Friday, 1 February 2019

Te Aka Mauri Heritage Day

So today is Te Aka Mauri Heritage Day. One of the activities on offer today is “The Library that was” tour (11.30-12.30 and 2.30-3.30). We'd love you to come join in and see how things have changed. Maybe you can add your memories as we walk and talk.

Below is a brief history of the building know as Te Aka Mauri, Rotorua Library. We hope you come and make your own memories in this special place.

The former government building between Haupapa and Arawa Streets was renovated and opened to the public on 16 December 1991 as Rotorua Public Library.

In 2008/9 the library building was extensively renovated, adding 1000sq metres of floor space for the library.  A cafe was incorporated into the entrance design and an extra floor was opened up to accommodate the growing collections.  Three meeting rooms were created as well as a secure browsing area for some of the library's special heritage collections.  The entrance door was also moved to face out to Haupapa Street.  At that time, the library's name changed from Rotorua Public Library to Rotorua District Library.

In 2016 the library building was extensively renovated again in collaboration with the Lakes District Health Board which is what you see today.The aim is to provide a one-stop hub for children and their families with a range of services and amenities that contribute to well-being and learning.

Children's Area, Tiered Shelving (Front Entrance)

This was where the front entrance to the library was. On either side were stained glass artworks by local artist, John Skudder. The windows are now located on the 2nd floor outside the Don Stafford Room.

Jean Batten Park (Drive by Book Returns, driveway & parking)

On the eastern side of the building there used to be a driveway and parking which was installed in 1991. You could also return your books from your car using the drive through returns box which was installed in 2009.


There was an overhead walk-bridge here that linked the two buildings. This building (Te Aka Mauri) was where several Government departments were housed. The other building (Māori Land Court) was where the Māori Affairs Department was. The bridge was removed at the end of 1990, when construction on the library building began.

Community Meeting Room

The library’s mobile bus was housed here from 1991 to 2009. The space was also used by library staff to create and decorate floats for the Santa parades.  The space was then re-used as a café (Library Store Café) from April 2009 to April 2016 and had a beautiful mural by artist Mark Spijkerbosch.

Community Pride Wall and Magazine space

This space was used as the children’s area where activities were held and stories told from the carved wooden throne installed in 2010 and carved by Jamie Tereimana Tahiata. A fantasy mural by Marc Spijkerbosch used to cover this wall where the screens are. Local graffiti artist ‘Antz’ created a mural on the wall behind the fiction close to the men’s toilets of a taniwha.

1st floor non-fiction area 

This area was where the teens area was. Local graffiti artist Ant Haines created the ‘gurl’ and ‘boi’ murals on the walls by the windows.

1st floor non-fiction area

The adult non-fiction was arranged in Living Rooms, categories of books in similar fields, close to each other

Discovery Space

The archives, hidden from public view, were in the front corner of the now Discovery Space

What was the staff room is where the Heritage & Research Desk and computers now reside.We welcomed and said farewell to many staff and recognised each other’s achievements.
On this floor prior to the 2008, the 2nd floor was also used by Waiariki Polytechnic as teaching classrooms.

Don Stafford Room

This was part of our staff work space where our new library books were processed. It was also where we ran the library business from day-to-day.

The corridor beside the Reading Room 

The reading room was where the Don Stafford room was located. The space leading to the meeting rooms is where Information Services desk was located. The heritage collections stood where the Makerspace and iMac computer suite are.

Wishing Te Aka Mauri a wonderful 1st birthday.

This blog compiled by Trish. Many thanks to staff and ex-staff for photos and memories

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