Kuaotunu Library “a wonderful new community asset”

The new Kuaotunu Library held its first open day a few weeks ago and more than 50 families have already signed up. 

The Kuaotunu Library used to be for many years in a back room of the Kuaotunu Hall and offered limited access to the public. During the AGM of the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association on 16 April 2017, it was decided that a library committee should be formed to  investigate the development of a 24/7 access library similar to the Ferry Landing Library.

The Kuaotunu Library Committee, made up of a group of volunteers, was formed after the meeting and not only identified dilapidated changing and storage rooms in the toilet block at the Kuaotunu Domain as the preferred site for a new library, but also negotiated a $30,000 grant from the Kuaotunu Domain Board for the development of the library.

Building work started after all the consents were obtained. The old changing and storage rooms were converted to the inside of the library and an undercover deck was added. Thames-Coromandel District Council has responsibility for the upkeep of the toilet block on the Kuaotunu Domain and has repainted the building and replaced the roof of the building.

“We’re very happy with how the library turned out,” says Maxine McRobbie, chair of the Kuaotunu Library Committee. “The location is perfect. The Kuaotunu Domain is connected to Kuaotunu Village with a bridge over the Kuaotunu Stream and at the domain are tennis courts, BBQs, public toilets, a petanque court and a children’s playground. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to complete the library to such a high standard without the support from the Kuaotunu and wider Mercury Bay communities. Dugald Hoyland arranged several fundraisers, Greg and Chris Sammons donated the proceeds of rock ‘n’ roll lessons they hosted, Belinda Sammons and Josh Smith of Bayleys Real Estate paid for performer Gerry Lee to entertain everyone at one of Dugald’s fundraisers, Guthrie Bowron Whitianga supplied the carpet for the library at a significant discount and Whitianga Signs provided us with a sign for the library at no charge.

“We have a good selection of books in the library, including a non-fiction section. We’re grateful to the Mercury Bay Library in Whitianga for a substantial donation of books. We’re always on the lookout for more books that were published in the past 10 years.

“We also need to thank TCDC for all their help and, of course, the Kuaotunu Domain Board for their grant.”

It costs $10 per family per year to join the library. Access is available to members 24/7 through a lock box containing a key to the library door. Members sign books they want to borrow out through a manual card system. “The ideal is obviously an electronic lending system, but such a system will be costly and there’s always the risk that something can go wrong,” says Maxine. “For now we’ll stick with a tried and tested manual system.”

Inside the library are two items of note. The one is a coffee table made by Hamish Noble of kauri joists that used to form part of the old floor that was some time ago removed from the Kuaotunu Hall. The other is an old chair that came from the original Kuaotunu Library, long before the library was confined to a back room of the Kuaotunu Hall. On the underside of the chair is a map of Kuaotunu as the village was laid out in the early 1900s.

“All that needs to happen now is for more families to join the library and the people of Kuaotunu to enjoy what’s a wonderful new community asset,” says Maxine.

Reproduced courtesy of the Mercury Bay Informer 


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