Bikers spread the word

The redeemed Christian Motorcycle Ministry visit the Wakatipu Retirement Home in Queenstown last week. Pictured on the bike is Margaret Smith, with bike owner and ministry president Amos Ale-Perese. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
The redeemed Christian Motorcycle Ministry visit the Wakatipu Retirement Home in Queenstown last week. Pictured on the bike is Margaret Smith, with bike owner and ministry president Amos Ale-Perese. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
When you think of men on motorcycles you don't often associate them with retirement home visits or church call-ins, but one group of men recently travelled from Auckland to Dunedin doing exactly that.

The Redeemed Christian Motorcycle Ministry have so far raised $2300 towards the cost of six motor scooters for use by aid groups in Burma.

A varying number of motorcyclists - between 10 and 30 members - started in Auckland and called in at churches in Levin, Nelson, Greymouth and Queenstown, preaching their Christian message and informing listeners about the atrocities committed under military rule in Burma. Christian Motorcycle Ministry president Amos Ale-Perese said the men had also been sharing their stories about why and when they became Christian.

The ministry essentially, but not exclusively, comprises those who have turned to God at some stage of their life and become Christian.

On Thursday night ministry members spoke at the City Impact Church, and later accepted a donation of $1140, which Mr Ale-Perese said was extremely generous of Queenstown people.

The men rode to Dunedin the next day to speak at the Newlife Church.

Ministry member Harry Manihera said the group hoped to raise up to $6000 for the scooters. He said the group aimed to affect people's lives at a local and national level and that travelling on motorcycles was a really effective way of doing so.

Queenstown's branch of the ministry began only last October and the men would like to see a branch opened in Dunedin.

Mr Manihera said all riders were welcome to join them - Christian and non-Christian, male and female.

He said a lot of the growth of the group had been from gang associations, some of whom had been in prison.

''A lot have come out of prison and a lot had turned their backs on their families and on God.''

''We're about family. We're about Christian faith and we're not exclusive.''