26 Sep 2018

If you’re curious about your ancestry or local history then the second floor of Tūranga is an inspiring place to start your search.

Level 2 of the new central library, which will open on 12 October, is called Tuakiri (Identity). It features specialist resources to help people learn about their identity, their family history, their whakapapa and about the Canterbury region.   

This includes archival and heritage collections and a comprehensive collection of books about New Zealand, mostly published about or in Canterbury.

Tuakiri (Identity) floor of TurangaTuakiri Team Leader Dawn McMillan says it’s exciting to be able to provide such a diverse range of resources and services in one place and to help connect people with their origins and answer questions about themselves and the region.

“Since the earthquakes, the collection has been dispersed and not all of it has been directly accessible.  We’re now able to bring it together in a beautiful, inviting and inspiring space. We want people to feel a sense of belonging, excitement and of enrichment.

"I’d like to think people leave feeling  connected,with a better understanding of where they come from and perhaps with a greater sense of self.”

Tuakiri will house the Pasifika Collection, Family History and Local History Collections – including specialist resources such as baptismal, marriage and burial records for the region.

A research room will provide a dedicated space for customers working with archival and heritage collections. Conditions of access and use apply to this area because of the special nature of the material available.

The second floor also has a teaching space offering 12 Family History/Whakapapa computers. A range of public programmes will be held here including introductory Family History and Local History courses, Whakapapa research training, Information Literacy and Ti Kōuka whenua-based classes. 

Aurelia Arona, the Kaiwhakahaere Ratonga Māori responsible for the Ngā Pounamu Māori Collection on the Tuakiri floor, hopes the new area will be visited and well-used by members of the community.

“Our space has been designed to be whānau friendly with access to reo Māori children’s books as well as our lending and our reference collections, which hold material such as our Ngāi Tahu collection, Ngāi Tahu claim evidence and index, the Waitangi Collection and serials.

“We are fortunate to have talented and experienced, professional staff who are skilled in working with Māori information and material and assisting with reference enquiries, research and the delivery of public programmes.”

Tuakiri also includes an exciting new exhibition space called The Southbase Gallery which will showcase items from Christchurch City Libraries’ heritage collections as well as those from other libraries and museums.

The first exhibition after opening is Our Painted Stories, which explores the presence and importance of Canterbury settings in children’s literature and celebrates the power of visual storytelling. This exhibition runs from Tūranga’s opening day until the end of January 2019.

Tūranga’s usual weekday opening hours will be from 9am to 8pm, although the ground floor will be open from 8am. At weekends Tūranga will be open from 10am to 5pm.