Does the Nelson City Council open its meetings with a prayer?

Alex Harris made this Official Information request to Nelson City Council

The request was successful.

From: Alex Harris

Dear Nelson City Council,

As you may have read recently, the Whanganui District Council abolished its opening prayer after a complaint was made to the Human Rights Commission. I'm interested in learning how widespread this practice is, so I'd like to request the following information under the LGOIMA:

* Does the Council open its meetings with a prayer?
* If the answer to the above is "yes", then I'd like a copy of that prayer (or examples, if more than one is used), when the practice was first established, whether the council has considered abolishing it in the wake of the Whanganui decision, and any advice the council may hold on the prayer's compatibility with both the Human Rights Act 1993 and Bill of Rights Act 1990.

I would prefer to receive an electronic response. Queries about this request will be automatically forwarded to me by the website.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Harris

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From: Alex Harris

Dear Nelson City Council,

This LGOIMA request was due on 30 April and is now late. Will I be getting a response soon?

Yours faithfully,

Alex Harris

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From: Sandra Birdling
Nelson City Council

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Harris

I apologise that you have not received a reply to your request.  I have
searched our service request system and cannot find any record of
receiving a request.

In answer to your question, Yes, Council does open its meetings with a

Kind regards


Sandra Birdling

Executive Manager to the Mayor and Chief Executive

Nelson City Council

te kaunihera ō whakatū

PO Box 645 Nelson 7040 New Zealand

03 546 0242


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From: Andrew Johnston
Nelson City Council

Good afternoon Alex,

Thank you for your recent enquiry and sorry for the delay in getting back
to you.

We had never received an enquiry via the site before but please
see the reply below.

At the Council Meeting on 16 May 1935, at the request of the then Bishop
of Nelson, the following prayer was submitted and subsequently approved to
be used at the commencement of Nelson City Council meetings


Almighty and eternal God, Who art the fountain of all wisdom and the giver
of every perfect gift, look down in blessing on this city, and grant to us
such a measure of Thy divine wisdom that we might have a right judgement
in all things. So guide our deliberations, we beseech Thee, that all our
undertakings may promote the welfare of our people and set forth the glory
of Thy Holy Name


Somewhere in the mists of time it was changed and (to my certain
knowledge) the following prayer has been used for at least the last 30


Almighty God sovereign in all things

Bless this City and its people

Guide us in Local government each day

That our decisions may be wise and just

And magnify thy Holy Name



Since the Human Rights Act 1993 and Bill of Rights Act 1990 have come in
force, the Council has never debated or considered the prayer's
compatibility with both or either of those Acts. Nor has the Council
considered abolishing having a prayer at the commencement of Council
meetings in the wake of the Whanganui decision.

Yours sincerely,


Andrew Johnston

Receptionist/Administration Assistant



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