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Branching across the Tasman

Branching out: Real Talk New Zealand presenters Thomas Saywell and Briegé Koning presenting at Aquinas College earlier this year.

Branching out: Real Talk New Zealand presenters Thomas Saywell and Briegé Koning presenting at Aquinas College earlier this year.

By Emilie Ng

REAL Talk Australia will present the Christian view on sexuality in New Zealand schools permanently following full support from the Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton bishops.

Managing director Paul Ninnes said the ministry was now a “long-term fixture” following several years presenting talks to New Zealand Catholic schools “periodically”.

“We have invested in New Zealand and trained three presenters to be a long-term fixture in schools,” Mr Ninnes said.

Briegé Koning, of Hamilton diocese, and Thomas Saywell and Gerard Trolove, of Christchurch, will represent Real Talk Australia’s New Zealand branch.

Mr Ninnes said the New Zealand venture would be a “culture change experience opportunity”.

Real Talk Australia has visited Catholic schools in the Hamilton diocese for the past three years.

Ms Koning, who is co-ordinator for the Hamilton diocese’s youth office, said Real Talk’s presentations on sexuality, personal development and relationships were needed in New Zealand schools.

She said her own understanding on sex came from secular perspectives or from friends, despite being taught in a Catholic school.

“When I was in high school, these topics were not based in the truth of the Catholic Church’s teaching,” Ms Koning said.

Ms Koning, along with her two fellow presenters, hoped Real Talk Australia would “reach out to the present culture” that did not see sex as sacred.

As well as branching out to New Zealand, Real Talk Australia has also given presentations to schools in the Northern Territory, speaking with numerous Indigenous students.

Mr Ninnes said the Church’s teaching on sexuality would be valuable in these communities where teenage pregnancies were “a massive problem”.

He said the Church’s teaching transcended all cultures because it was “drawing on the truth of the human person”.

Written by: Emilie Ng
Catholic Church Insurance

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