The national Church of Scientology New Zealand on the hillside above beautiful Waitemata Harbor in Auckland is dedicated to help serve the religion’s spiritual and humanitarian missions across the Pacific Rim.
Spirituality. Heritage. Tradition. History. Education. Learning.
These are pillars on which rests the national Church of Scientology New Zealand, where Scientologists locally and from across the Pacific gathered with friends and supporters January 21, 2017, to inaugurate the rebirth of the world’s second oldest Church of Scientology.
Overlooking the city and Auckland’s magnificent Waitemata Harbor, the local historic landmark, preserved and meticulously restored by the Church with local architects and preservationists, is a resurrection of what was home to spiritual training for clergy and religious scholars for nearly a half century.
The red brick and white Oamaru stone used across the façade, restoration of delicately finished oak in the entrance hall and library, and preservation of rimu timber paneling and jarrah wood flooring have set the facility apart as a work of art itself.
The opening marked a major milestone and a renaissance as well for a Church that was founded well over half a century ago. Since that time, it has witnessed steady growth that made its former facilities in New Zealand insufficient to needs, resulting in a rebirth reflected in the magnificently restored landmark and the continuation of the Scientology tradition of spirituality and education.
The historic site, established in 1844, was expanded in 1927 as the Trinity Methodist Theological College to train Christian theologians. In its new incarnation as a spiritual center for Scientologists, it brings full circle the ideas of faith and spirituality under the tenets of the goals of Scientology—a world free of war and want, and committed to humanitarian aims.
Maori Warden Mereana Peka, who offered a welcome to the crowd on opening day, spoke of the wisdom of her people and a union with Scientology that illuminates a common spiritual purpose.
“In Maori we have a saying, ‘Ma rongo ka mohio, meaning, if you hear, you will know; ma mohio ka matou: from knowledge will come understanding;’ and ‘ma matou ka ora: from understanding will come healing.’ For me, Scientology represents the essence of those words. And so, from this day forward, we can begin the journey of reaching our ultimate potential.”
The new Church has become not only a center for the Scientology spiritual mission on the Pacific Rim, but also the heartbeat of its vigorous outreach efforts in anti-drug, human rights and other humanitarian projects.
Mr. David Miscavige spoke in his dedication address to the significance of the opening and the possibilities it affords every New Zealander.
“We do not regard Church buildings as buildings, per se. Rather, we regard our buildings as ‘vessels for life’ and the living breathing fabric of their communities. Consequently, when we bring spiritual beings back to life by restoring their own sense of spirituality—so a Church itself comes to life. And so we thank Auckland for allowing us to serve as custodians of a Church that’s just as much New Zealand’s as ours.”
The opening of the Church brings together a spirit of community cooperation and a commitment through Scientology that was first demonstrated by helping preserve the heritage of Auckland’s Grafton neighborhood and returning the building to its former state—which one local community member described as honoring an “unbroken heritage as a place of enlightenment and spiritual knowledge.”
Regional and local community leaders and individuals involved in Church-supported humanitarian missions spoke at the grand opening, noting the significance of the Church’s ever-expanding program within the country. But the establishment of the facility now represents far more to a community that has seen the Church’s human rights, social justice and anti-drug programs already make a difference in the lives of people in Auckland. Those programs are expanding through the combined efforts of volunteers and staff working from the Church’s new home base in New Zealand.
The first Church of Scientology in New Zealand opened in 1955, and its growth and expansion in the more than 60 years since became a realization of Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s vision for the Church and its work within the region.
Kiwi Straight Talk
Leaders shared their insights about the Church’s humanitarian programs and dedication to New Zealand’s heritage.
Preserving Our Heritage
“The Church of Scientology has a reputation as an outstanding preserver of heritage sites in cities all over the world. And so Auckland is tremendously lucky that you chose to adopt a building as significant as this. There are historic buildings that can be appreciated in their environment but so few that are as prominent or come with such presence as this one. Indeed, this new Church can be seen from vantage points across the city. In other words, this is the very definition of a landmark. And now that you have returned it to its original glory, you are the savior of a piece of our history. Thus, you have not only set a shining example, but you have returned a treasured landmark to every Aucklander.”
Education Salvaging Lives
“When I first joined the system and saw how the youth were being treated, I said to myself: ‘I’ve got to find out something about human rights.’ Because we grew up with it, so I had to find that. But I couldn’t find anybody doing anything about it. So then I heard of the Church of Scientology. So I drove across town to find you, and when I did, I remember that I told you: ‘I want that rights program that you do!’ And now, every child that comes in and out of our center has the human rights program—and that’s because of you. And we have not only salvaged one young man, but we have salvaged over 5,000 young people throughout New Zealand.”
Ending Psychiatric Torture
“Thanks to you, some 200 victims have received millions in compensation for the cruel treatments they had received or suffered. But true to form, you then took the matter all the way to the United Nations, forcing New Zealand psychiatry to face the U.N. Committee Against Torture. And all so that no psychiatrist can be above the law. As a result, New Zealand established a body to monitor all psych facilities, making sure the abuse never happens again. So yes, your legacy has reshaped the landscape of mental health in this country.”
Saving Lives From Drugs
“This new Church of Scientology in Auckland is a major stepping-stone for us to heal within ourselves and in our communities. In Maori, we have sayings meaning ‘If you hear you will know,’ ‘From knowledge will come understanding’ and ‘From understanding will come healing.’ And so here we are. For me, Scientology represents the essence of those words and so from this day forward we can begin the journey of reaching our ultimate potential! Every member of the Church of Scientology I have worked with has a focus on healing our world. I believe it is the Scientologists that are the living resource of your movement. With each one of you comes the seedling that grows into a better world. It’s not easy to express my gratitude to people who save lives every day. But I personally know every one of you has helped change this part of the world. And together, with this Ideal Church, that change will reach every community of our island nation.”