AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Four mayors from the greater Auckland area met with stake presidents at the new Manukau New Zealand Stake Center July 21 for an early morning breakfast meeting.
President Oscar C. Lawrence conducted the meeting and New Zealand/ Pacific Area President, Elder Robert K. Dellenbach of the Seventy welcomed the mayors and spoke of the Church's worldwide building program. He informed the mayors that the Church builds approximately 450 chapels a year throughout the world, and he thanked them for their civic leadership.
In response, Barry Curtis, mayor of Manukau City and the longest continually serving mayor in New Zealand, paid a moving tribute to the Church. He told his associates that his daughter married a returned missionary from Australia in the Sydney Australia Temple. Mayor Curtis said he is proud of the fact that his grandchildren are Latter-day Saints. He also recalled participating in the Christmas season lighting ceremony at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.
Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard recalled how, as a 10 year-old boy, he had gone to the beach on a family outing. Upended by a large wave, he would surely have drowned but for the valiant efforts of a young Mormon missionary who happened to be nearby and rescued him, he said. He added that his experience is not the usual account of "being saved" by a missionary.
Also in attendance were Mayor George Wood of North Shore City and Mayor Mark Ball of the Franklin District.