Opening of the new Temple
It was fantastic to attend the opening of the new Hare Krishna Centre and the installation of the Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandra deities. The building of the new temple has taken six years from the time that the Christchurch earthquakes shattered the temple, and has been fraught with uncertainties and delays and has required a lot of hard work. It was great to see so many vaisnavas travelled to attend the event and celebrate the opening. As a young person, I vividly remember seeing devotees chanting and singing in the streets, and amazing and colourful event in a very conservative town.
The Hare Krishna movement has a long history in Christchurch with the first devotees arriving in 1972 and the first temple being opened in 1973. In 1983 they moved into Bealey Avenue, and in 1988 a farm was purchased at TaiTapu providing vegetables to the temple and restaurant which subsequently increased production to be able to provide low-cost meals to the community and people in need. In the early 2000’s the yoga centre, dinners and evening classes grew.
However, sadly, the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 damaged the temple so badly that the building could not be repaired. Deities were broken and in accordance with tradition were placed in the sea in May 2011. The community relocated to Ferrymead while difficulties with construction and insurance were handled, and it was with much pleasure to see the new temple opened and the new deities installed last weekend. Fortunately, a second pair of deities almost identical to the originals had been stored in Auckland and they fitted the original garments perfectly. It was wonderful to see the new deities, along with other precious artefact’s from the old temple re-installed in their new home.
The celebrations included dance, ceremonies, meditative mantra meditation, classes, videos and feasts.