Since 1958, the Hamilton Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has served over 100,000 members of the church in New Zealand and the wider Pacific, but its doors have closed for three years, for much-needed renovations.

The church has taken the opportunity to upgrade and renovate the interior of the temple, while also making sure the building's seismic strengthening is up to standard. It will reopen in 2021.

It was the first LDS temple in the southern hemisphere, where more than 1500 volunteers and labour missionaries helped construct it and on Wednesday, designs of the upgraded temple were revealed to church members.

The designs included a new baptism chamber and sealing rooms for weddings.
John Kendall, a member of the church, and also the temple's engineer said while it was sad that the temple would be closed for a period of time, it was refreshing to be able to upgrade the services.

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"All the services have been a handful to keep the temple operational," Mr Kendall said.

"To have this opportunity to have it refurbished is a wonderful blessing. We are all very excited when we see what the temple will look like and how the infrastructure will be upgraded."

He said the current upgrades would help make the temple last for at least another 60 years.

Mr Kendall, who is a fifth generation member of the church, said his family come from a long family heritage connected to the temple, including his father, who was one of the original labour missionaries.

His father John, also met his mother Rei when working on the temple in the 1950s.
"On a personal level, the temple for us is a very big part of our lives."

"We are looking forward to having the opportunity of the open house, where we can invite everyone to look at the new temple once it is completed."

The church has recently opened its Stake and Cultural Events centre, which Mr Kendall said can be used for Sunday gatherings, but not for special occasions such as marriage.

To marry, church members will have to travel to LDS temples overseas.

"The closest temples we now have are in Australia and the Pacific islands."

"However, if we are going to go overseas and plan a trip, then we have Hawaii and Salt Lake City, in the United States."

"What better way to plan a holiday then to take in a temple visit as well.

The temple has hosted one of Hamilton's biggest events of the year with its Christmas lights display, and Mr Kendall has said the public can still visit at Christmas.

"We are working on a plan.

"This Christmas we are planning to involve the community again with carol singing, we still have the big Christmas tree and the Christmas lights will be around the history centre."

"On December 8 we will be having barbecues for the community to come down to and enjoy the day with us."