The Daily News (New Zealand), May 8, 2003
Church Of Scientology officials are hoping Hollywood star Tom Cruise’s popularity in Taranaki will ignite interest in his religion.
The Auckland-based church will hold a two-day exhibition in New Plymouth this weekend in an effort to enlighten people on the philosophies of the religion.
Church director Mike Ferris said publicity surrounding Cruise’s religious beliefs since arriving in New Zealand had undoubtedly helped raise the church’s profile in the country.
Cruise became a convert to the Church of Scientology after it reportedly cured his dyslexia.
“There has been a lot of interest in Taranaki about the church since Tom Cruise has been down there. People have been asking what it’s all about, so we’re coming down to show them,” Mr Ferris said.
Cruise would not attend the two-day exhibition as he was due to leave Taranaki at the weekend after his four-month filming stint.
A recent anti-drugs programme organised by the church received a $1500 donation from Cruise.
Taranaki’s rescue helicopter trust has also benefited from a Cruise donation.
Trust manager Noel Watson confirmed a cheque had arrived from Cruise after the trust had written to The Last Samurai production asking for a donation.
He would not say how much it was, but it would be used to buy a locator beacon for a helicopter.
The trust helicopter has been used on The Last Samurai production and would be taken away and refitted before arriving back in Taranaki in June.