A new version of the Bahá’í Reference Library is now available. This ‘old version’ of the Bahá’í Reference Library will be replaced at a later date.

The new version of the Bahá’i Reference Library can be accessed here »

Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Suva, Fiji Islands, 1982 edition
  • Pages:
  • 104
Go to printed page GO
Pages 72-76

(66) June 27th, 1957

Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand.
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
I am instructed by our beloved Guardian to write you on his behalf and assure you he was most happy to receive your letter dated May 4. 73
He rejoices with the New Zealand Bahá’ís in the formation of their historic National Assembly. They are now firmly launched on the course of their own destiny, and undoubtedly the Faith will go forward very much faster. They have an advantage not shared by many of their fellow National Assemblies, of exclusively administering the affairs of the Faith in a small area, which means that they can function much more efficiently. When one remembers the many years that the New Zealand and Australian believers toiled to carry on the work in those two countries, with the sea in between, and inadequate funds to provide transportation, which necessitated so much of the National Assembly’s work being carried on by correspondence, one can appreciate the advantages you now enjoy.
The formation of a new National Body in any case is an organic thing, and a new and lively flow of life will go out into all the members of the Community from this Assembly.
As regards the question you asked him about the site for the Temple, this need not be a large piece of land at this time—three or four acres would be sufficient for the site if you find suitable land is expensive. If the worst comes to the worst, when the time comes to build the Temple, the site can be changed. In Uganda some years ago, they purchased a Temple site, and later, a large piece of land for their endowment. With the Guardian’s permission, they exchanged the two as the Endowment’s position was better for the Temple. So you see, it need not be too rigid. The point is to get a Temple site as soon as possible. He feels it should be in the outskirts of Auckland, within easy motoring distance, so that the friends can attend services there. Naturally the closer to the city, the better.
As you formulate your plans and carry them out for the work entrusted to you during the next six years, he wishes you to particularly bear in mind the need of teaching the Maoris. These original discoverers of New Zealand are of a very fine race, and they are a people long admired for their 74 noble qualities; and special effort should be made, not only to contact the Maoris in the cities and draw them into the Faith, but to go to their towns and live amongst them and establish Assemblies in which at least the majority of the believers will be Maoris, if not all. This would be indeed a worthy achievement.
The beloved Guardian assures you all of his prayers for the success of the historic work you are now undertaking, and he feels sure you will achieve your goals.
With warmest Bahá’í greetings,
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The emergence of the New Zealand National Spiritual Assembly, as a result of the convocation of the first Bahá’í historic Convention held in that far-away and promising Dominion, will be hailed by posterity as an event of the greatest significance, marking the erection of another pillar designed to support, in the South Pacific area, the future Universal House of Justice. My heart overflows with happiness and is filled with gratitude as I contemplate the splendid progress achieved, in recent years, in that far-off island, and note the loyalty and devotion with which the members of this valiant community, now standing on the threshold of unprecedented achievements, have discharged their manifold and sacred responsibilities.
The six brief years that now lie ahead must witness a swift expansion in the scope of Bahá’í activities throughout the length and breadth of that Dominion, as well as a steady consolidation of the foundations of the institutions that have been so painstakingly laid. The Six-Year Plan upon which the New Zealand believers have now so auspiciously embarked must be diligently prosecuted and brought to a triumphant conclusion. All must participate, whether young or old, veterans as well as newly enrolled believers, all must contribute their share to the ultimate success of this mighty collective 75 enterprise, however limited their means, however modest their abilities, however restricted the range of their previous experiences.
The increase in the number of the avowed adherents of the Faith; the multiplication of isolated centres, groups, and local assemblies; the incorporation of the newly formed National Spiritual Assembly as well as all firmly grounded local assemblies; the recognition of the Bahá’í marriage certificate by the civil authorities, and of the Bahá’í Holy Days by the Superintendent of schools in that island; the rapid conversion of the Maoris and their close association with the white believers in the administration of the affairs of the community; the consolidation of the work energetically initiated in the South Island; the selection and purchase of the site for the Mother Temple of New Zealand—these stand out as the foremost objectives of the Plan now demanding of its high minded determined prosecutors, the utmost consecration, unrelaxing vigilance and the noblest self-sacrifice.
The tasks, challenging the spirit and resources of this community, whose numerical strength is as yet so limited, whose material resources are so circumscribed, whose past experiences have, in many respects, been confined to a narrow range, are truly formidable. The alloted time, during which so stupendous an undertaking is to be consummated, is short. The obstacles confronting its members are varied and manifold. Yet the sustaining grace promised to all those who will arise, with single-mindedness, courage, dedication and high resolve to aid in the attainment of these noble objectives, is of such potency that no earthly power can resist the ultimate fulfilment of so glorious a task, or even delay its eventual fruition.
I appeal most earnestly to all those who, in both the teaching and administrative fields, are committed to carry out so magnificent an enterprise, as well as to those who, in an unofficial capacity, are called upon to further, by every means in their power, the interests of this epoch-making 76 Plan, to dedicate themselves, at this hour to the arduous, yet infinitely precious task they have shouldered, and to devote, in the days and years that lie ahead, every ounce of their energy to the systematic prosecution of a Plan, on which the immediate destinies of the entire New Zealand Bahá’í community directly depend; and which can alone provide the stepping-stone to the still more brilliant achievements destined to ennoble the annals of the Faith in that remote island of the globe.