New Zealand Temple Visitors' Centre, Pageant and Christmas Lighting

     A beautiful Visitors' Centre was constructed at the base of Temple Hill during the time the Temple was built and has been a busy place since the very beginning. Many tourists traveling through New Zealand stop to ask questions about the Temple and to learn about the Church.

     Over the years several devoted couples have been called to serve as missionaries in the Visitors' Centre, as well as young, single sister missionaries.

     In the large centre room a sculpture of the Christus is beautifully displayed. This sculpture, originally sent to the Church Pavilion during the Japanese World Fair in Tokyo, was shipped to New Zealand following the fair. The large windows at the front of the Visitors' Centre make it possible for the sculpture to be viewed from outside the Visitors' Centre. In the evening, the sculpture is illuminated attracting many visitors.

     In 1985 the Temple president initiated a program of Christmas lighting at the Temple. In 1985, although there were just a few lights, more than 3,000 people visited the Temple area to view the lighting display. In 1986 there were close to 6,000 visitors. The amount of lights doubled in 1987. By 1988 and 1989 there were more than 30,000 visitors coming from all over New Zealand to view the Christmas lights. The number of visitors grows consistently with each passing year. The lights have usually been a featured attraction on nationwide television. In all of New Zealand, there is nothing like the display of lights at the Visitors Centre and the Temple.

     Since the early 1970's a lovely pageant was presented, usually every other year, depicting the history of the Church, particularly the coming of the gospel to the land of New Zealand.

     The pageant was held on the east slope of Temple Hill with seating for 4,000 people at the bottom of the hill. The pageant is featured in the middle of January, the number of visitors ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 each of the three evenings held.

     The pageant was a success. However, the popularity and overwhelming success of the Christmas-time lighting led to the decision by the Area Presidency and priesthood leaders to cancel the pageant in 1990.

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