News Story

Auckland Temple Site has Rich History

Efforts to honour and conserve the archaeological and historic heritage of the property are ongoing as construction begins

The site of the future Auckland Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located 23.5 km (14 miles) southeast of the city of Auckland, on Redoubt Road in Manukau.

The property, historically occupied by Māori tribes of Tainui descent, then later associated with the St. John’s Redoubt (fort) of the Waikato Wars, was purchased by the Church in 1996 as a possible site for a future meetinghouse and a religious learning facility. 

Upon purchase of the property, a traditional Māori site blessing was conducted by the late Eru Thompson, a well-known leader in Tainui and an acknowledged and respected historian.  A highly regarded Kaumatua (Māori elder) and cultural advisor, he represented the Te Kawerau-a-Maki iwi. The local iwi (a Māori community), Te Akitai Waiohua, was represented by brothers, Sonny and Brownie Rauwhere. 

The area has few recorded archaeological sites.  When signs of the early inhabitants were found during the construction of the Redoubt Road meetinghouse to the north of the temple site, and the construction of the New Zealand Missionary Training Centre to the south, archaeologists were consulted, and in some cases a local iwi representative was brought to the site to handle the find.

European settlement in the area dates to the 1840s-1850s. The St. John’s Redoubt was built by colonisers in 1863 to protect the supply line and facilitate military advance along the Great South Road against the Waikato Māori during the Waikato Wars, one of the most controversial and influential episodes of New Zealand’s history.

Though little remains visible on the ground surface, this historic reserve is now a legally protected heritage site administered by the Department of Conservation and Auckland Council.  The damaged western bastion of the St. John’s Redoubt extends some 17 metres into the Church property.

To preserve the historical remnant, the Church established a buffer zone between construction and the redoubt defenses. In May 2010 the meetinghouse was dedicated and in September the Missionary Training Centre, established in Hamilton in 1977, was relocated to its new facility in Manukau. 

Church leaders and guests break ground to officially commence the construction of the Auckland New Zealand Temple. 13 June 2020.
Church leaders and guests break ground to officially commence the construction of the Auckland New Zealand Temple. 13 June 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

After the temple ground-breaking on 13 June 2020, Church member Ross Pokere commented, “I remember driving along those paddocks looking at the Church sign on the fence line.  Years later I witnessed the building of the Redoubt Road Stake Centre.  Our son, Ross Pokere, then got to be in the first intake of the new MTC (Missionary Training Centre) in 2010.  Great memories and looking forward to visiting the new temple in the years to come.”

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