Monday, 25 July 2016

On this day in the Hot Lakes Chronicle

On this day in the Hot Lakes Chronicle - 24 July 1895

In July of 1895, Rotorua was experiencing very chilly temperatures.

Temperatures of 14° Fahrenheit or minus 10° Celsius were reported on in the Hot Lakes Chronicle. At least locals may have been able to warm up at the Priest's Bath and the Sulphur Bath which ranged from 35-41° Celsius.

 While we now have an abundance of beautiful trees in Rotorua, in 1895 residents had been deterred from planting trees by the "evils" of stray cattle.

The Town Board took matters into their own hands and decided to plant 600 trees throughout the town. As well as leading by example, they moved to strictly enforce the Impounding Act and abolish de-pasturing licences which allowed farmers to graze the land.

Instead of keeping stock away from young trees with barbed wire, they decided to try a new form of tree guard suggested by Mr Roger Dansey.

Something that hasn't changed since 1895 is the recommendation to only take to the roads when sober.

To get the latest literature in 1895, you could view print catalogues at the Hot Lakes Chronicle office. Of course it's now far easier and you can view the Rotorua Library catalogue online!

The 24 July 1895 edition of the Hot Lakes Chronicle also reports on issues such as postal delays, the recommendation for a Public Hall, the initiation of a Māori band, town land agreements and the wit of Guide Sophia.

The Hot Lakes Chronicle was digitised in a joint project between Rotorua Library and the National Library. So much can be learned of our past on this fabulous resource which is available online at Papers Past.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Rotorua District Library is moving

A Brief History of the Rotorua Library

21 March 1889
·        Some 15 residents met in an old building, firstly the Comet store and later a school, next to Mrs Morrison’s Hotel at Ohinemutu. They felt the need for a common meeting ground where they could exchange ideas without formality and it was proposed to establish a Public Reading Room.
·        Committee of 12 chosen with Dr Ginders elected as president and Mr J C Blythe as secretary (he was president later).
·        Name chosen: The Rotorua Public Library and Reading Room.
·        All visitors to the district allowed to use the Reading Room free of charge but according to rules and bylaws to be made.
·        A subscription list was opened and £25 ($4214.88) and donations of books and periodicals were given by those present

The Chairman of the Town Board (Dr Ginders) lent the new institution the use of the old building and the District Superintendent of Native Schools let them use the desks and forms from the old schoolhouse. A kerosene lamp and a stove were also obtained.

·        Proposals were made to shift the present building from Ohinemutu to Arawa Street or to erect part of the new building. The second option was chosen.
·        Plans were submitted in May and it was nearly completed by October.
·        The AGM took place in the new Victoria Institute on 10 November and the reading room was opened to the public 9 days later.
·        Shelving from the old building was used for the lending section.
·        Miss Emma Coppell (or Coppel) was appointed caretaker and librarian at £10 per annum ($1545.45) Note this is £2 a year less than the cleaner was paid in 1890 and £5 less than the custodian in 1891 

Municipal Building on corner Arawa and Fenton Streets 
·        New Library in Municipal Building was opened on 14 October 1940.
·        The Country Library Service also provided advice regarding layout, staff training, cataloguing and suggested changing the classification system from Bliss to Dewey.
·        The Library officially went free (except for light fiction and magazines) on the 17 February 1941 and Country Library Service provided staff to assist with the changeover and loans of books.
·        There was no policy for expansion for a children’s library – the books were still kept in the old building but were shifted to the new library in February 1941.

·        Opened on 3 August 1970.
·        Throughout the 1970s and 80s there was increased recognition that the Library was not adequate and needed expanding and upgrading.
·        February 1972 the NZ Library Association Conference was held in Rotorua.
·        1973 Miss Lesley Armstrong took over as Librarian.
·        In January 1974 the Library was closed for a week while new carpet was laid. It was very hot and the workmen opened the front doors putting barriers across to keep the public out. Some people climbed over them.
When new carpet was laid in 2003 and 2004, the Library stayed open (except for the area being worked on) and much of the work was done at night.
·        New hours in January 1974 were 10am to 8pm Monday to Thursday and 10 to 8.30 on Friday.

HAUPAPA STREET (old Government building)
·        Officially opened by Governor General Dame Catherine Tizard on 16 December 1991 and opened to the public the following day.
·        Issues in the year following the move to the new building increased by 34%.
·        Lesley Armstrong retired as District Librarian after 21 years in December 1994 and was succeeded by Jane Gilbert (in January 1995).

Pukuatua Street (old Van Dyks)
Opening at our new Temporary Location on 27th July 2016
Come and see it for yourself, you'll be amazed!

Friday, 15 July 2016

What's happening in Rotorua

The Winter Show of days gone by 

In recent times Rotorua has been lucky to enjoy the Rotorua Daily Post Home & Leisure Show at this time of year. In the 1960s, as shown in the Rotorua Photo News, Rotorua celebrated winter in style with a week long show.  

Rotorua has also had an ice skating rink, courtesy of Rotorua Lakes Council and Harcourts, for the Fire and Ice Festival since 2012. Click this link to read all about it : Fire and Ice Festival

Here I've found some photos in the Rotorua Photo News to show you : These Pix are by Michael Burton, Editor of the Photo News c.1963-1966.

Rotorua Photo News, July 31st 1965,  p. 38
Rotorua Photo News, June 4th 1966, p.g. 32-33
If anyone reading this was there, please tell us your memories so we can share Rotorua's rich history of  Community events.  Just email Alison c/-

Friday, 8 July 2016

Book Review : Augustus Koch : map maker

German map maker extraordinaire

Author Rolf W. Brednich has crafted a stunning book about Augustus Koch, artist, designer, draughtsman and cartographer. He reveals what Koch's life as a student in Berlin was like and takes the reader through a fascinating look at his work in the South Seas and  New Zealand and the legacy of drawings and maps from the Hochstetter expedition of 1859 (chapter by Sacha Nolden). His maps are a masterpiece of detail and are very accurate of New Zealand coastlines and interior topography.

Of interest to Rotorua readers are his watercolour sketches of Lake Rotorua, Lake Rotoiti , Lake Tarawera, Mt Tarawera on pages 34 ff. 

Available to borrow now, at 526z KOC in the New Zealand History and Travel section.