Library programming aims to enrich community through history

Published on 24 February 2023

Black and white photo shows two cars travelling along the road by a gorge

Palmerston North City Library is helping the community connect with all things heritage with Local History Week next week (27 February – 5 March).

The programme will include a range of talks, workshops, displays, walks and tours around the city.

Activities across the week link to the overarching themes of awa, whenua, the partnership with mana whenua, Rangitāne ki Manawatū, and the first settlers that fostered the establishment of Palmerston North. The programme also explores the built environment, both landscape and architecture.

Heritage Programmes Coordinator Genny Vella says just as the Manawatū River flows through our region, it weaves throughout Local History Week in talks and displays, finishing with the Manawatū: meander from source to sea tour.

Included in the week is the history of the flax industry in the Manawatū and its links to pacifism and the camps of conscientious objectors in Second World War.

Black and white photo shows a man lifting a bunch of flax in the field. Image: Manawatū Heritage

“Harakeke (flax) features in the art of Te Kokonga Pōuri Whatu Raranga Rōpū, Papaioea – Highbury Weavers on opening day and continues to thread through the programme. You can view Philip Holmes’s portrait of Rangitāne rangatira, Ereni Te Awe Awe, showing the intricate tāniko on her kaitaka (cloak), then join the Obelisk tour to see how this connects to the Hopwood Clock Tower,” Genny says.

A guided tour of Te Rau Aroha Māori Battalion Hall, not usually open to the public, is included in the middle of the week, but registrations are required.

Genny says there are also activities accessible out of school and work hours and some of the programming is specifically for teachers in support of the Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum.

Community libraries will be displaying history that represents their communities including the history of Te Pātikitiki Library and the Highbury area.

The week also kicks off Heritage Month that runs until 2 April.

Like Local History week, the month will see local heritage groups and organisations open their doors and provide an array of open days, talks, tours, workshops, books launches and games.

The various sectors, include cultural, multicultural, architectural, transport, military, industrial, horticulture, art and medical.

Genny says there is something for everyone whether you are interested in the back of house collections of Te Manawa, exploring the Regent Theatre, visiting heritage listed industrial buildings and much more.

For more information and to see when certain activities are on throughout the week and the month, please visit the City Library website.