More than 170 freemasons from across New Zealand and Australia have descended on New Plymouth for their 126th annual Grand Convocation this weekend.
The Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand, who are also members of the Freemasons of New Zealand, hold elections every two years for a new set of officers or grand officers.
The current officers were elected in Christchurch last year and will be proclaimed again this year as the head of the orders for the next twelve months.
The Most Excellent, the First Grand Principal Brian White said about 175 members will attend.
“We have a business meeting on the Saturday morning and then we have the Grand Proclamation on Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Membership of the Royal Arch Chapters governed by the SGRACNZ is restricted to members of Lodges who have completed the Master Mason Degree.
The 2018 Grand Proclamation and Convocation runs from March 2-4 at the Devon Hotel, with a variety of events from a management council meeting, to a forum and research chapter, culminating in a Grand Installation ceremony and banquet on Saturday afternoon and evening respectively.
“The purpose of masonry is, we say, to take good men and make them better,” White said.
They also do a lot of philanthropy, including donating three wheelchairs to the New Plymouth branch of the Red Cross this weekend.
“To us it’s a way of life. It’s being honourable people, honourable honest and good citizens.
“If we can take a good man and make him into a better citizen that’s a good thing.”
There is a huge amount of history in freemasonry, he said.
“It basically is the oldest order in existence. We go way back to the time when King Solomon’s temple was being built.
“It’s in fact a lot older than a lot of churches.”
The event last came to New Plymouth in 2004.
Credit – Taranaki Daily News