How it began
In 1981, Soror Egeria returned home to Christchurch, New Zealand from her travels in the USA, where she had enjoyed the company of Frater Superior, Hymenaeus Alpha (Grady McMurtry) acting in a capacity as his assistant.
It was felt by all of us that OTO's arrival in New Zealand was a tremendous and exciting thing, as there were no decent schools of magic around - though Hastings was home to some aged ex-members of an original Golden Dawn branch, the defunct Stella Matutina. But many magicians had some interest in Aleister Crowley, and the arrival of OTO came like a breath of fresh air. The feeling at the outset was very enthusiastic. We felt like we had Horus and the 93 Current behind us. It also linked together a group of active magicians right across New Zealand, so that was a real first, and it was terrific to meet like-minded people and share ideas. That ability is something we take for granted today with search engines, but there was no internet back then, and New Zealand had a low population and was also very remote from the rest of the world.
– Fr Ameth, 2012
Egeria brought with her a Charter to initiate to the Third Degree. She initiated a few individuals in each of New Zealand's four main cities, established into a series of Camps or ‘Tribes.’ In 1982, four official OTO bodies were born - the Dogfish Tribe in Dunedin, Baphomet Tribe in Hastings, Sea Star Tribe in Christchurch, AVA Camp in Wellington and Mercury Camp in Auckland. Aside from Mercury Camp, these would be short-lived. The local bodies were under the umbrella of Oceania Lodge - at that time, Ordo Insularum Oceania (OIO) - founded by Sr Egeria, which encompassed Australia and New Zealand.
Sr Egeria moved to Sydney in 1982 reestablishing the Order after Frank Bennet has commenced operations there in the early 20th century. All early OTO initiations in New Zealand and Australia were performed by the Kiwi founder of Oceania Lodge, and Sydney became home to Oceania Lodge beginning the great success of the OTO in Australia today.
Sr Egeria’s departure meant that New Zealanders had to fly across the ditch to get their next degree - until years later when another Kiwi, Frater Ameth, returned as a Third Degree in 1988 with this own charter to initiate. This allowed New Zealand to set up its own Oasis and affiliate directly under Grand Lodge. “It was a wonderful thing to be able to restore what we saw as autonomy for the OTO in New Zealand,” says Ameth. “It wasn't a matter of nationalism, just self-reliance and convenience.”
The satellite status of Camps was reviewed internationally and Mercury Camp gained independence from Oceania becoming Kantharos Oasis. “The word ‘Kantharos’ came up from working on the Greek Qabalah. It was the Greek word for beetle, symbolic of the Egyptian solar god; and with the N removed it became ‘katharos,’ the Greek word for pure, and the origin of the name of the Cathars, the famous medieval Gnostic offshoot.”
In 1989, an American initiation team including Frater Sabazius and Sr Helena, traveled to the Pacific to initiate. Fr Sabazius and Sr Helena returned to initiate in 1994, enabling Kantharos to gain Lodge status in 1995.
Ordo Templi Orientis has been registered as a Charitable Trust in New Zealand since 1986. It is registered with the Charities Commission, CC No. CC33051. Soror OSIS is Frater Superior’s Representative in New Zealand.
New Zealand Body Charters
|Dogfish Tribe||Dunedin||January 1982 - October 1984||Sr Egeria|
|Baphomet Tribe||Hastings||May 1982-July 1982||Sr Egeria|
|AVA Camp||Wellington||Dates unknown||Sr Egeria|
|Sea Stars Tribe||Christchurch||June 1982-January 1986||Sr Egeria|
|Mercury Tribe (absorbed into Kantharos)||Auckland||July 1982-June 1984||Sr Egeria|
|Whakatu Wahine Camp||Auckland||June 1993-March 1995||Sr OSIS|
|Gnostic Fire Camp (Oasis Sept 1996)||Christchurch||April 1995-Closed||Fr Haimatos Mou|
|Kantharos Tribe (Lodge 1995)||Auckland||June 1984-Present||Sr Egeria|
|Flame of Horeb Camp||Dunedin||Dec 2008 - May 2012||Fr John|
|Eschaton Camp||Wellington||2011-Present||Fr Gavin|
|Helena Chapter||Australia & NZ||March 1997 - 2007||Fr Numa & Sr OSIS|
|Sakura Chapter||Japan (& in practice NZ)||25 June 2007 (in practice 31 March 2007) - May 2012||Fr RHK & Sr OSIS|
|Starlit Heaven Chapter||New Zealand||May 2012 - Present||Fr Nomad & Sr OSIS|