Sam & Thelma Chapman

Sam & Thelma Chapman have spent many years helping gangs, youths and at risk communities, those who have lost hope or been rejected by society, through Awhi Community Development.  Awhi means to nurture and care for ones you love with their future wellbeing in mind.  In Otara they established and lived in a cluster of six houses called a "multicultural urban marae" – where everyone was welcome.  Some of their highest profile work was with the Mongrel Mob’s Notorious Chapter and where they assisted over 30 gang members a 16-year period to completely turn their lives around. Sam & Thelma also founded the first computer clubhouse and homework centre in Otara, which transitioned into the High Tech Youth Network, of which Sam is its present Chairman.  Thelma established the Awhi Wanuau Early Childhood Centre in Otara and is today the  National Co-ordinator of the Christian Early Childhood Association of Aotearoa.  A lifetime of devotion and dedication to work that gives glory to God was recognized in 2010, when Sam became a recipient of Kiwibank’s New Zealander of the Year Local Heroes Award. Ark Resources was pleased to be able to assist Sam & Thelma to purchase the 3 acre, 30-bedroom family property in Turangi to provide a home for themselves and a facility from which to continue their incredible work.  Micah 6: 1

Listen to what the Lord says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. “Hear, you mountains,

the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.

For some 40 years I’ve lived in the city, ministering in reconciliation through community and transformational development. Since moving back to my home town of Turangi in March of this year, the surrounding country side, its lakes, rivers and mountains, has given me a renewed appreciation of the wonders of God’s creation and love for us all.  

Our daughter Hannah recently shared some reflections she had on Micah 6 that added to the significance of the “mountains” especially in relation to the people of God. According to Micah, God calls on creation and the mountains as witness to both His covenant and charges against His people. They bear witness to His everlasting love and faithfulness and to their unfaithfulness.

In our modern world, we too find it easy to forget what the mountains remember. Our own unfaithfulness and lack of trust in God cause us to turn to coping mechanisms even more destructive than the problems we create. Blame and guilt consumes us, sapping energy, time and resources. God designed and created us to be loved.  We must share that story and live it out as a family.

As Thelma and I prepared for our move, we prayed that Gods Kingdom would come and that His will would be done here on earth, here in my home town of Turangi, just as it is in heaven”. Opportunity was given for me to purchase back land that had once been in my family for generations and had been passed down from my great, great, grandmother to my great grandmother then to my grandmother and finally my mother and her brothers and sisters.  It was where I was born and grew up as a child into my mid- teens. Apart from our homestead, the rest of the land had been purchased by the crown and a maternity hospital facility had been built on the site to service the needs of the town’s people. Now it was about to go on the market for sale.

In every way it suited our circumstance. It met both family and ministry needs. It would restore traditional whanau/family land and also give us a real tangible presence among our people. But raising the funds to purchase the property was a challenge. At times it seemed impossible. We also faced significant opposition from some extended family members.

Through God’s wonderful provision Liberty Trust and Ark Resources Ltd were able to facilitate our lending requirements. On the 5th of July 2013 we took possession of the land and its assets.

Because of the commitment and vision of Liberty Trust, the grandeur of the mountains of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu and the beauty of creation of the Volcanic Plateau and Central Districts of the North Island will continue to bear witness to God’s love and faithfulness for generations to come.

Thank you,

Sam and Thelma Chapman & family

 8 August 2013