28 November 2023

Martyrs’ Memorial Grove Plaque Uplifting and New Campus Commissioning Ceremony

Martyrs’ Memorial Grove Plaque Uplifting

On 27 September, staff and student representatives gathered for the special occasion of acknowledging some of the known martyrs within our community and to uplift the plaques from our Martyrs’ Memorial Grove in preparation for our campus move to central Henderson.

The Martyrs’ Memorial Grove was established and dedicated in October 2004 to remember former students of this College who died tragically at the hands of others while on active missionary service.

Pou Amorangi, Bradford Haami led our time together with karakia and waiata in honour of the four martyred men and one woman.

Rev. Dr Tim Meadowcroft, who also spoke at the dedication ceremony in 2004, shared from Hebrews 11:32-12:1 reminding those gathered that we are all called to be witnesses to a bigger story, and live in light of a promise – a greater hope; even if our lives are cut short, even when we do not see that hope fully realised; even when it is hard. Tim invited us to reflect on Jesus’ family members and friends, and the bewilderment of Mary and the disciples at seeing Jesus die on the cross. Tim concluded:

“And so, in uplifting these plaques and taking them with us to a new campus, we take with us this reminder and challenge to faithful witness, to pick up the baton handed on by them and live in the hope brought back to us from the life and death of Jesus. And to be aware of the love of those who are around us. And to continue to run the race in that great stadium of faith, surrounded by an untold number of witnesses…”
Rev. Dr Tim Meadowcroft

At the end of the service each plaque was uplifted and placed in individual kete, ready to be taken to the new campus commissioning ceremony the following day.

New Campus Commissioning Ceremony

On the morning of 28 September, a group of staff and students walked with the martyrs’ plaques from the current campus to our new campus, meeting up with other staff gathered there. We were welcomed into our new building by members of Te Kawerau a Maki, Te Rūnanga, the Laidlaw College Foundation board, the Laidlaw College National Governing Council, and many of the project and building team leaders.

The plaques were carried into the room first and placed at the front remembering that we follow a long lineage of faithful men and women. We were then welcomed and commissioned into our new home. Graham Burt (Laidlaw College President and Chair of the Laidlaw College Foundation) ceremonially handed over a key to the building, and a Geneva Bible (dated 1599) - reminding us that the foundation of our work and mission in this place is the word of God. After shared kai, staff heard from some inspiring local Christian leaders – Stephen Mataia, Matt Grey, and Joan Cassidy-Natano, who encouraged us to get to know our new neighbours.

We look forward to moving and getting settled into our new campus and can’t wait to be able to welcome visitors in 2024!