Bibles reaching captive audience

01:43, Jan 31 2009

The word of God was originally delivered from on high and a Christchurch woman is attempting to take it back there.

Redcliffs architect Ria Wayne is trying to put Bibles into every Department of Conservation hut in New Zealand.

Since she began her mission eight years ago, forming charitable trust Seek Freedom, she and trust volunteers have put Bibles into 375 of DOC's 950 huts.

The idea first came to her after meeting four Australians at French Ridge Hut below Mt Aspiring who had been trapped by the weather for four days.

"I realised then this was a captive audience," she told the Salvation Army's magazine, War Cry.

"If there had happened to be a Bible there, people might look through it out of desperation or whatever reason.


"It really is the most powerful place to get life into perspective."

But not all the reaction to the Bibles has been positive with some destroyed by trampers.

"People have emailed to express their disapproval and have told me that they will work to remove as many Bibles as they possibly can," she told the magazine.

DOC recreation senior technical officer Brian Dobbie said permission had been sought and granted to put Bibles in huts.

"It was a minor policy issue," he said. "We're quite happy to have Bibles put in huts."

Dobbie said the only other literature distributed to huts was a collection of New Zealand short stories.

"You'd be grateful for both especially if you got stuck with nothing to read for two days while you waited for the weather to clear."

Dobbie said he had had no feedback on the Bibles.

Grant Piper, a former Canterbury/Westland Alpine Club president, said it was good to have any sort of reading material in the huts.

"I don't think anyone really cares either way, so good on them," he said.

And they could definitely come in handy.

"Given the option of a ropey old Reader's Digest I would rather use a page from a Bible to start a fire."


The Dominion Post