The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to key questions that people often ask us.

What is Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand?

It is the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development, an official agency of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC). Our main office is in Wellington where 16 full time and five part-time staff are located. Another two staff members are based in Auckland.

What does Caritas mean?

Our name translates from the Latin as ‘love in action’. We make a real difference in the lives of people living with poverty and injustice through our partnerships with those in need, or on behalf of them.

What does Caritas do?

We work for a world free of poverty and injustice through community development, advocacy, education, and emergency relief.

What is advocacy in this context?

Advocacy is speaking out for those who cannot speak out, to create change and make the world a more just place. It includes carrying out research, raising public awareness, making submissions and writing letters to governments, companies and international organisations.

Does Caritas work overseas or in New Zealand?

We work in New Zealand advocating against poverty and injustice on issues including appropriate climate change financing for the most vulnerable, family poverty and sub-standard housing, fairness for beneficiaries, and workers rights. Caritas also advocates against injustice internationally, such as supporting human rights in West Papua.

Caritas works in New Zealand schools helping teachers and students consider social justice issues, peace and development.

Around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand, we support humanitarian aid in response to emergencies such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, famine and conflict. Through our overseas partners we help provide crucial items like food, water, tents, blankets and counselling.

Our overseas development programmes help the most vulnerable people improve their lives and livelihoods. We support programmes focussed on farming and food production, health, education, access to water, and sustainable jobs in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

What does Caritas do in schools?

We help teachers and students to consider the challenges posed by social justice, peace and development issues. We do this through visits, presentations, introducing visiting speakers, creating resources for Lent and Social Justice Week lessons and assemblies, and publishing advocacy articles. We are grateful for the fundraising efforts from schools, which support our overseas projects in partnership with other Caritas organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs).

Does Caritas just work with Catholics?

Caritas provides help to anyone in need, regardless of faith. In our development and justice work, we also work with anyone who is looking for peaceful ways to live with all creation and overcome poverty. In our advocacy work we provide a voice for all those in need, and add our voice to other advocates where we have common ground.

What topics has Caritas spoken out on recently?

We have made statements or done research on: refugees and migrants; human rights; family poverty; peace and disarmament; environmental justice and climate change; workers rights; overseas aid; housing and the welfare system in New Zealand; West Papua; cultural diversity .

Find out more about these and other issues of concern on our advocacy pages. We also make submissions to Parliament on a wide range of social justice issues.

Where does the money come from to support Caritas’ work?

The funds for our work come from two main sources:

From donors (individuals, groups and organisations) through donations and bequests.

From the government through competitive grants applied from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Government funding is available for development and humanitarian projects, and makes up 23 per cent of income for Caritas.

How is the money used?

We strive to ensure that more than 90 per cent of our income is spent on our programmes for development, relief, education and advocacy around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand. Staff salary and administration costs come out of the money received. To work for a better world, we need to provide education, advocacy and information, as well as directly support people and communities in need. We are committed to spending money where it is needed, rather than spending a lot of money on advertising materials.

Does Caritas sponsor children?

Rather than offering child sponsorship, Caritas offers the One World Partnership programme which is for individuals or families who want to make an ongoing commitment to support development work in poor communities through regular giving.

What sources or streams of information does Caritas draw from?

The Gospel values of faith, hope and love underpin everything we do. Catholic social teaching, Vatican and Papal documents, current news, government policies, New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ statements and Caritas Internationalis are some of our most important sources, as well as interviews and reports. We also learn from our development and justice partners around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand.

What is Caritas Internationalis?

Caritas Internationalis is the international confederation of Caritas organisations. There are 165 Caritas member organisations around the world. Many of them are our project partners for both relief and development work. Some well-known Caritas members are CAFOD in the United Kingdom, Trócaire in Ireland and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the United States.

Who are Caritas’ development and justice partners?

Our partners include members of Caritas Internationalis, NGOs, community groups and other civil society organisations. 

We partner with organisations within a country that work alongside communities providing emergency relief and development programmes. Our international programmes staff liaise with these groups by email, phone and visits to support and accompany them in their work. In emergecny situations when staff and resources are requested by our partners, we work to meet the needs of those affected.

Sign up to the caritas monthly e-newsletter:

Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust