The revamped Raglan Library and Waikato District Council local office showed off its Raglan colours when it opened this week.

Local kaumatua, dignitaries, council staff and locals attended Monday’s official re-opening of the building. Mayor Allan Sanson cut the ribbon at the ceremony following the $410,000 makeover, which included a revamped council office space, a larger library and a public toilet on the inside and a new roof on the outside.

Council area manager Steve Soanes said a lot of thought had gone into the design. The granite-look counter was the colour of Raglan’s black sand and the carpet incorporated the Waikato colours of black, red and yellow.

The library was about 70 percent larger, after removing a wall and an old vault and pushing the entranceway about 40-square-metres further out the front of the building. Another 40-square-metres was gained at the back due to the renovations, which Lobell Construction started in April under Raglan-based project manager Andy White, he said.

The revamp had been first mooted five years ago, but the serious planning only began about two years ago when council allocated a budget for it.

Sue Duignan, council’s general manager customer support, said the building started life in 1982 as a Post Office before becoming the library in 1994.

Local staff had gone beyond the duty to move the library and council office and continue services from a small location during the three month revamp.

Speakers at the opening commented on the unique Raglan style that had been incorporated into the furnishings for the building, which held an important place in the community.

“It’s a nice big space for our kids to come and tutū [meddle] with the books and to learn,” Matua Sean Ellison said, adding that he hoped local Māori involvement with the opening reflected an ongoing relationship between them and the council.
Councillor Clint Baddeley said “a little bit of Raglan” had been incorporated into the duel purpose space.
“It’s like a hub. Everything happens here – you can get educated and pay your bills at the same time.”

Rachel Benn