By Moroni Channel News
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Housed within the historic, newly refurbished and expanded Wendell B. Mendenhall Library, the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre was dedicated Saturday, June 17, by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counsellor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The expansion and refurbishing of the Mendenhall Library was completed as part of the Church’s redevelopment of the area surrounding its Hamilton Temple.

Located in the Temple View suburb of Hamilton, New Zealand, The Centre opened to the public following the dedication.

Named after Matthew Cowley, an early Church missionary beloved of the Māorii people, the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre is the first church history centre in the South Pacific. It contains stories, exhibits and items of significance in the growth and development of the Church throughout the Pacific.

The reading area in the Centre will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the museum will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. On Saturdays both the reading area and the Centre will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The Centre will be closed on Sundays and Mondays but the museum will open by appointment only for families and groups on Monday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Since the first missionaries of the Church in the South Pacific, William Barratt, Andrew Anderson and James Wall, arrived in Australia in 1851, Church membership in the South Pacific has grown to over 540,000.

At 17 years of age, Matthew Cowley arrived in New Zealand to begin what would become a five-year mission principally among the Māori people. He learned their customs and their language, becoming beloved in the process. Later he would return to the South Pacific for an additional seven years as President of the Church’s New Zealand mission. Following his service as Mission President he served as an Apostle until his death eight years later, on December 13, 1953.

Twenty of Matthew Cowley’s descendants, including children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren came to Temple View to participate in the dedication and opening of the Centre. Speaking of her family’s coming to New Zealand, Jennifer Smith, great granddaughter of Matthew Cowley said, “It has been a series of miracles that resulted in our being here.” Husband, Scott, said “It has been wonderful for our family to see their heritage.”The Wendell B. Mendenhall Library was an important part of student life at the Church College of New Zealand.

News released by Mormon Newsroom

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