Hamilton New Zealand Temple
The building of a Mormon temple in New Zealand was announced by David O. McKay, the ninth president of the Mormon Church, on 17 February 1955. With its completion in 1958, it was the first temple built by the Mormon Church in the Southern Hemisphere.
The temple is 44,212 square feet, has one ordinance room, five sealing rooms, a Celestial room, baptistery, and 75 other rooms needed to carry out temple ordinances and temple work according to Mormon belief. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple was built entirely by Church labor missionaries who volunteered all of their time. Local members supported these workers with money, food, and water. The temple is located at 509 Tuhikaramea Rd, Temple View, Hamilton 3218, New Zealand.
Mormon history in New Zealand goes back to the 1850s when the first Mormon missionaries arrived in the area. Missionaries found many who were ready to hear the gospel, but the first stake, in Auckland, was not organized until one hundred years after the arrival of the missionaries. Most of the first converts in New Zealand were of Maori or Polynesian descent. Since then, however, the Mormon Church in New Zealand has become culturally mixed with members in the area of Australian, British, European, Asian, and North American descent. The needs of all the members in New Zealand are met by having special branches in other languages as needed.
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on 21 December 1955. Ariel S. Ballif, the New Zealand Mission President at the time, broke the ground. The site of the temple is on 86 acres, which included a Mormon owned college. This school was for students ages twelve to eighteen. Ninety-two percent of the students were Mormon and the school strove to teach secular as well as religious subjects. "On 29 June 2006, LDS Church leaders announced that the Church College of New Zealand would cease accepting new students in 2007 and would close at the end of the 2009 school year (after 51 years of operation); in discussing its decision, the church cited a policy of the church to close its private secondary schools when the public school system is able to offer quality education." 
Hugh B. Brown, an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, placed the cornerstone in the Mormon temple at a special ceremony held on 22 December 1956. Less than a year and a half later, the temple was open for public tours for 23 days (28 March - 19 April 1958) prior to the dedication. During this time about 112,500 people toured the temple. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple was dedicated by David O. McKay on 20-22 April 1958. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple serves members in New Zealand and nearby South Pacific islands.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple was the first temple built in the Southern Hemisphere and second built in Polynesia, following the Laie Hawaii Temple (1919).
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple was originally named the New Zealand Temple.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple is a sister building to the Bern Switzerland Temple.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple was constructed with a single auditorium-style ordinance room equipped with motion-picture presentation of the endowment.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple and adjoining Church College of New Zealand (permanently closed in December 2009) were both built entirely by volunteer missionary labor.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple features beautiful murals on the walls of its Celestial Room. (Only two other temples feature full Celestial Room murals: the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and the Los Angeles California Temple. The corner pillars in the Logan Utah Temple Celestial Room portray a heavenly landscape, too.)
- Prior to its dedication, some 112,500 visitors toured the Hamilton New Zealand Temple during its public open house.
- The Church College of New Zealand was dedicated six days after the dedication of the adjoining Hamilton New Zealand Temple.
- The first stake in New Zealand was created the month after the dedication of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple in the city of Auckland, about 80 miles north of Hamilton.
- For a time, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple offered overnight endowment sessions from Friday through Saturday to accommodate the many members who came on the weekend.
- The Hamilton New Zealand Temple closed in 1993 for two months to replace wall coverings and furnishings. In 1994, the temple closed again for 9 months for a more extensive renovation that included installation of air conditioning and removal of asbestos.
Hamilton New Zealand Temple Closed for Extensive Renovations
After serving Church members in the Pacific for six decades, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, the Church’s 13th constructed and 11th operating temple. and the first temple in the Southern Hemisphere has closed for an extensive, three-year renovation. Changes with the renovations will include seismic strengthening and significant upgrades to its mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. Other changes include a new roof and an accessible entrance to the baptistry. The inside furnishings will receive a refresh, as well as the landscaping and parking lot. Because of the historical nature of the building, all renovations will meet strict heritage standards.
The temple is one of the buildings constructed by “labor missionaries” — volunteers with experience and young missionaries who were called to assist in building the temple. More than 1,500 labor missionaries helped build the temple, along with many locals — many of who were not members of the Church.
The renovation is expected to be completed in 2021. Upon completion, a public open house will be held and the temple will be rededicated shortly thereafter.
During the temple closure, Latter-day Saints will travel to other temples in the Pacific and elsewhere. Several temples now dot the Pacific in Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga.
Located in Temple View, a suburb outside of Hamilton, New Zealand, the Hamilton temple was the second to be built outside of the United States and Canada; the first temple built outside the U.S. and Canada was the Bern Switzerland Temple. Today the Hamilton New Zealand Temple serves some 115,000 Church members living in New Zealand, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands.
Renderings of What the Temple and Auxiliary Buildings Will Look Like
The pictures in this gallery are renderings of what the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and auxiliary buildings will look like once renovations are complete. The pictures were taken from LDS Living.com.