Mormon Pacific Historical Society


Scott C. Esplin


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


“It is the policy and practice of the Church,” observed the Church News, “to discontinue operation of such [Church] schools when local school systems are able to provide quality education.” Thus the difficult decision was announced on June 29, 2006, to close the Church College of New Zealand by November 2009. The pronouncement and even the very words chosen to convey it place the decision in the historical context of Latter-day Saint education. This policy regarding Church school closures was established over nine decades ago, and the practice has been consistently applied worldwide since. Church education in the Pacific, and specifically the Church College of New Zealand, merely follows a pattern of establishment, growth and development, and ultimately closure in favor of public school alternatives modeled by earlier Church school endeavors. Understood in this historical context, the decision to close the school, though troublesome to many members, can be seen as a positive step in the forward movement of both the Church and education in New Zealand.