H.B. Williams Memorial Library


Located in the first city in the world to greet the morning sun - the library has had a long history by New Zealand standards. It first opened in 1869 as Turanga Library, in a room in the courthouse at a time when there were no roads overland and visitors came by horseback or boat to the district.


As the service grew it moved to various sites until 1967 when the land and buildings for the existing public library were gifted by the Williams family in memory of Heathcote Beetham Williams (H.B.) Thus the H.B. Williams Memorial Library was established much as we know it today. H.B.'s son, Heathcote Beetham Williams (Bill) continued to support this gift to the district until his death in 2002.

The building is a classic example of post modernist architecture. Designed by Colin Pilbrow, it was hailed as and remains a magnificent example of 1960s architecture."

The library was renovated with "[t]he central service hub [Pukarau]. The name was gifted by Sir Derek Lardelli. It literally means 'many pages' yet is interconnected with kaokao and poutama linking numerous pathways of knowledge."

~ H.B. Williams Memorial Library | Our Story

See also:

Steve Hutton 'Inanahi ki Tenei Whakatipuranga, Yesterdays, Yesteryears and the time in between until Tomorrow' (1993), H.B. Williams Memorial Library, Gisborne

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021