Rotorua Library/Te Aka Mauri celebrated its third Heritage Week last week, encouraging locals to dig into the past to see how it shapes their present and future.
Rotorua Library's heritage and research lead, Abby Wharne, believes the past can be found in the present day and is all about community.
"The initial idea of this event was for it to be a community-generated thing," she said.
"We wanted to spark the idea and wanted other groups to join in.
"I feel Te Aka Mauri is a bit of a magic[al] place. We are so connected to different groups - iwi, the Multicultural Council - all of these groups are just part of what we do."
For Wharne, who's originally from the United Kingdom, understanding the past allows her to feel at home in Rotorua.
She calls herself "a real heritage geek" and says engaging with heritage has changed her.
"It has helped me understand who I am and feel grounded and connected, whether that be [to] my own group, say, my own ancestors back home in the UK, or [in] moving here.
"I've been so fortunate to learn about the local history, stories and narratives, and feel like this is my new home because of that. For me, that is the importance of local Heritage Week: having a sense of home and connection."
Author Philip Andrews has documented much of Rotorua's history in thirteen different books, and often finds himself walking alongside history - on almost every street corner, in fact.
"It's an added dimension as you walk around the town, for instance, to say, 'Woah, look at that name on that building', and, 'Who was he? What did he do? What did he own? What was his shop?' There's history just in the bricks and concrete."
The library's events throughout the week included traditional arts and stories of Te Arawa, sing-alongs, games, an open day at the Settlers and Steam Museum, and talks by the Multicultural Society.
"It's so many things here, right? So that's what we try to reflect in our event.
"So, we've got someone from Te Arawa talking about Māori weaponry and what that means to him, and his philosophies and how it's guided his life. We've got people from the migrant community.
"We've got some confronting history, so people will be able to go to the Māori Land Court and learn more about themselves and the troubled history of colonialism and how that has impacted their lives.
"That connection to history, that's what I think helps us know more and connect with each other, because it's so hard to know everyone's story unless you really look at resources, listen to people's stories and engage."
Wharne wants people to take away from Heritage Week knowledge of what came before us and carry it into the future.
"I think it's about taking a step back, listening, being mindful and taking the time to understand the past and each other, and that really is what has made us who we are today and where we are today. The current situation is so entirely informed by that.
"I hope people take that away with them, and when they engage in activities and with different people, they are mindful of that richness."