The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) began as a department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church – a global movement of Christians committed to demonstrating the love of God in real and practical ways.

We see the needs and opportunities present in today’s world and believe that the church, with its strong networks, ability to mobilise volunteers and other resources, its commitment to justice and drive to love and care for people who are suffering, has been placed in a position to bring about wide-spread, positive social change.

Since the beginning, we’ve been driven to work with our creator to restore His ideal of a world in which all people can thrive.

A brief history of ADRA

1956 – Established as Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS) with a focus on shipments of emergency relief supplies.

1970 – Mission broadened from disaster relief into programs leading to long-term development.

1973 – Name changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service to reflect a move into community development, not just welfare.

1978 – SAWS established a local office to assist people in the South Pacific.

1984 – Name changed to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)  and community development work rapidly increased.

1994 – ADRA New Zealand was established in 1994 and has since worked in over 30 countries around the globe, supporting millions of people living in poverty and crisis.

Today we are: 

Fuelled by Faith

We’re the official humanitarian agency of the Seventh- day Adventist Church. Our faith fuels what we do and how we do it – faith that ifound in a loving God, who created all people in his image to thrive.  Our faith drives us to inspire and collaborate with others in the pursuit of justice, love and compassion for all, and in doing so unlock the potential in people to live as God intended.  This means we don’t seek short-term answers, but longterm solutions that deliver lasting change to entire communities.

Extensive Network

We believe amazing things happen when people work together for good. As part of the 20-million strong Adventist network we have unparalleled levels of connection around the globe.  This gives us the potential to collaborate with and mobilise the power and expertise of one of the world’s largest, and finest, integrated healthcare and educational network — which includes tertiary institutions, hospitals, clinics, and the professionals that lead them.  Thanks to this extensive, global network we’re able to impact more lives, more quickly.


We aren’t the solution – we help others find theirs. Our local staff work with communities from the beginning, ensuring relevant and sustainable programme utilise the knowledge and resources already on hand.  Our approach ensures change happens from the grassroots up, while allowing us to bring the best global innovations to the local level.


The trust of the communities we work with, our staff, global partners and donors forms the foundation of everything we do – their trust in us powers what we do.  We’ve built a reputation for getting things done the right way, and often in places others won’t go. We sustain this by maintaining high levels of integrity and transparency in all that we do.  We don’t cut corners or compromise on what really matters, that’s why we’re trusted from the ground up, and why other organisations seek us out to work on their behalf.