It might be easy to cast off the Mormon church as a fringe religion in New Zealand, but in terms of finances it rather punches above its weight.    

Boasting $424 million in assets, it is New Zealand’s third wealthiest centralised religious group and 20th richest charity.

Its annual revenue of $113m in 2020 puts it only behind the Seventh Day Adventist church in terms of income. That church generates earnings through its own giant health food brand, Sanitarium. 

Between 2008 and 2020, the NZ Mormon church has taken in more than $1 billion from members and grants from its headquarters in Salt Lake City. 

Even the nation’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern is a former member, with her uncle Ian in charge of the church in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. 

Over a three-part series investigating the Church of the Latter-day Saints, BusinessDesk takes a closer look at the church’s finances and membership to examine how its significant wealth is obtained and used.

Part One of Riches of Heaven: More Mormons, More Money will be released tomorrow, Tuesday June 21.