The re-imagination of Christchurch

Our city is broken.  When I talk to fellow Christchurch residents, I get the feeling people are ready to make the city better and stronger. I feel quite excited about all the different possibilities that arise and have already shared some of my ideas (which are magnificent, if you ask me) with the Christchurch City Council.

And now, I am getting ready to be inspired at the TEDxEQChCh event that is being held this Saturday at The Aurora Centre for the Performing Arts. Speakers will cover a broad range of disciplines including urban planning, architecture, entrepreneurship, culture, and economics.

Looking at the programme, I feel as curious as George to find out what Art Agnos learned from rebuilding San Francisco after the ’89 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Undoubtedly, Ariana Tikao’s opening performance will be something not to miss.Do not worry if you haven’t got tickets to attend, you can feel the spark in the comfort of your home because they will be streaming live on the day!

I like to think that a lot of love and thought will go into the rebuilding of our city … who knows? It might end up looking as nice and open as this aerial image from the 1910s!

Aerial view of Christchurch looking west towards Hagley Park photographed by F.G. Radcliffe from the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, ref.35-R406

It’s not too late to share an idea

Cathedral SquareLast weekend I attended the Share an Idea expo at the CBS Canterbury Arena. Hundreds of people had thousands of ideas of how we can rebuild our city. Some ideas were good, others maybe not so good, but all were important. Post-it notes were stuck on the wall, pictures were drawn and plastic-block buildings constructed. The guest speakers gave interesting presentations about what they thought the city should look like.

The ideas are split into four categories:

  • Life is what keeps the central city vibrant;
  • Space is everything that goes into creating the central city;
  • Market is all about how to encourage economic activity in our city centre; and
  • Move is how we travel to, and around, our central city.

It’s not too late to have your say. To see what has already been suggested, visit the Share an Idea website. Read the suggestions and watch the  clips on YouTube.  Forms are still available at some libraries and service centers, so you can write down your idea and hand it in, or go online, sign up for the newsletter and have your say.

If you want to read up on some urban design ideas our libraries have some great resources. Try these subject headings:

Get ya geek on: Really useful resources for NCEA Music

Cover image of "Music theory"Whether you sing solo or in a choir, or play drums in a rock band or for the school orchestra, we can help you with your NCEA Music assessments.

Want some more really useful resources for another NCEA subject? Go to The Pulse, the library’s website for teens.

Digitised Ellesmere Guardian now available

A happy function at Southbridge, the opening of a new recreation ground.
A happy function at Southbridge, the opening of a new recreation ground.

Great news for family historians, students and researchers – more of the Ellesmere Guardian has been digitised and can be viewed online at Papers Past.  This means papers from 1891 until 1945 can now be seen online.

This project has been a partnership between the National Library and Waihora Ellesmere Trust with financial assistance from Lincoln University Library, Christchurch City Libraries, Selwyn District Council, and the Ellesmere Historical Society.
Collated and curated by the National Library, Papers Past includes regional papers from all over New Zealand. Some key features include:

  • 63 titles, with more being added regularly.
  • Includes New Zealand’s earliest newspapers — the oldest listed is New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, August 21, 1839
  • Features full-page and article images plus a powerful keyword search engine.
  • Browsing lets you look at all the newspapers, starting with a year, a region, or a newspaper title.

The Chameleon Reader

I become the books I read.

Chameleon like, I take on the speech patterns and idiosyncracies of the characters on the page. This is not too detrimental to everyday life and personal relationships when I am reading something sunny and upbeat, but when I am in the throes of a dark, dysfunctional read – woe betide.

David Vann is one of the authors at the . I took his book Caribou Island on a recent trip to Sydney. From the get go, the book and real life became intertwined. As the plane ascended, the passenger in front of me took ill and the fruits of her labour flowed back into my handbag narrowly missing Caribou Island. A clear case of real life mirroring the many physical discomforts of this book.

Fortunately there wasn’t much time for reading in Sydney or, given my chameleon tendencies, I’d have morphed into an unfulfilled wife sniping at her husband’s bumbling failures. Add in a whole bunch of “searching for self” young people in bitterly cold, isolated Alaska and the scene is set. Sounds bleak I know, but the message that comes across (live your  dream, not someone else’s) is so well wrought, I guarantee you will relish your reading of this book.

The sick passenger on the plane was tended to by a very young doctor, the apple of his mother’s eye to be sure, who had (after eight years of study and vast sums of money) chosen this day to wear his  “Musician Searching for Groupies” t-shirt!

So Vann-like.

And the chameleon in me does not believe it would have happened like this had I been reading a  Danielle Steel!