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Manukau City Council Youth Library Opening

Hon Sandra Lee
4 August 2001 Speech Notes

Local Government Minister's speech at opening of Manukau City Council Youth Library


(Please check against delivery)

Sir Barry Curtis, ladies and gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you this morning. Manukau City is one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand. By 2005 Manukau should overtake Christchurch as New Zealand’s second largest city.

Manukau City will not only be large but will be, and if fact already is, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in New Zealand. Significantly, Manukau is home to the highest number of Maori and Pacific Islands people of any city in New Zealand. Manukau is also home to a very high number of Asian residents.

Ethnic diversity brings a wide range of languages, cultural values and spiritual beliefs which have a bearing on the range of services that need to be provided and for the way they need to be provided.

Local government, like central government, faces a range of formidable challenges in the twenty first century.

This Coalition Government is doing its part to provide local authorities and their communities with the tools to help meet these challenges.

The Government has initiated a review of the old 1974 Local Government Act, some of whose provisions can be traced back to the 19th century. In June I released a consultation document which sets out some ideas the Government has on how local government should operate in the future. We’ve asked people to give us their thoughts by 30 August.

This Coalition Government has a faith and a belief in the principles of good, democratic, local governance. We have a belief that local government is an integral part of our system of democratic government.

We recognise, though, that many of our problems cannot be solved by central and local government acting alone. We need to be able to work together as partners to successfully tackle issues, particularly the big ones that cross both central and local government boundaries.

As a practical demonstration of the new approach this Government is taking in developing a new relationship with local government. The Prime Minister and I together with other involved Ministers, meet council representatives in Local Government Forums held twice yearly. Local government representatives were also involved at the outset in the review of the Local Government Act and made a valuable contribution.

While the quality of life in our country in future will probably depend more on the quality of our environmental management than any other single factor, social, cultural and economic development will be tremendously important, particularly in communities such as Manukau.

In meeting the development needs of the Manukau community, it is heartening to see Manukau Council ahead of the play. This Youth Library is an excellent example of a council contributing in a concrete way to the social development of the Manukau community. I also congratulate the Council on the involvement of the community in the project.

The need for a library in Clover Park was agreed following informal discussions with school principals and teachers and church leaders. Potential users were to be students, pre-schoolers, schools and kohanga reo, teachers and parents. Indications were that it would be used as a resource centre for school projects, for study, research, class visits, personal reading, storytelling and as a meeting place for community groups.

Independent research, particularly with Pacific Island residents in the Clover Park/Flat Bush area, was undertaken to confirm the above. The Youth Library concept was then included in the Council’s Library Strategy document. The Council then conducted extensive consultation with the community to determine what resources and services were required. From this came the concept of a youth library/study centre/ home work centre.

Manukau Libraries staff consulted local students for their ideas on the type of space they would like and the resources and services they would use. Many of the ideas students put forward have been adopted for the library.

The design of the building reflects the mainly Pacific community this library will serve and the name-Tupu- was chosen as it signifies “new growth” in Maori and several other Pacific languages. The library is there to nurture the young people of Clover Park and help them grow to their full potential.

The Tupu-Dawson Road Youth Library will focus on providing educational support services to the Maori and Pacific Island youth living here with the emphasis on using learning resources, including computer resources, on site.

I believe this facility, which has come about after a five year consultation and planning process, is a great tribute both to Manukau Council and to the Clover Park community. The process in determining this community’s social needs and the concrete result, will serve as a model for other councils, I am sure.

I have great pleasure in declaring the Tupu- Dawson Road Youth Library open.

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