Topic: Pāpāmoa Library (est. 2006)

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Pāpāmoa's $9 million environmentally friendly library opened on 16 June 2006. The sloping curved roof mimics the sand dunes and raw materials used throughout, such as concrete, natural plywood, shell paving and natural landscaping which pay homage to the natural environment.

Papamoa Library (2016)

Pāpāmoa's $9 million environmentally friendly library opened on 16 June 2006. With the opening, membership of the city libraries exploded to the point where over half of Tauranga’s population were members of the libraries. The total number of people through the door exceeded 100,000 by the first week of November 2006, with 150,000 issues and staff handling 3000 inquiries. Stocking over 40,000 items, including books, videos, DVDs, music CDs, games, newspapers and magazines, and open seven days a week, the library was built so it was big enough to handle Pāpāmoa's planned growth over the following 14 years.

Papamoa Library Construction (2006)

Planning for the Pāpāmoa Library started in 2000, the land being purchased in 2003. Architects Chow Hill designed the building in keeping with the area of Te Akau (the coastline) to fit in with the beach, the hills, and the colours of the natural environment.

Papamoa Library: Courtyard under construction

Pāpāmoa Library’s sloping curved roof mimics the sand dunes and raw materials used throughout, such as concrete, natural plywood, shell paving and natural landscaping which pay homage to the natural environment. The library is 974m2 with a 500m2 Community Centre attached. 

Papamoa Library (2016)

Pāpāmoa Library Artwork

Three Whales Sculpture by Peter Cramond & Liz Roris (2006) 

The Three Whales sculpture is a Creative Communities project funded and supported by Creative Tauranga and the Tauranga City Council specifically for the Pāpāmoa Library and Community Centre. The Artwork was created by Peter Cramond and Liz Roris along with support from the local Pāpāmoa community and Nga Potiki. It can be found outside the entrance to Pāpāmoa Library.

The mosaic frieze on the outside library walls depict Pāpāmoa, its surrounding hills and beach. It tells the story set a long time ago of a whale and her baby who swam into Tauranga Harbour between Mauao and Matakana Island. The two whales swam past Te Papa, Matapihi and Maungatapu. The pair found that the water began to shallow due to the changing tides and tried to return to the deeper water, however the tides turned too fast and the pair became trapped. Both struggled over the mudflats of Rangataua, trying to find a way back to the open sea. Tired, they stopped at Karikari on the eastern shore to drink from a stream. The stream was magical, and life immediately departed from the mother whale fixing her to the spot, turning her into a gently rolling hill gazing northward out to Pāpāmoa and the sea. The baby also drank and became fixed, nestled beside the mother. The third whale, the father, came looking for his family wondering what had happened. Following the same path he found himself in the same predicament, tired and stranded. Coming upon the stream he too drank and the magic from the stream fixed him in place.

These Three Whales are now proud sentinels for Tauranga Moana, standing supreme as high hills overlooking Pāpāmoa, Tauranga and the hinterland. Local Tangata Whenua, Nga Potiki, identifies the mother as Maungamana/Mangatawa, the baby as Hikurangi and the father whale, Kopukairoa. The stream they drank from is now referred to as “Te Wai U o te Tohora” which means the “The Milk of the Mother Whale” [Note: Kopukairoa is also known as Kopukairua].

Three Whales Sculpture by Peter Cramond & Liz Roris (2006)


Te Riu o Raiatea by Mohi Teepa (2007)

That place in our history, knowledge and our culture that is a constant reminder of the past, present and future. Housed in the Maori collection at Pāpāmoa Library. This artwork was commissioned by Friends of the Library and unveiled on 29 June 2007. The carving depicts the legend of the Three Whales, a local Nga Potiki legend. It is the journey of a mother whale and her calf becoming stranded in the Rangataua branch of the harbour from Maungatapu. They struggled over the mudflats of Rangataua, trying to find their way back to the open seas. They stopped at Karikari, and drank from the magic spring. They became fixed there. The father whale travelled the same journey and also drank from the spring and also became fixed there. So here we have Kopukairua, Maungamana and Hikurangi (the hills of Pāpāmoa ). The outer edge reflects the scales of a fish that protects the physical form from its physical environment. The clear area reflects space in time and the existence of sentient beings. The second inner pattern reflects those schools of carving depicted by the hammerhead shark. The third pattern inside reflects travel and navigation between the continents of the world. The portrayal through symbolism of different species of bird and marine life.

Te Riu o Raiatea by Mohi Teepa (2007)


Ra Matua Main Sail by Naomi Leonard (2005-2006)

Aluminium, canvas and dyed harakeke. Of Maori and Polynesian descent Naomi Leonard lives and works at Welcome Bay. She has been weaving seriously since 1997. More recently Leonard has taken part in exhibitions in Hawaii. In Ra Matua Leonard combines contemporary and traditional elements displaying the bi-cultural nature of the Pāpāmoa community as well as natural and human made materials. The sails making up Ra Matua are symbolic of the Waka Hourua which sailed into Tauranga Harbour during the 14th century. The colours have been chosen specifically to represent Tangaroa, the Maori guardian of the ocean, and their integration reflect ever constant change, peace and harmony.

Ra Matua Main Sail by Naomi Leonard (2005-2006)


Black Nova by Laurie Steer (2003)

Acrylic and resin on MDF board. Laurie Steer is a Mount Maunganui based artist whose professional background includes tertiary fine arts study in New Zealand and Australia. Black Nova is based on the omnipresence of the sun. Pāpāmoa is very much a beach community, reliant in many ways upon the sun, whether to warm the beach for swimmers or to assist plant growth in the rich agricultural surrounding environment. The sun is the power plant supplying energy to the community. Black Nova’s surface constantly changes as the natural light in the building shifts throughout the day. A finalist in the prestigious Wallace Art Awards in Auckland, Laurie Steer's Black Nova has also been exhibited at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and The Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch. Gifted to the Pāpāmoa Library by the artist in 2006.

Black Nova by Laurie Steer (2003)


Series of Three Oils on Canvas by Peter Cramond (2005-2006)

Oil on canvas. Peter Cramond grew up in Te Puke and spent much of his youth at Maketu Beach catching waves. Trained in graphic design, Cramond worked in the advertising industry before becoming a full time artist after an accident in 1982 left him with a broken back. Since that time he has exhibited throughout the world and participated in several sculpture festivals. Pāpāmoa has been Cramond’s home for many years now and this series of three paintings are based on the beach and how people interact with it. These paintings are currently housed in the Pāpāmoa Community Centre in the Pāpāmoa Library.

Woman Reminiscing by Peter Cramond (2005)

Woman Reminiscing by Peter Cramond (2005)

The Pipi Gatherer by Peter Cramond (2005)

The Pipi Gatherer by Peter Cramond (2005)

Fisherman and Son by Peter Cramond (2006)

Fisherman and Son by Peter Cramond (2006)

Mount Beach Tapestry by Val Limbrick

A tapestry of Mount Maunganui Beach donated to Pāpāmoa Library by St. Paul's Church, Pāpāmoa and Val Limbrick. Photograph: Debbie McCauley (22 November 2016).

Mount Beach Tapestry by Val Limbrick

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Pāpāmoa Library (est. 2006)

City:Tauranga, New Zealand