Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chamberlain Street in 1969

Te Takere is being created by combining the Levin Library on Bath Street with the Countdown Building on Chamberlain Street (Levin Mall carpark). The Countdown building was opened in 1970, and the Levin Mall to it its immediate north in 1971.

This photo looks north along Chamberlain Street in 1969 before construction began on the Mall. It is one of a series of photographs taken by Dorothy Picken who was the Librarian at the time. More of her photos can be found on Kete Horowhenua.

Echoes of Tenants Past

The echoes of tenants past were heard last week when this old McKenzie logo was found on a door being removed from the old Countdown space. The Countdown space was originally McKenzies and opened in November 1970.

It originally had doors opening to the north, where the Mall is now, and to the south, onto the concrete area at the end of the existing library. The Levin Mall opened a year later, in 1971. McKenzies later became Woolworths and then much later, sometime after 1991 it became Countdown.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inside colours

The cheerful sound of giant woodpeckers and the grumble of unseen machinery from beyond the wall is taking a small break. However smiles continue unabated as work generally progresses towards our new building. One of the greatest pleasures is sharing the news of a positive outlook with library users. Yes! We are expanding! Say goodbye to the empty abandoned-looking shell and HELLO to progress. Imagine the the incredible services we will be able to offer, the space we will have, the exhibitions we will show. The pride we will have in working in such a dynamic library and community centre.

Those steel beams are huge!

This morning the noise in the back alley drew us out to see what was going on.  Huge steel beams that had been removed from inside were being loaded onto a truck to be taken away.  What a precision exercise it was.  The skill of the guys who are responsible for moving such weighty items is amazing.  Three men, one truck and the job was done in minutes!

Firstly the crane on the truck was used to drag the beams out of the building entrance to where the guys were able to safely hook it up.

It didn't take long at all for the beam to be swung ever so gently up over the truck to where it could be loaded for carting away.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Now we can see what all the noise was about...

Things progress apace!  What a difference a few days make.  The floor inside the old building has now been  leveled out ready for resurfacing.  The footing has been dug for the new concrete block wall between the library and the Mall (a fire requirement), and a large hole has been dug to accommodate the workings of the new lift that will make it easy for folk to get to the spacious mezzanine floor.  A new void has been created by the removal of some huge steel beams in one corner.  This will be over one of the new meeting spaces.  And now we can see where the openings joining the new space with the old library are going to be.  Not as wide as we imagined they were going to look, but I'm sure they will be fine.  It's such a big space that it is a bit difficult to imaging how it is going to look once it is filled up!  By the time the building team go off for the Christmas Break the demolition phase should be over and the building should be ready for them to start construction in the new year.

The channel for the new fire wall - no wonder it was noisy in the Mall while they were digging it!

Thanks to Mario and his team for saving the noisiest part of their work until the library was closed yesterday.  We really appreciated your consideration.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Peek inside

A peek inside this morning let us see what all of the noise is about.  There are concrete footings where freezers and other equipment used to stand that have to be removed to give us a level floor.  There are channels to be dug in the existing concrete.  So men driving the heavy machinery are making rapid progress.   Some of the steel beams that support the existing mezzanine floor are being removed to create void above the back corner which will let in lots of natural daylight.  It's all very busy and we are grateful to the site foreman, Mario Hori te Pa, for making it possible for us to keep this log.

The big jack hammer in action.

North end of the interior - the truck parked inside  makes it really obvious how much room there is inside building.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reflections of a staff member

I was working away at my desk this morning and kept feeling that something was missing. It finally dawned on me that it was blissfully quiet. No jack hammers causing the walls to vibrate and the teeth to chatter. I can actually concentrate on my work. I know that this is just a respite before it all starts up again. I really don’t mind too much. Te Takere is on its way.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Laying the stone, Tihi Pukematawai

A stone flown in by helicopter will give “energy” and “life force” to Te Takere, after it was laid at the front entrance of Horowhenua’s new community centre.
More than 40 people turned out for the 7am blessing  on Monday to see the mauri kohatu, stone, laid by Muaupoko Tribal Authority chief executive Steve Hirini, followed by a karakia, and waiata.
Mayor Brendan Duffy said the laying of the mauri was significant.
“We have tangata whenua, representatives from the community, library trust, library volunteers and council, all strongly and tightly surrounding the stone because we recognise how culturally important it is to have the soul of our community finally being established here in Levin.”
Everyone was invited to throw in a handful of dirt over the mauri before it was finally covered over.
Symbolising the recreation stories of Tane-nui-na-rangi ascending,   bringing three baskets of knowledge from Nga Rangi Tu Haha, the stone had its own “dramatic” coming down off the mountain.
Horowhenua Land Search and Rescue was activated when Levin man Kerehi Wi Warena, who had gone into the Tararuas early Saturday morning to find the right mauri, failed to return that evening, and had still had not shown up by Sunday afternoon.
Mr Wi Warena said he intended to walk up to Arete Peak, a trek he has made many times, and be back within 12 hours.
 “I had no idea where that rock would be, and had every intention of getting it off the highest point at Arete, but the mountain, sky and elements have to talk to me.
“Everything has to be right, and come to gather for the taonga to present itself.”
At the peak, thick cloud cover made it impossible to see anything, and Mr Wi Warena made the decision to stay the night in the hut, and head back the next morning.
At Arete Pukematawai on the descent, the cloud parted, “revealing” the whole district - and the mauri - a “west facing rock”, overseeing Horowhenua to Taranaki, and the South Island, “standing on mother earth but close to the sky gods, and shaped by the elements”.
The 10 kg rock, named Tihi Pukematawai (peak of the facial waters), came away easily, however, the swinging of its weight on his back, caused a knee injury forcing Mr Wi Warena to rest up at Ohau South hut for a couple of hours before starting on the final leg home, where he was found by Land SAR.
“I got bit of a talking to, but I think I’ve fulfilled my part.
 “I know the lie of the land and my physical capability, but I hadn’t anticipated the injury and electing to stay overnight.”
 Mr Wi Warena said he did not want his rescue to overshadow the ceremony, symbolising iwi working with council and the community.
 “In a strange way, it ended up being a community event to bring the rock down, although absolutely unintentional.”
Muaupoko Tribal Authority Kaumatua Kevin Hill, leading  the ceremony said it was a “great occasion”.
“We’re here for the right reasons, God will bless us all.”

The full story of the adventure of the retrieval of Tihi Pukematawai is here.

The Sweet Sound of Progress ...

... is a jackhammer

Never have library staff been so happy to put up with noise as we are this week. The jackhammer has been going non stop for 2 days and our only concern is for the poor guy on the end of it:)

Given that there is a double firewall with a still air gap between we weren't expecting it to be quite so loud - but it is!

Staff are looking quite spiffy in their earplugs, headphones and what ever else they are using to block out the worst of the noise. Here's a tip: audiobooks are your friend!

Visitors to the library are being absolutely brilliant and understanding and tolerant too. Thank you everyone. Hopefully this disruption is the worst of the demolition and it shouldn't go on for too much longer. Just imagine how wonderful the new facility is going to be :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's in a name?

Te Takeretanga  o Kura Hau Po

There has been much discussion over the appropriateness or otherwise of the name of our new Culture and Community centre.  Some of our library users are not happy.  However the library staff are fully committed to the new centre and to the name it will proudly bear.  Gifted to us by the Muaupoko Tribal authority, we feel the meaning of the name is beautiful and fully reflects the ethos of a modern library service.  Horowhenua libraries have long been much more than a public library in the traditional sense.  We know our libraries are regarded by our patrons  as a treasure within the town.  As well as providing the traditional library services people expect ,  our role is also to support  and celebrate our community, to protect and preserve our history and to encourage lifelong learning for everyone. 

Te Takere is the position in the hull of a waka where the treasures belonging to the people travel safely.  What better place to store our community treasures?  Kura hau po signifies  the dispersal and sharing of knowledge in much the same way that steam disperses through the air when water is dripped on a hot element.  So our new name describes not only how we protect our treasures of knowledge and learning, but also how we willingly share them with our community for the benefit of all.

The Blessing

The blessing of Te Takere, the Levin Culture and Community Centre, will be conducted by Muaupoko, on Monday, 12 December at the site for the facility at 7.00am. Members of the public are warmly welcomed to attend this symbolic ceremony.

Let Construction begin!

Levin-based company, Crowe Construction & Associates Ltd, has been appointed as the main contractor for the Levin Culture and Community Centre (Te Takere) project.

At last we are on the way to having a fabulous Community & Cultural centre that we have all dreamed about and hoped for for so long.  Levin has a long history of free library service beginning in 1911 in the free library which was build with funds contributed by the Scots/American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Continuing this tradition of support for local projects which will benefit the whole of our community Horowhenua District Council approved the construction tender at an extraordinary meeting of Council on 29 November 2011.  Work is expected to begin within the next month.
The base contract, awarded to Crowe Construction & Associates Ltd, for $3.484m, is over 13 percent less than Council’s engineers’ estimate and within the budget of $4m. Council has decided to include the addition of an education space and veranda which will take the total contract of works for Te Takere to $3.813m while still remaining within the construction budget.  We expect many local tradespeople to be involved in the project.

The Levin Cultural and Community Centre, Te Takere, which will incorporate the new Levin Library, will be built utilising two existing buildings – the current library in Bath Street and the adjacent ex-Countdown building next door.Building is expected to take 12 months to complete.

For additional information about the project, please visit