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Teach, not preach. Remove religious instruction from our state schools.

  • Opt in clause now in place:

      30 August 2020

    A recent change in the 2020 version of the Education and Training Act introduced an opt-in clause, meaning that parents and caregivers should now be made aware of any church-led religious instruction your child is receiving. Sadly, in the past, this hasn’t been the case. If you need help addressing this at your school, please let us know.

    This opt-in change is a decent step forward and has given us the confidence that RI is slowly on its way out. For this reason, we have withdrawn our planned High Court case in October. We believe the strength of our petition (link below) will provide the evidence the government needs to fully remove religious instruction. Thank you for your support. We firmly believe it has helped bring about this change.

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  • Tanya Jacob getting the case to the finish line as sole plaintiff.

      10 June 2020
    Posted by: David Hines
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    It's been 5 years to get here from when we first started our legal case. A lot has happened. After massive input throughout David Hines has withdrawn as a plaintiff. We are very pleased that he will still stay on as a highly valued witness.

    So thank you all for your support. It is hugely appreciated - we wouldn't be able to do this case without you. And it's only 4 months away now!!! Wow!

    Full disclosure, any donations now will go to an account managed by me. Oversight remains the same ie. by the treasurer of the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists.

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  • We have a High Court date!

      12 November 2019
    Posted by: David Hines
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    The Auckland High Court has confirmed that it will hear our case against school-based religious instruction on 12 October next year, for 2 weeks.

    We are appealing to the High Court for a ruling that these classes are discriminatory and contrary to the Bill of Rights Act, and that school time should be reserved for professionally taught education.

    Find out more here:

    In other news, our brand new website and Facebook page are live. Please follow us and share widely!

    Facebook: Teach not Preach NZ

    Things are really heating up. Many thanks to all of you who have donated so far, your help makes a real difference. Every dollar donated is generously matched by the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists.

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  • NZARH extends subsidy

      30 June 2019
    Posted by: David Hines

    It's June 30 and the New Zealand Association of Rationalists have just voted to keep matching donations we receive from other sources.

    So far they contributed $50,000, and they have decided to give us up to $50,000 more over the next year.

    We don't expect to need that much.

    We still don't have a date for our High Court hearing, but we expect to know that following a second case management conference as soon as possible after July 16 2019.

    The court case could be anywhere between November 2019 and June 2020.

    That's when we'll need to have all our funds ready to go. We expect to need about $20,000 more, if we and the Attorney-General are ordered to each pay our own legal costs.

    If we have to pay the A-G's costs, we will need to find about $50,000 more than that.

    If the A-G has to pay our costs, we could end up with $50,000 more than we need.

    In that case, we would reimburse NZARH a large proportion of the further cash they give us.

    These figures are just guestimates. There are other potential costs, including paying for a video link to a witness in England, and the costs of an appeal, if there is one.

    Thanks very much for your help to date.

    We hope you will continue to support us, and we hope the timetable will be much more definite after Jully 16 2019.

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  • Religion in schools campaign on High Court agenda

      28 December 2018
    Posted by: David Hines
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    After seven months of legal dodgems our religion in schools campaign is on the agenda for the High Court in Auckland. Early 2018 we figured it was no longer worth waiting for a backlog of cases in the Human Rights Tribunal to be cleared, and applied to have our case shifted to the High Court.

    We succeeded, with the help of the Human Rights Commission, and our opponent the Attorney-General raised no objections. Now the High Court has given us a deadline of 1 February 2019 to send in our timetable wishlist. Ideally the A-G will work with us to present a joint wishlist, but if we can't agree, the A-G has till February 11 to reply to our submission.

    So some time in February the Court will decide on the timetable for our evidence and for the hearing itself. My guestimate is that the hearing will be between May and August 2019.

    Meanwhile our fundraising is going well. At 28 December 2018 we've raised nearly $100,000, mainly for legal and court costs. As at December 28, only $31,626 of that shows on this givealittle page; the rest was made by direct credits to our campaign bank account.

    Our thanks to some very generous donors including the NZ Association of Rationalists who've given nearly $50,000, the NZ Humanists gave $1000, the Auckland Unitarian Church $1250 and the NSW Rationalists $2583. Four individuals gave us more than $1000 apiece.

    Thanks to my colleague Tanya, who organised about a dozen leaflet campaigns outside schools which had Christian religious instruction programmes this year. She also did huge work completing a survey of religion in primary and secondary schools, which had been started by Mark Honeychurch and me.

    I've been working on publicity. A burst of media events in November and December led to about $14,000 in donations. One or two more of those and we should reach our target. Unfortunately the target is not a fixed one: a lot depends on whether we win our lose our case, and whether we are awarded costs.

    Tanya and I are both busy over the next month or two gathering evidence updates. This is re-hash work: our evidence was nearly complete in 2016, but some of it needs updating.

    We are a bit stressed out that delays in the legal steps over the past six months have cost us about two months. We had hoped the timetables would be set by December 2018. But we're looking forward to the court putting an end to these delays, hopefully in February.

    This update by David

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  • Our second bid to get to the High Court

      25 June 2018
    Posted by: David Hines
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    Our givealittle campaign is due to expire on July 1 2018, but we are applying to have it extended, because of the huge extra legal steps our case has taken:

    (a) In January 2016 Tanya Jacob and me (David Hines) applied to join a High Court case being filed by Jeff McClintock, another leader in the Secular Education Network,

    (b) His bid failed, went to appeal, won, but on such bad terms he could not continue.

    (c) In October 2016 Tanya and I lodged an independent claim in the Human Rights Review Tribunal. We chose not to apply direct to the High Court because it has an uncertain record in hearing human rights cases, not helped by Jeff's case.

    (d) In 2018 we are still waiting for the Tribunal to hear our case - along with 130 other cases, because the Tribunal is grossly understaffed.

    (e) So Tanya and I have asked the Tribunal to exercise its right to pass the case on to the High Court ... a strange legal right, but one which enables the High Court to accept evidence which we have already filed with the Tribunal!!

    (f) In an exciting move, the Human Rights Commission said two weeks ago that it would support us in making this step. They are one of the parties to our case. So now we are waiting for the Tribunal to rule on whether to use its fast-track powers, to get us out of the the log-jam caused by their own shortage of staff.

    So we are on the move again!

    We could be in the High Court late this year or early 2019. We're optimistic, but not certain that this will be our home straight.

    Thanks to the generous donors who have given $55,000 towards our court and legal costs. The $23,666 raised on this page (at June 25 2018) has been augmented by several thousand paid direct to our bank account and a 50-50 subsidy from our parent group, the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists.

    We've already spent over $40,000 on legal costs and fees to date.

    So we're appealing to new supporters, and asking former supporters if they can give us another boost.

    I estimate we'll need another $40,000 by the time we go to court, but don't let that scare you. As for our first $40,000, over half of it will come from other sources.

    Contact me at or call 027-325-1382 if you'd like to know more.

    The picture shows me with my dog Yum Yum in her secular education t-shirt, preparing to distribute Secular Education pamphlets around Auckland. My hair a bit whiter than when we launched this campaign.

    Meanwhile Tanya and her dog have been running similar campaigns in Christchurch and elsewhere.

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      25 April 2016
    Posted by: David Hines

    Tanya and I won the right to make submissions in Jeff McClintock's court case. But the conditions were so pathetic, we would not be allowed to bring any evidence, except for the (impressive) reviews of Bible in Schools teaching by Prof Paul Morris.

    Tomorrow (April 26 2016) Jeff's lawyer Richard Francois begins an appeal in the Court of Appeal, aimed at giving us wider rights. I would like us to have full rights, to present evidence of religious harm in primary schools, secondary schools, from parents teachers, members of all religions.

    We watch from the sidelines in this step, which is frustrating. It's like the tail wagging the dog; Richard's first target was Red Beach School, just one of 800 affected schools.

    But one way or another we intend to be giving our full evidence in court later this year.

    October at a guess.

    We appreciate the dedication of our supporters who have contributed $9200 since this page started. About $1700 of that came in the last two days, when I was interviewed on TV3's show The Nation.

    Well, Jeff won his appeal, but the terms were so restrictive, he could not resume his case in the High Court.

    So Tanya and I lost that window to get to the High Court. So in October 2016 we went back to square one and applied to have our case heard in the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which had been our original intention before we joined on to Jeff McClintock's case.

    But .....

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    • 07/04/2017 by Kate

      OOOPS! I just left a Q&A question looking for status, but here it is! Please ignore.

  • Judge gives only half of what we want

      8 April 2016
    Posted by: David Hines
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    At our court hearing on April 6 the judge said Tanya and I could join the case started by Jeff McClintock, but we could not bring in new evidence, except for some reviews of Bible in Schools teaching material, reviewed by Prof Paul Morris.

    Today, April 8, our lawyer Graeme Little and Jeff's lawyer Richard Francois are checking out three alternatives:

    (a) appeal for a ruling that the judge was wrong,

    (b) negotiate with other parties to make a combined case that the judge should change his mind

    (c) pull out of the present court hearing and make a fresh court case, where we can bring all the evidence we need.

    We want to give evidence about the harm done by volunteer religious classes, the harm done by Christian prayers in school assemblies, the harm done by evangelism in secondary schools, correct the misinformation already given to the court by the Churches Education Commission and

    present arrguments why a series of laws are defective, for allowing this to happen.

    We hope to get a new application to the court next week, ie not too long after April 11.

    Pictured here: Tanya Jacob, my co-leader in this case, whose children were bullied for years as a result of RI classes in Christchurch. She has also dug up a ton of evidence of failures by the Ministry of Education to act on complaints from parents.

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      3 March 2016
    Posted by: David Hines
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    Tanya and I have just applied to join Jeff McClintock's case in the High Court, bringing our new witnesses, new goals and extra counsel to fight for them.

    Jeff McClintock is a fellow-member of the Secular Education Network, fighting against bad treatment of his daughter at Red Beach School, and also fighting against laws that permit Bible in Schools.

    His case comes to court in April 26.

    It will be a rush to get our evidence ready in that time, so we're hoping the hearing will be adjourned.

    Our application to join Jeff's hearing could be heard in a couple of weeks.

    David has already been helping Jeff's case, getting an expert witness to comment on the various Bible in Schools syllabuses.

    Tanya and I have been working for weeks with our counsel and witnesses preparing for the switch to the High Court.

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  • Heading for the High Court

      2 February 2016
    Posted by: David Hines

    When our campaign began in July 2014 we applied to the Human Rights Commission, who set up a mediation between us and the Ministry of Education. That negotiation is continuing and could lead to new guidelines to schools to reduce religious discrimination.

    In August 2015 we took the next step: applying to go to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, to complain about the laws that permit religious bullying and other harm.

    On February 2, 2016 we engaged legal advisors to guide our next move. They said: the Human Rights Review Tribunal is not the way to go. The best way to get the law changes we want is to apply to the High Court, joining another legal campaign which is already under way. This will happen in a couple of weeks. It's great news, but it means we need to raise tens of thousands of dollars.

    And that may not be the end. With such a major change to our schools, it could end up in the Court of Appeal.

    BTW - our givealittle period runs out tomorrow, July 1 2019, but we will apply for it to continue another year.

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