Since 1885 when the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society was formed, the Baptist Churches of New Zealand have been committed to poverty alleviation where ever they have worked - Asia, South Asia, South East Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe. This has included:
- Relief, rehabilitation and medical assistance - responding to chronic poverty, especially following floods, cyclones and other natural disasters and seasonal shocks.
- Small scale rural agriculture - re-establishing farmers devastated by floods with more secure land tenure, new crop development and diversified farming.
- Sustainable rural development - ‘Sustainable Garden and Village Livestock Project’, improving human health through better protein food, providing village small business opportunities, and enhancing environmental protection (Papua New Guinea).
- Cottage industries - ‘Chandpur Cottage Industries’ (CCI), in association with ‘CORR (Christian Organisation Relief and Rehabilitation) - The Jute Works’, focusing assistance to rural poor women through the production of jute based handcrafts (Bangladesh). The CCI jute handcrafts have sold through Trade Aid shops in NZ for many years.
- Revolving micro-finance - group formation and access to savings and credit (Bangladesh).
- Educational activities - adult literacy, home-work tutors, and educational grants focusing on poor village children (Bangladesh, Tripura – India).
- Schools and hospitals - establishing local educational and medical infrastructure (Bangladesh and Tripura).
These projects were run as a part of the wider work of the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society (Tranzsend), in obedience to the biblical command to "Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself". Humanitarian action to help the poor has always been a Christian imperative.
However a concern to have a more focussed approach to development issues led to the formation of Banzaid as a separate organisation in 1997.
Banzaid gained accreditation with NZAID's KOHA-PICD scheme for funding assistance to NGO products. In 2006 Banzaid began working with Baptist Aid-BBCF in Bangladesh to get funding for their Total Community Development Centres (TCDC) project in Chandpur district. A baseline survey for a new TCDC project was carried out in 2007, and the project was approved for KOHA-PICD funding from NZAID in 2008. Since then we have had other New Zealand Government Aid Programme funded projects.
- ‘Total Community Development Centres’ (TCDC) - Integrated rural sustainable development through social, economic and environmental activities (Bangladesh).
- Satitoa Village School Project - after the 2009 tsunami in Samoa Banzaid took on the project of rebuilding the school which had been totally destroyed by the tsunami. This project was completed in December 2010.
- Affordable solar lighting - this Bangladesh based project was set up with MarketPlacers International Ltd in 2011 to develop an affordable solar lighting option for poor families in rural Bangladesh.
- Cash Crop Development - this Papua New Guinea project was set up in 2013 to work with the coffee growers of the Baiyer Valley in the Western Highlands of PNG to improve the cultivation and marketing of their coffee crop.