SGI New Zealand is a grassroots Buddhist association which promotes peace through individual transformation and contribution to society. It is part of the international SGI network of 12 million members in more than 192 countries around the world. SGI members around the world share a common vision of a better world through peace, culture and education. At the core of SGI’s Buddhist philosophy is the conviction in the unbounded value and potential of every individual, and the right of all people to lead happy and fulfilled lives.
The SGI movement in New Zealand began in the mid 1960s through the efforts of a sole immigrant pioneer from Hiroshima, Japan—Mrs. Yuki Johnston. Her tireless work at planting the seeds of Nichiren Buddhism in New Zealand resulted in the formation of the first district around 26 January 1975 with only seven members.
SGINZ was registered as a charitable trust on 18 November 1994. Today, there are more than 3,000 SGI members practising all over the country, with activity centres in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
New Zealand is rich in its cultural diversity. Many Buddhist principles also echo the beliefs of New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people. Although New Zealand is a small and young country, it has had a remarkable history of ordinary individuals standing up courageously for what they believe in. For instance, New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote (in 1893), declare itself nuclear-free (in 1984), and was one of the first countries to introduce a comprehensive social welfare system.