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The old Ngatea library building, above, is going to be knocked down to make way for a new, purpose-built one. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

$4.8m earmarked for new library hub

Story time for children; digital drop-ins for the technologically challenged; school visits and genealogy mentoring and film sessions. These are all things the Paeroa and Waihī libraries have and Ngātea lacks.
But now, with Hauraki District Council voting to spend $4.8 million on creating a new community hub for the Hauraki Plains, the three libraries will be on a level playing field.
It’s also hoped they’ll attract a new generation of users.
Options for upgrading the Ngātea Library and Service Centre were first considered as part of council’s Long Term Plan discussions back in 2018, and following extensive feedback from the community – including a petition that was signed by more than 1200 people – it was decided that the location would remain at the site near Hugh Hayward Domain.
Council voted to remove the current centre and rebuild a purpose-built facility which would increase the space and services offered by the existing library.

Renamed the Plains Community Hub, elected members last week opted to set a working budget of $4.8m for the build.
The budget includes $3,667,716 of unbudgeted expenditure and budgeted capital
expenditure of $1,132,284 from 2022/23 to the 2023/24 financial year.
“Construction costs have increased significantly after Covid and with inflation, and as a
minimum, the Community Hub should be the same style and quality as what was built in
Paeroa and Waihī, and we believe with this budget we can achieve that,” Mayor Toby Adams said.
A working group was also established to drive the district-funded project and included councillors Jo Tilsley, Ray Broad, Paul Milner, Anne Marie Spicer, and Stephen Crooymans.
Mayor Adams said it was important for the working party to contain councillors from across the district.
“This is built for our district, our people, and it’s getting paid for by everybody. We were elected to make decisions on [the community’s] behalf, and we don’t have to run back to them with every single decision we make just to check we’re doing it right.”
Plains ward councillor Ray Broad said he was “really pleased” and hoped the new facility would be as well-used as the Paeroa and Waihī libraries.
“When you look back at the 70s when they built that [Ngātea] building, it was fit-for-purpose, but we’ve completely changed how libraries operate. Thank you to the councillors for supporting it, and let’s hope we get onto it quickly.”