Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Assignment in Wellington


As I've mentioned before, one of the goals of Public Affairs work is to help build bridges, form relationships and foster good will worldwide.  One way we do this is through reaching out to ambassadors, diplomats and other government officials.  We want them to learn about the church, and to know that our members are good neighbors and good citizens who want to make positive contributions to society in general, and in the communities where they live.  This past weekend we have been in Wellington, the capitol of New Zealand, where the embassies and high commission offices are located.  Wellington Stake had their semi-annual conference presided over by Elder F. Michael Watson, a general authority and member of the Area Presidency.  We invited a small group of dignitaries to attend the conference and a reception afterwards where Elder Watson, Stake President Harvey, and other church leaders could mix and mingle and meet these country leaders.  We were there to assist our local Public Affairs people who were in charge of inviting and hosting our guests and arranging the reception after the Sunday session.   We think all had an enjoyable time and we hope left with good feelings about their 'Mormon' friends and neighbors.  Of course I took photos to document the event:

  Elder & Sister Watson greet His Excellency, Mr. Anthony Le Clerk Kgwadu Mongalo, South African High Commissioner

Elder Watson with Her Excellency, Ms. O'Love Tauveve Jacobsen, Niuean High Commissioner

Elder & Sister Watson with Rahui Katene, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga, NZ Maori Party, & her husband Dr. Selwyn Katene

The Honourable Annette King, Deputy Leader, Labour Party (in red jacket)
Paul Eagle, Wellington City Councillor (middle)

Elder Watson talking with The Honourable Peter Dunne, Minister of Revenue, Associate Minister of Health, Member for Ohariu, Leader of The United Future Party (on left)

Group Photo

Monday, August 22, 2011


Latter-day Saint volunteers have fun preparing for tomorrow’s ‘Mormon Helping Hands’ project in Auckland.

AUCKLAND , New Zealand — Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will spruce up parts of Auckland tomorrow (Saturday 20 August) to help prepare the city for next month's Rugby World Cup.

Latter-day Saints will gather at three sites in Old Papatoetoe, Blockhouse Bay Township and Eden Terrace tomorrow at 10am wearing the distinctive yellow 'Mormon Helping Hands' shirts.
The volunteers will be painting over graffiti, pulling weeds and picking up rubbish.
"It's an exciting time as we get ready to welcome the world to New Zealand," says Jared Viljoen, spokesperson for the Church. "We want to do our part to make sure we look our best."
For more information call Mr Viljoen on 09-838 4809 or email him at .
Learn about other ways to get involved at Auckland City's website.
Latter-day Saints regularly join with others in communities across the nation and worldwide in similar 'Mormon Helping Hands' projects.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


A grateful recipient of an artificial leg demonstrates his new-found mobility

SUVA, Fiji — For most Fiji citizens without an arm or a leg, having a prosthetic limb fitted was out of reach due to high costs and lack of resources in the country. 

Not anymore.  Individuals can now receive the gift of greater mobility due to improvements in artificial limb facilities and processes.

Recently more than 300 patients received new limbs and enhanced mobility thanks to medical professionals at the Tamavua Hospital Rehabiliation Unit and community partners.

As part of its humanitarian initiatives in Fiji, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported this effort by donating to the hospital a specialized oven used in the artificial limb production process.

On behalf of Fiji’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Metuisela Tuicakau accepted the gift from Church Welfare Services representative Jackson Yee at a ceremony last week in Suva.

Using new facilities and technologies, limbs can now be fitted much faster and less expensive than before.  Previously the hospital could help five or six people each month, costing up to $5,000USD for each prosthesis.  Now, over 300 patients can be assisted in a month — for under 1-2% of the previous cost.

Patients can enter the hospital, get measured and fitted with a prosthesis, and walk out of the hospital four hours later.

Paul Whippy, manager of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Fiji Service Centre, told the Fiji Sun: “We’re committed to improving the lives of physically challenged individuals in society.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also supports wheelchair distribution initiatives worldwide.


Pacific Area Office Staff

Area Presidency
Elder & Sister Pearson, Elder & Sister Hamula, Elder & Sister Watson

Area Presidency with Missionary Couples

Public Affairs
Elder & Sister Pearce, Richard Hunter, Elder & Sister Larsen

New Zealand - Kiwi Kountry




(Isn't this the cutest kiwi you have ever seen!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Dr. Jiko Luveni, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation

SUVA, Fiji - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is helping to improve the lives of women in rural parts of Fiji. In partnership with several organizations, the Church is donating sewing machines for distribution in villages and on isolated islands.

Dr. Jiko Luveni, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, says because many of these women cannot afford store bought clothes, most of their clothes are hand sewn. Sewing machines will provide an opportunity to learn a useful skill to benefit their families and provide a means of income.

Dr. Luveni recalls the satisfaction she felt when she learned to sew and make her own clothes as a young woman. "So we made the effort to secure as many sewing machines as we could," she said. "We are trying to provide at least two sewing machines for each of the 1164 villages in Fiji."
Now over half way to this goal, Dr. Luveni keeps track of the number of machines that have been placed, with their locations dotting the map in her office.

According to Elder Taniela Wakolo, a senior Latter-day Saint leader, "the ongoing assistance by the Church to Fiji on this project is an amazing way of assisting those who have the talent and skills and those who want to learn how to sew, but do not have the means to purchase a sewing machine. We hope that such assistance will help many individuals to be self-reliant and do whatever they can to strengthen the community they are in."

In November 2010 an initial donation of 50 machines was made. Subsequently, a second donation was made for 2011, and continued support for this project has been budgeted for 2012.

Learn more about this initiative by reading this Fiji Sun article.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports projects worldwide that focus on self-reliance and provident living.

August 16, 2011
Children in rural parts of Fiji will soon be smiling when they receive donated books from New Zealanders

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Children in rural parts of Fiji will soon be smiling when they receive donated books from New Zealanders. The project, called 'Books for Fiji,' is a humanitarian effort organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Members of the Church across the lower half of the North Island have launched the project to donate, collect and send children's books to schools in remote areas of Fiji.

"The donated books will be greatly appreciated by children of rural schools in Fiji where competing demands on limited financial resources often place other education needs ahead of reading books," according to Her Excellency, Ms Mere Tora, Acting Head of Mission for the Fijian High Commission. "Your generosity will indeed go a long way in creating a love for reading in these children and an awareness of a world outside their own villages."

Project director Eileen Mueller adds, "Many school facilities and resources have been affected by natural disasters in recent years. Some of these schools have no reading books. The donated books and magazines will establish libraries in schools and give children the opportunity to increase their reading skills and knowledge."
Local Latter-day Saint leader George Harvey is aiming high. "We have the capacity to send as many as 100,000 books to the children of Fiji, but it depends upon the response from the community," he said.

To donate books or set up a collection box at your workplace, business, school or community organisation, email or go to the Facebook site NZ Books for Fiji.

Books are being collected in Wanganui, Waiouru, Dannevirke, Palmerston North, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Kapiti, Porirua, Wairarapa, Hutt Valley, Wainuiomata and Wellington.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports education and literacy as a means to becoming self sufficient. For ideas on how to create an atmosphere for learning in your home, see Helping Children Learn.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mormon Rugby Team


Monday, August 15, 2011

Former All Black Buck Shelford congratulates Kyron Marsh, a member of the winning Spartans rugby team

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The Marist Spartans, a community rugby team made up of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, won the North Shore 2nd Level Championship on Saturday.
The Spartans defeated the favourites for the championship, North Shore — the team which had won the championship title for the last three years, and was undefeated in the last two seasons.
The Spartans won the grand final 22 to17, indicating how closely the game was played. At times the larger and more powerful North Shore team looked like they would overpower the smaller, but faster Spartans. But, in the end, speed and execution proved to be the right combination to win the title.
"We went into the game as under-dogs," said Luke Mitchell. "We all decided to give 100%, and every player did just that."
Following the trophy presentation by Buck Shelford, former captain of the All Blacks, both team leaders complimented all the players on the field on a well-played game. With only minor injuries, both teams should be ready for next season.
Read more about the Latter-day Saint rugby players here.
In an article on the Church's Newsroom website it states that "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) can be found at every level of society." Read the entire article here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

These Mormon Men Are On a Different Mission

August 11, 2011

Members of the Spartans rugby team congratulate each other during last week’s semi-final win.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – A group of rugby-playing Mormons are on a mission, and there's not a white shirt or bicycle in sight. The men, all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, make up the Spartans rugby team in Auckland. This Saturday they play North Shore for the North Shore Rugby 2nd Level Championship.
The players, many of whom have served as Latter-day Saint missionaries, say they share their beliefs in a different way to the missionaries often seen on Auckland streets.
"We play hard, but fair, and we are being noticed not only because we are a winning team, but because we try to maintain our religious values even on the rugby field," says Jordan Reid.
"We don't yell or swear at the refs or fight with the other team, and we don't go out drinking after the game."
The team came together after a church activity when a group of young men decided to play a friendly rugby game. They had so much fun they decided to form a team and join a league. After the first few games they were surprised when they began beating teams who have played together for much longer.
Despite having limited practice time because of other commitments to family and church, they won their semi-final last Saturday, and are now gearing up for this Saturday's grand final.

Watch a video of the Latter-day Saint rugby players


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Time Out For Women

Virginia Pearce, Melanie Riwai-Couch, Sheri Dew, Hillary Weeks

Last week we were in Christchurch.  'Time Out For Women' was on tour in Australia and New Zealand, and while here, Sheri Dew graciously agreed to do some public relations work for the Church.  The women in Christchurch have been through so much. Many have lost their homes, their jobs, and some have lost their husbands and families through divorce because of the stress and ongoing challenges these people face.  We held a special dinner and fireside with the theme "Women of Faith".  In addition to LDS women, several women of other religions were invited as well as a member of Parliament.  Sister Dew and Sister Pearce gave very inspirational and uplifting messages and Sister Weeks' music brought tears to almost everyone.  I think these women left with feelings of hope and love and renewed faith that Heavenly Father is watching over them.  (For those who don't know, Sister Pearce in President Hinckley's daughter, Sister Dew is the CEO of Deseret Book and has written the biographies of several of the prophets, and Hillary Weeks is an award winning contemporary singer and songwriter.)

During that week we were there for Stake Conference.  Our new Area Presidency member, Elder Watson, was present to make a change in the Stake presidency.  He also spoke at the meeting.  Previous to his calling to the First Quorum of Seventy he had been personal secretary to seven prophets.  He told us some personal experiences he has had with each of the prophets.  It was a wonderful and personal glimpse into the lives of these special men.