Tem­ple View

Placed on hold

Waikato Times - - News - Libby Wil­son libby.wil­[email protected]

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.

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