New Zealand Church college to close

Local school systems will provide quality education, LDS leaders say


July 8, 2006



Built in 1958, the Church College of New Zealand, above, serves 700 students in grade levels 9-13. The campus is located adjacent to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, which is seen in the upper-left portion of the photo.

Photo by Elder Garwood Walton
By Sister Leann J. Walton
Pacific Area public affairs

      TEMPLE VIEW, Hamilton The Church College of New Zealand will close in 2009, Church leaders announced June 29.
      The private Church-owned secondary school, established in 1958, will discontinue admitting new students for the 2007 school year and will cease operation at the completion of the school year ending November 2009.
      "This has been an agonizing, multi-year decision which has been made at the highest levels of Church administration. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited the school himself three years ago to make a personal evaluation," said Elder W. Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy and Commissioner of the Church Educational System. "The decision is sad in many ways, but it is the right one and will allow the Church to bless others in parts of the world where the need is greater."
      Elder Kerr and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy and Administrator of Religious Education and Elementary and Secondary Education, who are coordinating details of the closure, made the announcement to school faculty and staff, and later to parents and students.
      In the announcement, Elder Johnson praised the school, its administrators, faculty and staff for nearly 50 years of successful and effective operations, contributing immeasurably to the lives of thousands of students.


Volunteer labor missionaries helped construct the Church College of New Zealand campus, dedicated April 26, 1958, by Church President David O. McKay, six days after he dedicated the Church's Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

Photo by Elder Garwood Walton
      "The incalculable good emanating from the Church College of New Zealand over the past half century is plainly seen in its positive impact on individual lives, the local communities and the Church of Jesus Christ in New Zealand," Elder Johnson said. "This influence for good will spread to future generations by those fortunate enough to have been associated with this great institution."
      Regarding the decision, Elder Johnson said it is the policy and practice of the Church to discontinue operation of such schools when local school systems are able to provide quality education. Currently, only approximately 10 percent of eligible Latter-day Saint youth attend CCNZ. More than 6,000 others attend local high schools throughout New Zealand.
      "Educational standards in New Zealand are the highest in the Pacific region and among the highest in the world," said Elder Johnson. He cited the strength of New Zealand's educational programs as a major factor in the decision to close the school.
      He also noted the school's aging facilities as a contributing factor.
      "New Zealand Ministry of Education officials have assured us that local schools can absorb the influx of students over the next three years and provide them with an excellent education," he said.
      Daily religious instruction for Latter-day Saint students will continue through early morning seminary classes.
      The 113 members of the school's administration, faculty and staff will meet in the coming days with representatives from the Church Educational System to review compensation and job placement options. Elder Johnson said that every effort will be made to ensure a smooth and equitable transition, recognizing that in spite of the Church's best efforts to soften the impact there will still be dislocation to the lives of the people in the Temple View community.


Volunteer labor missionaries helped construct the Church College of New Zealand campus, dedicated April 26, 1958, by Church President David O. McKay, six days after he dedicated the Church's Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

Photos by Elder Garwood Walton
      Elder Kerr and Elder Johnson stressed the Church's continued strong commitment to education worldwide through its 17 other primary and secondary schools, four institutions of higher education, and the Perpetual Education Fund, which provides low-cost loans to thousands of qualified students in developing countries.
      The Church College of New Zealand, serving some 700 students in grade levels 9-13, was dedicated April 26, 1958, by Church President David O. McKay, six days after he dedicated the Church's Hamilton New Zealand Temple. The temple sits on property adjacent to the school and will continue to operate as usual.