Heritage Collections

​​​The Don Stafford Heritage Collections are held in the Heritage and Research area of the library. 

The Heritage Collections include:

  • Our reference collection of published books on Te Arawa, Rotorua, Māori and New Zealand history and culture.
  • Research notes on local history compiled by Don Stafford
  • Te Arawa notes compiled by Don Stafford
  • Te Rangikaheke manuscripts
  • Ashley Cody's geological books, reports, surveys and maps
  • Maori Land Court Minute Books: an incomplete set of local and regional minute books.​

Heritage and Research staff will be happy to assist you in using these resources.​​​​​

There are restrictions for users of the Heritage and Research Area.

All items must be used in the Heritage an​​d Research Area and may not be taken out of it

  • Food and drink must not be taken into the Heritage Collection Area
  • Some items are kept in glass cases and patrons will be asked to produce their library card or identification before they can look at them.

There is a colour photocopier in the room from which you can also scan to email.   

Who is Don Stafford?

Author Don Stafford lived in Rotorua almost all of his life. He recalled that as a young boy, he would sit by the fire in his father’s shop and listen to the stories of the elderly people who came to shop there. From Te Arawa legends of old, to more recent amusing incidents, Don never forgot the stories or the people who told them.

With his well-known warmth and aroha for the people and the land, he collected and retold some of the best of  these in several publications as well as in a speaking capacity to audiences from near and far. Don was always in strong demand not only for his extensive knowledge of Rotorua history and whakapapa but also because of his delightful sense of humour, wit and romanticism which he weaved through the stories, bringing alive the characters and places of long ago.

Don Stafford produced comprehensive, historical books on Te Arawa people and the Rotorua region; his books are constantly referred to by researchers, students and other interested parties. In addition, he generously donated his research notes to the people of Rotorua and these are readily (and often) accessed in our library. Don presented a wonderful series of television documentaries dealing with the growth and development of Rotorua in the 20th century. You can borrow the Hindsight series DVDs from the library.    

The Rotorua Library is honoured to have been permitted the use of Don Stafford's name for the room that holds our Heritage Collections. Don was a frequent visitor to the library right until his passing on 5 April, 2010.  He is sadly missed by many. Using "off-cuts" footage that was shot during the production of the Hindsight series, local video producer Kerry Fowler made 43 DVDs, each one featuring a different Rotorua identity. Learn more about our past through watching these these delightful interviews by Don Stafford captured and edited by Kerry Fowler.  You can view them in the Heritage and Research Area or borrow a DVD for three weeks.

List of those interviewed

Page reviewed: 11 Sep 2016 11:26am