About Boys' Brigade New Zealand

Boys' Brigade (BB) is the oldest international interdenominational uniformed Christian organisation concerned with the positive development of young people.

The first BB began in 1883 (over 120 years ago) in Glasgow, Scotland and spread to New Zealand 3 years later.

Vision Statement:

To have every boy in New Zealand participate in our life development programme.

Purpose Statement:

To provide cutting edge, Christian based resources to churches; facilitating the development of constructive, resilient, innovative young leaders and responsible citizens.

The Motto:

Sure & Stedfast
The motto "Sure & Stedfast" was selected by William Smith from the passage in Bible Hebrews 6:19 which refers to Christ as a sure and stedfast anchor of the soul.

When Smith started BB he choose as its emblem an anchor and the words Sure & Stedfast. A few years later in 1899 another organisation started in England called The Boys' Life Brigade. In its emblem was a Red Cross. In 1926 these organisations joined together and also combined their badges. The badge of The Boys' Brigade then became the ones we know today.

The Object:

"The advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys' and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-Respect and all that tends towards a true, Christian manliness."

Our story from the roots:

William Alexander Smith, a young Sunday school teacher was worried that the boys in his class were rowdy - sounds familiar? He wanted to teach his boys' Christian principles but had to spend most of his time trying to keep them quiet. One day he had an inspiration...

Smith was a part-time army officer and could get many men to do exactly what he wanted when he drilled them. Drill is a term that embodies military movement, such as marching and weapon handling.

"Suppose the Sunday school boys were like his volunteers and did drill during the week. Perhaps then they would be better behaved on Sundays." It worked!

On October 4th 1883 The Boys' Brigade was started. It soon became clear that Smith's idea was just what boys were wanting and needing and soon other companies were formed, first in Scotland and then in England, New Zealand (1886) and elsewhere.

Today the organisation is represented in over 60 countries across the globe, working with up to 750,000 children and young people.

The latest member to join the alliance was "La Brigade des Garcons et Fille, Togo, West Africa" in November 2003. "Pathway" of Bangladesh also joined in January 2003.

The Boys' Brigade in New Zealand is the direct descendent of Smith's inspiration in 1883. BBNZ offers a comprehensive programme for 6 to 18 year olds, in both a modified traditional format and a new, parallel movement with a New Zealand focus (ICONZ New Zealand).