In March 1958, more than 112,000 people came to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple open house. But while the turnout was incredible, perhaps even more notable was the fact that the temple and an adjacent Church-owned school were built almost entirely by Latter-day Saint volunteers—all while facing building material shortages after WWII.
A new 19-minute film from the Church History Library which highlights this historic occasion premiered last week as a part of RootsTech 2022. It is now available for on-demand streaming to the public via YouTube or FamilySearch.
The video includes personal insights and stories from members today who served on the project as labor missionaries as young men and young women. These faithful Latter-day Saints—along with Church members throughout the region who donated food, clothing, and other supplies—consecrated their time, talents, and possessions to build a school and a temple that would go on to bless the region for generations.
Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch, Church History manager for the Pacific region, said, "The film honors their sacrifices, which live on in the hearts and minds of those educated at the college and in the beautifully renovated temple that stands as a monument to their faith."
Marsha Daji, whose parents served as labor missionaries on the project, spoke in the video about the blessings that came from those who volunteered. Her parents’ service also literally blessed their immediate family as they all attended the Church College of New Zealand.
“We grew up knowing of the faith, love, and sacrifice that was put into building [Church College New Zealand] and the temple, not just by the missionaries, but by all the members of the Church and even nonmembers. We have been truly blessed to have had Church College as a part of our lives, and [are] grateful and thankful for the temple that continues to bless us all.”