Christchurch diocese establishes a fund to help women and children


Hoatu is an $8million dollar fund the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch has established to help women, children and families in Canterbury.

The money became available when, in 2016, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd returned the proceeds from the sale of property in Halswell in the south-west of Christchurch.

The diocese had given the land to the sisters in the 19th century to establish an outreach known as Mount Magdala.

A committee has been formed to make recommendations to the bishop on how the funds should be allocated.

From the beginning of next year, trusts, parishes and schools in the Canterbury region will be able to apply to the fund for grants to support their work with people in need.

The funds will be available to help women, children and families in the Canterbury region so as to honour the original intention of Mount Magdala.

Mount Magdala was the brainchild of Fr Laurence Ginaty who, in the 1870-80s, had been working as a prison chaplain.

As a result of this work, Ginaty became aware of the plight of many women and children living in poverty.

He wanted to establish a place for them to live in and, while there, develop skills that would allow them to improve their lot.

It took years of hard work before this vision began to take shape but, with the help of two sisters of the Good Shepherd, Mount Magdala was established in 1888 on the small farm at Halswell.

At its height, Mount Magdala was home to 25 sisters, 159 young women, 62 orphans and eight workmen.

But, as the nature of social outreach changed, numbers dwindled and Mount Magdala closed in 1966.

The land was sold to become part of the Aidanfield subdivision.

In the Te Reo translation of the Bible, the word ‘hoatu’ appears a number of times. In particular, Matthew 7:9-11 refers to God knowing the needs of his children and giving them what they need.


News category: New Zealand.

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