Category: Heritage

Local History Week 2022

Local History Week 2022 runs from Sunday 30 October to Monday 7 November. It’s jam packed with opportunities for you to explore our heritage buildings in Palmy, hear from local historians, and hear from professionals who work every day to preserve our heritage – from buildings to photos, history and memories, and much more.

You can check out the programme online here, and we also have a handy brochure that you can collect from the library, or download here and print for easy reference:

Some great things you might want to check out:

Dame Vera Lynn Remembered

Taking you back in time, Vicki Lee sings hits from Dame Vera Lynn. Performance will be followed by afternoon tea. Join us in the former C M Ross tearooms, now part of the City Library.

Sunday 30 October, 3-5pm / Second Floor, Central Library

Lunchtime Talks

On every weekday of Local History Week at 12noon. All are welcome! Bring your lunch, hot drinks are provided.

  • Queen Elizabeth II in Palmerston North
  • The pox, the flu and the ‘rona
  • Palmerston North’s post-Second World War transit camps, 1945-1959
  • Earning a Crust: Faces of Work in Palmerston North’s Past
  • Archives Central
  • The Process and Self-Publishing of a Memoir

Archive Tours

We have opportunities to tour the Palmerston North City Council Archive and Massey University Archives. Discover these precious historical repositories, and meet the people who preserve history every day.

Jumping Jellybeans – Jump into the past

A great one for the littlies, we celebrate local history with some fun ‘old school’ preschool activities.

Wednesday 2 November, 10 – 11am / First Floor, Central Library

Special Event: Poets on Palmy

Join us for an evening to celebrate Palmerston North Poets and poetry. Starring Manawatū poets Tim Upperton, Tim Saunders and Jo Aitchison, with special guest James Brown (ex-Palmerston North).

Thursday 3 November, 6pm / Second Floor, Central Library

Special Event: The Forgotten Coast

Richard Shaw, Massey University, explores a personal story from our bicultural history. In his book The Forgotten Coast (2021) the author tells an old family story he was never told when growing up: that his ancestors once farmed land in Taranaki confiscated from Māori and sold to his great-grandfather, who was with the Armed Constabulary when it invaded Parihaka on 5 November 1881.

Sunday 6 November, 2 – 4pm / Second Floor, Central Library

Mina McKenzie Memorial Lecture: Stories of change and innovation in the regions: Women in New Zealand museums since the 1950s

Women now run most of the significant regional museums in New Zealand, including Te Manawa, and yet the figure of the museum director at a metropolitan level remains overwhelmingly male. This illustrated lecture focuses on the role of women in New Zealand museums and shows how they moved from honorary and voluntary roles to running museums over the 20th century.

Monday 7 November, Doors open 6.45pm, Lecture at 7pm. Te Manawa Museum Society Event. Te Rangahau Curiosity Centre, Te Manawa

Heritage building tours

Heritage sites across the city are opening their doors on Sunday 6 November for you to discover and appreciate.

Hoffman Kiln, 615 Featherston Street, 12 – 4pm

Palmerston North Electric Power Station 162 Keith Street, 12:30 – 4pm

Caccia Birch House, 130 Te Awe Awe Street, 12:30 – 4pm

You can keep touring the city’s heritage in your own time with the Manawatū Heritage Tours App.

This is just a selection of things that we have happening for Local History Week, so be sure to check out the programme above and take note of what catches your eye!

Samoa Language Week

Talofa lava. Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week is on each year in May / June.

Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week celebrates the third most spoken language in New Zealand. 

Join us in celebrating Samoa Language Week at the Palmerston North City Library. We have an amazing array of Samoan Language books for children, Samoan movies, Samoan music, travel guides for Samoa and more to offer!

Samoan Language Books for children

Fale Sāmoa Come join Tomasi and his friends as they take a magical ride to learn more about Fale Sāmoa, and why they are so important in Samoan culture.

Kuaka visits Samoa A story about a small Godwit that travels to Samoa to experience the culture and explore the beautiful island.

Samoan Films available from Kanopy, stream for free with your library card

The Orator

One Thousand Ropes

Samoan Authors in the Palmerston North City Library 

Albert Wendt 

Born in Apia, Samoa, Albert Wendt has been an influential figure in the developments that have shaped New Zealand and Pacific literature since the 1970s. His books include the powerful Sons for the Return Home (1973). Sons for the Return Home describes the life of a young man from a migrant Samoan family and his love affair with a fellow (Pakeha) student. Wendt drew on his own life experiences to write Sons for the Return Home and the book was later turned into a movie. Wendt’s stories are told with insight, wisdom, humour and compassion. The Palmerston North City Library has a collection of poetry, short stories and novels by Wendt, please do seek out one of the South Pacific’s treasured and best-known writers.

Tusiata Avia

Born in Christchurch, Niu Sila (New Zealand), Tusiata Avia writes (sometimes with painful results) the influences of New Zealand and Samoan cultures in her life. Wild Dogs Under My Skirt was one of Avia’s first collection of poetry, a deeply personal journey exploring themes of power, politics, racism, love, sex and living between cultures.

Samoan Music Artists in the Palmerston North City Library

Hamofied 

Poetik is the stage name of Ventry Parker, an independent artist from Apia, Western Samoa. His style of rap, combines both confronting and honest lyricism about subjects such as systemic racism and Polynesian culture lined with a background West Coast-inspired g-funk beats. Listen out for the Conch Shell Horn as well as name drops of Samoa’s most famous beer, Vailima. 

New Heritage Display in Time for Waitangi Day

Image depicts manual labourer with apron tied around waist, arms raised as they lift a tied bundle of long flax leaves.

To commemorate Waitangi Day, the library’s Kaitaurima Māori intern, Harmony Governor, has put together an exhibition exploring early forms of partnership between Māori and Pākehā.  On view on the First Floor of the City Library, this display focuses on trade, exchange and natural resources.

Memorial Park

Image depicts 'Now and then' feature with old and new depictions of the CM Ross building in Palmerston North.

Summer is a great time to explore parks and pools in Palmy! Families have enjoyed relaxing at Memorial Park from the 1950s to present day.

Although not quite taken from the same angle, these images show just how much Memorial park has changed over the years.

Image depicts historical view of Memorial park changing rooms on hill. Adults and children in school uniform walk on grassed areas past trees and metal seats.Image depicts childrens play equipment. A spiral wooden ramp twists up to a central two-story tower with slide. Surrounding area shows recycled rubber safety flooring in bright colours.
1963 to 2021

Check out this link for more Memorial Park history on Manawatū Heritage.

Digitise your images at the library

Image depicts computer set-up with photograph scanning machine. A series of negatives and photograph slides rests on a table.

We have scanners available to digitise your hard copy photographs, slides and negatives. Staff are available to train you on the machines so you can preserve your images for the future and share them easily with family and friends.

It’s easy as! Call into the 2nd floor of the Central Library and take a trip down memory lane.

Zoom in to Local History Week talks

Image depicts logo for Local History Week 2021 with image of the Women's Rest Art Deco building painted white, red and green.

This year Palmerston North celebrates 150 years and Local History Week is one of many celebrations and times of reflection taking place across the city in 2021. This year the Local History Week programme has been modified due to COVID-19 Alert level restrictions, and our very popular lunchtime talks will be delivered via Zoom.

MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER, 12.30-1.30pm:

Our Party of the Century Presented by Margaret Tennant, Historian An illustrated talk on the city’s centennial celebrations of 1971.

TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER, 12.30-1.30pm:

Himatangi Beach – From the Car Shed to the Water’s Edge Presented by Tony Rasmussen, Historian Discover why Himatangi Beach did not develop to the extent expected by its earliest promoters.

WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER, 12.30-1.30pm:

The Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, and the ‘canvas towns’ of Palmerston North Showgrounds and Awapuni Racecourse Presented by Leanne Croon Hickman, Historian

You must register in advance for the talks by contacting the Heritage team heritage@pncc.govt.nz. A link to each Zoom session will be sent to you.

The Front Line WWII photo exhibition

image depicts historical scene of world war two soldiers at ease, crouched in grass while eating tinned food for Christmas dinner.

Visit the second floor of the central library to view a selection of images from New Zealand military historian Glyn Harper’s latest book, which features unpublished images of New Zealander’s in World War II.

Piers and Bowstring Arches: The Second Fitzherbert Bridge

Image depicts concrete bridge surrounded by wooden scaffolding.

Do you remember the old Fitzherbert Bridge? Completed in 1935, this was actually the second of three vehicle bridges built to cross the Manawatu River. You can learn more about this once iconic Palmerston North structure from the display in Second Floor Heritage Area of the City Library. This features photographs, engineers’ plans, historic documents and even the menu from the civic luncheon to celebrate its opening by the Governor General. The display will be on view until 24 October. More images can be viewed here, on Manawatū Heritage.