On Sunday 26 June 2011, over 320 devotees and well-wishers attended the Vedic mahapuja to mark the inauguration of the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christchurch a city devastated by three major recent earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks in the space of just 10 months. Yet, HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj has inspired a mandir in this city that will not only lift the spirits of the people but bring a fresh vitality to the community. The mahapuja was held in the presence of Jnanpurush Swami and Adarshmuni Swami. The sadhus prayed for the people of Christchurch and complimented their unique resolve amidst the chaos and confusion of the recent unpredictable earthquakes.
After more than 12 months of renovation work, the new mandir is now open to the community for daily worship and weekly satsang assemblies. There are Gujarati language classes for children every Sunday from 4.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. Thereafter, they participate in Bal-Balika activities. For parents and elders there is a weekly satsang assembly from 5.00 to 7.00 p.m. every Sunday. Every day the morning arti is offered at 7.00 a.m. and evening arti is offered at 7.00 p.m. by the resident priest (pujari). Major Hindu festivals will also be celebrated regularly.
The inauguration of this mandir is a notable achievement for the handful of devotees who had started satsang assemblies in their homes back in 1994. More recently, as numbers grew, the assemblies were held in community halls. The Vedic murti-pratishtha ceremony of the mandir will be held early next year.