As a small, rural, farming community in the Central North Island region of New Zealand, people in Taumarunui are mainly meat-eaters. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle to preach the health message, the small community of Adventists in the area decided to take this as an opportunity to offer plant-based cooking classes.
Living and working in the Taumarunui district for many years, Bob and Dy Smith, along with Maihi and Jeni Mariu, have created bonds with many in their community. It was out of these friendship connections that 16 people decided to try the program.
During the cooking classes, they heard testimonies and health information, and feasted on freshly prepared plant-based dishes when the demonstrations were complete.
Other church members, including the pastor, were also on-board to help demonstrate, plan, set up, and clean up in the senior citizens hall, a central location.
The church group has a plan to meet for church in this alternate venue on the third Sabbath of each month, after which they will prepare lunch for the community, with a cooking class the following day.
“It is important that we show the individuals that we care about them,” says Dy, “whether they come just to eat or they take onboard the plant-based recipes and begin to make a positive change in their dietary lifestyle.”