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What they’re saying: 55,000 guests tour Hamilton New Zealand Temple during open house

Media, dignitaries comment about their impressions of walking through the temple prior to its Oct. 16 rededication

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A couple take a photo in front of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple during the public open house from late August to mid-September 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


More than 55,000 guests toured the Hamilton New Zealand Temple during its four-week public open house from Aug. 23 through Sept. 17.

The event mirrored the original open house that drew tens of thousands in 1958 prior to the temple’s dedication by President David O. McKay.

The open house summary was published Sept. 20 on ChurchofJesusChrist.org’s New Zealand Newsroom page.

Closed for major renovations since 2018, the Hamilton temple will be rededicated by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf on Oct. 16.

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A family poses for a photo outside the Hamilton New Zealand Temple during its public open house, Aug. 26 to Sept. 17, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What they said

The open house garnered comments from visitors, including members of the media and dignitaries.

Te Aorewa Rolleston, a journalist with the New Zealand news organization Stuff who visited the temple, wrote: “After conducting renovations inside since 2018, including seismic strengthening and upgrades, this year people of all faiths were given an opportunity to take a tour of the grand structure. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Bronte Metekingi, another journalist, wrote: “The temple has always been a temporary drop box for the extra baggage one might carry. Leave your world worries at the door and enter the safe haven created for all.”

She continued: “The world went quiet inside, no outside noise, just my thoughts filling the room. There is a sense of safety and calmness among those on the tour. … My culture is embedded in the carpets, painted on the ceilings, in every photo frame and melded into the golden windows panes through the incorporation of koru.

“We stopped at the baptismal font. This is not for those who are living, but for those who have passed on. The temple connects us to our loved ones for time and all eternity, dead or alive — life after death is also believed in te ao Māori and many other cultures. This room, this feeling, the peace, it gives me a feeling of déjà vu. This is God’s house. In this house, everyone is equal. All labels, struggles and differences are forgotten — this is what I believe; this is what I feel. I am at home here. This is where my kaumātua [Maori elders] wanted me to be. This is where I needed to be. To flick the light back on inside my soul.”

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People pose for a photo outside the Hamilton New Zealand Temple during its public open house, Aug. 26 to Sept. 17, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Martin Gallagher, a Hamilton resident and former Member of Parliament and Deputy Mayor, told RNZ reporter Leah Tebbutt about his memories of visiting the temple during the first open house in 1958.

“As a 6 year old, I came with my parents. It had a similar layout, but I don’t recall some of the ornate detail. I remember the baptismal font, but I guess it was just a 6 year old being wide eyed and curious.”

Speaking of members of the Latter-day Saints who built the temple in the 1950s, Gallagher said, “Their families, in many cases, have come on to make huge contributions to our society at large. Genuinely, even though I am not a member of the Latter-day Saints faith community, I absolutely honor them.”

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Guests at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple open house, from late August to mid-September 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A ‘touchpoint’ between heaven and earth

Elder K. Brett Nattress, a General Authority Seventy who is the president of the Church’s Pacific Area, said: “As in Biblical times, temples are places where people go to find divine peace and knowledge, and to make sacred promises to love God and neighbor, and to live good lives by following Jesus Christ.”

The temple is also a place where families are united for eternity, including family members who have gone on before, he said, underscoring “the house of the Lord” as “a touchpoint” between heaven and earth.

“We are grateful for Church members and our friends who have accepted the invitation to ‘come and see,’ and ‘come and feel.’ As we turn our hearts towards God, our Eternal Father, and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we will be inspired to be a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more holy.”

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A group of visitors to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple open house pose for a photo in August 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Guests at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple public open house, Aug. 26 to Sept. 17, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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