Members of the new stake presidency of the Temple View New Zealand Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are “home-grown” according to Elder F. Michael Watson, a member of the Church’s First Quorum of the Seventy, and Pacific Area Presidency.
“All three stake presidency members are sons of labour missionaries, they grew up here in Temple View, and are Church College of New Zealand graduates,” he said.
John Angus Kendall is the new stake president, and his counsellors are Gordon Matenga and Tiwini Hemi.
The newly-called stake presidency was announced to Church members and guests at a stake conference in Temple View on Sunday 16 September 2012.
“This Church is about strengthening individuals, families and whole communities through learning, living and sharing the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Elder Watson said. “These leaders are doing these things, and they will bless the lives of many, many people through their service over the coming years.”
Elder Watson was accompanied to the conference by Elder David Thomson, Area Seventy.
President Kendall is married to Megan and they have two children. President Matenga and his wife Paula are parents of four children. President Tiwini and Sister Arnelle Tiwini have six children.
In their professional lives President Kendall is an engineer, President Matenga is a coroner, and President Hemi is a medical doctor.
“Just think of it,” says Elder Watson, “their parents were volunteer labourers who built the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and Church College of New Zealand. One generation on, these three men have tertiary qualifications, are working as professionals in the community, and are now leading the Church in this area.”
“Underpinning it all,” Elder Watson says, “ is faith in God, sacrifice, and service to others. That was the case with their parents, and it’s the case with these men, their families, and many others today.”
Reflecting on his deep roots in the community President Kendall said, “”Mum and dad moved to Temple View in 1969 when I was two-years-old."
He attended Church College of New Zealand from 1980 to 1985 followed by a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints in the Australia Brisbane Mission from 1986 to1988.
President Kendall is a senior engineer for a consultancy firm in Hamilton and has over 20 years experience in civil engineering.
Some of his personal interests, he says, include, "Snowboarding, skiing, wake boarding, surfing, water sports, working and participating within my church, completing home improvements and spending time with my family, especially on holidays."
"I enjoy working with young people and have coached a variety of sports over the past 21 years, including: waterpolo, boxing, swimming, softball, touch rugby, basketball and whatever sport my children are involved with. I receive a great deal of satisfaction seeing young people achieving their potential."
President Matenga's Temple View heritage is also a rich one. “My grandparents Whakahe and Kaa Matenga were labour missionaries. My grandfather drove the bus. My parents were asked to move with their three children from Gisborne to Temple View in 1958 to open a shop by the G.R. Biesinger Hall. They ran a little grocery store and burger bar from there.”
“My earliest memories are of being at the shop and playing behind the G.R. Biesinger Hall in what used to be a grove of trees there.”
Both President Hemi’s father and mother, as well as many uncles, served as labour missionaries for the Church in the 1950’s. “I am the recipient of many blessings due to the diligent missionary service of my parents,” he said.
A stake is a group of Mormon wards (congregations) in a geographical area.