Waitohi downstairs interior

Waitohi interior downstairs

Waitohi upstairs inetriorWaitohi (?-1839), sister of Te Rauparaha and mother of Te Rangihaeata and Rangi Topeora, is now the name of the two-story community hub in Moorefield Road, Johnsonville that joins together the new library, Keith Spry public swimming pool, Whānau Manaaki Kindergarten and a new café.¹  These facilities are linked to the existing Johnsonville Community Centre and Memorial Park.

The opening ceremony took place on Saturday 14 December with Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and the Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon. Tracey Martin.

It’s the new library which will be of interest to Waikanae people. While nowhere near the size of Turanga in Christchurch (see earlier), as suburban libraries go it’s nevertheless impressive and must have about four times the floor area as the old Johnsonville library did.  As well as lots more books, some of the space is devoted to computer, presentation and discussion areas.

As was observed during the election campaign, Wellington City spends a lot more per capita on its libraries than Kapiti does.

  1. The name also means baptismal rite — wai = water, and tohi = the tohi ritual, in which the tohunga dipped karamu branches in the sacred stream and brushed the right shoulder of warriors before battle.