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The HOT-AS Hub Heart of Te Atatu South

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The “HOT-AS Hub” isn’t another example of a modern slang; HOT-AS is made up of the initial letters of Heart of Te Atatu South and the hub includes the free Book Exchange operating from a cluster of Council-owned buildings in Edmonton Road, between Countdown and the St John Ambulance station.

Heart of Te Atatu South is an increasingly successful community initiative to bring life to the little village centre set around the Edmonton Road/Te Atatu Road intersection. The free Book Exchange was the brainchild of local woman Vicki Nuualiito, also the chair of HOT-AS itself. Distraught when their local library closed, Te Atatu people petitioned Auckland Council two years ago to be able to operate their own free of charge service.A year later they were in business with literally thousands of books, and the shelves to hold them, gifted from Auckland libraries.

Users can exchange one of their own books or they can just take one if they don’t have a book to exchange. There’s no incentive to steal because the books are free and it soon becomes obvious to people, that this is a pretty cool idea that works for them. In the last year, donations of books and later, craft materials and even money, have come in a steady stream, into the busy little centre that’s open three days a week: Mondays 9.30am – 2.30PM; Wednesdays 9am – 12PM and Saturdays 10am – 12PM.

On Mondays it is also the venue for a knitters’ group that started the expansion of the basic book exchange to a place where some of the old crafts, like knitting, are being revived and shared. A recent initiative was Christine Williams hand-knitting poppies for Anzac day and selling them through the nearby pharmacy, $1 from each poppy is donated to the RSA.

School holidays are a hive of activities for local kids soaking up the opportunity to learn some of the crafts and pastimes that kept their grandparents going in the days before Xbox, computers and televisions. Starting in May, there will be a Saturday morning market at the venue. Currently 19 volunteers staff the Book Exchange but there’s always need for more. If you’re interested in helping please contact heartoftetatusouth@gmail.com.

Photo via www.facebook.com/HeartOfTeAtatuSouth