Friends of the Tauranga
City Libraries Inc

As Tauranga waits for the new central library to be built here is some interesting information about an early library in New Zealand

Nelson Public Library

Nelson Institute original premises, when the building was occupied by Mrs Cooper, dressmaker.

Nelson Public library service is one of the oldest in New Zealand, and has provided the longest continuous service to the public. 

Its origin dates back to 1841, and the formation of the Nelson Literary and Scientific Institute, on board the New Zealand Company ship, the Whitby. A collection of 700 books, on the Whitby formed the basis of the first library collection. The Institute’s first reading room was opened in Upper Trafalgar Street on 27th September 1842. A plaque in the pavement marks the site. The second and third buildings were in Hardy Street, with the third serving for many years as the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Fisheries building. The fourth and current central library building, the Elma Turner Library, opened in 1990. Foundation stones for all buildings can be seen in the foyer. The Council took over the library system, which has branches in Stoke and Tahunanui, in 1965.

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man

T.S. Eliot

Quick Links

Tauranga City Libraries

Friends of Baycourt Tauranga

Friends of the Tauranga Art Gallery

Tauranga Archives Online

Legacy funerals

About us

Friends of the Tauranga City Libraries is an organisation for ALL people interested in books, libraries, life and literacy.

We hold monthly meetings at 3 of the 4 libraries:-
     Book Groups at Mt. Maunganui, Papamoa and Greerton
     A General Meeting at Greerton with a speaker

We began as a lobby group within local body politics, campaigning for improved library services.
A strong aspect of our work is advocating on behalf of the community with both the Library and the Tauranga City Council. We lobbied vigorously for a new library in Papamoa and more recently a new library in Greerton.
Money raised through our regular activities goes back into our libraries.

Our organisation supports the Children’s Summer Reading Programmes, which run through the Christmas holidays, by securing grant money and by helping with the programmes.


  • To maintain a close working relationship with Library and Council staff 
  • To help provide the best possible service to the community
  • To increase the use of the Libraries through public awareness and advocacy of the Library’s goals and objectives.

** Libraries Need Friends **