Sunday Best

How the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church

Peter Lineham

book cover for Sunday Best
Title Info Sheet Sample Pages

Soft cover


How the imprint of the church dominates New Zealand society even in this secular age

The early arrival of the missionaries in Aotearoa set the scene for a new ‘moral colony’ that would be founded on religious precepts and modern Christian beliefs. It did not take long for a combination of circumstances to confound the aspirations of the Church Missionary Society, the Church in Rome and all those who followed.

Historian Peter Lineham examines Christianity in New Zealand through the lens of cultural development, and asks: If the various denominations and faiths set out to shape New Zealand, how did the very fluid fact of New Zealand change those faiths? From the Presbyterian south to the enclaves of Catholicism, who shaped whom? And what is the legacy of that influence? Why do we have afternoon tea? And what were debutante balls? Religion had a hand in the societal habits and milestones we all take for granted.

To look inside, click here.

‘A magisterial piece of social history’ — The Anglican

‘This is a big book in every respect. Its pages are profusely and helpfully illustrated, the work of a scholar and a communicator . . . You will understand yourself the better for reading this book.’ — Touchstone

‘If the age is over of the printed book as an intellectual and cultural object that can engage us by its physical presence and aesthetic form, someone has fortunately forgotten to tell Massey University Press.’ — Douglas Hynd, Adjunct Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

‘Using church minute books, church histories, pamphlets, contemporary newspaper accounts and his own personal notes, Lineham has produced a highly readable book, well-illustrated and entertaining in style’. — Waiapu News

  • CATEGORY: History, Religion
  • ISBN: 9780994140777
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 09/10/2017
  • PAGE EXTENT: 464
  • FORMAT: Soft cover
Profile image for Peter Lineham

Professor Peter Lineham has for many years written and lectured extensively on the religious history of New Zealand.