Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated

The Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated are a voluntary group who support the development of the Paihia Library, including the upstairs gallery, and the historic Williams House. The Friends enjoy an excellent working arrangement with the Far North District Council and the Williams family who support the many projects the Friends undertake.

The Friends are an active group who have completed many projects and have more under way:

  1. Upstairs gallery: This has been equipped with an art hanging display system, lighting and carpet. The gallery is available for local artists to display their art. Since January 2010 the gallery has been run by the library. If anyone is interested in making use of the gallery, please contact the Librarian, Rae Middleton, directly at
  1. Restoration of the Old Stone Shed: The Friends organised the restoration of this historic shed. Used as the first school house in Paihia, this shed is steeped in history. The next stage of the project is to organise a display within the shed that details its historic significance and the many uses of the shed. This will then be merged with our history trail through the gardens.
  1. Restoration of the garage: A local resident donated a sum of money to the Friends for the restoration of the garage. The Friends now use the garage as a venue to sell second hand books. This is their main source of funds. The books are sold at bi-monthly book stalls, (first and third Saturdays of each month), on most long weekends and on days when cruise ships visit. The money raised from the book stall is used to provide facilities for community use in Williams House, books and equipment for the Library and also the projects undertaken by the Friends. The Friends welcome the donation of used books, which they will collect if necessary. Contact the Garage Book Sale co-ordinator Margaret Rasmussen at
  1. Brochure: A brochure had been published some years ago explaining the history of the House, gardens and site. The site has direct links with Henry Williams who arrived in Paihia in 1823 to establish an Anglican Mission Station. The supply of these brochures has run out and a new brochure is in the planning stages. It will also contain information and a map about our history trail. It is proposed that this will be available, as before, from the Paihia Library, Paihia i-Site office or at the Williams House garage, (during book sales days).
  1. Work on our history trail, to allow visitors to understand the various features of the gardens and their historical significance to Williams House, has been completed. The Friends commissioned Visual Solutions to provide interpretive signs that we hope will enhance the experience of Williams House for our visitors. There will be some enhancements to the signs to include QR codes so that visitors can access our website for more detailed information. To view our website please go to the following URL:
  1. A book, PROTECTING PARADISE IN PAIHIA The Story of Williams House and Gardens by Fiona Craig, was commissioned to record the living memories of those associated with the House and gardens. This has now been published and the official launch of the book was held in the Williams House grounds with current members of the Williams family as guests. Copies of the book are available from Bay of Islands retailers and from the Friends’ book sales at the garage. If you wish to obtain a copy, purchase at those locations or please contact any of the committee members listed at the bottom of this page or contact Margaret Rasmussen at
  1. Garden: This is an ongoing project for the Friends and the helpers. Four large garden seats have now been provided and are well used by the many visitors. The Friends also look after the vegetable garden and have allowed Paihia School to use this facility for a school project on gardening. The school uses the produce from the garden to complete the process of teaching their pupils about growing their own food and preparing the harvested products. The Friends have regular working bees to look after the flower beds. Any one who would like to join us at working bees or would like to take ownership of an area of the garden is welcome to join us.
  1. The Friends make annual and special donations to the library to purchase books, puzzles and other items, as these are needed. Examples of the special items include; new lighting provided in the children’s room and the non-fiction room; and tables and chairs for the outside areas so that visitors can operate their laptops or just enjoy the scenery of the garden.
  1. Following the completion of our history trail, the next large project we undertook was the restoration of the pump house in the grounds of Williams House. As well as the shed itself needing to be completely rebuilt, the pump required a complete overhaul. Initial checks had indicated that the pump was still in running condition, but more comprehensive checks on the pump, the bore and the pressure tank were needed before it was able to be used. The pump was restored to working condition and we now to use the water provided for watering the gardens, enabling us to become more self-sufficient. As a further enhancement, we will provide a secure viewing door to enable public viewing of the pump operating.

Some more of our achievements:

The lights in the library in the children’s room, non-fiction and workroom were organised and paid for by the fund raising of the Friends.

Have you checked the back flap of the book you are reading? Is it one that was bought with donations to the library by the Friends? These have been purchased using proceeds from garage sales of second hand books. Do you have any second hand books we can have? We always need more and we can collect, so please let us know.

The Friends also have volunteer gardeners for most flower beds but we have paid to get a lot of the heavier work done – that’s why the gardens look tidier and better. The vegetable garden and orchard is supervised by the Friends and we sell produce when available at a garage book sale.

We have lots of fun and spread our tasks so would you like to join us? Or do you want to hear more about what we do – how we support the house, the grounds and the library? Please come and join us, ask us, assist us – at our meetings, or on the committee. Anyone who would like to become a member of the Friends is welcome. Please contact any of the Friends listed below.

For more information:

Contact Name:    President – Annette Roberts   Ph: 402 7711 or

Secretary – Anne Corbett   Ph: 402 7882

Address:             2 Williams Road, Paihia


Postal Address:  Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated,

c/o Anne Corbett,

P.O.Box 15,

Paihia 0247


Web Page: