Mormon Pacific Historical Society


Ken Baldridge


Mormon studies, Pacific studies, New Zealand, Korongata, Tuhikaramea, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Sidney J, Ottley was a young carpenter in Murray, Utah, when he was called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to service a mission in New Zealand. With three other missionaries he arrived in Auckland, December 2, 1912, and was immediately assigned to teach at a little mission primary school in Korongata, near Hastings, in Hawke's Bay. He had no previous teaching experience and later remembered that he had never planned on acquiring any. But the Mormon Church had been operating small schools such as this as early as 1886 and this is where mission president Orson D. Romney felt he was needed. By the time of Elder Ottley arrival Mormon missionaries had been conducting classes with some degree of regularity at five other areas on the North Island. By the end of 1914, however, the Mormon primary school had ceased operation and the Church's educational interests were concentrated on the new secondary school recently opened in Hawke's Bay.