News Release

Friendship and Faith: Buddhists and Latter-day Saints in Southern New Zealand

“It was amazing to be able to celebrate our differences” Emily Tang

A lovely friendship has developed between Nelson’s Buddhist community and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Catriena Wilkinson is the Primary president for the Church in Nelson and has been involved with the local Nelson-Tasman interfaith community for more than five years.

Latter-day Saints sing hymns at an interfaith event hosted by Buddhists in Nelson, New Zealand in October 2022.

Wilkinson says that the Buddhists from the Chandrakirti Meditation Centre are “always so welcoming” and they “just love the young missionaries” visiting with them.

Twice a year, people from many local faiths are invited to the Buddhist temple “to get to know each other better,” Wilkinson reports. There is singing and discussion over a shared meal.

During the most recent gathering, young missionaries were invited to offer a blessing on the food and to sing. They sang from the Latter-day Saint hymn book in English and Tongan languages.

Missionaries give 18-24 months in full-time service helping people and teaching faith in Jesus Christ. “Elder” and “Sister” are sacred titles given to missionaries for the time that they serve.

Sister Emily Tang said, “It was amazing to be able to celebrate our differences.”

Sister Arihia Tauteka said, “It was an empowering experience where we could discuss openly about how religion positively impacts individuals, families, and the community here in Nelson.”

Buddhists and Latter-day Saints enjoy conversation and a meal at an interfaith event hosted at the Buddhist temple in Nelson, New Zealand in October 2022.

Elder Eliakim Tiakia said, “As we shared a meal, our friends were curious about what we do and what we share as missionaries. We loved talking with them about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Bayley O’Callaghan said, “We are trying our very best to be like Jesus Christ. We love our Heavenly Father and His children everywhere. We were blessed with the opportunity to share our deep and personal feelings about Jesus Christ.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.