Publication:

Whanganui Midweek - 2021-07-21

Data:

Booked out

Front Page

Laurel Stowell

The new community library in Aramoho has been getting about 15 visitors a day since it opened with colour and fanfare on July 2. About 100 people attended the opening on a sunny Friday, Born & Raised Pasifika director Hellen Puhipuhi said. They included Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall, district councillors, kauma¯tua John Maihi, the Reverend Joe Waqa and many children. The library, Te Whare Pukapuka o Aramoho, is in the former dental clinic at the former Aramoho School which closed in 2016. It is open from 11am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday. It’s a partnership between Whanganui District Council and the Pasifika Vision Forum Trust, which runs the adjoining Born & Raised Pasifika early learning centre. Three staff from the centre will be among the library’s six volunteers. Puhipuhi said the library would be great for the centre and suburb. She said grandparents were bringing grandchildren, and parents of three preschoolers were walking to get there. “We want everyone to be hooked on reading. It’s wonderful,” she said. “Children will never be bored if they read, and you learn so much from books.” The library has a collection of 1200 books, which will be rotated regulary. Puhipuhi asked for a slant toward children’s, Maori and Pasifika titles. However, Whanganui District Library did not have many Pasifika books, she said. “We can build that up, with requests. “They’re very obliging and want to increase their range of books to cater for diversity.” The library has a toilet, kitchen facilities for making tea and coffee, free wifi, two internet connected computers and self-service machines for borrowing and returning books and paying overdues by eftpos, and for searching for and requesting books. Still to be added are outdoor tables, an access ramp and a deck. The library is the third suburban one in Whanganui. The others are in Castlecliff and Whanganui East. The Born & Raised Pasifika early learning centre has 37 children based in Aramoho, and another 27 based at Tawhero School. There had been no moves to start a Pasifika primary school for graduates, because they were doing well in mainstream schools, Puhipuhi said. Instead, the trust has leased the buildings of the former Aramoho School and they have become a Pasifika Innovation Hub, used for meetings, holiday programmes and a social enterprise. It has also worked with the council, Department of Conservation and Learning Environment to plant native trees along 200m of the Tutaeika Stream on its boundary.

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