'Celebration of shared heritage': New $22.7m Rolleston library opens

Nationally significant taonga, cutting edge technology, a sensory space and New Zealand’s largest video projection wall are among the gems to explore at Te Ara Ātea which opened today.

Te Ara Ātea is the new 2200 sq m library and multi-functional civic centre on Tennyson St in Rolleston.

Alongside the library, Te Ara Ātea features a performance space, technology room, café and lounge, and a wāhi tamariki for younger users.

Meaning the unobstructed trail to the world and beyond, the name Te Ara Ātea was gifted to the community by Te Taumutu Rūnanga, which worked in partnership with the district council on the building and landscape.

Within the new building, the notion of trails is explored. The country’s largest video projection wall, cutting edge photogrammetry and display technology – seen for the first time in New Zealand – will allow people to get up close and personal to local taonga (treasures).

The $22.7 million Te Ara Ātea. Photo: Supplied
The $22.7 million Te Ara Ātea. Photo: Supplied
The $22.7 million building sits within a specially-designed landscape and will open onto the town square of the new town centre, which includes outdoor instruments, a musical walk and water features.

There are food gardens, sculptures and works by local artists and schools. The space is designed to appeal to all the senses and be accessible for all residents and visitors.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said it is an exciting day.

"When we started planning this space in 2014, we wanted something special for the whole district to be proud of and enjoy," Broughton said.

"This really delivers. It’s a beautiful space and we can’t wait for people to be able to come and explore and be wowed by it.

"The unique and rich experiences contained in this space tell our collective stories – a marker of where we’ve been and our shared journey towards the future."

Te Ara Ātea. Photo: Supplied
Te Ara Ātea. Photo: Supplied
Te Taumutu Rūnanga chairwoman Liz Brown said the opening of the building is a celebration of shared heritage and the forging of new trails.

"This facility is a true testament to the vision and dedication of many," Brown said.

"Te Ara Ātea is an example of partnership in action. Working hand in hand with council, we have created a facility that celebrates the best of both worlds and recognises the strength of working together for our communities."

Te Ara Ātea  was designed by Warren and Mahoney and built by Armitage Williams, with internal fit out and displays by exhibition and experience design agency, Workshop e.

Te Ara Ātea is open from 9am to 6pm weekdays, with extended hours on Thursdays to 8pm, and 10am to 4pm on weekends. There may be limits on entry under the traffic light system when it comes into effect from Friday.

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