Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

Thailand in New Zealand

I haven’t yet traveled much in Asia, but from my first days in New Zealand I’ve enjoyed the large amount of authentic Asian culture in New Zealand.  In 2016 I was lucky enough to experience Thailand in New Zealand.

Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland
Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland

The first Thai Buddhist temple I ever visited was Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland.  Neither visit was during regular hours for services, so it was quiet and nearly empty.

Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland
Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland

I haven’t been to Thailand, but I enjoy the ways that New Zealand meets Thailand in the temples here.  Watyarnprateep Temple was once a typical New Zealand farm house.  Even more New Zealand are the caravans that serve as housing for some of the monks.  Note the Buddhas on top of the caravan below.

Caravan at Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland
Caravan at Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland

The Thai style looks great in the New Zealand landscape.

Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland
Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple in Auckland

I have only Google for reference, but here are some pictures of Wat Pa Phu Kon Temple near Udon Thani province in Thailand.

Wat Pa Phu Kon Temple near Udon Thani province in Thailand
Wat Pa Phu Kon Temple near Udon Thani province in Thailand

These pictures are from the Udan Thani Attractions website.

Wat Pa Phu Kon Temple near Udon Thani province in Thailand
Wat Pa Phu Kon Temple near Udon Thani province in Thailand

On 13 October 2016 the King of Thailand died at 88 after a reign of 70 years, 126 days.

Memorial to King Bhumibol at Watyarnprateep Temple
Memorial to King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Watyarnprateep Temple

The lèse-majesté law makes it illegal to it criticize the king (or queen, heir-apparent, or regent).  But many Thai people seem to have sincerely loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  There was an official mourning period of 30 days before the new king was crowned.

At the end of October I experienced observances of respect and mourning for the late king at Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hawkes Bay.

Memorial to King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery
Memorial to King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery

When I arrived most people seemed to be involved in making sure everyone was fed.  Every Thai restaurant in the area seemed to be serving food to anyone who was hungry, and other people brought dishes to share.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

We dressed in black, but everyone was happy, friendly, and very welcoming.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery is located on a plot of former farmland among fields still being cultivated.  In the picture below a monk walks along the driveway with young apple trees in the background.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

Some of the monks live in buildings identical to cabins found at many New Zealand campgrounds.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

The temple is in the living room of a former farmhouse.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

People lined up with bowls of rice and spooned it into the bowls of the monks as they walked past.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery in Hastings

There was a procession in honor of the deceased king.

Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery

The procession included a couple of different kinds of money tree.

Money tree
Money tree
Procession with money tree
Procession with money tree

Many mourners purchased gifts for the king in the form of clothes given in his name to the monks.

Mourning King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Mourning King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Like Watyarnprateep Temple in Auckland, Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery is fairly modest, but has some beautiful features.

Buddha at Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery
Buddha at Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery
Pathumrungsiwatanaram Monastery

On November 15 Thai people gathered in Aotea Square near the Auckland Town Hall, and said their final goodbyes to their king.

Mourning King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Aotea Square
Mourning King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Aotea Square

His son King Maha Vajiralongkorn accepted the throne on the night of 1 December 2016.  His reputation is very different from that of his father, and the people of Thailand wait to see what the future will hold for their country.

Thai people and their culture are, for me, another interesting and welcome addition to the overall culture of New Zealand.

You can view the full gallery of 24 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.