Adventist congregations across New Zealand gathered to watch the debut of Hope Channel NZ on free-to-air television.
“Since September 2015, Hope Channel NZ has been broadcasting on Freeview Satellite. As of April 30, its broadcast has been extended to the free-to-air platform,” said Pastor Paul Hopson, coordinator of Hope Channel NZ. “This means every home in New Zealand with a television can now watch the channel for free.”
Although the Freeview satellite signal had covered the entire country, not many people had a satellite dish.
“What was especially concerning was that we were not getting into many of the homes in the larger cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch,” said Pastor Brad Kemp, president of the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference (NZPUC). “This meant that almost two million people were not able to tune into Hope Channel.”
Pastor Kemp said the goal from the outset was to reach every New Zealand home—it was just a matter of finding the funding to make it happen. A grant from the South Pacific Division helped make this goal possible.
“All our larger cities will now have Hope Channel [available] in every home,” Pastor Kemp said. “Places like Auckland with a population of more than 1.4 million and Wellington with a population of close to 400,000.”
Pastor Hopson enthusiastically described this step as “the biggest outreach effort in NZ history”.
Hastings church members celebrated the launch by assembling in the church hall to watch the Re-Launch program on their big-screen television. Four full-time Hope Channel employees were present as well as two part-time, including the people who filmed and edited the program.
“It is such a blessing to have Hope Channel NZ being broadcast into every home in our district,” said church minister Pastor Hugh Heenan. “Imagine the possibilities we now have to make a huge difference in our community.”
Still from Hope Channel NZ Ad