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Hi I'm Anahera

I was born and raised in a small Māori settlement in New Zealand, and I 'm a Mormon.

About Me

When I joined the church I was single and juggling the responsibilities of motherhood with those of work. I am now married to a great guy, and my daughter and her husband have blessed us with seven amazing grandchildren; one of whom my husband and I are raising as an atawhai (a Māori term for a child cared and nurtured for by people who are not their biological parents). My husband and I met in 1999 via a church dating website. We communicated for two and a half years before he arrived in New Zealand where we were married a month later. In spite of the misgivings of some of my family and friends regarding how we had met, we were sealed in the Hamilton New Zealand temple several years later, and have enjoyed working together in the church and the community ever since. I have always been passionate about the holistic wellbeing of my whānau (family) and my hapū and iwi (my people) and have served them in a wide range of key leadership positions. Since 2006, I've been the Chief Executive of one of my tribal authorities in the north of my country. I'm politically left-leaning, but fiscally to the right of Genghis Khan. I'm a mix of creative and practical. I can milk cows, catch and saddle a horse, bake, build and change a tyre. But I also love reading, listening to music, writing poetry and prose, crafts of all kinds, most sports and all foods. However, most of all, I adore being with whānau and connecting us all up via whakapapa (genealogy).

Why I am a Mormon

Although I was born into a family who lived and practiced the best traditions of the Catholic faith, I was taught and encouraged to question and test issues of principle and doctrine for myself. Under the influence of that spirit of inquiry, on 20 August 1987 I began to read the Book of Mormon. I found I couldn't put it down. Four weeks later I was baptized. Why? Largely because I had learned the truth about who I really was; a Daughter of God, and not a product of my race, class or circumstances. With that knowledge, every other point of the restored gospel fell into place around me. My conversion was a shock to my family and friends, some of whom later confided that they worried my new-found beliefs and changed lifestyle meant I would judge and criticize them. In fact some of them chose to deliberately challenge me on points of doctrine or principle expressly to elicit condemnation from me. For example, not long after my baptism, a family member arrived at my home and announced that if I had no tea or coffee for her to drink, she would neither stay nor return. On another occasion, a friend visited specifically to convince me that I had joined a cult and to rescue me from that choice. I did not have the language for what I felt and believed at that time, so terms like "I bear my testimony," or "Gift of the Holy Ghost," and "in the name of Jesus Christ," were not part of my response. But neither were judgment, criticism or condemnation. Instead I felt conviction and steadiness tempered with love and humor. I know now that these were the first manifestations in my life of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that the simple words I used in response to the challenges actually constituted my fledgling testimony. Most importantly, even though I still did not know a lot about our Savior, I knew I believed in Him, that He was at the head of this church, and that I was a fellow child of God. That was enough to sustain me through those initial challenges.

How I live my faith

My work in the community and as a leader of my people means that over the years since my baptism I have been able to speak and write publicly about a number of issues that are impacting all mankind in this dispensation. These include everything from the state of the economy, the environment, social factors like education, health and housing, domestic and foreign relations, to race and many other issues. Although I am always careful to clarify that I do not represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on any issue, whenever I speak or write I do specify that I am a member of the church, and that the way I live my life is a reflection of the gospel principles and doctrines given to the world through living Prophets by Jesus Christ, upon whom the church is founded. I have always tried to live gospel principles and doctrines to the best of my ability, and I know that this is the most important aspect of any missionary work I do in the community. As a result, over the years I have been blessed to see the reactions of non-members to my declaration of membership in the church change from almost universal suspicion to gradual acceptance and eventual admiration. Similarly I have been blessed to witness miracles in my various church callings as a teacher and servant of children, youth, men and women. And no miracle is more wondrous than seeing a child of God learn who he or she really is in His kingdom, as opposed to who they think they are in the world. Since my conversion I have faced many more and much worse challenges than those I experienced immediately following baptism. But the antidote for them all has remained the same; my testimony of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the love of Heavenly Father, the practical support of his faithful servants in the church, and knowing I am His daughter.