Living Legends

Warm Reception in Auckland

Elder Peter F. Meurs, a member of the Pacific Area Presidency, addresses some of the dancers prior to their performance at Westlake Girls High School.

On May 2, BYU Living Legends departed for New Zealand with their dedicated tech crew and tour leaders and a staggering amount of luggage. Their first day in Auckland started with a special performance for the Pacific Area office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—only two hours after leaving the airport. Local news media were also present at the performance and interviewed several of the students about their performing experiences and cultural heritage. 

Shortly after, Living Legends made the drive to the Auckland University of Technology, where they hosted an outreach. The heavy rain subsided briefly, and stiff winds dried the university plaza where the dancers performed a short program for onlookers. Finally, the group finished their day with another outreach as they participated in a young single adult activity with the Manukau Stake. 

Savanna Silversmith of the Living Legends native section performs in the "Women's Fancy" number at the Aotea Centre in Auckland.

The following morning provided an opportunity for sightseeing in the city. To set the tone for their evening show at the Aotea Centre, a VIP reception for local dignitaries preceded the performance. During the premiere performance of the tour, audience members responded very enthusiastically, especially during the Polynesian numbers, with some attendees dancing in the aisles and others waving a full-size Tongan flag. Performers and audience members alike ended the night feeling a strong sense of unity and love. 

Saturday brought free time in the morning and an evening performance at Westlake Girls High School for an appreciative audience. As the dancers left the stage, they were honored with an impromptu Māori haka, led by a reporter who had interviewed the group earlier in the week. 

After departing Auckland by ferry, BYU Living Legends poses for a group photo on the shore of Waiheke Island.

On Sunday, Living Legends sang two special musical numbers in a sacrament meeting with the Church’s Auckland Ward. Later the BYU group took a ferry to explore Oneroa, the main township on Waiheke Island, where they enjoyed fish and chips at The Local and performed a song for the restaurant staff. Restaurant owners Sara and Simon told group members, “The singing was the most special moment we have experienced during our nine years of owning The Local. It was very emotional for us both and a memory that will stay with us for quite some time.” In the evening, the group brought an exciting week to a close with a devotional for members of the Panmure Stake in Auckland. 

The tour is not over yet, but already it has been an incredible experience for BYU Living Legends. 

JRay Kuhn performs a solo of "How Can I Be?" during a fireside devotional for the Panmura Stake in northern Auckland on Sunday night.

The Latin section performs in the central plaza outside of the Auckland University of Technology for a large crowd of onlookers.