Sri Lankan Buddhists have had an unfulfilled need with respect to associating with religious activities over the years, until in 1999. However when Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero, a Sri Lankan buddhist monk who was in New Zealand on a short visit, and a few interested Buddhists living in New Zealand got together to discuss needs of Sri Lankan Buddhists in New Zealand and ways to fulfil such needs. The outcome was this great idea of forming a Buddhist temple on the lines of Sri Lankan traditions.
Sri Lankaramaya was begun in 1999 as a small outfit in a rented out property in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand. In order to provide the administrative support, within a few months, a charitable trust was incorporated in the name of
New Zealand Sri Lanka Buddhist Trust
(NZSLBT) under the provisions of The Charitable Trust Act 1957. The NZSLBT
consisted of five trustees initially.
Sri Mihindu Dhamma School was set up to fulfil the need of buddhist education for the children of Buddhist families.
Ven Walgama Sri Munidawansa Thero is the Chief Incumbent (Viharadhipathi) of Sri Lankaramaya and the Patron Monk of the New Zealand Sri Lanka Buddhist Trust (NZSLBT). In 2007, the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya in Sri Lanka awarded him the position of Chief Sanghanayaka of NewZealand for the unparalleled dhamma service he had rendered towards promotion of dhamma in various countries. He is the Chief Incumbent of two other temples in Sri Lanka, Walgama Sriwardanaramaya and Maarukwathura Gothabhaya Rajamaha Viharaya. He is also the Chief Adhikarana Sanghanayaka of Sathara Koralaya in Sri Lanka.
Born in 1947, he entered the Ordain in 1960 under the guidance of his venerable teacher Wewatenne Piyatissa Thero, the Chief Incumbent of Dambulu Rajamahaviharaya, Rambukkana, and later received higher ordination in 1968. Having completed his higher education at University of Sri Jayawardenepura, he became the Principal at Deliwala Parshada Centre in 1975. Since then he has held numerous positions in the sphere of Buddhist education before retiring from the education service to join SriLankaramaya, Auckland, New Zealand, in 2000. He assumed the responsibilities of Chief Incumbent of Sri Lankaramaya and Patron Monk of NZSLBT in 2002 as the successor to Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero.
Ven. Pagngnasiri Thero arrived in New Zealand in 2003 as a Resident Monk of Sri Lankaramaya. During his long association with Sri Lankaramaya, he has immensely contributed to its recent progress while developing the Dhamma School to the present status.
Born in 1971, he entered the Ordain in 1982 under the guidance of his venerable teacher Thudawe Gunasiri Thero. When he left Sri Lanka, he was the Chief Incumbent of Sri Vivekaramaya, New Town, Mulleriyawa.
He is currently engaged in higher studies at Massey University.
Ven. Chandawimala Thero joined the Sri Lankaramaya as a Resident Monk in 2005. Having entered the Ordain in 1992, received the higher ordination this year by the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya in Sri Lanka. He is the present Principal of Sri Mihindu Dhamma School and plays a major supporting role in the temple activities.
Prior to arriving in New Zealand, he had the opportunity to render valuable services at Buddhist temples in Taiwan.
The NZSLBT is the administrative arm of Sri Lankaramaya, New Zealand, incorporated as a Charitable Trust in 1999 under the provisions of The Charitable Trusts Act 1957.
NZSLBT carries responsibility for all administrative matters of Sri Lankaramaya, including the financial management involving its affairs. The Trust Deed details out the scope of operation. As a member of the Charities Commission, the NZSLBT fulfils its obligations in performing its activities.
The chief incumbent of Sri Lankaramaya is the Patron Monk of the NZSLBT. The NZSLBT Trust Deed provides for 21 trustees working on a purely voluntary basis. Based on a financial year ending 31st March, the NZSLBT has its monthly meetings, while the Annual General Meeting is usually held during the month March.
In order to facilitate smooth functioning, NZSLBT has a committee structure in place, whereby six committees, headed by a trustee with the specific skills needed for related activity are supported by a large number of enthusiastic and active members from the community.