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Final touches underway ahead of Te Aka Mauri opening

Refurbishment of Rotorua’s Haupapa Street library building, Te Aka Mauri, is almost complete with the final touches underway and preparations for the move well advanced.

The building, which has been gifted the name Te Aka Mauri, has received a complete makeover and will be home to Rotorua Library and Lakes District Health Board outpatient child services. The adjoining Jean Batten Square has been extended and transformed into a new community space including a playground and a new raised crossing outside Te Aka Mauri provides a safe zone for crossing and drop-offs.

The library and children’s health hub project is a partnership between Rotorua Lakes Council and the Lakes District Health Board and external funders have granted more than $1m towards special features and equipment for the library and park.

Plans for the move back to the refurbished Haupapa Street building from the temporary library in Pukuatua Street are well advanced with packing underway and new shelving being set up in Te Aka Mauri.

Members of the community will get their first look inside the building during the Te Aka Mauri Open Day on Saturday 3 February (from 10am-4pm). People will be able to check out the new facilities, go on tours through the building and hear about new features and design and cultural aspects, and enjoy a range of free activities and entertainment. It will be free to ride the City Ride buses (excluding Route 15 – Murupara) during the open day. Food will be available for purchase from on-site food stalls during the open day.

“We want as many people as possible to come and check out their new library and park,” Library Director Jane Gilbert says.

“It’s light and airy, a modern environment, and it’s going to be a wonderful change for everyone. We really want people to come and join us at the Te Aka Mauri Open Day so that they can take a look for themselves.

“We’re excited we’ll be able to offer some new features, services and programmes but we’ll also still be providing all the services and programmes we have always provided for the community.”

In order to enable the move back to the refurbished building to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible Rotorua Library will be closed for six days from Saturday 27 January until the community open day. The library will also be open the following day, Sunday 4 February [date corrected], marking the start of the library being open seven days a week.

“It’s a big logistics exercise to move the library but we’ve done it a few times now so we’re getting pretty good at it,” Ms Gilbert says. “We’ll be ready for opening day.”

She says many customers are looking forward to seven-day opening. “There’s also been a real buzz around new spaces such as the Maker Space and genealogy area as well as features such as the large-scale video wall in the Community Pride Space, the works of David Trubridge and the new entrance. It is wonderful to see it all finally taking shape after years of planning.”

While the library will be closed for six days from Saturday 27 January, the Mobile Library service, online services and call centre will operate as usual. Due dates have been extended to 3 February 2018 for any items that would have been due while we closed except for New Release items.

Books can still be returned during the closure with the Pukuatua Street returns slot operating until 3 February and the new returns slot at Te Aka Mauri (1127 Haupapa Street) available from 3 February. The Toy Library which runs from Rotorua Library is unavailable until the community open day.

Further information about the temporary library closure, Open Day and the Te Aka Mauri project are available at www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz

Track the countdown to the opening via the Rotorua Library Facebook page.

What can I expect to see inside Te Aka Mauri?

• A ‘Makerspace’ - a dedicated space epicentre for prototyping, entrepreneurship and leading learning.

• An iMac Computer Suite

• Community Pride Space – a large scale video wall

• The Discovery Centre where people can collaborate, innovate and create using information and resources. Also a space for seminars, holiday programmes and performances.

• Interactive Fenton Agreement Display

• David Trubridge sculptures

• Don Stafford Room holds Heritage Collections for Te Arawa and Rotorua research.

• Genealogy room

• Community meeting room with kitchen facilities and after-hours access

• New tiered seating in the children’s area of the library

• Māori cultural features

• Art features

• Coffee cart

What is Te Aka Mauri?

Te Aka Mauri was the name which has been gifted to the building and reflects the nature of the services operating within the building (ie the library and child health services).

The name reflects the shared vision to create a facility of excellence to advance community wellbeing and understanding. It was gifted to the building by the project’s cultural reference group, Ngā Mahinga Toi which provided important guidance for various aspects and design elements of the shared project.

What was the cost of the project?

The project budget was $12.8m Rotorua Lakes Council and up to $4m Lakes District Health Board.

Final cost will be reported to elected members at next week’s Operations & Monitoring Committee meeting.

Why was completion of the project delayed?

The opening was originally scheduled for late November 2017 but during the final construction phase contractors working on the project had difficulty securing sub-contractors due to high demand for tradespeople. This pushed completion out about a month and it was decided to delay moving in and opening to the public until the building and surrounds were finished, rather than operating around ongoing work.

There was no additional cost to Council or the health board as a result of the delay.

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