What’s On for Kids in the CBD?

Warning: This blog post is intended for parents and caregivers — kids read on at your peril!

Kia ora folks! As we hurtle towards the summer, a lot more families will be heading into the city centre to visit the waterfront, go shopping, explore the city streets, and perhaps even visit one of our three CBD libraries! And if you’re coming into the city with a child in tow, what could be a nicer thing to do than join one of our wonderful city centre librarians for a lovely Preschool Storytime or Baby Rock and Rhyme session? Read on to find out more about when and where you can expect to find something to do with your preschooler in the central city.

Te Awe Library

A spooktacular Halloween display in the kids’ area at Te Awe Library.

Te Awe Library is our largest CBD library, located between Brandon Street and Panama Street, just off Lambton Quay. At Te Awe, you can find a huge children’s section, lots of cosy nooks to curl up and read in, free bookable meeting rooms, as well as a big collection of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and even vinyl records for adults and children alike to browse — and don’t forget the excellent Collective Coffee Shop is located conveniently within the library for a great way to start the day with your tamariki!

What’s on for tamariki at Te Awe?

  • Preschool StorytimeWednesdays at 10.30am (new time!)
    Fun and interactive stories, songs, and rhymes to inspire your preschooler and grow a love of literacy. Through stories and play, children learn how to express themselves and understand the world around them. Recommended for tamariki aged 2-4 with their caregivers.
  • Baby Rock and RhymeMondays at 2.00pm and Thursdays at 10.30am
    Join us for these fun and free sessions for parents and carers to interact with their babies through songs and stories. Rhyme, rhythm, repetition and music are the building blocks of language for babies. Recommended for pēpī aged 0-2 with their caregivers.
  • Monthly Mandarin StorytimesFirst Tuesday of the month at 10.30am
    Regular Mandarin storytimes are starting up again! Join us for these special bilingual events run by our talented staff and learn more about Chinese story, music, and culture. All are welcome, whether or not you speak Mandarin as your first language. Recommended for tamariki aged 2-4 with their caregivers.
    普通话讲故事时间。提亚威 图书馆 上午10.30—11am。 每个月的第一个周二。
    互动和有趣的故事和童谣时间,激发儿童对文学的热爱。通过故事和玩耍,儿童会学习自我表述, 并了周围的世界。
  • LEGO® TimeSaturdays at 2.00pm and Sundays at 11.00am
    Come down to the library and get creative in these free-build sessions with our extensive LEGO® collections. Builders of all ages and experience levels are welcome to get stuck in! Recommended for tamariki, rangatahi, and pākeke aged 5+. Children under the age of 14 should be accompanied by a caregiver.

How to get to Te Awe

All CBD buses go past Te Awe Library — get off at the Lambton Central stops by David Jones for easy access to the library via Panama Street. Free bike parking is available on Grey Street, and paid street parking is available on Panama and Brandon Streets. Visit this link for directions to Te Awe Library from your current location.

Arapaki Library

A beautiful display at Arapaki Library in celebration of Diwali 2022.

Arapaki Library is located on Manners St, perfect for families who live in the city centre or who travel through for work or school. At Arapaki, you can find a great selection of kids’ books, as well as books in a variety of community languages, including Korean, Japanese, French, Russian, Persian and Spanish.

What’s on for tamariki at Arapaki?

  • Preschool Storytime — Thursdays at 10.30am
    Fun and interactive stories, songs, and rhymes to inspire your preschooler and grow a love of literacy. Through stories and play, children learn how to express themselves and understand the world around them. Recommended for tamariki aged 2-4 with their caregivers.
    Our storytimes at Arapaki are very popular with local preschools, but all are welcome to join in on the fun!

How to get to Arapaki

Like Te Awe, all CBD bus routes go directly past Arapaki Library — get off at the Manners Street at Willis Street stop if you’re coming from the Courtenay Place end of town, or at the Manners Street at Cuba Street stop if you’re coming from the railway station end of town. Limited paid parking is available near the library on Victoria Street or Willis Street. Visit this link for directions to Arapaki Library from your current location.

He Matapihi Library

A lovely Pride display from the team at He Matapihi Library, in the small amphitheatre used for events.

Our smallest CBD location, He Matapihi Library is located on Molesworth Street, on the ground floor of the National Library building. He Matapihi’s unique collection contains only books written by New Zealand authors, with a special focus on books of significance to Māori as well as to Wellingtonians specifically. With the wonderful Home Cafe right next door, He Matapihi is the perfect spot for families to chill out together!

What’s on for tamariki at He Matapihi?

  • Preschool StorytimeMondays at 10.30am
    Fun and interactive stories, songs, and rhymes to inspire your preschooler and grow a love of literacy. Through stories and play, children learn how to express themselves and understand the world around them. Recommended for tamariki aged 2-4 with their caregivers.
  • Craftivity — Saturdays at 10.30am
    Bust the indoor boredom and join us for free arts and crafts for kids at the library! Our talented staff are full of ideas, and we can’t wait to see yours! This is a guaranteed fun time for tamariki and the whole whānau to enjoy together. Recommended for tamariki aged 4+ with their caregivers.

How to get to He Matapihi

The Library is in walking distance of Wellington Railway Station — get off at Wellington Station and turn right up Molesworth Street. For bus users, the 14 and 22 are regular services that go via the library — get off at the Molesworth Street – Cathedral stop. Otherwise, paid parking is available near the library on Molesworth Street and Aitken Street. Visit this link for directions to He Matapihi Library from your current location.

Festive Family Storytimes are Around the Corner!

Meri Kirihimete, Pōneke!


It’s that time of year again! The festive season is right around the corner, which means that our libraries are getting themselves all ready to provide storytimes most merry and mirthful for your jollification. So, why not grab the family, jump in your fuzziest pyjamas (or cheeriest Christmas costume) and head on down to your local library to join in on the fun?

There will be stories, songs, crafts, and maybe even some special visits from a certain portly gentleman at some locations. You’ll be in for an extra-special treat if you go along to the event at Arapaki Library on Manners Street — you’ll get to hear different festive stories from all over the world, even some in different languages!

All of these events are free, family-friendly, and suitable for children of all ages with their caregivers.

Where and When?


Wednesday 9th December

Arapaki (Manners Street) Library, 5.30 – 6.30pm

Thursday 10th December

Island Bay Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Khandallah Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Friday 11th December

Newtown Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Monday 14th December

Brooklyn Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Miramar Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Tuesday 15th December

Te Awe (Brandon Street) Library, 4.00 – 4.45pm

Johnsonville Library, 4.00 – 4.45pm

Thursday 17th December

Karori Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Wadestown Library, 6.00 – 6.45pm

Friday 18th December

He Matapihi (Molesworth Street) Library, 10.30 – 11.15am

Saturday 19th December

Johnsonville Library, 2.00 – 2.45pm

Sunday 20th December

Te Awe Library, 2.00 – 2.45pm

Monday 21st December

Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, 10.30 – 11.15am

Visiting Your Library with Children at Level 2

The day has finally come! Five of our libraries (Johnsonville, Cummings Park (Ngaio), Karori, Newtown, and Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie)) are back open to the public, with two more (Arapaki Manners and Wadestown) opening on Monday. Check here for all the details! Although we’re back, things might look a little bit different. Here’s what you can expect to see when you visit one of our libraries during Level 2:

  • A security guard or librarian checking people off as they enter. Because we have to be careful about how many people can be in the library at once, we have to tick you off and take your details as you come in. Sometimes this will mean you’ll need to wait a little while to get in — don’t worry, everything we’re doing is to try to keep you and your family safe.
  • People keeping far apart. When you’re in the library, you’ll see people trying to keep 2m apart as they make their way through the building picking up books. Please remember to keep inside your bubble at all times, and be patient if you need to wait for someone to leave a shelf before you can leap in and grab the book you want!
  • Lots of hand sanitiser! We’re providing a whole bunch of hand sanitiser so everyone can keep clean and safe. Remember, washing your hands often is the best way to kill germs, so make sure you remember to sanitise your hands after touching your face, and before you enter or leave the library.
  • No comfy chairs to sit and read in. We want you to keep your visit as short as possible — pop in, grab your books, and head back home so the next person can enter the library. We know it’s very tempting to find somewhere cosy at the library to curl up and read a book, but to help keep everyone safe and happy, please save the reading for when you get home.
  • No storytimes or other library activities. During Level 2 of the lockdown, we won’t be able to run any of our regular programmes and activities, like Preschool Storytime, Baby Rock and Rhyme, Let’s Go LEGO, Code Club, or CRAFTerschool in person at the library. We’re still running a bunch of these activities online, so be sure to check out our Facebook page and Family Lockdown Challenge blog posts to join in!
  • No big family groups visiting together. Generally, we want to keep groups of people entering the library as small as possible. If you can, look at the library catalogue online, decide what you want, reserve it if you’d like, and send one person from your bubble to the library to collect it. That might not always be possible, which is fine, but just remember to stick inside your bubble if you are visiting the library in a group.

Our librarians are very excited to see you back again — here’s a photo of the staff at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi giving you a wave and a smile! Make sure to give the librarians a big smile and wave back when you see them as well — it will make them very happy!

Come and visit us! We’re happy to be back online.