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Shared ideas, different beliefs

Thursday 20th March 2014

Phoebe Morris

Being religious doesn’t mean being close-minded.

This was one of the Ollie Neas’s discoveries when he was making A Little Faith, the first mini-doco series on The Wireless.

“Our beliefs are often quite messy and really we’re all just trying to do the right thing,” he says.

Over four episodes, the first of which went live today, Ollie talks to members of New Zealand’s three fastest-growing religions and people from another expanding group – the non-religious.

Hindus now make up about two per cent of the population, up 39 per cent from 2006. In the same period Muslims increased to about one per cent of population, up 27 per cent and the number of Sikhs doubled to make up 0.4 per cent of the population.

Meanwhile, the number of people who say they have no religion has jumped 26 per cent to 1.6 million.

At times, when Ollie entered places of worship he felt uncomfortable because he wasn’t aware of the cultures and rituals that were being practiced.

One Sunday the series took him to a Sikh gurudwara, or temple, in Porirua where he was invited to take part in a traditional meal. “It was pretty cool coming along as an outsider and have them be so welcoming.”

The Wireless is dedicated to telling stories about New Zealanders here and around the world. An important part of that is exploring the cultures that make up our country.

Ollie’s series is milestone for us and we want to do more projects like it. If you have an idea for other web docos, we want to hear from you.

Get in touch by emailing

Marcus joined RNZ to set up The Wireless. Before that, he slugged away as the Night Editor for Stuff and booked punk shows.