60 years after dedication, New Zealand temple closes for renovations. See what it will look like when it’s finished

After serving Church members in the Pacific for six decades, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple — the first temple in the Southern Hemisphere — has closed for an extensive, three-year renovation.

Announced in 1955 and originally dedicated on April 20, 1958, by President David O. McKay, the temple became the Church’s 13th constructed and 11th operating temple.

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.

Hamilton New Zealand Temple
Hamilton New Zealand Temple

Today the Hamilton temple serves some 115,000 Church members living in New Zealand, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands.

Church members in the area will travel to temples throughout the Pacific — Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga — to worship during the few years the temple will be closed.

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.

Rendering of baptistry in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple after renovation.
Rendering of baptistry in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple after renovation.

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.

Because of the historical nature of the building, all renovations will meet strict heritage standards.

Renovations are expected to be done sometime in 2021. After they are complete, an open house and rededication will occur.