant New Zealand activity in the South Pacific but it must be remembered the early history of South Pacific missions ran on a fairly broad parallel course to New Zealand.
Compare holiday destinations
Compare all this to the pleasant holiday destinations of New Zealanders:
Some of these destinations are weighed and for good reason. Australia is close and it's regarded as New Zealand's 52nd province. Enough said.
England has rugby and cricket links which are surprisingly fertile as is Italy and France in rugby and rugby league.
Canada was a surprise but I have been readings numbers of WWII stories where New Zealand airmen loved Canada and many links were forged which have lasted two to three generations.
New Zealand list
Apart from the love of tramping among so many Kiwi's this independent list of places New Zealand like to visit within New Zealand is remarkable and surprising.
Bay of Islands
The South Lakes
What surprised me as an Australian were the places not listed.
Queenstown was no surprise with the winter experiences, Milford Sound so far down the list was surprising, while Coromandel and Wanaka were certainly not on any list of mine.
I would have been more interested in tourism activities such as the Alpine Railway between Christchurch and Greymouth over the mountains. In like manner Napier and its 1920's décor the Kiwi version of the roaring twenties.
Dunedin is another with the historic Presbyterian churches which are astonishing yet they don't rate a mention. A huge English tourism feature is the Cathedral Tours and Dunedin lacks nothing in that regard.
Perhaps we might say, be a missionary and see the real world, be a holiday maker and tourist and see an artificial world. We know where the money is.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html