News Story

Elder Ardern Returns to Classroom in Tonga

The former school principal, now a Church leader, tells students that education is a doorway to future opportunities

Elder Ian S. Ardern, first counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited the Kingdom of Tonga this past weekend to preside at a Church conference. 

Elder Ardern was accompanied by Elder Sapele Fa'alogo, a newly called Area Seventy from Samoa.

On Monday morning, with a few hours to spare before his return flight to Auckland, New Zealand, Elder Ardern visited Liahona High School. 


Elder Ardern was previously a teacher and principal at the former Church College of New Zealand (CCNZ). 

While touring the school, Elder Ardern visited serveral classrooms. He was escorted around the school by vice-principal Malakai Kioa, whose late Father, Folau Kioa, was vice-principal at Liahona High School at the same time Elder Ardern was principal at CCNZ.

During the tour, Elder Ardern asked if he could visit an English class. He popped in to Sister Amelia Fetuli's class and very quickly had the students fully engaged and attentive with his very personable and charismatic teaching style.


Elder Ardern invited the students to list all the positive traits they felt about their teacher, and in turn, asked them what they could do out of gratitude to be better students.

Elder Ardern counseled them that "education was a doorway to opportunities for them to the future." 

He also shared valuable insights with the vice-principal by telling him that "a teacher on their feet (standing to teach) equals ten teachers on their seat."

Elder Ardern takes over from Elder O. Vincent Haleck as president of the Pacific Area of the Church on August 1, 2019.

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