Library turns a page

Rotorua Library (Te Aka Mauri) interior.

Year One of the renovated Rotorua Public Library is being marked next week with a showcase of products and services.

Visitors will also get the chance to see inside Te Waka Pounamu - the Mobile Learning Centre, the Mobile Library, the Makerspace and the Children's Health Hub.

In the last three years, it is the last of these facilities – the health hub – which has incurred acerbic comment from within the Rotorua community.

The original proposal to combined the library with a children’s health hub extracted much criticism, especially from the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group because it opposes everything and community stalwarts like Rosemary Michie, a staunch Labour Party fixture.

A union for accommodation in the vast library, which underwent extensive refurbishment, between the Rotorua Lakes Council and Lakes District Health Board in the three-storeyed building has proved highly successful.

The health hub accommodates children needing care with a minimum of fuss allied to maximum security, with no disruption to users of the library, looking as new today as when it opened amid pomp and ceremony 12 months ago. The operation is so low key the health hub is hardy the festering open wound the jeremiahs thought it would become. The library remains well read.

Unlike the build-up by promoters of the combined site in which carping was constant, hardly a word of dissent has been stamped in newspaper print.

Te Aka Mauri Library and Children's Health Hub's birthday is on February 3, a council dodger reports.

Both organisations working together.

Six days of themed festivities begin on Tuesday, January 29, showcasing products and services.

Each day has a different focus: Te Ao Māori (the Māori world), technology, health, community, heritage and research, and a children's day.

Library director Jane Gilbert says the milestone has come around quickly.

She says the first year was busy.

"The variety of events and activities planned for the week ensure there is something for everyone."

The first day of festivities will be Hono Whakamana, celebrating the special connection of Te Arawa with Te Aka Mauri, while acknowledging the strong support around the two organisations.

Guest speakers from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, artists, performers and storytellers will entertain. Library tours and quizzes will also be conducted.

Residents are being asked to share their memories of the library which will be used in a display of library memorabilia.

Technology Day - January 30 - will include local specialists in digital applications, virtual reality and cartooning giving talks.

On the Health Day - January 31 - people can find out about wahakura (woven flax bassinets), traditional Māori health, and oral and ear services.

February 1 is the Heritage and Research Day, which will include an ancestry workshop, Rotorua Library: 125 Years screenings and a panel of wahine sharing their story of growing up in Ohinemutu Village.

The Community Day - February 2 - will feature a diverse mix of community and special interest groups.

The Children's Day on February 3 will close the week of celebrations with heritage games, a paper plane contest, face painting and a family movie.


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