News Release

VIDEO: Easter Gathering in New Zealand’s Northland Points People to Jesus Christ

Special weekend strengthens faith in Jesus Christ, family relationships, and friendships

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in Kaikohe, New Zealand on Easter weekend 2021 for a Hui Tau.

This special gathering for Māori members and friends of the Church, as well as other guests from a diverse range of ethnic and national backgrounds, set out to strengthen faith in Jesus Christ, family relationships, and friendships.


The event was hosted by Kaikohe and Whangārei congregations of the Church. Those attending were welcomed on Friday, the 2nd of April, by way of a pōwhiri ─ or greeting ceremony. Visitors included leaders from the Māori community, Members of Parliament, and City Council representatives, along with religious leaders from Anglican, Ratana and other faiths.

The next day, younger participants gave manu korero, or speeches. Topics included: the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ; how the Lord blesses the people of the “isles of the sea”; temple worship; and family history research.

Later that day, youth, young adults and other participants shared their talents with kapa haka ─ or song and dance ─ performances. Many of the groups made their own costumes and performed original compositions of dance and music with gospel-related themes.


Among those sharing their talents and faith were a group of Latter-day Saint labour missionaries who helped build the Church College of New Zealand, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, and many Church meetinghouses in the 1950’s and 60’s. Now, in their later years, they sang beloved songs and received rousing applause.

The final day of the gathering, Easter Sunday, was about worshipping together and partaking of the sacrament in several Latter-day Saint worship services in Kaikohe, Moerewa, Kerikeri and other locations in the region. Chapels were filled to capacity with locals and visitors who wanted to share their faith and worship together on this special day. Gospel-themed meetings followed in the afternoon.

The weekend’s activities concluded with a Sunday evening devotional, filled with sacred music and powerful testimonies of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. 

Elder Glenn Burgess, Area Seventy, attended the weekend’s meetings and activities.

He said: “Our church has a rich history among the Māori people in New Zealand and this weekend that was on full display with profound and deep testimonies of Jesus Christ that were shown through word, song and dance. It was especially meaningful that this happened on Easter Sunday, and we celebrated together the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Garrick Parr, president of the New Zealand Auckland Mission, said, “How grateful I am that there was so much gospel of Jesus Christ related content in the various speeches, songs and Kapa Haka.” 

Kaikohe Latter-day Saint leader, Trevor Beatson, said he felt impressed for several years that they needed to find a way to “gather in” Church members in the Māori community, and that such a gathering should include all people, including our friends of other faiths. He was very pleased with the outcome.

“In the gospel one hears about the process of gathering which means to find the faithful among all of the people of the earth,” said Anthony Wilson, a Latter-day Saint leader from Auckland. “The Hui Tau did that in a way that made all people feel welcome and that they belonged to something greater than themselves around the common bond of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Speaking of the Māori language and worshipping through song, Hoki Purcell, from Waikato, said: “The words are so gentle, kind and inclusive; and it touches me deeply when I hear sacred hymns sung in my native language.”

One young participant said: “While I don’t speak the language, I have Māori heritage and I wanted to come and be part of the gathering. My testimony of Jesus Christ was deeply affected by it. I felt the Spirit so strongly.”

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