Auckland New Zealand Temple
The Church was first established in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, in the 1850s and has more than 114,000 members today. The members are spread throughout 225 congregations.
There are thirteen stakes in the Auckland metropolitan area where Church membership has grown significantly in recent years.
On 7 October 2018, during the 188th semi-annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced that a temple will be built in Auckland New Zealand. The temple was announced in the 60th anniversary year of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, the same year it closed for a multi-year renovation.
The temple will be located on Redoubt Road in Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand. The temple will be built 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Auckland City, next to the New Zealand Missionary Training Center on the south and the Auckland New Zealand Redoubt Stake Center on the north. Once completed, the Auckland New Zealand Temple will be the second temple built in New Zealand, following the Hamilton New Zealand Temple (1958).
During a nine-day ministering tour of the Pacific islands, President Nelson spoke at a devotional held Tuesday, 21 May 2019, in Auckland's Spark Arena to a congregation of 12,000. In the course of his remarks, he told the people that the temple would be a "two-story building with a granite exterior. Its light and beauty will be highly visible."
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Auckland New Zealand Temple will take place on Saturday, 13 June 2020. Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area president, will preside at the event. Attendance at the site is by invitation only, with the general public invited to view the ceremony live from local meetinghouses in New Zealand. Additional details will be forthcoming.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Auckland New Zealand Temple was announced on the same day that the Church announced it was temporarily suspending all public gatherings of Church members worldwide, including sacrament meetings, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The open house and dedication dates will be announced after the temple is built.
A Small-scale Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Auckland New Zealand Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand held a small-scale groundbreaking ceremony for the Auckland New Zealand Temple on Saturday, 13 June 2020. Attendance at the site was limited to invited guests only in accordance with the guidelines set by the local government.
Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President presided the event. The general public will have the chance to view the ceremony via delayed broadcast on Sunday, 14 June 2020 at 6 pm NZST.
Dates for the open house and dedication will be announced once construction is finished.
History of the Auckland New Zealand Temple Site
The Church Newsroom Pacific reports that the Church purchased the property where the temple will be built in 1996 as a potential site for a meetinghouse or religious learning facility.
The property was historically occupied by Māori tribes of Tainui descent, then later associated with the St. John’s Redoubt (fort) of the Waikato Wars. When the property was purchased, the late Eru Thompson, a highly regarded Kaumatua (Māori elder) and cultural advisor and an acknowledged and respected historian, who represented the Te Kawerau-a-Maki iwi, gave the land a traditional Maori site blessing. The local iwi (a Māori community), Te Akitai Waiohua, was represented by brothers, Sonny and Brownie Rauwhere.
A few archaeological sites have been recorded in the area. During the construction of the Redoubt Road meetinghouse to the north of the temple site, and the construction of the New Zealand Missionary Training Center to the south, the Church consulted archaeologists who found signs of early inhabitants. in some cases a local iwi representative was brought to the site to handle the find.
According to Church Newsroom Pacific, European settlement in the area dates to the mid-nineteenth century (1840-1859). The St. John's Redoubt was built by colonizers in 1863 to protect the supply line and facilitate military advance along the Great South Road against the Waikato Māori during the Waikato Wars, one of the most controversial and influential episodes of New Zealand's history.
Though little remains visible on the ground surface, this historic reserve is now a legally protected heritage site administered by the Department of Conservation and Auckland Council. The damaged western bastion of the St. John’s Redoubt extends some 17 metres into the Church property. To preserve the historical remnant, the Church established a buffer zone between construction and the redoubt defenses.