About the Friends of Williams House

The Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated are a voluntary group who support the development of the library, 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 rae.middleton@fndc.govt.nz.

2. 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 be merged with the current project under way - a history trail through the gardens.

3. 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). The money raised from the book stalls 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 ras1@clear.net.nz.

4. 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 available, as before, from the Paihia Library, Paihia i-Site office or at the Williams House garage, (during book sales days).

5. Work is progressing on a history trail to allow visitors to understand the various features of the gardens and their historical significance to Williams House. The Friends have commissioned Visual Solutions to provide interpretive signs that we hope will enhance the experience of Williams House for our visitors. This work is nearing completion, with new signs already placed at the two main entrances to the grounds, (on Williams Road and via the kissing gate from the Village Green). The rest of the signs should be in place before the end of this year. Information about the details of the trail's points of interest can be found here.

6. 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 ras1@clear.net.nz.

7. Garden: This is an ongoing project for the Friends and the helpers. Three large garden seats have been provided and are well used by the many visitors. The Friends also look after the vegetable garden and produce from the garden, when available, will be sold in conjunction with the garage book sale days to raise additional funds for the Friends' projects. 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.

8. 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.

9. Following the completion of our history trail, the next project to be undertaken is the restoration of the pumphouse in the grounds of WIlliams House. As well as the shed itself needing to be completely rebuilt, the pump will require overhaul. Initial checks have indicated that the pump is still in a running condition, but more comprehensive checks on the pump, the bore and the pressure tank will need to be done before it is able to be used. If the pump can be restored to working condition, we intend to use the water provided for watering the gardens, enabling us to become more self-sufficient

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 sales.

  • 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: Chairperson - Margaret Civil Ph: (021) 754 919 or

Secretary - Anne Corbett Ph: 402 7882

Address: 2 Williams Road, Paihia

Email: craicor@actrix.gen.nz

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

c/o Keith Roberts,

P.O.Box 596,

Paihia 0247