Restoration and Church History
New Zealand: Chronology

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New Zealand: Chronology

September 1853 • Australia

Missionaries William Cooke and Burr Frost taught Francis and Emma Evans. Although baptized in Australia, they were the first known New Zealanders to join the Church.

October 27, 1854 • Auckland, New Zealand

Augustus Farnham and William Cooke became the first missionaries to visit New Zealand, accompanied by recent convert Thomas Holder.

December 31, 1854 • Karori, New Zealand (near Wellington)

Martha Holder of Karori, mother of Thomas Holder, became the first known convert baptized in New Zealand.

April 1855 • Karori

The Karori Branch became the first branch organized in New Zealand.

May 31, 1868 • Kaiapoi, New Zealand (near Christchurch)

The Kaiapoi Branch became the first branch organized on the South Island.

1872 • Kaiapoi

James Burnett became the first Latter-day Saint missionary to preach to the Māori people in New Zealand. He preached before a gathering of approximately 150 natives, some of whom responded favorably, but language and cultural barriers limited his success at that time.

August–October 1878 • Papanui, New Zealand (near Christchurch)

With the arrival of Thomas A. Shreeve, continuous missionary activity began with progress among Europeans. Working alone, Shreeve baptized more than 20 during his first three months in the Christchurch area.

December 26, 1879 • Papanui

Thomas A. Shreeve organized the first Relief Society in New Zealand for the Christchurch Branch, with Ann James as president.

March 16, 1881 • Te Ore Ore, New Zealand (near Masterton)

At a gathering of the Ngāti Kahungunu tribe, a Māori prophet named Pāora Te Potangaroa predicted a church would one day come from the east and that its missionaries would learn the Māori language and pray with their hands raised. Similar prophecies had been made by other Māori holy men.

October 18, 1881 • Auckland

Ngataki from Ngaruawahia became the first Māori baptized in New Zealand.

Australasian Mission, ca. 1885-1887

1882–84 • New Zealand

Missionaries focused their efforts on preaching among the Māori, resulting in hundreds of converts, many of whom saw Latter-day Saint missionaries as the fulfillment of Māori prophecies.

February 25, 1883 • Waotu, New Zealand

The first Māori branch was organized, with Hare Te Katera as president.

1889 • New Zealand

The Book of Mormon was published in Māori.

January 1, 1898 • Australia and New Zealand

The Australasian Mission was discontinued and replaced by the Australian Mission and the New Zealand Mission. Church members in New Zealand numbered 4,000, 90 percent of whom were Māori.

March 23, 1901 • Te Horo, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

David M. Haun organized the first Māori Relief Society, with Mangu Reweti as president.

January 31, 1909 • Auckland

The Assembly Hall, the first Church-built meetinghouse in New Zealand, was dedicated by Rufus K. Hardy, president of the New Zealand Mission.

April 6, 1913 • Korongata, Hastings, New Zealand

The Church-sponsored Maori Agricultural College was dedicated.

Summer 1917 • Auckland

Responding to misinformation, the government of New Zealand prohibited new Latter-day Saint missionaries from the United States from serving in New Zealand.

February 13, 1918 • Auckland

The New Zealand government relaxed their restriction on foreign missionaries, allowing enough new missionaries to replace those who had returned home.

1917–19 • New Zealand

Matthew Cowley, Stuart Meha, and William Duncan Sr. revised the Māori translation of the Book of Mormon, prepared the first authorized Māori edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, and translated the Pearl of Great Price into Māori for the first time.

February 1928 • New Zealand

The first hymnals in the Māori language were printed.

February 3, 1931 • Korongata

A major earthquake damaged three of the main buildings of the Maori Agricultural College. The school was closed because of declining enrollment and the unsafe condition of the buildings.

October 15, 1940 • Auckland

With the onset of World War II, Church leaders instructed all missionaries in New Zealand to return home.

February 8, 1946 • Auckland

Missionary work in New Zealand resumed after World War II.

1950 • Hamilton, New Zealand

Construction began on the Church College of New Zealand.

February 17, 1955 • Salt Lake City, Utah

The Church announced the construction of a temple in Hamilton, New Zealand.

April 1958 • Hamilton

Church President David O. McKay dedicated the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and the Church College of New Zealand. Much of the construction had been completed by young volunteer labor missionaries.

May 18, 1958 • Auckland

The first stake in New Zealand was created, with George R. Biesinger as president.

March 25, 1962 • Gisborne, New Zealand

To accommodate the many Tongan Latter-day Saints moving to New Zealand, a Tongan-speaking branch was established in Gisborne.

1969 • New Zealand

Due to enthusiastic local support, William E. Berrett, head of the Church’s seminary and institute programs, chose New Zealand as the fourth country to hold seminary classes. Initially many parents attended with their children.

November 1977 • Hamilton

A missionary training center was established in Hamilton to prepare missionaries from the area for service. The center was relocated to Manukau in Auckland in 2010.

August 27, 1978 • Christchurch, New Zealand

The Christchurch New Zealand Stake became the first stake organized on the South Island. It was the 12th stake in the country.

February 26, 1984 • Auckland

As Samoan Church members immigrated to New Zealand, the first Samoan-speaking ward in New Zealand was organized.

April 4, 1987 • Salt Lake City

Douglas J. Martin was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the first New Zealander to serve as a General Authority.

March 8, 2008 • New Zealand

Over 5,000 Latter-day Saints took part in the first nationwide Mormon Helping Hands Day, providing service in communities throughout the country. This day of service became an annual tradition.

2009 • Temple View, New Zealand

The Church College of New Zealand permanently closed.

September 2010 • Auckland

The New Zealand Missionary Training Center was relocated from Hamilton to Auckland.

April 17, 2016 • Dunedin, New Zealand

The Dunedin New Zealand Stake, the 30th in New Zealand, was organized.

Matthew Cowley Center

June 17, 2017 • Temple View

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency dedicated the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Center and Museum, which is housed in a building that was formerly part of the Church College of New Zealand.

October 7, 2018 • Salt Lake City

A second temple in New Zealand was announced, to be built in Auckland.