Church College of New Zealand
|Church College of New Zealand|
Church College campus, with Hamilton New Zealand Temple in background
Build Now for Eternity
|Type||Private, Co-educational, Secondary Years 9–13|
|Ministry of Education Institution no.||128|
Church College of New Zealand was a private secondary school in Temple View, Hamilton, New Zealand, that was operated by the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It was closed at the end of the 2009 school year.
Construction of the Church College of New Zealand began in 1952. In 1955, the LDS Church announced that it would construct a temple in Hamilton. LDS Church president David O. McKay initially went to New Zealand to downsize the building programme. After visiting the project, McKay was so impressed with what he saw and felt he decided to add two more buildings to the school construction, which were later named the David O. McKay Auditorium and the Matthew Cowley Administration Building. Church College and the Hamilton New Zealand Temple were built on the same 35 hectare site in what later became Temple View, a suburb of Hamilton. Both facilities were built entirely by LDS Church volunteer labour missionaries. Church College was dedicated and formally opened on 26 April 1958 by McKay. Clifton D. Boyack was the first principal of the school.
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The foundations were laid for everything in Temple View in the early 1950s. Inspection for a property in Tuikaramea road began in 1950. The mission president, Gordon Young, drove out to the area, and knew immediately that that was the place where the LDS Church was to build a school and temple. Church officials from Utah came and bought the property, and members of the church from all over New Zealand slowly moved into the area to work as labour missionaries on the project.
Before any work commenced on the school, the surrounding property was developed. The temple foundations were laid, the accommodations for the people who came to work were built, and a social infrastructure was established. Initially, there were only a few people at the site. Much of the surrounding land was peat, and it took some ingenuity to make the land agriculturally productive.
Many of the existing buildings were used as temporary quarters for those participating in construction and administration. Cottages were built to house the building missionaries when they arrived. Dormitory-type accommodations were provided for the single men. Food was sent in from the church members in other parts of the country, and some of it was grown locally.
A stream ran across the property behind the men's accommodation and behind their eating house. In the winters it always flooded so the men's accommodation and some of the cottages were usually semi-submerged in water at the time. A young child drowned in the stream so for safety concrete piping was brought in for protection, and to seal the stream.
The concrete bricks for the school buildings were manufactured locally by a special crew of building missionaries. There were specialist plumbing, electrical, painting, welding, mechanic and other crews for the construction of the many facilities. Supervisors for these crews were called from the U.S. They came with their families, and helped greatly with the overall communal life of the building missionaries. The building missionaries were exposed to the way the LDS Church did things in the U.S., and this helped facilitate the transition of the LDS Church in New Zealand from its mission status to the stake and ward system.
The school taught students in New Zealand's educational years nine through thirteen (13- to 18-year-olds). While in operation there were approximately 700 students and 100 faculty/staff members, until its last year, when the student body was 120 students and 50 staff members. A modest tuition was charged but the school is heavily subsidized by the LDS Church. In 2009, approximately 10% of Latter Day Saint high school students in New Zealand attended Church College, with some attending the school away from home as a boarding school.
On 29 June 2006, LDS Church leaders announced that the Church College of New Zealand would cease accepting new students in 2007 and would close at the end of the 2009 school year; in discussing its decision, the church cited a policy of the church to close its private secondary schools when the public school system is able to offer "quality education".
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After it was closed, LDS Church leaders had planned to demolish parts of the school site and convert it into farmland. These plans were challenged by some of the Temple View community and Church College alumni. Robert Cammock, President of the Temple View Heritage Society, proposed that the Temple View community should decide the future of the school.
The LDS Church has now indicated that demolition of key buildings is no longer on the agenda and has formally withdrawn its application from the local city council. It has indicated that many more buildings may be saved and several options are now being investigated for future usage.
- David W. Cummings (1961). Mighty Missionary of the Pacific. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft. LCCN 61028197. OCLC 9641203.. Page 51.
- Solomon, Tereapii (2007). "Towards an educational analysis of Māori and Pacific Island student achievement at the Church College of New Zealand". MAI Review (1): 14.
- "LDS church phases out New Zealand high school", Associated Press, 2006-07-18.
- Esplin, Scott C. (2008). "Closing the Church College of New Zealand: A Case Study in International Church Education Policy". In Neilsen, Reid L.; Harper, Stephen C.; Manscill, Craig K.; Woodger, Mary Jane. Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: The Pacific Isles. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. pp. 161–180. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.