Small but perfectly formed

Last Updated : 02 Mar 2016
Kaukapakapa Library
Kaukapakapa Library (3)
Kaukapakapa Library (1)
Kaukapakapa Library (2)

Kaukapakapa Library is one of the smallest libraries in New Zealand.

So small it made a recent BBC radio documentary on the tiny book-lending institutions that can be found in communities up and down the country.

“They did a great job,” says Sarah Legg, who volunteers at the library. “People would come in and say friends as far away as Greece had heard it.”

The library is just 21 metres square and originally constructed in 1911. The library building has been relocated several time over its life but has always remained close to the Kaukapakapa School where it was originally sited.

It’s just one of more than 300 places of heritage interest owned and managed by Auckland Council.

Richard Bland and Cara Francesco of our Heritage Unit have been out in the field over summer as part of a wider Heritage Asset Management Project (HAMP) to create a clear picture of the building materials and condition of these places.

The HAMP project also includes establishing a formal heritage portfolio which hasn’t existed to date, as well as developing a costing model to assist with maintenance and renewals.

The project is a collaboration with council’s Strategic Assets Planning team.

“It’s a mini-museum,” says Sarah Legg, of the Kaukapakapa Library, “It’s a beautiful old building full of history. A lot of the books were donated and people love coming in and reading the inscriptions, looking at their early history.”

The collection was started in 1865 by Morris Henley, who built nearby Henley House, where the library was first housed.

The library is opened every third Sunday of the month for those who fancy a little step back into the past.

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