Placed on hold
Temple View has been a Christmas destination for decades, but it’ll be a bit different this year.
The Mormon temple just outside Hamilton is being stripped out, renovated, and earthquake strengthened.
That means three years as a construction site which can’t be decorated with lights.
Still, the local Latter-day Saints (LDS) community has organised free festive entertainment for anyone who turns up.
"We can’t get to [the temple]. It’s a construction site, understandably it’s fenced off,’’ chair of the organising committee Gordon Matenga said.
However, Christmas lights have been a tradition at the New Zealand Temple of the Church of Latter-day Saints since the early 1990s, attracting tens of thousands of viewers each year.
The LDS community didn’t want to disappoint, so will start 2018 festivities with a ‘‘Christmas in the park-type evening’’ on Saturday.
Matenga’s hoping for fine weather as the plan is to hold it outside the church’s stake and cultural events centre, though there is a back-up.
After an evening of music and entertainment – to fit with the LDS ‘‘Light the World’’ Christmas theme – there will be a live nativity display.
Then, lights hung from a large kahikatea tree will be switched on as darkness falls.
‘‘It won’t be anywhere near as impressive as the lights at the temple have been in the past years, but it will be something,’’ Matenga said.
There will also be a community walkabout organised by Temple View residents, featuring decorated homes, Santa’s Grotto and some free food in the streets.
Starting Monday, Temple View will carry on a tradition of choir music at Christmas time.
There will be nightly concerts featuring groups including the Hamilton Civic Choir, women’s barbershop chorus the Waikato Rivertones, and opera singer Wiremu Winitana.
These will run until December 23, in the theatre in the church history centre. Panels which give a stained glass effect will be placed in the windows of that area to tell the nativity story, Matenga said.
‘‘The idea will be as people come out of the performance each night, they’ll see those, and the lights that will light up every night at the cultural centre.’’
The interactive museum in the history centre will also be staying open late.
The LDS community enjoys Christmas and celebrating the birth of Jesus, Matenga said, so members wanted to help others celebrate and feel ‘‘the spirit that comes at this special time of year’’.
Monday 10 to Sunday 23 December: 8.30pm, various choirs and groups give musical performances in the theatre in the church history centre. All events are free.