We are becoming

“A community of faith, renewed by Jesus, sharing His love with all.”


God’s great love towards all people is expressed in the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. 

As we respond in faith to this love, we are forgiven, saved and made right in our relationship with Him.  He invites us into community with others who share this common journey of faith, as in humility we seek to share and show His unconditional love with others.

Our Values

  • We Value the Bible..…because God speaks to us through it – revealing to us who He is, how much He loves us, and showing us how to live in this world. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • We Value Prayer….. as a way of connecting with God by listening and speaking with Him. (Philippians 4:6)
  • We Value Transformation…. as the Holy Spirit works in us, shaping and empowering us to be more like Jesus.(Romans 12:2)
  • We Value Diversity…. We live in a bicultural and multicultural community.  He waka eke noa – we are all in the canoe together – seeking to honour, respect and embrace all people. (1Corinthians 12:12-27) 
  • We Value God’s Mission…. God loves all people everywhere so we reach out with grace and humility to all people.  (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • We Value God’s Kingdom…. so we live out the Kingdom of God by speaking His truth, caring for creation, pursuing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with Him. (Matthew 6:10, Micah 6:8))
  • We Value Relationships.…. so as a growing family/whanau of all ages we experience genuine connectedness as we do life together, serving and loving each other, creating a sense of belonging for all. (Romans 12:9,10; Galatians 6:10)

Meet our staff team

Dianna Blong

Finance/Office Administrator

Dianna joined the staff in 2019 and has covered various roles within the office during that time. She has been part of the Whakatane Church Family since moving from Auckland in 2002 with her family, her three children are now adults. Outside of work Dianna is involved in a local Steampunk group, an avid coffee connoisseur, loves to travel and dreams of one day owning a camper van.

Email Dianna


Emma Wells

Youth Pastor

Emma joined staff team at the beginning on 2020. She works with our teenagers and is deeply passionate about youth ministry. She is married to Izaak Wells. Outside of work Emma loves being in the outdoors, surfing, skating, riding dirt bikes, fishing, and sport. She also loves hanging out with her friends and family.  You can often find her walking her dog Bea along the beach enjoying a cup of coffee.  

Email Emma:


Neil Perry

Pastoral Team Leader

Neil has been in his current role since May 2021 with a key focus on helping the church find and transition to a new Pastor.  Neil and Barb (an early childhood teacher) have been married for 45 years and have three married sons and seven grandchildren.  Much of their forty years of ministry have been focused overseas but also includes seven years as Pastoral Team Leader at Whakatane Baptist Church from 1996.  Outside of his work Neil enjoys photography, bike riding and fishing.

Email Neil:


Lou Nelson

Children and Families Pastor

Lou loves getting to know God, finding freedom in Jesus. She enjoys exploring ways (with her family) to live like God’s whanāu with others.

Lou is married to Wayne and they have three boys, Jack, Caleb (who are both studying at uni) and Tait (at Trident High). In her free time she loves spending time at the beach, in the bush, camping, listening to LifeFM (and her sons rap and hip hop playlists!) while driving, reading (including house mags), learning new stuff, watching her son’s soccer games, playing games, and hanging out with her family and friends.

Email Lou:


Jono Edmeades

Associate Pastor

Jono loves Jesus – and is a massive fan of seeing others come to experience the transformation that knowing Him brings! His role is gradually evolving as a part of our team – he’s pretty happy for a kōrero about anything!

Jono is married to Gabby (Ngāti Pūkeko) and they live in the awesome neighbourhood of Awatapu/Ōtamakaokao.

In his spare time, Jono loves playing hockey, a round of golf or a good adventure using his two legs or his yacht. He also chairs the Northern Easter Camp board.

Email Jono: