Hunter_Shaw1.jpg Hunter Shaw Building, Mike Gooch (2013)

This Georgian style building on the main street of Pātea was built in 1930. Funding for this combined Library and Plunket Rooms was courtesy of a bequest from the estate of Mr Hunter Shaw.

Mr Shaw was a Whenuakura farmer who died in 1927 (TDN 15 October 1927)leaving a sizeable legacy (£8,500) for various charitable institutions. Shaw had bought and developed a 500 acre block of land known as "Crescent Falls". Born in Ireland, he was one of nine children - all unmarried.

Of particular interest is that the architects were the notable Auckland firm, Gummer and Ford. The plan was very similar to the award-winning Remuera Library built in 1928. Gummer and Ford have been described as the most prominent architectural practice in New Zealand in the 1920s, responsible for such buildings as the Auckland Railway Station and Wellington's National Art Gallery and Museum. The firm also designed the "King's Building" in New Plymouth on the corner of Brougham and Devon Streets.

The construction of the library was supervised by well-known Hāwera architect, John Duffill.

The 2013 Seddon earthquakes caused cracks in the building and it was closed pending further assessment. The building reopened in late September 2019 following $650,000 worth of earthquake strengthening. The work involved removing the floor, installing ground and structural beams, relining the internal walls and replacing the flooring. The wind vane, not seen on the building since the 1950s, was also reinstalled. The project was jointly funded by the Lotteries Community Facilities Fund ($450,000), with the balance provided by the South Taranaki District Council.  (Patea & Waverley Press, October 2019)

It is listed as a heritage building in the South Taranaki District Council's District Plan and classified as a category two historic place by Heritage New Zealand.


Related Information


Library and Plunket Rooms for Patea, Corner Egmont Street & Victoria Street [plans]


Hunter Shaw Building: The Littlest Library (Taranaki Story)


Please do not reproduce these images without permission from Puke Ariki. 
Contact us for more information or you can order images online here.