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Last modified: 15 Dec 2022 10:02am

A name and location have been decided for the new Leeston Library and Community Centre, which is expected to open within the next three years.

The facility, which is one of Selwyn District Council’s major projects in its Long Term Plan for 2021-2031, will be built next to Leeston Reserve. The decision was confirmed at the Council’s August meeting, after consultation with the local community.

The community centre and library building will be called Whata Rau – a name that has been generously gifted by Te Taumutu Rūnanga. It references the food platforms that could historically be seen by travellers on the flat landscape of Kā Pākihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha (the Canterbury Plains). The platforms signalled pa and the likelihood of food and manaaki/hospitality.

In gifting the name, the rūnanga noted that the name recognises the many platforms and storage houses of knowledge and resources to be found throughout the district. Whata Rau were the epitome of manaaki – care, respect and hospitality - which is at the heart of venues such as community centres and libraries.

The name also references the abundance of resources from Te Kete Ika a Rākaihautū, Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere).
“Whata Rau is a very generous gift from Te Taumutu and I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Rūnanga,” Council Group Manager Community Services and Facilities Denise Kidd says.

Construction of Whata Rau is planned to take place in the 2024/2025 financial year.