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About Us

History of Capernwray in NZ

Capernwray New Zealand has its roots in the UK at a place called Capernwray Hall, a large property near the Lakes District in England. It was formed immediately after the Second World War by Major W. Ian Thomas as part of the broader movement for reconciliation between nations that had been at war. Although clearly a Christian organisation, the British government sponsored hundreds of German youth to attend Capernwray’s new summer camp programmeme, under the requirement that they attend a daily lecture on the values and benefits of democratic society. Thomas also gave insightful teaching from the Bible and soon these guests began to discover the adventure of knowing Jesus Christ personally.

The work spread throughout Europe and then to the rest of the world, reaching New Zealand in the late 60's with a mixture of holiday weeks and Bible training schools taking place at a centre in Howick, Auckland.

Capernwray New Zealand moved to Henderson, Auckland in 1981 and, in 1995, transferred to its current location at the Monavale Homestead in Cambridge. The Adventure Bible School programme started in 1999, with the current base on Lake Karapiro opening in 2006.

There are now over 25 different Torchbearers (Capernwray) centres around the world and at any one time there are approximately a thousand students going through the courses. We are excited to be a part of this growing and vibrant ministry God has chosen to establish.

Statement of Faith

God is the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is God's Son being one with the Father. All things are created by Him and for Him.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ became Man through the operation of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, He became man.

  • He was without sin and of His free will, and by His sacrificial death upon the Cross, He brought about salvation for this fallen world.

  • He is the only mediator between God and mankind, and by accepting His salvation through faith, a person is justified from sins and receives forgiveness and eternal life.

  • Jesus Christ is risen bodily from the dead.

  • Jesus Christ will return to deliver just judgement and to bring all things to completion.

  • The Holy Spirit is God in unity with the Father and the Son.

  • We believe that through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ comes to dwell within those who accept Him through faith. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, a person becomes a new creature, and is being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus Christ adds those who believe in Him to His Body, His Church, the Body of Christ on earth, a Fellowship of all true Believers, of which He is the Head.

  • The Bible is, in its entirety, the revelation of God for mankind, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Main Thrust

Over the years, Capernwray has established the ethos and essence of our work. This philosophy is not mere nostalgia or the perpetuation of a personality, but the founding principals that have been formed by generations of leaders and staff. 

The Main Thrust is the message entrusted to us as we teach, preach and share about Jesus. We aim to maintain this ethos long as we operate as Torchbearers. It has been stated in the words of our founder, Major W. lan Thomas:  

  • Truth is as timeless as God Himself, it never changes. It may be forgotten, neglected, perverted, opposed, rejected, counterfeited or displaced, but it never changes. It is not an emphasis, a concept, a party-line, nor merely an option, it is an imperative!
  • God created humanity in such a way that the presence of God as Creator within a person as creature, is imperative to their humanity. Mankind in normality is to be distinguished from the animal kingdom by a quality of life and behaviour that can have no possible explanation apart from God Himself in a person.
  • This fact is truth. It is not subject to debate or dialogue, it is not an option to be offered, it is a fact to be proclaimed. Truth does not evolve over the years, any more than God evolves or Christ evolved.
  • In assuming our humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ as Creator chose to play the role of Creature. As the God who made mankind, He chose to be the kind of humanity that He as God had made. In declaring that He in His humanity without the Father could do nothing, Christ demonstrated the truth that has always been true, that we in our humanity can do nothing without Him; that the Father as God, then, was as indispensable to Christ in His humanity, as Christ as God now, is indispensable to us in our humanity.
  • To recognise this and to practice the principle is the nature of true repentance, and without true repentance there can be no true faith. For true repentance compels us to be totally dependent upon the Father. Christ then can do the work in us as the Father then did the work in Him, and we let all God loose in the world, not then just the sky, but God Himself is the limit.
  • This gives an entirely new dimension to our understanding of the Gospel and the remedial measure it proclaims. Not just that in the redemptive act Christ died for us, but that in the regenerative purpose of God, Christ rose again from the dead to live His Life in us. Thus, by Apostolic proclamation: ‘if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith also is in vain... ye are yet in your sins!’ The Resurrection is at the very heart of the Gospel, through which we are born again. (1 Corinthians 15:14-17, 1 Peter 1:3).
  • Any departure from this truth is a corruption of the mind and has its origin in the subtlety of Satan. It is a departure from the ‘simplicity which is in Christ’. Were the time to come when by mutual consent the members of the Fellowship of Torchbearers were to depart from this which is the true substance of our faith, then God would have written over the Fellowship, as over so much else of what purports to be Christendom, the word ‘ICHABOD’, the ‘Glory is departed’ (2 Corinthians 11:2-3; 1 Samuel 4:21).
  • The Lord Jesus Christ established the fact that our spiritual union with Him, as He was in spiritual union with the Father, is the true and ultimate basis of all evangelism, missions, and church planting. ‘The world will know and the world will believe’, said the Lord Jesus, ‘that the Father has sent Me, when they are in Us as I am in thee, Father, and I am in them as Thou are in Me’. (John 17:21-23).

Our Locations

We have two amazing locations with different characters and offerings. Learn more about them.

Our locations and their facilities at both Monavale Homestead and the Adventure Lodge are available for hire when the school programmes are not running. For details of costs, availability and more please get in touch and we can talk through your dates and requirements.

Meet the Team

Since 1995, our dedicated team has come from different walks of life and corners of the globe, all working together with one common goal and heartfelt desire - to create a place where students can grow in their relationship with Christ. Meet our wonderful team at Capernwray New Zealand.

Capernwray New Zealand Newsletter

Capernwray New Zealand is a hive of learning and activities all year round. We strive to create a place where students and visitors grow in themselves and the word of God, gaining confidence and direction.

There is, therefore, always exciting developments and news to report on. If you would like to keep updated with all of this and more, then please subscribe to our newsletter.


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"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."

(Proverbs 11:25)


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