Category: Heritage

Bus trip to Woolshed Café, Sanson

Experience a unique audio guided heritage walk (approximately 90 minutes in duration). Comprises of seven authentically restored New Zealand houses, inside and out, 1860s-1960s.

Saturday 4 March, 9.00am-12.30pm. Cost $10 (bus fare and tour)

Starting in 2012, Woolshed Café owner Alan Parker has spent a lot of time collecting and restoring period homes. The homes were unwanted and to be demolished. Alan has meticulously researched the history of each period and learnt building skills to restore the houses to their former glory. The first was an art deco house and the project grew from there. The earliest example is an 1860s colonial cottage. Each house is authentically furnished with memorabilia, down to the wallpaper of the appropriate era.

Alan hopes to add to the collection, although finding affordable houses has become more challenging.

There will be time to have morning tea at the Woolshed Café after touring the seven houses.

Wire Happy: the Shannon objectors’ camps 1942-1946

Lesley Courtney is the former City Archivist and Heritage Team Leader. Still passionate about our local history, on Wednesday 1 March for Local History Week she will present a talk written by Margaret Tate, on the objector camps that were created near Shannon during WWII.

When conscription was introduced for men aged 18 to 40 during WWII, an appeals board was also created to deal with those who objected. Overall about 40% of the men who appealed became ‘military defaulters’ and were detained in camps for the duration of the war. The Shannon camps, former flax milling sites with buildings and the possibility of useful work, were opened in 1942 and eventually housed almost half of all the men in detention in New Zealand.

This talk will focus on the people, camp life and the impact of the detention on the local population and the men and families involved.

2nd Floor Central Library at 12:30pm-1:30pm

Engineer Corps Memorial Centre Museum

NZ military engineers – known as “Sappers” or The Corps of Royal NZ Engineers (RNZE) – have served Aotearoa, the Pacific, and communities and conflicts worldwide for over 180 years. From major horizontal and vertical construction projects to combat engineering and munitions search and clearance, to humanitarian aid, disaster relief and provision of basic utilities; they make a huge contribution. For further information on NZ Sappers, visit their site.

The Engineer Corps Memorial Centre (ECMC – Library, Museum and Chapel), at Linton Military Camp, records the history of the Corps from the early 1800s to the present day. With 80% of the collection on display at any one time, visitors can view fascinating artefacts such as military engineering equipment, and displays, such as the Engineer Tunnellers (WWI) display, of key milestones and events in the Corps’ history. It’s a dynamic collection with ongoing projects being undertaken by the museum (volunteers) staff. New displays are established, and current ones refurbished. Model making, extensive scanning and digitising of archival material and photography is carried out, with interactive and electronic displays being introduced.

Engineer Tunnellers (WWI) Display

The museum and library are an excellent resource for military engineering and history, professional and technical engineering, and early New Zealand history. The good news is that you can visit the museum as part of heritage month, with tours on the morning and afternoon of Friday 24th March. Registration is required to assist group transportation and gain access to the secure Linton Military Camp.

A koha of $5 per person would be appreciated and will go towards the RNZE Charitable Trust and ECMC development.

Family Tree: DNA basics, getting started, and more resources

Central Library, 2nd Floor
1 March – 6.30 -8.00pm
15 March – 6.00-7.30pm
29 March – 6.00-7.30pm
Cost: Free

Discover your family history with expert help from members of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Palmerston North. Suitable for people who are new to genealogy. The sessions will provide hands-on activities, tips and tricks for beginning explorers and also for those who would like to learn more in-depth research skills.

The library has free resources available to help with getting started. Learn how to get the best out of online resources like Ancestry and FamilySearch! All welcome, registration essential.

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.