Celebrating the reopening of St Heliers Library 

Library blessed with karakia as the expectant crowd gathers.

Procession around the inside perimeter while St Heliers School choir waits to perform

Special guests: Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei representatives, Ōrākei Local Board members and Deputy Mayor 

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson cuts the cake

Tushar Sharma, of IMAgEN8 with his book Centres of Wellbeing and the 'Natural Ōrākei display. 

IMAgEN8 latest book from workshops based in nature reserves around Ōrākei Local board areas. 

Eastern Bays Songbird poster displayed (above), and displays of books and brochures about the natural taonga of the Ōrākei local board areas. 

Songbird Project in 'Natural Ōrākei' display at reopened St Heliers Library

The Eastern Bays Songbird Project is among the conservation groups featured in the Natural Ōrākei display at the newly reopened St Heliers Library. Also represented are groups with whom we work closely, including IMAgEN8, Mens Shed, nature reserves Pourewa Valley, Kepa Bush, St Johns Bush and Tahuna Torea, and a range of brochures about everything from Eco-Corridors and desirable trees to pest plants and animals.

The library - a heritage building dating from 1926 - was re-opened on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, after having been closed for a year while

earthquake-strengthening and refurbishment was carried out. 

The building was blessed with a Karakia from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, who then led the way inside, followed by Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson and the other members of Ōrākei Local Board and a large crowd of excited St Heliers residents and library members.

There were speeches about the library’s history and the work done to give it a new lease of life, presentations of flowers and a bowl, songs by the St Heliers School choir, followed by morning tea and a delicious chocolate cake made by a local bakery. Then, with the cake still being eaten, it was business as usual; the first library members were already at the checkout desk with their books and library cards.

—Photos and story by Jan Power