A stroll through Te AhumairangiNovember 22nd, 2012
There’s something about that moment of recognition of things from the past or speculations for the future that quickens my interest. It’s part of the deep pleasure of Te Ahumairangi, the ground floor of the Molesworth Street building, where you’ll soon find a number of ways to browse and explore collections or view our contemporary world through new lenses.
Te Ahumairangi is a series of spaces, interactive technologies, programmes and exhibitions that set you off on those journeys of reflection or speculation that suddenly take fire and you find you are embedded in a deeper journey, moving on to spend time in our net.work space or upstairs in the Alexander Turnbull Library to deepen or extend a line of enquiry.
Audio-visual pod content in the net.work, the creative commons space. Photo by Mark Beatty.
Te Ahumairangi is an entirely contemporary space. The brutalist architecture of the building is suitably honoured by the architects and designers in their spare treatment of scale and space, but brought sharply into the 21st century. It’s crisp, it’s unfussy, it’s a monochrome palate that absorbs the colour of vibrant display and exhibition, easy furnishing and the activity of people. It’s an environment that deserves to be busy and thoroughly enjoyed.
In pride of place, the Gallery and the new, open-to-all, technology-rich working space: the net.work. The newly configured gallery will be programmed to take a stimulating look at contemporary New Zealand and find threads in the world’s knowledge and thinking that have consequence for our future. Collections will be curated to explain or unpick how the past shaped our present and what we ought to be conjuring with for our future. This future focus and the consequence of ideas is what distinguishes us as a National Library.
Peter Rowlands and members of the Kaiarahi team on Te Ahumairangi. Photo by Mark Beatty.
There are novel ways of engaging with collections through interactive technology. The novelty shouldn’t be confused with superficiality. Our collections are quite literally at your fingertips. The digital touch table that is Lifelines fascinates me with Alexander Turnbull collection items that connect me to my almost sepia childhood in the far north and memories of a world where tar seal ran out after Whangarei.
Along the way there are workshops, education programmes and seminar events, a cafe and retail: all things that enable and add value to the experience. Our public programmes team has been exceptionally focused and hell bent on shaping these spaces and services. I am deeply proud of them; my team that is. Actually, I am also deeply proud of the services and spaces.
It’ll be good to have you join us.