Does Earthquakes + NCEA = Scatterbrains? How your library can help

Cover The earthquakes have probably changed your life – messing up your routine, creating big inconveniences and upping your stress levels. Unfortunately there are still things that remain the same, like NCEA. Yup, even though your family spend their free time digging liquifaction and you’re sharing a portaloo with your neighbours, you still have homework to do and exams to prepare for.

I’m trying (read: failing miserably) to complete assignments for my degree while dealing with the fact my life in Christchurch has been red stickered, so I know how you’re feeling. Even when you do get motivated enough to study, aftershocks keep disrupting your concentration!

You’re not on your own – the library is here to help with NCEA resources. We’ll make sure you are able to find some calm in all the chaos to concentrate on your study and show you the best homework and general reference tools so you can earn yourself an excellence.

Keep reading this blog, too. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to post helpful information about specific NCEA subjects in our series Get ya geek on.

Words for Christchurch: David Howard

In the second contribution from writers around the country in our Words for Christchurch series, Dunedin poet and founder of literary magazine Takahe David Howard writes an elegy to Rhys Brookbanks, who died in the CTV building collapse. The piece was originally published as All about it on Bookman Beattie’s blog. This version, David says, has been revised to incorporate some of Rhys’s own poetry, in particular The Glorious Dead.


in memory of Rhys Brookbanks


Things go on
leaving. They go on because
they leave. A leaf falls over
itself, the very.


Beyond what is
said to what is, the impossible.
And you curtsy,


The wind doubles
back. It carries the scent of sex
to the tree’s knot, where
you expected initials.


When the dead are, then
you become
wood the superstitious knock on, wanting

inside. Igneous self
nothing to the imagination stone doesn’t have.


The wind doubles up and
under: a noun with attitude,
sharp as a mother-in-law
studying the sheets.


Your picture is always in my head
which is in my hands.

(We need uninterrupted coverage)

At 12.51 the wild yonder
bruises. A lottery vendor, God

(We need half-time comments, cheer leaders and hotdogs on a stick)

crosses the square, where you
wait. The ghost of Godley

(We need widescreen TV, surround sound and optional extras)

watches from the fur of a cat,
the feather of a bird, hears the word

(We need censor’s approval)

Extra! on the lips of a newsboy.

Getting on with it

St AlbansI never thought the sound of graders scraping the road, trucks rumbling and bobcats beeping would make me happy. They do now because they mean people are getting on with fixing roads, water and sewerage plus dozens of other useful things.

Today I walked to St Albans to have coffee with a friend. The corner of Edgeware Road and Barbadoes Street is home to a large empty section where a two storey row of shops once stood. They came down after the September quake. Still standing nearby are two furniture craftsmen – both open, and a cafe/collectibles shop. The place was a hive of activity and I took some pictures to show something of what was going on.

Christchurch City Libraries Flickr site has some other great photos showing post quake activity – story telling, community meetings and so on. Keep an eye on it as over the next few months as it records the rising up and rebuilding of our city.

Community groups are getting on with it too – Trees for Canterbury and Club Havana are just two examples. If your club is up and running again let us know at CINCH (Community Information Christchurch) and we’ll add a message. If your meeting place has changed we can add that too.

My favourite NZ books – Mandy Hager

photoIt’s always incredibly hard trying to tease out only one or two authors when we are blessed with so many amazing writers in this beautiful small country of ours but, if I think about it, all the writers I really admire have one very important thing in common: they all write books with a warm humanity at their core.

What do I mean by this? I guess I mean that whatever they write – even if the actual story is scary or funny or violent or heart-breakingly sad – the underlying message is about the need to champion and protect everyone’s basic human rights – and to act from a place of love, not greed, or fear, or ignorance, or hate. Maurice Gee does this, as do Sherryl Jordan, Anna Mackenzie and Fleur Beale (just to name a few!)

I like books that have something to say about the world we live in – books that aren’t afraid to have an opinion, even if it’s one I don’t agree with! How about the next time you pick up a YA novel you read it with these thoughts in mind: what is the author really trying to say? How does the theme reflect what’s going on today? What ideas could I take away from this and action in my own world? Give it a go!

Mandy Hager