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New Library Creates Community Excitement

Opening Of Mangere East's New Library Creates Community Excitement

Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau, will officially open the new replacement library catering for the community of Mangere East on 16th November.

A family festival will follow the opening from 3.00 to 5.00pm with entertainment from Tiare Avaiki Cook Island Performing Art, Siueli'o e Pacifiki - a Tongan Cultural Group and storyteller Tanya Batt.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says, "An exceptional design, courtesy of the architects Jasmax has seen the creation of a modern, functional, attractive building with a Pacific flavour. The project was managed by Octa Assocates Limited and constructed by Hawkins Construction Limited. The finished product proudly reflects the community we serve.

Mangere East Library is a credit to the many people who have worked hard to bring this project to fruition."

The library, which is modern and light, with a Pacific feel, has created much excitement and has become a prominent feature in the community. Features include study areas, IT facilities and an outdoor reading courtyard.

Another of the outstanding features of the library is the artwork, which was conceived as an integral part of the building's planning from the beginning. Four of Manukau's leading artists worked with the architect and project team to interpret sites in, on and around the building, investing each with meaning.

The artists, Gabrielle Belz, Peter Boyd, Terry Kalvenes and Richard Cooper, worked to a unifying kaupapa which inspired their decision making.

Arts Planner Priscilla Thompson says "The artwork carries layers of meaning for local people to enjoy, enhancing a special place designed to share knowledge, learning and information with all its users. The art has been created in tune with local stories and issues, giving back to the community a reflection of itself."


The artwork for the Mangere East Library was conceived as an integral part of the building’s planning from the beginning. Four leading Manukau artists were chosen to work with the architect and project team to interpret sites in, on and around the building, investing each with meaning.

The artists, Gabrielle Belz, Peter Boyd, Terry Klavenes and Richard Cooper, worked to a unifying kaupapa which directed their decision making and gave inspiration.

The whakapapa term tatai hikohiko means literally ‘a line of flashes’; a line of luminaries, a line of ancestors. The library is seen as one of these flashes, linking points in journeys of many kinds:

I roto I o hikoi Peka mai Kia whangaitia koe Ki nga hinengaro tatai hikihiko o te ao

In your journeys Call in That your mind may be nourished By linking with the great minds of the world.

Richard Cooper Richard Cooper has created a set of sculptures to greet visitors as they arrive near the new library; immense wood poles topped with stainless steel catching the night light, mark the library as a special place.

Gabrielle Belz Pavement: Interlocking hooks, getting “hooked” on learning. Hook – Matau. Matauranga – learning, knowledge. Symbols made from stainless steel and set into paving, reflect the natural world, the world of technology, and the deeper aspects of both. There is an opportunity to go “treasure hunting” – a connection with research. Elements of the Phoenician alphabet were chosen as being the common ancestor of many written languages. The leaf at one end of the pathway is representative of the challenge presented to the seeker of knowledge, the feather at another entrance way, is the achievement gained.

The glass doors hold the image of a cloak over the land. Cloak – conferring protection, dignity, acknowledgement of the importance of those passing through the doors.

The Pou represents the Matuku – bittern, Pukeko, Kahu, - hawk, and seabirds of the area.

Terry Klavenes Through the front doors you can see Terry Klavenes’ large wall disc on the exterior opposite wall, depicting the great Pacific voyages and the journeying stories of the Manukau Harbour.

Peter Boyd: Children’s Area – Outside Panels The panels on the outside of the childrens’ area of the library are based on tukutuku (the woven lattice panels used between the carvings inside the meeting house) but bring together many of the elements of the meeting house and the knowledge systems that it embodies.

One of the interpretations of tukutuku is “to release” and in this context it is the release of history, ideas and knowledge. So tukutuku patterns are used here to refer to all the different kinds of knowledge stored and released by writers through these library “flash points”.

The ten geometrical patterns used are based on patterns used widely in whare throughout the country. The name of each provides a point of entry into a different area of understanding, another perspective, more chains of connection. All of the patterns are incomplete acknowledging that this building up and connecting with knowledge is an ongoing process.

Running up the centre of each panel is a tumatakahuki rod originally used to help stabilise the panel and prevent the slats from sliding. It is used here with its carved heads and binding to symbolise whakapapa – both of the writers and all the connections between different kinds of knowledge.

The tukutuku panels also utilise materials which will stand up to their outside location – so the stainless steel forms used to build up the patterns and artificial fibre for the bindings.

Inside, the children’s area has a set of similar rods carrying the meaning through into the heart of the building, something for children to touch, play on and be inspired by.

The art created for this library building carries layers of meaning for local people to enjoy, enhancing a special place designed to share knowledge, learning and information with all it’s users. The art has been created in tune with local stories and issues, giving back to the community a reflection of itself.

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