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Centuries old order gets behind Victim Support

Following the devastation of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Victim Support had dozens of Support Workers on the ground, many having flown in from all around New Zealand. During this difficult time that severely stretched our resources, an organisation reached out with a generous donation. It was the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.

Brett Delahunt pictured with Victim Support CE James McCulloch

While not perhaps as well-known as similar charitable organisations such as St John, the Order of St Lazarus has a long, proud history of service and charity in New Zealand as well as internationally. The order has been working continuously in Europe since 1098, and it has been active in New Zealand since 1962.

“It’s a charitable Order,” says Grand Prior, Professor Brett Delahunt, who has been head of the Order in New Zealand for well over a decade.

“Anyone can potentially become a member. It’s an ecumenical organisation with a strong sense of community that is available to all.”

Its long and intricate history, going back to the time of the Crusades, along with its intriguing ties to European royal families, also piques people’s interest.

Professor Delahunt is also very active in the international body which has its headquarters in Spain. Until recently he had oversight of all the charitable activities of the Order worldwide,  involving  expenditure of around 10 million euros a year.

The Order was also to the fore in coming to the aid of Tonga after the volcanic eruption in 2022 after a meeting between Professor Delahunt with the Tongan Prime Minister.

Since the Christchurch earthquake, the Order of St Lazarus has continued to make significant contributions towards our work with donations totalling $70,000.00.

Professor Delahunt said that it is a privilege to be a sponsor of Victim Support. “Their work makes a real and practical difference to people in distress at a time when they most need it.”