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New Zealand’s First EV Mobile Library Service To Start In Upper Hutt

New Zealand’s first electric vehicle mobile library service, Mangaroa, is coming to Upper Hutt Libraries. Blessed this morning, Thursday 22 July, by Matua Kura Moeahu of Te Āti Awa, this service will be in addition to the existing mobile library bus Pūrehurehu and will help to provide greater access to library resources around Upper Hutt. This EV service will begin in early September of 2021 visiting various community spaces including schools and rest homes.

“We are delighted with Mangaroa, and are very proud to have the first EV mobile library service in New Zealand,” says Upper Hutt Libraries Manager, Marion Read. “Our purpose-built EV has been worth the wait and we’re looking forward to connecting with more of our local community.”

Keeping in line with the revival and acknowledgment of local place names, flora and fauna once abundant in the upper reaches of the Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt River) the name Mangaroa (Long Stream) was selected for the new EV to acknowledge the Mangaroa River which is one of the four main tributaries feeding Te Awa Kairangi. The Mangaroa River lies at the western foothills of the Remutaka Ranges originating opposite Stokes Valley and flows north for the length of Upper Hutt entering Te Awa Kairangi at Te Marua.

As the Mangaroa River travels the full length of Upper Hutt providing life-supporting nutrients to Te Awa Kairangi, the new EV mobile library service travels the length of Upper Hutt making readily available both mātauranga (knowledge) and manaakitanga (support) to those within our community who cannot readily access it.

As natural features, the first, Pūrehurehu originates on the western side of Te Awa Kairangi and the second, Mangaroa orignates on the eastern side therefore providing a balance in relation to our most prominent taonga (treasure), Te Awa Kairangi.

The artwork on the exterior of the EV by Christopher Davidson has been designed to continue the story first brought to life through Pūrehurehu, the mobile library bus launched in 2020. The artwork on Mangaroa and its custom-built portable shelving inside has elements of iconic scenes the community of Upper Hutt know and love with references to Te Awa Kairangi, and the flora and fauna surrounding the city. The landscape imagery on the EV includes books and illustrations of solar panels to serve as reminders of the eco-friendly nature of the mobile library service.

Mangaroa was custom-built to be a fit-for-purpose EV mobile library service providing outreach access to the community. The EV chassis and cab were purchased from a local dealer in Lower Hutt; and the building of the custom storage pod at the rear of the vehicle was completed by local manufacturing experts, MF King Industries, which specialise in fabricating truck and trailer solutions. When the service begins in September, the vehicle will be used as a multipurpose outreach facility to work with various parts of the Upper Hutt community.

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