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Hamilton’s new Rototuna library: Blessing marks final touches complete

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Local mana whenua, Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate, and elected members, bless the official opening of the remaining spaces of Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library. Photo / Hamilton City Council

Hamilton’s Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library is fully prepared for book enthusiasts, with the finishing touches on the newest community space now complete.

Since the library opened in July, more than 150,000 visitors have passed through the doors or had coffee at the on-site café, Chapter One.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate, elected members, staff, community groups, and local mana whenua, gathered this week to bless and officially open the remaining spaces around Te Kete Aronui.

This included play and outdoor spaces with swings, shade, and seating areas, and an upgrade to North City Road that provided safer connections for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, and an additional area for car parks.

A pou (Māori carved post/pole) is expected to be unveiled by mana whenua during Matariki next year.

The new play and outdoor spaces of the Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library in Hamilton, is officially open. Photo / Hamilton City Council
The new play and outdoor spaces of the Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library in Hamilton, is officially open. Photo / Hamilton City Council

Mayor Southgate said the visitor numbers were simply amazing and demonstrated the demand for quality community facilities in our city.

“In my view, libraries are taonga (treasures) for our community. This was part of council’s commitment to create a vibrant heart for the growing north-east Hamilton community, that is a great place to live, work, play, and visit.

“This library and the surrounding Rototuna Village are a great example of community-led placemaking. Feedback from the local community and mana whenua have strongly influenced its design, clearly ensuring it was fit for purpose”.

Council chairwoman for Community and Natural Environment Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, said the library is “hugely significant for the community.

Hamilton’s Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library, has officially opened it's outdoor play spaces to the public. Photo / Hamilton City Council
Hamilton’s Te Kete Aronui Rototuna Library, has officially opened it’s outdoor play spaces to the public. Photo / Hamilton City Council

“The entire project was community-led with the community telling the council what they needed and what they would like to see, they were on the journey from the very start.

“The Rototuna growth area is over 20 years old so it’s taken a while for the community infrastructure to capture what was needed. People who live in the area have been expecting something for a very long time, and it feels good to reach this milestone where it’s all done now.

“The community will own this space and they have a role to play in keeping it looking as good as it is”, she said.

The library’s name, Te Kete Aronui, refers to one of the three baskets of knowledge collected by Taawhaki in the Māori legend, and it was chosen by mana whenua to reflect the role of the library as a community space for learning and knowledge.

Mana whenua had also been involved in the design of the library and also the wider Rototuna Village, ensuring the history and stories of the area were reflected throughout.

“The village is now well-connected to the rest of Hamilton through safe roading, public transport options, and shared pathways for pedestrians, people on bikes and public transport”, Mayor Southgate said.

The Rototuna Village was part of the council’s 2018-28 Long-Term Plan, and construction of the Village began in early 2022.

Features of Te Kete Aronui and the wider Village include:

  • Small and large meeting rooms, flexible spaces available to book including after hours.
  • Council services; rates payments and dog registrations.
  • Hamilton’s third Changing Places bathroom facility.
  • On-site café, Chapter One.
  • An Auaha Makerspace, purpose-built for creative technologies.
  • Free wi-fi, with computer, printing and scanning services available.
  • Kids and young adult zones, community lounge, study/work area.
  • Full range of library services to support customer information needs.
  • Space to exhibit library-curated displays.
  • Borrow from self-checkouts, collect holds, plus return items 24/7.
  • A skate space and play space integrated with the outdoor areas.
  • Upgraded North City Road to make it safer for pedestrians, people on bikes and public transport.
  • Two car parking areas.

Malisha Kumar is a multimedia journalist based in Hamilton. She joined the Waikato Herald in 2023 after working for Radio 1XX in Whakatāne.

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