- Raymond Cohen, 1919-2011 : Pre-war violin prodigy who, aged 21, played three concertos in one evening.
- Barry Coward, 1941-2011: Historian of the Stuart Age and biographer of Oliver Cromwell.
- Kenneth Cumberland, 1913-2011 Emeritus professor of geography who made significant contributions to farming, forestry and city planning.
- Richard Holmes, 1946-2011: Military historian whose television battlefield tours offered erudite insights into the horrors of war.
- Sidney Lumet, 1924-2011: Film director who made his name with crime dramas such as Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.
- Elisabeth Sladen, 1948-2011: Actress who made her name as Doctor Who’s assistant in the 1970s then starred in a spin-off 30 years later.
- Leo Steinberg, 1920-2011: Art historian dubbed a ‘king of Cultureburg’ who reinterpreted Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
- John Sullivan, 1946-2011: Television comedy writer who drew upon his own upbringing to create Only Fools and Horses.
So says the first page of the 2011 Auckland Readers and Writers Festival brochure, and so say many of us in Christchurch today. This time last year we were planning our trip to the 2010 Festival, and our heads were full of thoughts of books and writers and plane trips and the joy of people-watching and just plain being in Auckland.
Last year I was looking forward to airplane snacks and pillow menus and meeting amazing writers and speakers. This year I’m so looking forward to all of this, but I am also looking forward to reliably flushing toilets, buildings that don’t move around, and talking to people who can’t spell ‘liquefaction’, and who don’t know the geonet and crowe quake website addresses off by heart.
Last year I was frightened of interviewing famous people, wearing the wrong kind of black to events full of arty people, and being on TV for the filming of The Good Word Debate. This year I am a little scared I will get weepy in some of the sessions, not be able to remember where I am supposed to be, or even remember how to write about things other than portaloos and potholes.
Poor old Christchurch has lost our own festival twice now – once in September and once in March, and so to be able to go and share in Auckland’s Festival is doubly precious.
Director Jill Rawnsley says the festival is “both a haven and a hive of activity, reconnecting us with friends, feelings and hope”. As we begin to prepare for what will be five days of manic booky excitement, I am also happy our library can share some of this with everyone here at home too, not just the full-on festival buzz, but also the feeling that we are all part of a wider family who supports each other, through the good times and the not-so-good.
Also, those packets of airplane peanuts …
The theme for this year’s Records and Archives week is “From the hāngī pit to the Weetbix Kid: Recording the history of food in New Zealand.” As a child and teen I spent quite a bit of time down south in Mataura during school holidays. Alongside fishing for trout with the family, one of the other things we often used to do was to set out at night on a mission to catch tuna (eel).
My cousins and I and some of the local kids would get all kitted up and head off, five or six of us with torches in hand on a mission down to the river. We weren’t always successful – usually just the fun of going on an eel tromp was a reward in itself, even if we didn’t end up coming home with anything.
People have been eeling for hundreds of years, and luckily, we have some recordings of people recalling their experiences.
Have a listen to this kōrero about eeling from Wairewa Marae at Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere):
Or try Cath Brown’s reminisces about eeling at Ngāti Moki Marae.
These recordings are one of the many ways we can document material so that future generations can have access to such wonderful taonga.
During New Zealand Music Month Ngā Manu Tioriori, the Christchurch City Council waiata group, are touring around some of our libraries to entertain you.
On Thursday the group will visit South, Spreydon, Bishopdale, Redwood, Parklands, and New Brighton libraries. If you are in these libraries between 9.30 and 1.oo we hope to see you! Join in or just enjoy.
Here’s another image for Records and Archives Week. This one’s from a photo album of Cashmere Sanatorium, 1913-1933 – Archive 887.