WORDS Joshua Brosnahan PHOTOS Sarah Rowlands
From breakfast radio host to chaplain, to husband and father – Spanky Moore is embarking on a colourful journey. From his beginnings on local student radio RDU to his current position at the University of Canterbury, Spanky been a familiar part of Ōtautahi’s social culture for close to twenty years.
“I’d felt the call to ministry from a very young age but [I] had been smart enough to realise at fourteen that being a minister wasn’t going to be a great move socially. I’d attempted to bargain my way out of it with God in various ways, until He finally nailed me down while I was at RDU in 2004.”
Spanky describes his role at RDU as a ‘dream gig’ and listeners as ‘a colourful bunch’ of whom, he notes, several came along to his ordination service in the old Christ Church Cathedral.
“Whenever I think of the eccentric outcasts that Jesus was criticised for hanging out with, I imagine RDU listeners would be
a pretty close modern-day equivalent. Nowadays I host a faith podcast called 21 Elephants, but nothing beats live radio.”
Spanky and his wife Sara have recently added to his family, with the birth of child number three, Victor. In describing their life, Spanky says it’s ‘total chaos!’
“We have a five-year-old, Edith, a two-and- a-half-year-old, Fred, and six-week-old Victor.
Yesterday morning I went into Fred’s room and discovered he’d taken his nappy off and was covered head to toe in brown mixed- medium, which caused me to ask a question I’d never imagined possible; ‘So Fred, which of this is poo? And which is Nutella?’
Things like that happen every day. Of course, having kids is a great joy – it’s great for your character, and it’s by far the most important job I’ll ever do. But you also realise that all that stuff you judged your parents for when you were younger – their weird quirks and neurotic tendencies – were actually caused by you! Your parents were probably quite normal until you came along!”
After the events of March 15, Spanky immediately set to work, closely supporting Christchurch’s Muslim community.
“Through my work at the Uni I’d become good friends with a Muslim brother who
was injured in the shooting, whose son was killed. Muslims and Christians are often called
“People of the Book”, and historically around the world have rallied to support each other support in tragedies.”
Three weeks after the terrorist attack, a group of Christian students gathered outside the Muslim prayer space on campus during their Friday prayers, to encircle them and pray for them. Afterwards, the groups shared a Halal barbeque lunch.
“In return, they’ve just invited us over to eat with them one night during Ramadan. Muslims have been treated as outsiders in this country for a long time, and the shootings reminded me that I needed to make more of an effort to have friends who look different than I do and hold different beliefs than me.
I always try to remind the people I meet with that, in my honest opinion, they are a profoundly loved child of God, and that no-one can take that away from them. Now, that sounds corny, but you should see how many people begin to sob at the sheer possibility that could be true.”