Our History

Soon after the end of the Second World War, the Seventh-Day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS), was created to aid those affected by serious disasters, which were becoming more and more frequent. SAWS was incorporated in Maryland, USA on November 13, 1956. To reflect the Church’s worldwide involvement, the name Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service was changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973. As crisis situations became more and more serious, relief and development efforts increased and SAWS itself developed into a new organization called ADRA, Adventist Development and Relief Agency. This is now the official and separately registered international development and relief agency of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The name change from SAWS to ADRA occurred in 1983 to more fully reflect the nature of work being carried out. ADRA New Zealand was established in 1994 and has since worked in over 30 countries around the globe, supporting millions of people living in poverty and crisis. Emergency Management continues to be an integral part of ADRA’s programme.

ADRA New Zealand responds to disasters by providing food, water and temporary shelter among other things to families and communities suffering from a disaster or conflict situation. ADRA New Zealand also provide disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction training to communities in Asia, the South Pacific and New Zealand. In the development field, ADRA’s work continues as we try to break the poverty cycle. Income generation, water and sanitation initiatives, agricultural improvement, micro-finance enterprises, cooperatives, basic shelters, literacy and health programmes are all an integral part of ADRA New Zealand’s development programme. Most of the projects accentuate the role of women and the protection of children.