News Story

Kiribati Church Growth Continues with Creation of New Southern Kiribati District

Reflecting the continued growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Republic of Kiribati, the Southern Kiribati District has been created comprising eight branches of the Church spread across five Kiribati outer islands. The five islands are Tabiteuea, Beru, Nikunau, Nonouti and Onotoa.

President John F. Larkin of the Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission of the Church, and Iotua Tune, first counsellor in the mission presidency, formally organised the new district on Tuesday 11 June 2019.


The inaugural district president is Teakireke Tokataake, with Aree Aree as first counsellor and Tokee Teotia as second counsellor in the district presidency. Tauvaga Tekeiaki was sustained as the district clerk. All members of the new district presidency reside on the island of Tabiteuea. 

A district (similar to a diocese) is a geographical administrative unit of the Church composed of a number of branches (congregations).


As a result of the new district presidency being called, two new branch presidents were also called on the island of Tabiteuea: President Teriaua Bweaa for the Utiroa Branch; and President Tianere Irotomwa for the Kabuna Branch.

Through the efforts of over 100 proselyting missionaries serving in Kiribati combined with the faithful service of the local Church members, the Church is growing at an accelerated rate in Kiribati.

Missionaries serving in Kiribati originate from many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Kiribati, United States, Marshall Islands, India, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.  

In addition to the active role of missionaries and Church members working together, President Larkin also attributes the rapid growth of the Church to the faith and humility of the Kiribati people, for whom the family plays a key role in the Kiribati culture. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also stresses the importance of families in this life, and in the life to come.    

Currently there are over 22,000 Church members in Kiribati (21% of the total population), comprised of two stakes and three districts. The Republic of Kiribati is now ranked sixth in the world in terms of the number of Church members per capita.   


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.