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A church in New Zealand takes advantage of migrant Taekwondo trainers.


A labour inspector from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) visited the academy on behalf of Song Choi and another migrant worker, Andrew Jeon, who were working there as instructors. During their employment, Song Choi was not paid the rate of salary agreed to him and did not have access to holiday pay. The ERA found that the trustees had acted unlawfully and ordered them to pay Song ,848 as arrears for wages, holiday pay and the premium of ,172 that he paid them.

The church trustees of the Jesus Aroma Church Trust in Dunedin, New Zealand were recently found to have exploited two migrant Taekwondo instructors. This was done in a bid to be the first to boast the tiniest and most cost effective taekwondo school in town.

Despite being employed by the trustees, Song was not paid the minimum wage as required by law during his employment period. He also failed to provide a wages and time record in violation of his employer’s responsibilities.

The Jesus Aroma Church Trust exploited two migrant taekwondo instructors at its Dunedin academy. Trustees Victoria Jeon, Joseph Jeon and Misun Leem received donations from Korean churches to employ pastor Song Choi and qualified taekwondo instructor Andrew Jeon, according to an ERA decision released on Tuesday.

Jesus Aroma Church Trust

Trustees of a church set up to promote and advance Christianity in New Zealand exploited two vulnerable migrants making them work and teach at a taekwondo academy. According to a finding by that country’s Employment Relations Authority (ERA), the trustees, Victoria Jeon, Joseph Jeon and Misun Leem took premiums or payments from the pair in exchange for jobs.The ERA has ordered the trustees to pay Song Choi ,848 as arrears for wages, holiday pay and the premium of ,172 that he had paid to them. The ERA has also asked the trustees to repay Andrew Jeon ,634 for the premium he had paid earlier, including outstanding interest.Trustees of a New Zealand church have been ordered to pay more than 4,000 after exploiting two vulnerable migrant workers. The trustees of Jesus Aroma Church – Victoria Jeon, Joseph Jeon and Misun Leem – used donations from Korean churches to employ pastor Song Choi and another vulnerable migrant, qualified Taekwondo instructor Andrew Jeon at the Dunedin Taekwondo Academy, which was operated by the church’s trustees as a commercial entity.

Song Choi

The Labour Inspectorate’s Head of Compliance and Investigations, Stu Lumsden said this was a sophisticated scheme by the trustees targeting vulnerable migrant workers who were tied to their visas, and breached New Zealand’s employment obligations. The situation was unfortunate for these migrant workers who did not have access to support services or understanding of what they were signing up for, Stu added.The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in New Zealand has determined that the trustees of a church in Dunedin took advantage of two migrants by requiring them to work and teach at a taekwondo school.We pray that the Lord will raise up more men and women of grace to be stewards of his kingdom among their own people and those who need it most. This will be accomplished by evangelism, teaching, prayer and service, in the name of the God who has done it all. It may take a lot of patience and endurance but it’s worth the effort. The good news is that a redeemed sinner can live the Christian life with joy and zeal despite the pain and suffering. This can be achieved through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning death and resurrection. We are called to be witnesses to the transforming power of the gospel in our homes, communities and around the globe.

Andrew Jeon

The trustees operated the academy as a commercial enterprise, but were not paying Song and Jeon the rates of salary they had agreed to. They also did not provide the migrant workers with a wages and time record, which is in breach of New Zealand employment laws.Related Articles Around the WebThe trustees, named by the ERA as Victoria Jeon, Joseph Jeon and Misun Leem, were ordered to pay more than 4,000 in compensation for breaching minimum employment standards. This was due to a number of allegations made by migrant Taekwondo instructor Song Choi on his behalf and fellow migrant teacher Andrew Jeon.The Dunedin Taekwondo Academy, run by the trustees of the Jesus Aroma Church as a business, hired Song Choi with funds donated by Korean churches. Although Choi was intended to work as a pastor, he was instead tasked with cleaning the school and assisting instructor Andrew Jeon. The trustees were found to have exploited both Choi and Jeon, and were required by the ERA to pay them over 4,000.

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