Te Aka Mauri opens tomorrow

Te Aka Mauri, the new home of Rotorua Library and Lakes District Health Board outpatient child services opens to the community tomorrow after an official opening today.  

In preparation for Saturday’s big day, an official opening ceremony to cut the ribbon was held before about 100 invited guests at the new facilities on Haupapa Street this morning.

The building, gifted the name Te Aka Mauri, has undergone a makeover while the adjoining Jean Batten Square has been extended and transformed into a new community space including a playground.

Rotorua Lakes Council’s Kaitiaki Ahurea Māori, Monty Morrison, explained the four colours of Te Aka Mauri – te aka meaning a vine or interconnection and mauri meaning life force.  The name reflects a shared vision to create a facility of excellence to advance the community wellbeing and understanding.

Mr Morrison says the ground floor of the new building, which is green, represents the earth and signifies health and wellbeing while the first floor – yellow – symbolises sulphur and represents the essence of manaakitanga (nurture/care for).

“The second floor – the red – represents our volcanic surroundings. This floor is named Ngā Mātā Waka signifying discovery and returning to our roots of Īhenga and our forebears.”

“The third floor – the blue – the sky is named Te Heketanga a Rangi and focuses on toi ora – the utmost wellbeing.”

Youngster Cee Jay Selwyn, Te Arawa representative Maureen Jehly, Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick, and Lakes District Health Board chair Deryck Shaw each cut one of four ribbons representing the colours of Te Aka Mauri.

Guest speakers spoke of the innovative nature of the project, which will see the DHB services sharing space with the library.

Mayor Chadwick described it as visionary and a first for New Zealand.

“This amazing facility builds on a vision that I first stood for as Mayor of Rotorua - for us to become a child friendly district.  The way the community values and invests in our children needs to grow resilient communities. I was always motivated and inspired by the pediatricians who I worked with at the DHB,” she said.

Mr Shaw said it was essential to find ways of providing services to children in a way worked better for them.

Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who is a guest speaker at tomorrow’s Community Open Day, congratulated Rotorua on the collaborative project and encouraged the DHB to consider how it could expand on this initiative in the future.

“How are you going to respond to the possibility that maybe the library may not be the most commonly frequented place in the community in future?  You need to start thinking about where Te Aka Mauri 2.0 is.”

Mr Shaw welcomed Dr O’Sullivan’s challenge and said the DHB was currently looking at alternative ways to deliver services. 

Many people at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony spoke positively about the new space, which includes features such as an interactive Fenton Agreement display, Don Stafford Room, Genealogy room and iMac computer suite.

Tomorrow’s Community Open Day will be marked by various activities including live presentations, face painting and entertainment. The day starts at 10am and the library will also be open on Sunday, marking the start of seven-day opening.

You are warmly invited to check out the new facilities. 

Click here for more details about the Open Day. 

Page reviewed: 02 Feb 2018 5:01pm