Raranga / Weaving Workshops for Matariki

Matariki ahunga nui – Matariki, provider of plentiful food

Late in June, Matariki will reappear in the dawn sky signaling the Māori New Year.  In Poneke local iwi acknowledge the rising of Puanga.   It is a time to celebrate life, remember those who have passed away and to plan for the future.  It is a time to gather together and share and learn new skills.

This year Wellington City Libraries has arranged for a series of raranga or weaving workshops in some of our branch libraries and community centres over the month of Pipiri (June).   We have arranged for knowledgeable people to assist us with harvesting the harakeke (flax) using the correct tikanga (protocols) prior to each session  so we will have freshly harvested harakeke for each workshop.

The workshops will be with small groups and you will be instructed in weaving a small kono or food basket with harakeke.  Bookings are essential as numbers are limited so book with the branch or community centre hosting the workshop you would like to attend using the contact details provided below.

Newtown Library 
Friday 7th  June
04 389 -2830 or  contact here 

Newlands Community Centre
Saturday 8th June
10:00am -12:00pm
04 477 3724 or contact here

Karori Library
Thursday 20th June
2:00pm – 4:00pm
04 476 8413 or contact here

Island Bay Community Centre
Wednesday 26th June
04 383 7464 or contact here

Eavesdropping Underwater: the sounds of whales and dolphins

Wellington City Libraries and NIWA present a free public talk about the sounds of whales and dolphins and life on the high seas aboard the RV Tangaroa.

Why do scientists eavesdrop on whales and dolphins?

What can recordings of whale and dolphin sounds tell us?

How do you even record the sound that these creatures make?

And what’s it like to go to Antarctica?

Image courtesy of NIWA

Join us on Saturday, May 25 at Te Papa for a FREE talk by NIWA scientists Dr Giacomo Giorli and Olivia Price to hear the answers!

The scientists will take you on a journey exploring the science of marine acoustics, the sounds of whales and dolphins and the chilly business of researching in Antarctica.

Image courtesy of NIWA

Dr Giacomo Giorli is a marine mammal acoustician at NIWA. Dr Giorli studies marine acoustics to understand the ecology, distribution and habitat selection of marine mammals.

Olivia Price is a marine physics technician at NIWA. She constructs the scientific equipment needed to study our oceans.


To get more of a taste of what Giacomo and Olivia are involved with read this article in Stuff about whale sounds and click here to read about the RV Tangaroa and take a virtual tour.

Click here to find out more about whales and dolphins on our fascinating Gale Interactive: Science database. You will need your library card to follow this link.

Join us on Saturday, 25 May at 2pm at the Rangimarie Rooms, Level 3, Te Papa to hear Giacomo and Oivia discuss their fascinating work at NIWA!

Library services return to central city on 28 May

A new pop-up library to open on Tuesday 28 May sees library services returning to central Wellington for the first time since the closure of the Central Library in March. The new pop-up library at 12 Manners Street is co-located with the Wellington City Council Service Centre, which is moving from its current location on Wakefield Street.

“After the Central Library closed unexpectedly, we grabbed the opportunity to quickly open a pop-up library alongside our new Service Centre location. Manners Street is the perfect spot for the first in our new network of library services for the CBD,” says Mayor, Justin Lester.

Artist impression of Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre

The pop-up library and service centre is called Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre. Arapaki are ornamental lattice-work, used particularly between carvings around the walls of meeting houses, and are unique because it takes two artists working together to complete every arapaki. The name was gifted to the site by Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika.

“I know how much Wellingtonians are feeling the loss of the Central Library. I want to assure people the Council is working hard to create the right combination of services and locations for pop-ups across the CBD to help fill the gap left behind. Arapaki is just the start.”

Arapaki will be home to roughly 7,500 items on the shelves at any one time. A small children’s collection will feature alongside a range of fiction, non-fiction and AV items, plus internet access computers and some casual seating. Library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

All the services that are currently available at the Service Centre will continue to be available at the new location.  These include free Wi-Fi, self-service computers and a payments desk.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds Wellington City Council’s community facilities portfolio, says Arapaki will be a busy site, with a high collection turnover.  “I would like to remind borrowers there is no need to wait until Arapaki is open to return items loaned from the Central Library before it closed. They can be returned to any of our branch libraries or the returns box at 101 Wakefield St.”

Arapaki Library and Service Centre will be open for Service Centre business Monday to Friday 8am-5pm with extended hours for the pop-up library which will be open Monday to Friday 8am-7pm, Saturday -Sunday 9.30am-5pm.

Additional pop-up libraries will be opening in the coming months. Details will be announced as soon as possible and people can keep up to date on this website, and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

What can I borrow from Arapaki?
Arapaki will be home to roughly 7,500 items on the shelves at any one time. A small children’s collection will feature alongside a range of fiction, non-fiction and AV items.

What else can I do there?
Internet access computers and some casual seating will be available. Library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

Can I return items to Arapaki?
Yes. Items borrowed from Arapaki should be returned to Arapaki. Items borrowed from the Central Library before it closed can be returned to Arapaki, to any branch library or to the small returns box at 101 Wakefield Street.

Will you have activities available?
Arapaki is a relatively small space, so we need to plan carefully how we can best use it to provide activities. It is likely that we will review what activities and programmes we can offer once our entire CBD pop-up library network is up and running. Arapaki is just the start.

How many staff will work there?
15 library staff will work at Arapaki.

Why has it taken so long to open?
We’ve worked really hard to get Arapaki up and running as fast as we can. Arapaki is the first of our planned CBD pop-up library network. We’ve been able to set it up so quickly because we already had the site leased for our new Service Centre. We’ve had to make some changes to the space to make into a combined library and Service Centre and this has taken a few weeks.

When will other pop-up libraries open?
Arapaki is just the first in our proposed CBD pop-up library network. We’ll be announcing details of further pop-up locations in the coming months.

What’s happening with the Central Library building?
At this stage we are awaiting further engineering advice on what the options are for addressing the structural issues with the building.  It is likely there will be a range of options for how we approach this and we don’t know yet if this will include any kind of upgrading or redevelopment beyond the required remedial work.


He Timotimo: Free Te Reo Māori Taster Sessions

Nau mai, haere mai to ‘He Timotimo’, Wellington City Libraries’ new te reo Māori taster sessions!

We know it can be scary to start learning a new language and that te reo Māori classes fill up quickly in Wellington so we are pleased to announce that our free, friendly classes will be starting on Thursday 9 May 2019.

Book online

These are introductory classes for beginners and will have a new topic each week as a taster, he timotimo, to get you started. The sessions will be fun and you will be supported as you learn the basics with our specially designed programme developed by Neavin Broughton and taught in association with Te Reihine Roberts-Thompson.


Thursdays 5.15pm – 6.15pm.    You are welcome to come for a hot drink and biscuit from 5pm onwards.


Committee Room One, Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. Our friendly staff at the Reception Desk will be able to point you in the right direction.


These taster sessions are suitable for absolute beginners and we are now taking bookings for the first six week block of classes. Each class will feature a new topic. Bookings will be essential for each date as numbers are limited. As each week is booked separately you don’t need to worry if you have to miss a week.

The classes are informal and you will not need textbooks or other materials, you might just want to bring a notebook and pen to take some notes.

How to Book?

Book online for each session. If you have any questions please Contact Us.

Central Library loans extended to 19 June

We’re providing a further extension to the due date for Central Library items from 1 May to 19 June. The new due date of 19 June applies to all Central Library items except for those that have been reserved by other customers.

For items with reserves, Library staff will contact customers directly to let them know any items they have that must be returned to a branch library, or to the returns box at 101 Wakefield Street.

You can still return your Central Library items to any of our branch libraries at any time, or hold on to them for now.

Free membership to Hutt City Libraries

Thanks to the generosity of Hutt City Libraries, Wellington City Libraries customers can sign up for free to access Hutt City Libraries’ collection. Just bring your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Library branch.


I have already paid for non-resident access to Hutt City Libraries. Can I get a refund?

Yes. Contact Hutt City Libraries for a refund.

How long will my membership be valid for?

Wellington City Libraries’ members will be signed up for a period of 3 months initially.

Can I access Hutt City Libraries’ eResources? (eBooks, eAudiobooks and subscription databases)

Just the physical collection. However, our Wellington City Libraries’ eLibrary is available to you 24/7.

Can I renew and reserve Hutt City Libraries’ books?


Will I be charged overdues if Hutt City Libraries’ items become overdue?

Yes — overdue charges will accrue to your Hutt City Libraries membership (not your Wellington membership — the two will be separate) if items are returned late.

Longer branch library hours start 15 April

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester today confirmed on-going additional opening hours and days for some branch libraries in response to the closure of the Central Library.

“In the two weeks after the Central Library was closed our branch libraries overall had 9276 more customer visits than when compared to the two weeks before – an increase of 21 percent.”

“During this time, some of our more popular neighbourhood libraries showed significant increases in customer visits, with Karori Library up 21 percent or 3567 more visits. Visits to Wadestown Library went up 20 percent, Brooklyn Library 18 percent and Newtown Library 6 percent.”

“After the Central Library closed, we acted quickly to relocate some of our Central Library staff out to our branch libraries to respond to the increased customer demand.  So I’m very pleased that with the continued support of our staff we’re able to add 31 opening hours per week across the branch library network. We think we have achieved a good match of customer demand with the right increased hours at the right locations, but this will be closely monitored over the coming weeks,” the Mayor said.

New hours will be in place from Monday 15 April at the following libraries:

  • Brooklyn Library – Wednesdays from 10am to 5.30pm (additional 3 hours)
  • Johnsonville Library – Wednesdays from 9.30am to 8pm (additional 2.5 hours)
  • Karori Library – Tuesdays from 9.30am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 3 hours)
  • Miramar Library – Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 5 hours)
  • Newtown Library – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 10am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 7.5 hours)
  • Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library – Saturdays 9.30am to 5pm (additional 1.5 hours)
  • Wadestown Library – Wednesdays from 10am to 5.30pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 8.5 hours)

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds Wellington City Council’s community facilities portfolio, says the first pop-up in Manners Street is due to open in late May, with other library pop-ups opening throughout the year. “The new hours may gradually reduce over time as the CBD library network pop-ups are opened,” she said.

Further details of the locations and services available at the library pop-ups will be announced in the coming weeks. Services are likely to include selections of popular and new items, reserve pick up service, returns, wifi and internet access. Library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

It is anticipated the pop-up service hours will include evenings and weekends.

First pop-up library service for CBD in Manners Street

Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, today announced the return of library services to the CBD with a new pop-up space set to open in Manners Street. “Manners Street is an ideal location to provide convenient services right in the heart of our city. I am thrilled we have been able to quickly secure this site for the first in what will be a network of library services across the CBD.”

“The new library services pop-up will share 12 Manners Street with the Council service centre that was already planned for the site. It will be great for people to have access to a range of services under the one roof. Both services will open in late May,” said Mr Lester.

At the pop-up, customers will be able to browse and borrow a range of popular and new items, pick up reserves, and return books and other library resources. Self-service options will be available and library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

Free WiFi and some printing, photocopying and internet access facilities will also be available. It is anticipated the pop-up service hours will include late nights and weekends.

“Work to set up the pop up service is already underway. There are lots of moving parts to manage – first we need to complete a fit out, set up our IT infrastructure, select which parts of our collection will be available, and work with our staff.”

“We know Wellingtonians want more access to library services in the CBD and this will take some time. Since the closure of the Central Library, in addition to locating suitable pop up spaces, we’re also working to find innovative ways we can partner with other providers to quickly offer other services like internet access, printing, WiFi, and research services at CBD locations,” said Mr Lester.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds the community facilities portfolio, says Council has also increased capacity in our branch network of 11 community libraries.

“Central Library staff are being relocated throughout our branches, to provide additional hands on deck as well as increased opening hours at some libraries,” she said.

The Manners Street pop-up is just the first in what will be a network of library services residents can access across a range of CBD locations. Details of other pop up locations and services will be announced in the coming weeks.

Temporary extended hours this fortnight

With the Central Library closure, we’ve had a lot of interest in extending our branch hours. While we’re still considering future options, we have temporarily extended some library branch hours for the next fortnight — details below.

Thank you so much for all the support we’ve been receiving over the past two weeks — we’ve had some lovely messages from our customers, and we’re missing you all very much!

We’ll keep you posted here and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts with any service updates.

Karori Library

Tuesday 2 April, till 8pm
Tuesday 9 April, till 8pm

Brooklyn Library

Wednesday 3 April, opening early at 10am (closing as usual at 5.30pm)

Johnsonville Library

Wednesday 3 April, till 8pm
Wednesday 10 April, till 8pm

Saturday 6 April

This Saturday (6 April) some of our library branches will also be open extended hours:

Brooklyn Library, 10am – 2pm
Johnsonville Library, 9am – 5pm
Karori Library, 9am – 5pm
Kilbirnie Library 10am – 5pm
Newtown Library, 10am – 5pm

The Library service point at 101 Wakefield St will also be open this Saturday from 9am – 1pm.

Update on library services

Central Library closure FAQs

Our Central Library building is closed until further notice. The footpath around the library building and the public library car park are also closed. We’ve made the decision to close the Central Library after receiving advice from engineers that the building has structural vulnerabilities which mean it may not perform well in the event of a significant earthquake.

The Central Library is one of Wellington City’s busiest buildings, with 3000 visitors a day. We realise this closure will affect many people and we are working hard to minimise disruption. The building is not damaged but the vulnerabilities identified using new guidelines from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are such that Wellington City Council has made the decision to close the building to the public and relocate our staff while next steps are planned. Further information (including the engineers’ report) on this decision can be found on wellington.govt.nz.

You can still use any one of our 11 branch libraries located in suburbs across Wellington – information about these can be found here. We’re working on how we can extend our branch hours and open some of our branches for additional hours during the evenings and weekends. We’re also working to set up alternative library services in the central city.

If you currently have items on loan from the Central Library, we have adjusted the due date to 1 May. You can either hold on to the item for now or return it to one of our other branches. We won’t charge you a fee if you return items to another branch.

If you prefer to return books in the central city, we have set up a small returns box in the ground floor reception area of the Wellington City Council building at 101 Wakefield Street. This is an interim measure until we can get a larger returns area set up. This is only for book returns at this stage and is available from Monday-Friday 7.30am–5.20pm.

We are working on ways to make the Central Library’s collection available while the building is closed and will make further information on this available via this website and social media. In the meantime, collections of the Central Library are not displayed on our online catalogues. If you want to reserve items from another branch library,  there is currently no fee for this service.

We have set up a library desk in the foyer of the Wellington City Council building at 101 Wakefield Street. Staff can answer your general enquiries about library services including membership registration, questions about customer accounts, placing reserves, and how to access our eLibrary resources.

Update:  There will be extended opening hours at Newtown, Karori, Brooklyn, Kilbirnie and Johnsonville libraries on Saturday 30 March and 6 April. Temporary opening hours are:

  • Karori and Johnsonville: 9am-5pm
  • Newtown and Kilbirnie 10am-5pm
  • Brooklyn: 10am-2pm

This is just a small first step to help people affected by the central library closure to access library services in their community.

We know that customers will also want to hear about the other tenants in the Central Library building – the Citizens Advice Bureau and Clarks Cafe:

  • from 25 March 2019, services of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau are available from Wellington City Council’s ground floor foyer, 101 Wakefield Street. You can reach them on 04 472-2466 or via cab.org.nz
  • Clark’s Café has also closed. Wellington City Council staff are talking with them about suitable alternative premises.

If you have any questions about library services or your library card details, please email us.