Hamilton, New Zealand

The Waikato Jewish Association (WJA) was formally established on 16 March 1996 by a small local group of long-time Jewish residents of Hamilton. It is a community organisation which has been continually active since its inception. Although there is no synagogue or other visible Jewish establishment in the Waikato or Bay of Plenty, the Association is publicly listed in the Hamilton City Council's Register of Community Organisations and with the Citizen's Advice Bureau. The WJA comprises Jewish families and individuals in the Waikato and Bay-of-Plenty region. This community includes both New Zealand-born Jews and émigrés from the four corners of the globe. The WJA represents a cross-section of people from different backgrounds, nationalities, ages and professions who range across a spectrum of religious and political views. The Association also liaises with other Jewish individuals and organisations, in New Zealand, Israel and internationally. It meets regularly to support and celebrate our collective cultural/religious identity and respond to the needs of our members.

The Association is coordinated by an Executive Committee whose members are elected each year at the Annual General Meeting. The voluntary Executive Committee meets regularly to plan and coordinate an annual schedule of events, and deal with issues of importance to the Jewish community and members of the WJA in particular. The Association regularly meets to observe the major Jewish and Israeli festivals and events, some Shabbat gatherings, and for special events which are announced as they arise.

The Association and the Executive Committee aim to be responsive to the needs of its members, to develop new initiatives, and encourage active participation by its members. The Association has developed the following “Core Values Statement” and “Aims and Objectives” as guiding principles:

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The Association embraces, and is committed to, upholding the following core values:
• treating each other with dignity and respect at all times;
• inclusiveness and welcoming participation of members and friends in an atmosphere of safety and security;
• non discrimination;
• the nurturing of Jewish education for people of all ages;
• Jewish pluralism that allows for a wide variety of political, religious and sociocultural perspectives;
• supporting Israel as a democratic and sovereign homeland for all Jewish people;
• nurturing social, cultural, religious and economic relationships with other Jewish communities in New Zealand, Israel and other countries worldwide;
• dignity and respect of other religions, ethnic groups, cultures and beliefs.
All members and their invited guests are expected to be familiar with and to adhere to these Core Values at all WJA events, activities, and functions, both in person and in all correspondence.

• To actively nurture Jewish spiritual and cultural values, traditions and customs;
• To hold communal activity in celebration and commemoration of Jewish and Israeli festivals and other significant events, and encourage wide participation;
• To work for the preservation of the identity of the Jewish people of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region through the fostering of Jewish and Hebrew education;
• To undertake initiatives in Jewish education in order to increase Jewish consciousness and identity, and to assume an informational and educational role in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty;
• To coordinate appropriate responses to issues of interest or concern to the Association membership, and to represent the Association in the public forum;
• To promote and maintain care and concern for members of the Association, and where necessary and practicable, lend assistance and support to members and other Jewish persons and their families in need;
• To establish a Jewish community centre;
• To assume both a watchful and an active role, and to respond to anti-Semitism, defamation and other issues of concern or interest, and where necessary, liaise with other groups (such as national and international organizations, the media, police, the justice system, and the Human Rights Commission) in responding to such incidents;
• To acknowledge members’ rights to make their own decisions about their personal preferences and practices of Judaism.


Jewish Holidays
Members of our community gather to celebrate the Jewish holidays throughout the year. These include: Tu B'Shavat, Purim (Feast of Esther), Pesach (Passover), Yom Ha'Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Hatzma'ut (Israel Independence Day), Shavuot (Festival of Weeks), Hannukah (Festival of Lights), and Sukkot (Festival of Booths).

You can contact us by email by clicking here, or by writing to us at:
Waikato Jewish Association
P.O. Box 11048
New Zealand

Site last updated: 19 July 2016.