He Puna Manawa: A place of discovery and connection

19 May 2023

Nestled in between Grey Street and Devonport Road is He Puna Manawa. The library moved in April 2022 so that the old library could be demolished to make way for the new civic precinct.  He Puna Manawa contains Tauranga City Library, a café, and the Tauranga City Council Customer Service centre.

Different people are nestled in the cushioned alcoves, working on computers, reading or sitting and chatting with friends. There are children reading a big picture book in one of the round nooks.

The staff are warm and friendly, it is easy to see that they enjoy and take pride in the work that they do, Cameron, one of the library assistants tells me “I love it when children come up to me asking for recommendations, I get to share with them the books that I used to love reading as a child.”

His colleague Brodie agrees and adds “The customers here are really friendly, you can see that they feel welcome in this space, it is so open and inviting.”

There are shelves and shelves of books for people to browse. If you don’t know what to read next, or need help finding what you are looking for, the staff are available to help you.

He Puna Manawa is also home to He Puna Wānanga, the library’s reference collection. He Puna Wānanga is a trove of exciting resources, with microfilm, microfiche, access to databases, reference books and more. You can discover so much in He Puna Wānanga, many of the local history resources are digitised so you can explore from home with Pae Korokī, the online archive too.

Combining the history of Tauranga Moana and the vision for the future, the name He Puna Manawa means ‘heart of the spring’. The name references the springs that once flowed where Grey Street and Spring St are today (hence the name Spring Street).  It is a fitting name for a place where people can come together, learn, relax, enjoy, and be revitalised.

Walking through the Devonport Road entrance it is hard not to be impressed with the vibrancy of the space. There is a table full of library patrons, they are chatting and reading todays newspaper. A moment of connection and community between strangers, brought together in their visit to the library.

There is always something new to discover in He Puna Manawa. Really? Really.