Groundbreakings announced for two South Pacific temples — in Tonga and Samoa

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced groundbreaking dates for the Neiafu Tonga Temple and the Pago Pago American Samoa Temple.

The Tuesday, July 27, announcement came on Newsroom shortly after 2 p.m. local time for Church headquarters in Salt Lake City — but it was 9 a.m. Tuesday local time in American Samoa and 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, in Tonga, due to differences in international time zones.

The two South Pacific temples were announced by President Russell M. Nelson during the April 2019 general conference. And the two had exterior renderings and site locations released on the same day last year — Aug. 14 — for similar single-story structures of 17,000 square feet

Attendance at both groundbreaking ceremonies will be by invitation only.

A rendering of the Neiafu Tonga Temple.
A rendering of the Neiafu Tonga Temple. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Neiafu Tonga Temple

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Neiafu Tonga Temple is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, with Elder ‘Inoke F. Kupu, an Area Seventy, presiding at the event.

The temple is to be built on Tu’I Road at the site of the Church-owned Saineha High School, Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga. Housing for the temple president and missionaries and a distribution center will also be constructed on the site.

It will be the country’s second temple, following the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple. Tonga is home to more than 66,000 Latter-day Saints — roughly 60 percent of the nation’s population.

Rendering of the Pago Pago American Samoa Temple.
Rendering of the Pago Pago American Samoa Temple. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Pago Pago American Samoa Temple

Updated Sept. 14, 2021: The groundbreaking date for the Pago Pago American Samoa Temple has been delayed from Oct. 9, 2021, to Oct. 30, 2021. Elder K. Brett Nattress of the Pacific Area Presidency will preside; the groundbreaking initially was announced without a Church leader assigned to preside.

The temple will be located on Ottoville Road on the site of the Pago Pago Samoa Central Stake Center in Tafuna, American Samoa. The temple construction will also include housing for the temple president and missionaries and a distribution center.

The temple will be the first in American Samoa, a U.S territory where more than 16,000 Latter-day Saints live.

A temple was originally announced for Pago Pago in 1977. However, in 1980, when President Spencer W. Kimball announced temples for Nuku’alofa, Tonga, and Papeete, Tahiti, he also announced a change of location of a Samoan temple from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to Apia, Samoa, according to a Church News article.