Members of what was originally the Auckland Stake - the first stake to be established outside North America - celebrated their 40th anniversary recently.
Since 13 stakes have grown out of the Auckland Stake's original boundaries, the reunion brought together long-time friends - including original stake members - who had not seen each other in years. (Within two years of its formation, the Auckland stake was divided.) The stories of their faithful service in building the Church in their country, along with their testimonies, inspired many of those who attended.Anniversary activities commenced with a Gold and Green Ball, a formal or "best-dress" dance.
The following evening a cast of 76 Primary children, between the ages of 8 and 12 years old, performed in a show written and directed by Losa Patterson.
Demonstrating a similar spirit as the early stake pioneers, the children diligently attended weekly and sometimes twice-weekly practices for more than five months. They also practiced during their school holidays.
The concluding activity for the anniversary weekend was a fireside held at the stake center. The opening and closing hymns were the same as those sung when the stake was formed. Speakers recounted the events of the 1958 conference, during which Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve established the stake.
Church pioneer Marie Harris attended the event and called the fireside "a wonderful opportunity to renew friendships and to appreciate the service of those who worked to prepare the way for the stake."