News Release

The Joy of Worshipping Together in New Zealand’s Northland 

Families and friends were grateful to be together to connect with one another in person

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Whangarei, New Zealand gathered over the weekend (14-15 May) to share their joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Families and friends were grateful to be together to connect with one another in person instead of by video conference. 

Shirley Turner is the president of the Whangarei Stake Relief Society, the women’s organisation of the Church. A stake is a group of congregations.

 “Words can’t express the beautiful spirit that I felt as the choir sang and the chapel filled with our stake members,” she said.

“There was a sense of belonging and love for our Heavenly Father, for our Saviour and for each other. This meeting provided the opportunity for hope and love for our members, after what has been a tough couple of years.” 

She added: “We must always remember that through all our imperfections, our Heavenly Father loves us and that we must extend that love to all of His children.” 

Dr. Shane Reti MP with his parents Ray and Robyn Reti at the Whangarei Stake Conference held in May 2022. New Zealand2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Dr Shane Reti MP was one of the guests in attendance during the Sunday morning session of stake conference.

Dr Reti, a cousin of the Church’s local leader, Ronald Reti, is a medical doctor by profession. He has been a Member of New Zealand’s Parliament since 2014. Dr Reti attended the conference with his parents.

“It was a privilege, as always, to be here to refill my personal bucket of faith and to be amongst other people of faith,” Dr Reti said, after the meeting.

“It anchored me back with the people in the community and the structures and frameworks that you were brought up with, that you understand so well. There is a sense of familiarity and a sense of comfortableness.” 

Dr Reti continued: “We must understand the purpose and the mission we all have in various domains of our lives and make sure we fulfill them to the best of our ability.”

It was also a special meeting for Jeremy Fleming and his family. He has been in Japan playing professional rugby and decided to come home so he could get ready to serve a two-year, full-time mission with the Church.

“While I was there [in Japan], I was really busy all the time, but I always tried to go to church on Sunday mornings. Everyone thought I was just trying to skip training, but it was important to me to do that.”  

Jeremy’s mum and dad are grateful for his faith and commitment. “We are really proud of Jeremy and the choices that he's made to get here to be able to serve in the Church,” his mum said.

Elder Allistair Odgers is an Area Seventy [regional leader] for the Church in New Zealand and presided at the meeting, traveling from Christchurch to be there.

He said he was glad to be there in person, and that he was very impressed with the people he met while in the Northland.   

“I know that I felt the spirit of our Father in Heaven while I have been here with these wonderful people,” Elder Odgers said.

“Now our challenge is to find ways to carry that same spirit with us into our homes and our workplaces, so that we can have it with us every day.” 

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