Home Artwork Historic stained glass on display

Historic stained glass on display


If you’re heading to Tauranga Central Library at He Puna Manawa on Devonport Road this school holiday, come check out the stained glass panels on display which have a rich history.

Stained glass windows from the original 1930s art deco library building on Willow Street have been installed in the He Puna Wānanga Heritage & Research area, while two works of art from 1989 sit proudly in the program room adjacent to the cafe.

Libraries manager Joanna Thomas says the rooms add a bit of vibrancy and richness to the premises and people who visit the space can admire the works of art up close.

“It’s only fitting that these pieces are stored here until their new home is ready, as our archival collection connects people to the past,” says Joanna.

The lead windows installed at He Puna Wānanga Heritage & Research (near the Gray Street entrance to He Puna Manawa) were originally from the 1930s art deco building that housed the public library and electric utility of the borough. The architect was FN Hornibrook and the builder CFJ Biggs. The Bay of Plenty Times reported at the time that “a striking feature of the whole building is the beauty which has been introduced by the use of leaded lights”.

When the building was demolished in 1989, these three lead windows were retained and incorporated into the new Willow Street Library building. Earlier this year they were carefully relocated before the now complete demolition of this building.

The stained glass windows next to the cafe at He Puna Manawa were designed and made by John Macready in 1989, during the time of the Ministry of Worx gallery in Waikino Gorge. The theme of the showcases is “Creation is coming”.

“One features Papa, the earth mother, as an earth-shaped woman with her hair flowing in a lake, and Rangi, the sky father, raining down stars from above. ‘other window features the figure of a man with stars sprouting from the heart representing a creation, or that everything is made of the same stuff,’ John commented at the time.

Other stained glass panels removed before demolition of the old library and administration building began earlier this year are being stored in Tauranga City Council’s Heritage Collection facilities for safekeeping safe place.

The longer term plan is to integrate all the signs into the new civic district – Te Manawataki o Te Papa. The vibrant community space will be developed over the next eight years and will include facilities such as a civic wharf (public meeting hall), museum, library and exhibition center.

Joanna says the historic images of signs seen in council buildings over time can also be seen now by visiting Pae Korokī: Tauranga Archives Online.

“A picture I noticed while looking on Pae Korokī’s website the other day was when the late Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Tauranga in 1963, and you can see the stained glass window of the old town hall in the background. It was quite emotional.”

Learn more about Pae Korokī

For over 40 years, Tauranga City Libraries have carefully collected and preserved the history of Tauranga as part of an extensive archival collection.

The digitized elements of the collection are available for the community to access at their leisure at https://paekoroki.tauranga.govt.nz/

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