Local residents and visitors alike will be treated to an assortment of summer events at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatāne Library & Exhibition Centre during the next couple of months. From escape rooms to reading challenges, there is a fixture for everyone this summer season.  Learning, Programmes and Experience Co-ordinator Louise Anderson says the depth and range of events is exciting and the Whakatāne Libraries team is looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for those keen to be involved.

“I know we are especially enthusiastic about the ‘Escape Room – the Waitangi Experience’,” says Ms Anderson. “This event, available until 5 February, puts people in the shoes of six significant historical figures involved in the Treaty/Te Tiriti and questions whether they would sign the document if faced with that situation.”

Ms Anderson notes that escape room events always prove to be popular and therefore, bookings are essential via the whakatane.com website.

Also on offer, to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Programme, legendary performer Gareth Ward will entertain children aged over six years old (and adults) with ‘The Great Wardini’ show at 10am on Friday, 24January. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event and no bookings are required.

Anyone wandering through the Esplanade recently may have noticed people appreciating a book or two in the ‘Pop-Up Library on the Lawn’.  This unique event encourages passersby to browse pre-loved books and puzzles that are available, relax in a bean bag under the gazebo and enjoy a cool drink. Ms Anderson says the event has been a great hit, and the added incentive of being able to choose a free book to take home was the proverbial icing on the cake.

“The Pop-Up Library has been a really effective way to encourage people to stop and pick up a book,” she says. “This Friday morning we also have a raranga (Māori weaving) demonstration under the gazebo, which will be a very interesting addition.”

The ‘Summer Fayre Reading Challenge’ is another feature event designed to inspire people to plow through that bedside pile of ‘books-yet-to-be-read’. Punters can collect an entry ticket from any of the Whakatāne District Libraries and when completed, return it for a small reward.  

Ms Anderson says the event she is perhaps looking forward to most is the ‘Library Lover’s Day’, aptly planned for Friday, 14 February.

“The day will celebrate the love of books as a whole, but people can also have their book fortune told by Sybilline, the clairvoyant librarian,” she says. “It will be a huge laugh, and who knows – she might just introduce you to your perfect match.”

Further information about the Whakatāne District Libraries summer reading programme can be found at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatāne Library & Exhibition Centre.