Out and About in Whangarei II

OK. I admit it. I’ve been holding out on you. I haven’t yet introduced you to one of my very favourite places in Whangarei.

Mystery place

What, you thought I was going to say the Mitre 10 store?

It’s the public library. I joined up on our very first day here, only hours after taking possession of the farmlet. Once upon a time I used to be a librarian, and one of the things on my list of essentials for a place to buy land was easy access to a decent size library system.


Libraries: Borrow the books, keep the ideas.

Although nowhere near as large as those in Auckland or Wellington, this is positively vast compared to many of Northland’s rural libraries. As a bonus I find it architecturally rather lovely with its glass frontage and the keyhole staircases at each end of the building.


Whangarei Central Library (2005, Jasmax).

They remind me of the stairs up to the second level of Wellington Central Library (1991, Athfield). Both buildings are so much more appealing than the central library in Auckland. I can’t find reference to the architect, but given Auckland’s rather unimaginative 1970’s aesthetic I’m picking it as a design by Bob from the works department*.


Wet autumn weekends with an Agatha Christie and endless cups of tea. So comforting.

Anyway, enough criticism. Auckland Libraries have far and away the best public library book collection in the country. When I’m there I’m fizzing with the excitement of all those ideas in one place rather than looking for architectural elegance. It’s been more years than I care to remember since library school, but I still find libraries the most delightful of places.

* Any similarities between Bob and persons actually employed in the works department at Auckland City Council during the 1970s are purely coincidental.




  1. i believe the NATIONAL LIBRARY has the biggest and bestest collection in New Zealand.

    • Pedant! Don’t think I don’t know you used to work there. Best collection in a public library then.

  2. Oooh I do love a Public Library! I recently discovered the new Te Atatu Library and spent a serious amount of time on their comfy chairs on a week off. My only gripe is their short weekend open hours … I am too busy earning a living to pay my rates to pay for the library to actually use the library. Roll on Retirement!

    • I wonder whatever happened to late nights for community libraries? It seems like lots of people must miss out because of work hours.

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