Day 89 (August 18th) – Kerikeri in the rear view mirror and onto our southbound adventures…first stop Hamilton and the Temple

We knew it was time to leave Kerikeri when we had the entire downtown memorized and started recognizing people at the ATM machine…waitress from Ake Ake, salesman from the sporting goods store and Bob from the Barfoot and Johnson Real Estate. Leaving Kerikeri marked the beginning of the travel part of the sabbatical.  I think Bob would have rather just stayed settled into our routine.  I was ready for a new adventure.  So off we go…

First stop on our way to Rotorua was Hamilton, just an hour south of Auckland and the LDS Temple…

The temple sits on top of a hill in the outskirts of town and is surrounded by 3000 acres (estimate) owned by the church.  It became evident that this was not just a temple site and visitors center.  This was a compound of historical and new buildings the likes of what you would see in Salt Lake City.  In fact the sister missionary said that Hamilton is the Salt Lake City of New Zealand.  Surrounding the buildings were acres of amazing landscaped parks, playground and pathways.  It was hard not to do the math on what this must have cost. The Stake Center was dedicated just 4 weeks ago.  Bishop Davies was one of the GA’s that came for the dedication as he is over all the temple construction and remodeling.  He told the congregation it is the most beautiful Stake Center in the church and he was NOT KIDDING!  The chapel alone was spectacular with large LED screens for those on the stand to watch the meeting on.  It was like a mini (very mini) conference center.  With Sunday being just a few days away we determined we would make the 1 1/2 hour drive back to experience it.  It did not disappoint…


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