News Release

Church Leaders Honour New Zealand Labour Missionaries

82 former labour missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in the Hamilton suburb of Temple View last weekend for meetings with senior Church leaders.

The labour missionaries were among those who built the faith’s Hamilton New Zealand Temple, Church College of New Zealand and meetinghouses around the country in the 1950s and 1960s.

President of the Pacific Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, expressed his deep love for and gratitude to the labour missionaries.

“To those of you who answered missionary calls many years ago or whose parents or grandparents answered those calls and came and built — you are pioneers in every sense of the word. You have left a legacy of faith, sacrifice and service that will never ever die.” 

He continued: “I don’t know of anyone who has come to Temple View who has not been deeply impressed by what they’ve seen and what they’ve heard and felt here. We are grateful for who you are and for what you represent.”

Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Church’s Presiding Bishopric, visiting New Zealand last week, also attended meetings with the labour missionaries on Saturday.  

“Those early labour missionaries and many others who followed them,” Bishop Davies said, “were educated here, developed skills, and their lives were lifted.”

“As a result, when they completed their time in this special location they took with them not just an education but expanded love, faith, and devotion to God and family.”

“Your lives, your learning, and your faith have blessed the lives of thousands and tens of thousands of people. I commend you, I love you and I give thanks for your legacy. Not a legacy of simply bricks and mortar, but a legacy of family, a legacy of community, a legacy of country and a legacy of faith.”

Also attending the meetings were Elder O. Vincent Haleck and Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Pacific Area Presidency. They, and Elder Pearson, were accompanied by their wives: June Pearson, Peggy Haleck and Wendy Nielsen.

During a cultural celebration and luncheon on Saturday, the expression, ‘the blood of Tuhikaramea,’ was used. It was said to flow through the veins of those who have lived or served in Temple View, New Zealand. 

“I can tell you,” Elder Pearson said, “that this blood flows through the veins of people in many many parts of the Pacific area. Wherever I go in New Zealand and Australia now, almost everyone’s roots come back to this sacred place. There are leaders of the Church all over the Pacific area who went to school here, gained testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and now that blood of Tuhikaramea flows in their veins and throughout the Pacific.”

Elder Pearson added: “This is a special, sacred spot on the earth. It is one of the anchors of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Pacific area. My prayer, as I look at the aging eyes of the faithful and their posterity, is that people will always say for generations and decades and centuries to come that the faithful blood of those here still flows through the veins of those whose roots go back to Tuhikaramea.”

The Church College buildings and Hamilton New Zealand Temple were constructed during the period of 1951 through 1958 with labour performed by young Latter-day Saint missionaries called for a period of approximately two years to donate their labour.

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