Rangi Parker of the Cowley Ward, Temple View New Zealand Stake, has spent the last four years compiling a collection of thousands of photos and other visual media, some over 100 years old, of early New Zealand and Maori life. Many of the early Maori-speaking missionaries from the United States who served in New Zealand kept meticulous journals and photo records detailing the Maori communities where they served. With the help of these missionaries and their families, who offered mementos and memories, Rangi has compiled a significant historical collection.
The collection has grown to include nine hours of film footage, several thousand photographs, and numerous journals. One unique discovery from the footage is the origin of a Native American blanket that belonged to the late Maori princess Te Puea Herangi. Present-day tribal leaders had no idea where the blanket had come from until one of the missionary’s films showed a Church hui (conference) held at Te Puea’s Marae (meetinghouse) in the 1940s in which the mission president presented her the blanket as a gift from President George Albert Smith.
National galleries and media organizations have heaped praise on Rangi for her efforts, along with those of the early missionaries, because sources for the study of Maori history from the 1880s until the mid-20th century are hard to find. Many museums are interested in housing the collection.
Collating the records has become Rangi’s labor of love. “This work has not only given me an opportunity to feel closer to my ancestors, but I’ve had experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Thanks to the recorded legacy of many early elders, their missionary work is still continuing and touching those who view it,” she says. The collection is still growing, and Rangi is archiving the material on CD-ROM for galleries, museums, universities, and other interested parties.
In addition, Rangi’s recent production for Maori Broadcasting and Television New Zealand, Hiona (Zion), was assessed as one of the top three shows in the Waka Huia (Maori program) series in New Zealand for 1998. The program highlighted the lives of Maoris in Utah and their involvement in the Church and included Maori-speaking American missionaries who served in the 1930s and ’40s. The show received such accolades that it has already been slated for rebroadcast.—, Temple View, Hamilton, New Zealand
Area Authority in Chile
“The gospel has had the strongest influence in every aspect of my life and that of my family. In every decision we make, we have looked for the guidance of the Lord in order to ensure we are making the right choice,” says Elder Jorge F. Zeballos, Area Authority Seventy in the South America South Area.
One important decision came when he and his wife, Carmen Gloria, decided to marry. At the time, Chile was struggling under serious economic recession, and the temple in Santiago would not be completed for over a year. “Despite our short savings,” he says, “Carmen Gloria and I decided to travel to São Paulo, Brazil, to be sealed in the house of the Lord even though our economic resources only allowed us to fly from Santiago to São Paulo and then return by bus in a three-day trip.”
As a 12-year-old growing up in Ovalle, Chile, Jorge Zeballos saw four young Americans playing basketball on a team called “The Mormon Five” at a local tournament. He says, “I was really surprised when I found out they all had the same first name: Elder.” A few days later he asked an LDS friend at school to invite him to church. “From the very first time I went to church, I felt I belonged,” he remembers. He attended all the Church meetings for about seven months before a missionary learned he was not a member and invited him to hear the discussions; he was baptized a short time later.
Elder Zeballos says that serving a mission has been one of the best experiences of his life, one that greatly strengthened his testimony. “Even though I was the only member of the Church in my family, I received my parents’ support during my mission, including their financial aid,” he adds.
As manager of corporate affairs for Minera Escondida Limitada, the world’s largest copper mine in terms of production, Elder Zeballos has the opportunity to interact with many government authorities and visitors. He says, “This situation has provided me with a valuable opportunity to share the gospel with many people who are not always open to religious subjects.” As a result of gospel standards, he is recognized by his associates as a reliable and credible manager.
“I enjoy doing activities with my wife and our five children, such as traveling, playing sports and other games, and any other activities that keep us together,” Elder Zeballos says. “In our family, we have concluded that it is not important what country we live in; the important thing is that we are together. The only thing that gives me as much satisfaction as my family is being in the service of the Lord.”
Her Tip of the Iceberg
Next time you push a computer button at a family history library and see a name appear, remember that what you’re seeing is merely the tip of the iceberg, and remember people like Bliss Anderson.
A member of the Spanish Fork Fourth Ward, Spanish Fork Utah Palmyra Stake, Bliss extracts names for the Icelandic department of the Church’s family history program. She was one of the first to set up a microfilm reader in her home to extract names and has become an expert on ancestral research.
Years of work by devoted people like Bliss now make it possible for us to have access to literally millions of names through the Family History Library’s Ancestral File™. Sister Anderson has been eager to work on Icelandic names because she is part Icelandic herself.
Her grandparents joined the Church in Arness County, Iceland, and immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah, with their family. So Bliss has set a lofty goal for herself: she intends to submit for temple work the names of everyone who has ever lived in Arness County, Iceland. “I figure that when I get through, I will have done the work for all of my ancestors,” she says with the same enthusiasm that keeps her working.
Before Bliss began working with the computer, she arranged the names of all heads of households listed in the 1801 census of Iceland into one big alphabetical list. She wrote every name on a three-by-five-inch card, then worked with her sister to arrange all the cards in alphabetical order and type the names on 400 sheets of paper.
The enormity of her Icelandic iceberg has not slowed Bliss down at all. In fact, now that she uses a computer, entry processes and research work that formerly took hours and days now take only minutes. For example, she has alphabetized the names listed in Iceland’s 1816 census, with the help of other family members, providing a database of 41,832 names. One week she turned in 125 family group sheets for temple work. And along with four others, she entered some 35,000 Icelandic family group sheets with over 148,000 names into the Ancestral File.
“My husband, Keith, has been such a patient and loving support in this work I’ve taken on,” says Bliss. As to the tip of Bliss’s iceberg? Well, she has completed family group sheets for 1,500 Icelandic families—one-tenth of the 16,000 families she hopes to list eventually. That puts her well below the iceberg’s visible tip, and she’s just warming up.—, Rancho Cucamonga, California
In the Spotlight
• Marvin D. Loflin was a recipient of a 1998 Friendship Award bestowed by the Chinese government on foreign nationals who have made contributions to the advancement of the Chinese nation; it is the highest award given to foreigners by the People’s Republic of China. As former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado at Denver, and in cooperation with China Agricultural University in Beijing, he established the International College of Beijing. He received the award for this effort. Brother Loflin is a member of the Golden Ward, Golden Colorado Stake.