Duncan Macleod

It was in the 1950s, 60s and 70s that youth culture came of its own. Increased mobility, the growth of the entertainment industry and the arrival of television. It was the time of the Baby boom in New Zealand ∆ and so the Sunday schools and youth groups were struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of youth.

Baby Boomers grew up to challenge accepted authorities. Questions were raised about traditional doctrine, sexual morality codes and gender roles. Loyalty was no longer enough to keep people in their churches ∆ many left to form new congregations or drop out altogether.

In the 1960′s and 1970′s national movements, with their formal structures, struggled as regional networks disintegrated. Vatican II opened up new possibilities in the Catholic Church, while ecumenical enterprises in the mainline churches of New Zealand appeared promising.

Denominational youth structures were downplayed in the hope that ecumenical ventures would be fully expressed in a Uniting Church of New Zealand. It was not to be. Votes in the 1970s, close as they were, stopped short of ecumenical union. By the mid 1970s it was clear that the heydays of Christian youth movements were gone.