Countries around the globe are exiting the COVID-19-related confinement, albeit with economic prospects looking not all that good and other negative news floating around, leading to widespread paralysis.

New Zealand is one of the most highly-praised countries for how it dealt with the pandemic. What was the receipt of success there, for others to follow?

We asked one of the country’s leading experts, the well-known adversity coach and Christian Tanya Unkovich, who, though Croatian by birth, has been living in Auckland for decades.

Tanya is the first Tony Robbins Results Coach in New Zealand, as well as a published author of two books. She has written extensively for magazines and is now a regular weekly contributor to radio stations across the country.

According to Tanya, although New Zealand has overcome the pandemic, the strict lockdown measures unfortunately have had a strong negative effect on the economy, and on people’s lives.

In New Zealand, diversity is encouraged in all areas of life. Thus, the country as a whole does not stress the importance of any single outlook on coping. In this respect, Christianity is welcomed and respected along with other approaches.

Given that Tanya is a regular on Christian media in New Zealand, often Christians come to her for coaching and for advice on how to overcome adversity in their lives. According to her, faith, belief in God and the spiritual life plays a very big part in the personal process. This is a very strong foundation to personal growth, Tanya believes.

When asked about the role of religion in dealing with the pandemic, Tanya answered that “a strong faith in God can get us through any problem, either as an individual or collectively as a country”.

“This period of time during 2020 has brought many, Christian and non-Christian, to a place of personal reflection on what is important in life.

“Many people have come to realise that whilst professional and material success is good to experience in life, personal and spiritual fulfilment is ultimately the key”.

In general, according to Tanya, “the role of spirituality and personal inner growth has already increased since the pandemic”.

“We have been forced to be still, to be with our families, with ourselves, our own thoughts and experience what this actually feels like and it has been beneficial for many”, Tanya said.

Finally, according to Tanya there is a wonderful saying: “faith without works isn’t effective”. This means that to have faith is fantastic, however, we as individuals who need help must also go for action. We cannot sit and pray and do nothing if we want to get results.

It is about making a personal commitment to growth, to see change and achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve, and to believe that you deserve it. To believe that you are worthy of it, of joy, happiness and success.

Pray, and then go for intelligent, inspired action!

More stories from Novena Brussels contributor Angele Bucyte:

First female university rector in Lithuania says “idea of hospitality as missional” key to personal, institutional success

Novena exclusive interview: COMECE Secretary General says Church ready to take EU dialogue to next level

Novena exclusive investigation: Novena survey reveals Pope’s impact on environmental policy with Laudato si’

Novena’s full coverage of the COVID-19 crisis:

Virtues for the COVID-19 recovery: what do we mean by “compassion”, “solidarity” and “justice”?


Angele Bucyte is a European economist and professor who has worked for a number of universities and public institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament in Brussels. She is a practicing Catholic who collaborates closely with the religious communities in Brussels, including COMECE, the Jesuit European Social Centre and the Chapel for Europe.