Atencao! If you're visiting Massey library - in the far-west Auckland suburb, not the university - Google maps suggests you take a bus from the central city via the North Shore.

Or if you're in your car, Google will deposit you in the wrong library driveway, then giggle as you back blindly on to a main road.

That road is called "Don Buck": not "Don" for "Donald" but "Don" as in "Don Quixote". One of the West's eccentric, hard-man legends, the Don was Portuguese and kept his moustache wax-tipped (Poirot would approve). Ruffians and vagabonds dug kauri gum on his hill: for some, it was a way to avoid jail.

Around the block you'll find the carpark off Westgate Drive, helped by three pioneering-folksy "Massey leisure centre and library" signs, cursively wrangled in metal by Aotearoa's premier corrugated iron artiste, Jeff Thomson.


Once inside, you'll find a 1965 poem by Marianne Simpkins about a 1912 drunken, murderous brawl at Don Buck's camp: "But the Judge didn't close the camp down/The jail was too small to hold them all/ Far better they stay out of town."

Surprisingly, the non-library side of Don Buck Rd still feels out of town - but not for long. These "Redhills" fields, together with Kumeu and Whenuapai, will help surround Massey with an extra 75,000 people in nearly 30,000 new houses in the next 30 years.

And so Massey's library is doomed: a new, bigger one is being built for the Massey-adjacent masses, 10 minutes' walk away at the new Westgate town centre.

Though the ETA is a moveable feast, this "future-proofing" seems sensible, and its architects are at Warren and Mahoney, the firm who did a good job with Glen Eden library in the early 2000s.

But still, it's a bit of a pity: Massey's current library is only sweet 16. It boasts a sublime view of the central city and the harbour bridge, and a ridiculous view of, in my opinion, ugly-as Westgate mall.

It's full of cosy nooks but the generous windows means it doesn't feel cramped; on Sunday, there were enough crannies for the cramming students and some happy kids being teased by their dad. Explore it while you can!

Meanwhile, let's be honest: the Kumeu-Huapai highway is a bit of a hole. I mean, the strawberry fields and (mostly unseen) wineries might be boutique twee but the stores on the road itself are truck-stop bleak.

The Kumeu library - 10km up the road from Massey's and opened by blond orthodox bowler and sports broadcaster turned Rodney mayor Doug Armstrong in 1998 - is on the edge of a garbage-smelly, shabby row of shops.

Happily the small library itself is an oasis: it turns its blank back on the road and its window walls look out on to riverside grass and trees. (The reserve's claim to fame? Brokenwood Mysteries did some filming here.)

A great place to stop if the traffic is getting you down. In more reliable comfort than Don Buck's crew, you can stay out of town.