Rawene Community Library is in the Old Courthouse, Number 6 Parnell Street. The current Library was moved from the Archive Room in the new Town Hall and installed in the refurbished Courthouse across the road in 1990 with the help of grants from the ASB Trust and volunteers from the community. The building has an Historic Places Trust classification. Built in 1875 by the same builders who built the neighbouring Masonic Hotel around the same time, it is made entirely of Kauri, match-lined.
The Old Courthouse houses items of historical and local interest as well and has an adjacent building, the Old Gaolhouse, also made of Kauri, at the rear and open during library hours. Many of the items of interest have been donated by, or are on loan from, local people.
Both buildings are of historic interest to both locals and visitors to the area, situated on the eastern side of the Rawene peninsula and overlooking the harbour. The Gaolhouse was moved down from next to the Police Station in 1991 when it was going to be demolished. This was done again by assistance from an ASB Trust grant and volunteers from the area. Both buildings have been re-roofed and re-piled, are in good condition adding considerably to the historic nature of the town, and are attractive buildings in themselves.
The Courthouse operated until the sixties with a stipendiary magistrate having monthly hearings but this was stopped and all Court business transferred to Kaikohe, about 40km to the east. The building housed a clothing factory run by a local dressmaker for some years then was taken over by the Far North District Council and used as interim storage until the “Wednesday group” of volunteers for the Library did-up the building both inside and out and installed the library. The Old Gaolhouse was used as a temporary ‘drying out’ room for local over-imbibers until the late eighties.
The Courthouse was used to process the Waima Maori who were involved in the Dog Tax War 1898-1890 and contains some photos of the event.
Both buildings and grounds are maintained by a partnership of the Council and local volunteers, which works very well.
Now have a look around the various rooms of our library by clicking below!