Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Christian Leadership in a Secular Culture

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posted on 2023-10-08, 03:06 authored by Campbell Graham

This thesis analyses the experience of Christian leaders in New Zealand within three distinct contexts: primary school principals, National Party politicians, and management within a small to medium-sized business. Through detailed interview research, I show that these Christians express deep anxiety about the challenges they face as leaders within an increasingly secular society. Their contexts significantly shape their capacity to respond, with some affording much more room for manoeuvre than others. I argue that attention to Christian leadership helps illuminate the contours of a secular culture in New Zealand. This secular culture is influenced by state policy but is also enacted and sustained through everyday quotidian interactions, which discipline the space for public expression of religion. While this secular culture marginalises Christian voices within the public sphere, I also point to potential openings for moving beyond closure into dynamic public conversations about religion.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Religious Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

130501 Religion and society

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Fountain, Philip; Troughton, Geoff