Te Aka Mauri – Rotorua Library and Children’s Health Hub

Te Aka Mauri Library and Children’s Health Hub opened in February 2018 with a high degree of public interest. A collaboration of this kind was unprecedented and signalled a new way of considering children’s learning and wellbeing.

Te Aka Mauri comprises four floors and is located right in the heart of the CBD, next to Jean Batten Square, stretching the full length from Arawa Street to Haupapa Street. Delivered collaboratively by Lakes District Health Board (now Te Whatu Ora Lakes) and Rotorua Lakes Council, Te Aka Mauri is a welcoming facility for all, providing a one-stop hub for learning, knowledge, inspiration, health and wellbeing.

The brief entailed a remodel of the existing 6,000 m² library, making space for a new children’s health facility, including mental health services, community meeting spaces, a parents’ room and multi-sensory digitised spaces. The refurbishment intended to make a statement about the community’s identity, reflecting culturally and spiritually appropriate Māori design to showcase the unique identities of Te Arawa and Rotorua.

Based on Ngā Mahinga Toi’s advice on Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), local identity is communicated using unique colours and patterns for each floor, which adds cultural richness throughout the building. The colours are bright and fresh, dramatically changing the interior to create a more vibrant environment that is child and family friendly. The facility’s interior design layout and spatial plans were purposely designed to draw people deep into the building, to enhance familiarity and usage.

Warm timbers and modern aluminium trims contrast with fresh whites and bright feature walls to deliver a clean, modern feeling in what was a previously dated and cluttered space. Furniture has been chosen for its simplicity of shape and solid hues to introduce bright pops of colour into the space.

The concept is a ground-breaking and successful example of what can be achieved for our community when local and central government organisations collaborate on difficult problems and focus on reversing trends, presenting a model that could be replicated elsewhere in Aotearoa New Zealand, and beyond.


  • 2019 Property Council of New Zealand Property Industry Awards, Health and Medical Property Award - Excellence / Best in Category

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