Friday, 8 December 2017

Christmas in Rotorua a special time of year

Rotorua Library loves being in the Parades

Rotorua Library's first ever Santa Parade entry was our NEW Mobile Library Bus in the 1988 Parade with a big red Christmas ribbon around it's middle.

Then in the Rotorua Public Library Centennial year of 1989, staff members, Joanne & Mary Ellen volunteered to stand on the float as pictured below.

Christmas parade 1989 our Centennial Year
Rotorua Library then had a break from the parade scene until 1999 when our next NEW Mobile Library Bus was entered.  For the year 2000 the library borrowed a bus from a staff member (Lea-Ann Carter) which was decorated and ably assisted by more staff and a few of the children of Library staff and hangers on. The photograph below was taken just before heading around to Rangiuru Street to take a place in the long line of floats.

Christmas Parade in 2000
In 2001 Fletcher Tuatara made an appearance in his egg...which duly hatched in the Library...
Tractor driven by Staff Member Brent, Christmas 2001
Once Fletcher was 'born' he made a number of appearances in the Library and at some local schools. For the 2003 Santa Parade, Fletcher along with his (food) caterpillars joined the fun.

Fletcher and the caterpillars, Christmas Parade 2003
In the 2004 Santa Parade, Fletcher went along with some cute Fairy Tale Characters.
Fairy princess, Puss n Boots, Little Boy Blue and Pinocchio, Christmas Parade 2004
Rotorua Library had a year off to plan another fabulous Christmas themed float, with little angels of Library Staff and one or two staff as well.

Christmas Angels, Christmas Parade 2006

Rotorua Library Staff 2009
Christmas is always a good excuse for a bit of fun!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Rotorua Celebrations c1903-1940

Rotorua Carnival Week 

The inaugural Carnival Week - Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve was 1903

The first ever carnival was held from 24th February of 1903 for 1 week.  Visitors from Auckland and all the surrounding districts were in Rotorua for the commencement of the 1st Annual Rotorua Carnival... Read about the opening of the carnival, how many attended the event and the parades which included canoes. The highlights of the carnival were the Maori events which included a war canoe race.
Source: "Papers Past" Auckland Star, 24 February 1903 pg. 5

February 1907 – Don Stafford recorded the following letter from the Rotorua Carnival Committee of 1907 in his "Events folder 1870-1929".
The Parade entrants in this order:
The Marshall on horseback 
Mounted Police
The Darktown Band
Sir J.G. Ellis (The Official)
Maori best dressed teams
- in between each team a mounted maori on a painted horse
Mud Card & Mud Man
Rotorua Volunteer Fire Brigade
Decorated Vehicles
Ambulance Cart, Horse and Barrels
Salvage Corp. 2 men and cart.
Poster and Advertising costumes
Poi Dancers 
Rotorua Brass Band
School Cadets
Vehicle with Miss Lundon's Maypole Dancers
The Bullock
Maori War Party led by a painted horse
The Oddfellows
Children in gala costume
Decorated Prams
Decorated Bicycles 
Motor Cars
Corbett's Exhibition on a cart
Clowns and Funny Men scattered right through.
The Committee consisted of the following: D. Gardner, Lawrence Birks, F.A. Bennett, R.B.T. Miller, W.E. Bennett, Charles Clarke, C.W. Grove, Thornton Walker, J.W. McLean and A.F. Ellis.

 In 1908 the Carnival was expanded due to its popularity with locals and tourists. It was held 19th Feb 1908-18th March 1908 with many events.

Beyond this date there is no mention of the Carnival again until 1928-29 when it was a week-long event held 24th December to 1st January. Culminating with a New Year’s Eve Dance at the Majestic Ball Room, the band was Epi Shalfoon and his Melody Boys.  

The organisers from this time on were members of the Rotorua Borough Council. Advancement Committee.

In 1930 Rotorua opened its ‘Boxing Day carnival programme preceded by 22 earthquakes said to be ‘’more noise than shake’’ Papers Past, Northern Advocate, 27th December 1930 pg. 7

Carnival Week c.1933
From : Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19330111-43-1
In 1931 a Rodeo was held at Cochrane Park near the Ohau Channel. An advert in the New Zealand Herald listed the following attractions: “Steer Riding, Speed Boat races, Aquaplaning, Maori Entertainments and Water Sports”

In 1932 there was a “King Carnival” who opened the Carnival Week at the Town Square, which was illuminated by coloured lights. There followed a welcome of King Carnival and his suite by Mayor Mr T. Jackson.

By 1934 it was decided that a full time staff member would be required to run the event and Mr W. Lints of Wanganui was appointed, he subsequently resigned in 1935. This did not deter Council from organising the next one via the town’s information centre staff.

In 1941 the carnival was cancelled due to the circumstances (WW2) & in 1943 when there was a fuel shortage (again due to WW2). 

In the Auckland Star, 3 January 1942, p.3 it was reported that “The weather joined forces with wartime restrictions to dampen the carnival spirit” and “for years the number of visitors to the New Year Carnival had been estimated at 15,000. Many old residents were of the opinion that there were fewer visitors than on any occasion since the first carnival was held about 18 years ago”

With thanks to the Don Stafford Collection and Papers Past for the information above.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Rotorua Library joins the technology train

Rotorua Library, into the 21st Century.

Our Technology time line.

LARRI (Library Automated Recording and Retrieving of Information) our first ever computer, 1987

followed by DYNIX in 1991, HORIZON in 2002, KOTUI, our current one 2015.

September 1999 - CD-Rom Collection for customers launched.

1st Website - 2002, new updated Website April 2006.

Our Website 2006, screen capture on Wayback Machine

November 2004 - New collection for children, DVD's for hire.

January 2006 - Scan to email service via the Library Photocopier.

September 2007 - our BEBO page was launched.

February 2009 - Automated Returns Slot.

Teenzone's first attempt at making a movie! the movie was made in 5 scenes and posted to YouTube during the 2011/12 Summer School Holidays.

Our new website 2014, screen capture on Wayback Machine
eBook and eAudio - September 2012

"eBOOKS available FREE to our library members.
We have 880 titles available—children’s, teens and adults, but this will increase regularly. eAUDIOBOOKS,were also available at this time.

Providers : Bolinda - Borrow Box App becomes available in February 2013.

                  Wheelers -

Kete Rotorua, 2012 : online Archive for Photo's, Newsletters, Video, Memories of Rotorua.

Monitor system for paying fees & fines online - March 2014.

Social Media : Facebook c.2011, Twitter c.2012, Pinterest c.2014 & and Instagram 2017.

Our New Online Catalogue 2015.

Press Display - 2013. The world's Newspapers online and free for customers through the Library Catalogue website.

Tech Tuesday - February - March 2015
Free workshops to show customers how to use the ebook collection.

SteppingUp: May 2015- 
Stepping UP is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust, a not-for profit community trust established by the Wellington City Council in 1996 to promote digital literacy, initially for Wellington citizens, but in the year 2000 the Trust expanded its scope to all New Zealanders.

Courses are run every Tuesday in the Library, bookings essential.
Press Reader - July 2016. The new improved Online Newspapers of the world. Available free through the Library Catalogue website.

Zinio - Dec 2016 becomes RBDigital - June 2017 - Magazines online free, for Library Customers, through the Rotorua Library Website.

BookMyne APP - May 2017 

Searching the Library catalogue, made easy & fast.
Te Waka Pounamu - April 2017

The Mobile Learning Centre, a Mercedes Sprinter van, is fitted with digital equipment and will be used as part of the library's mobile services. Purchase of the van was made possible by a donation from the Friends of the Rotorua Library.

Our Website Today 2017 available 2017
Access thousands of courses by expert teachers covering business, technology and creative fields that can help you pursue personal and professional goals. is an online learning site that hosts a constantly growing library of over 5,000 courses that include over 130,000 videos. Courses cover a variety of topics (including business, design, web development and multimedia skills) and software (Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite and open source applications) that can help you pursue personal and professional goals. These courses are delivered by expert instructors and feature searchable transcripts that make it easy to find quick answers to questions. They also feature Learning Paths and Certificates of Completion.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Rotorua Library with help from our Friends

Friends of the Rotorua Public Library

Also Known as 'Friends of the Rotorua District Library'


The Friends of the Rotorua District Library have been in existence since 1998 and have done great things for the Library and greater Rotorua community by fund raising Bookfairs, helping with Author visits.

From Phyl Sturmfels Scrapbook of the Friends Book Fairs at the Sportsdrome
The Friends now have a permanent book stall at Kuirau Park and it is run by them every 1st & 3rd Saturday's of the month at the same time as the Kuirau Park market (a Rotary initiative). The building they use was once a Tea kiosk, an Aquarium and ablution block.

The money they have raised has paid for a number of Children's Library events where Storytellers have come from Rotorua talent and also from other NZ places. The Friends had a lounge area in the Library which was created when the Library expanded in 2009.

Friends of the Library Lounge 2009

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Rotorua Library on the road

Rotorua Library launch of our first Mobile Library service. 

Our 1st Mobile, ably staffed by Judy Thompson 1985-1991
Our Mobile Librarians : Judy Thompson 1985-1991, Lisa Figgins and Su Potter job shared 1991-1994 , Kay McGregor 1994-1995, Brent McKenna 1996-2004, Rose Foley 2004-2008 and Leigh Taylor 2008-2015.

As well as full time driver/librarians for the service we also were helped by a number of relief drivers, Peter Mellor, Susan Palmer, Belinda Strickland, Marilyn Wood, Kay McGregor, Tracey Anderson, Dean Phillips, Brian Stewart, Andy Gilbert, Lindsay Robertson and Mike Smith.

Christmas Parade 1988

Our NEW Mobile LIBRUS July 1999
This map shows some of the Mobile Stops, c. 1998. Published by Rotorua District Council.

New Paint Job 2011, Design by Sue Heke

Look out for our friendly staff
Rotorua Library Mobile Timetable

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Rotorua Library is moving forward

Rotorua Library, but first a look into the past. 

It all began in 1889 when a few like minded citizens decided the town needed a library.


In March 1889 some 15 residents met in an old building next to Mrs Morrison’s Hotel at Ohinemutu to establish a Public Reading Room with home and colonial newspapers, periodicals, etc in which members could also play chess and draughts.
·        Committee of 12 was chosen with Dr Ginders elected as president. (see the document below) consisting of 3 Storekeepers, 2 Boarding House Proprietors, 1 Architect, 1 Saddler, 1 Surveyor, 1 Coach Driver, 1 Native Agent, 1 Teacher & 1 Carpenter.
·        Subscriptions were set at £1 per annum ($175) and visitors were to be allowed to use the Reading Room free of charge.
·        £25 ($4384) was donated by those present together with books and periodicals.
The Chairman of the Town Board lent the new library the use of the old building which had been first the Comet store and later a school. The District Superintendent of Native Schools let them use the desks and forms from the old schoolhouse and they obtained a kerosene lamp and a stove.

·        It opened to the public on 10 April 1889 with 335 volumes and 12 periodicals. A ladies’ reading room was also set up.
·        Hours were 11 am to 4 pm and 6-10 pm except that it would close at 9 pm on Sundays.
·        There was an honorary librarian, a Mr H. McFadgen (Saddler), but it probably wasn’t supervised as in December 1889 access was limited to subscription members only as many newspapers and periodicals had disappeared from the Reading Room.

 VICTORIA INSTITUTE was opened in November 1898
·        Miss Emma Coppell (or Coppel) was appointed caretaker and librarian at £10 per annum ($1571) Note this is £2 a year less than the cleaner was paid in 1890 and £5 less than the custodian in 1891
Description of Victoria Institute in about 1907
·        Set back from Arawa Street and next to the Maori Land Court.
·        The Library and museum was on one side of the building and on the other side was the Institute’s reception and cloakroom and an office for the Town Clerk.
·        The Library had about 1300 volumes at this time.

Municipal Building on corner Arawa and Fenton Streets 
·        New Library in Municipal Building was opened on 14 October 1940 though the children’s books were not shifted to the new library until February 1941.
The Library officially went free (except for light fiction and magazines) on the 17 February 1941 
·        Branch Library in Brookland Road, Western Heights opened on 12 May 1969. It closed in July 1981.

In July 1970 the library moved for 6 months to temporary larger premises in the Masonic Building. It was there for 21 years.
·        Throughout the 1970s and 80s there was increased recognition that the Library was not adequate and needed expanding and upgrading.
·        February 1972 the NZ Library Association Conference was held in Rotorua (and 2001 and 2007).
·        1973 Miss Lesley Armstrong (Miss A) took over as Librarian.

Our 100 Year Celebration cake, enjoyed by staff & customers.

With thanks to the Don Stafford Collection and late staff member Mary Ellen Wilson, Reference Librarian, for the information and copy of the Library founding document. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

Rotorua Arts : Music Appreciation Group 1946-

Rotorua : All Things Musical

In 1946 a Musicians Society existed and Mrs Sheaf was involved with that, she was nominated as a committee member of the Community Arts Centre formed in October of 1946, a provisional committee that also included the following people: Mr H. Taylor of the Operatic & Dramatic Society; Mr S.A. Cooper of the Drama League; Mrs H.E. Davis of the Women’s Club; Mrs G. Cruikshank of the NZ Education Institute; Mr L.H. Thompson from Rotorua High School and Mr Kusabs from the Rotorua Advancement Committee.

In 1946 a Rotorua Music Appreciation Group was formed by Mr James (Jim) Healy, an avid classical music fan who had just recently moved to Rotorua to work for the D.S.I.R. as the Government Volcanologist.  He became the founder Chairman of the Community Arts Council and was also the Record & Concert Reviewer for the Daily Post from 1952-1988.
Excerpt from Weekender 11th March 1988

In his role as reviewer, Mr Healy met with most of the visiting musicians… his first review was of the Tancibudek-Kriegel Trio, the trio consisted of Czechoslovakians  Mrs Tancibudek played the piano and Mr Tancibudek who played the Oboe and Mr Kriegel  a violinist from Austria. The trio had unbeknown to Mr Healy as Mr Kriegel had brought his own accompanist, he is reported to have said “he could not stand the Tancibudek woman” … Rotorua attracted some very good musicians including the Pascal Quartet … the Music Federation had preconceptions of what music would suit Rotorua’s provincial audience which did restrict the range of concerts’

Mr Healy said that “up 70 people came along to the Music Appreciation Group’s monthly meetings to listen to classical music records” however once records became more available to numbers dwindled, this group became the Rotorua Chamber Music Society in 1955, this later became the Rotorua Music Federation in 1980.’ 

Mr Healy also reviewed records for Rotorua’s first record shop in c.1962 (possibly Wiseman’s or Begg’s), he reviewed around 4000 records and he amassed a huge collection which ‘lined two walls of his home’.

With Thanks to the Don Stafford Collection Biography and Arts Folders for the above information.