News Story

Focus on Strengthening Individuals and Families at New Zealand Education Week

Hundreds gather for historic event

The Welfare and Self-Reliance Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints presented New Zealand Education Week in Hamilton, New Zealand. This was the first one held in 20 years. The event featured eight days of educational classes, online videos, and devotionals. Presenters came from as far away as the United States, Australia and many parts of New Zealand. There were 43 presenters in all, both online and in-person, and 140 in-person classes from which to choose on Friday and Saturday. The classes covered a variety of topics including marriage and family relationships, parenting, personal finances, education, business development, and entrepreneurship, as well as developing emotional and spiritual well-being, supporting those with mental disorders, writing a personal history, and increasing health and wellness for a better and happier lifestyle.



A committee of seven, including Elder Doug and Sister Deonne Layton and Elder Gene and Sister Carolyn Powell, both full time senior missionary couples, worked for several months to put the event together. The event coincided with the last day of the Powell's mission, before they returned home to America.

One of the directors, Moses Armstrong, the Church's Country Manager for Welfare, Self-Reliance and PathwayConnect for New Zealand North, said, "Hopefully this is the start of something new, a platform to start from. Our hope is to do it bi-annually in the future."  

Another director, Arama Puriri, the Church's Country Manager for Welfare and Self-Reliance Services and PathwayConnect for New Zealand South, explained that the online classes are a new experience (they didn't have the technology available 20 years ago) and that after Education Week is over, people will have the opportunity to view the devotionals and some of the classes. Videos, as well as additional information, are available at Slides of the various presenters and videos will be available on the NZ Education Week Facebook page:

Four devotionals were held in conjunction with Education Week.  There were a number of musical numbers and keynote speakers. 

A dinner and program for 200 was held Saturday evening at the Kai Hall, a social centre and cafeteria built in 1954 for the labour missionaries working on the  Hamilton New Zealand Temple and Church College of New Zealand in Temple View. 

Those who attended Education Week came away enthused and hopeful for future similar gatherings.   

Elder Bart and Sister Linda Simmons, senior full time missionaries and presenters at this event, noted, "It has been so spiritually inspiring from the devotional right through the end of the day--the music, the talks, the presenters. . . The concept of a spiritual feast being held on the North Island is really true."

Eugene Watene said, "I am really thankful for this week. I have learned things that have opened up my understanding."

Eden Keung noted, "It's great to see so much goodness gathered in one place." 

Joseph Hartog mused, "It was very spiritually edifying and also awesome and highly educational."  

Elder Kelly Wright added, "Outstanding and Insightful!" 

One of the presenters, Elder Warren Gubler said, "I enjoyed teaching as well as attending other's classes and was uplifted and edified." 

Director Arama Puriri summed it up by saying, "We feel it has been a real success." 

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