Ōpōtiki opens newest community space
At dawn yesterday morning, 2 December 2021, Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi was blessed and then officially opened by the Hon Kiritapu Allan marking the culmination of more than a decade of preparation, fundraising and work by the Ōpōtiki community.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that the process had begun four council trienniums ago and had been a truly ‘shovel-ready’ project when the funding became available through Kānoa as part of the government’s Covid economic recovery.
“It started back when I was a councillor, then the Deputy Mayor and now I am the Mayor who is privileged to be here to open this incredible building.
“It has been a long time coming but for me that shows just how committed to this the Ōpōtiki community is and how many times we could have downsized or done less over the years.
“This opening was a chance to look back and acknowledge all the many individuals, organisations and community groups who have played a role in getting us to this point – the visionaries, the funders, the builders and the staff who have work tirelessly to both continue the current library and at the same time prepare for this new space.
“On top of that, we have been so fortunate to be able to do it all in partnership with Whakatohea and stand alongside this morning to bless Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi,” Mayor Riesterer said.
The ribbon was cut and the building officially opened by the Hon Kiritapu Allan who spoke to the guests about the transformation in the township in recent years.
“Ōpōtiki is undergoing a renaissance – you can see it in the streets and in the people around town. Many years ago, Ōpōtiki was a bustling and busy economic and cultural hub. It had a bit of a quiet time but now it is back and it shows.
“I am proud to be here representing the government today to open Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi and being part of this turnaround. Ōpōtiki didn’t get funding for these projects because it was poor, it got funding for these projects because it was ready and it was willing and it had a plan. There was strong leadership advocating for the district. You should be proud,” Ms Allan said.
Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi opens to the public from Friday 3 December 2021 and the library staff are looking forward to seeing all the regular faces and many new people come through and check out some of the facilities.
Lyn Riesterer said that one of the highlights of the opening was seeing the building filled with dozens of incredible pieces of local art, built into the architecture, and hanging from the ceiling and walls. The story behind the art and the artists has been pulled together into a thoughtful documentary including interviews with artists and many people working behind the scenes to fill Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi with local imagery and stories.