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PUHOI TOWN LlBRARY BUILDING 1913 - 1998
Compiled by Puhoi Library Committee 1998
framed photo donated J Winder 
principal source - Puhoi Road Board Committee Minute Book 1895 - 1908

Article for VillagePRESS by Karen Logan via Reg Harris     

Opening of the Great North Road through the valley provided work and wages for early settlers in the area and the Puhoi Road Board established, but no certain facts have emerged as to when the first small building was erected. Built of timber with a shingle roof it occupied the same site as the present concrete structure. Advancement of the settlement depended on accessibility to the markets and good roading was a vital necessity, Great interest in the formation of the Road Board was evident and it became an active body in many respects as the necessary track was gradually cleared of bush enabling road formation to take place. House removals, additions, valuations and rates, culverts and metalling kept the active committee busy. Early in April 1911, the board received a circular from the department of Agriculture & Tourism, requesting Finger Posts be erected at crossroads Puhoi, Tahekeroa, Upper Waiwera corner and also ­at Mahurangi Heads and Campbells Road.

   As far as is known the present building was erected in 1913, the 50th anniversary of Puhoi. ln May of that year the committee decided the premises were too small and suggested a more "up to date" building was required. Mr Michael Wenzlick at a meeting moved a new building costing round about £50 would be appropriate. Mr E Barker seconded the motion which was carried on 13th May 1913.  By June 7th. tenders were called for a new office. Mr James Masson agreed to erect a wooden office according to specifications for the sum of £103 -10.0. It was decided concrete walls would be more substantial and the committee accepted an offer of £100 from Mr J Schischka to build the construction. On completion extras amounted to £18.5.8d. When tenders were called for the old building Martin Wenzlick was successful with an obvious higher but not given tender price than Mr E Barker's £3 and Mr Jack Wenzlick's £3.10.0d
    On October 4th the following charges were set for use of the office strong room. Parcels 6 x 3 inches x 12, 6d per year, but if that size was exceeded 1/- per year. Books of the Hall Company, Cemetery Trustees, School committee or Company books were 5/- per year. At that time three enlarged photographs were presented to Puhoi by Bill of Schmidt Studios and the Road Board committee expressed thanks for the generous presentation.

    In 1923 the library was established and the grand title of Puhoi Town Library was bestowed on the little concrete building giving it new status in a small but progressive community who spared little in their endeavour to be successful in their adopted country. Disaster struck in 1924 with a flood that ravaged the settlement when thousands of logs and about 5O,OOO feet of timber were lost, some owned by Messrs. Remiger & Dahlberg with 40,000ft sawn timber of which about 15,000 ft belonged to the Rodney County. Devastation throughout the region included destruction of the draw bridge across the Puhoi River. With flood waters reaching above the Town Library door a large stock of books estimated to be worth then £200, were lost.

  The building remained a venue for meetings, card playing, mail and parcel collection depot and for a time became a small craft outlet. 1976 an enthusiastic community re-opened the building as a library, operating under the Country Library Service until it was discontinued. Under the jurisdiction of the Rodney District Council in 1998 it continues to serve, on an exchange system with Snell's Beach and Orewa Libraries. With an emphasis on local and New Zealand history the tiny institution is currently slowly collecting information and books for it's own collection. In New Zealand Heritage Year 1990 a time plaque was erected and unveiled by the Rodney Mayor, Sir Gordon and Mrs Mason.
    With the filming in 1992 of Tommyknockers, by U.S.Production Co. Konigsberg Sanitsky, the Puhoi Town Library became a Christian Science Reading Room, Apartment 1&2.
    Nearby is a Flowering Cherry Tree planted by Miss Hurrey, Historian, for Mr Steer, owner of Puhoi Store for some years in 1976. To the left of the Library entrance grows a native Kowhai planted as a Memorial to the late Rosa Schischka, whose passion for reading assisted her through a 90 year life span of disability.

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