Recently three generations of the Leys family talked about their ongoing family connections to the Leys Institute Library and Gymnasium, even though the family handed the buildings over to the council in 1964, along with property and a maintenance fund.
Leys librarian David Gunn arranged for Vivienne to be interviewed on family history concerning the Leys a couple of years ago. According to Vivienne “they wanted to hear from me while I was still around.”
Her children have also maintained connections to the Leys. Philippa attends a French language group which met at the Leys until its closure. Sons Mark and Lloyd, Philippa and Vivienne have consulted with council and were informed late last year that the buildings would need to close.
Lloyd Leys attended the local protest held outside the library in February. He said “If there are conservation plans and engineering reports already available, why doesn’t the council apply for Covid-19 project money to go ahead with strengthening? It would create employment and provide jobs.”
“After all, the family carefully provided for its upkeep, gifting funds and property to the council. If the council doesn’t want to look after the Leys Institute and repair it, can the family have it back, please?”
Lloyd’s daughter Anna, a student at UNITEC, feels the family connection to the Leys Institute. “It’s such a beautiful building – the first time I went into it I immediately felt at home. I do hope it can be restored as a library again.”
The Leys family are concerned with the fate of the Leys Institute and feel a sense of sadness that their family legacy to Auckland, lovingly maintained by the family since 1905 until recent decades, is now mothballed, possibly for the foreseeable future.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of Friends of Leys Institute can email co-ordinator Helen Geary at firstname.lastname@example.org , and follow the Friend of Leys Institute Facebook page.