Stop Press: Find My Past releases more family history records

One million UK merchant navy seamen records have been released on Thousands of these  seamen were recorded as being born in Australia and New Zealand. The records include biographical information such as name and date of birth, and in the most complete records eye and hair colour, address of kin, and a  photograph of the seamen.

They also contain vivid and unusual details such as scars and tattoos.

Find My Past: UK also contains among other resources:

  • The only 1841-1911 census collection online;
  • An online index of births, deaths and marriages (1837-2006);
  • Parish records for baptisms, marriages and burials dating from 1538;
  • Passenger lists for all long-haul voyages leaving the UK between 1890 and 1960.

This resource is also complemented by Find My Past: Ireland and Find My Past: Australia.These fantastic resources are  available at all our open community libraries, but not from home.  Come in and have a play and explore our other electronic family history resources from the Source!

You Are Here

Picture this: you are lost and peering intently at an information board when you spot a bright arrow and three magic words:

“You Are Here.”

Delighted as I would be that  in these times of great change someone in the Universe knows where I am, my relief would be further enhanced were there another smaller arrow indicating  the location of the nearest public toilets.

It is in this spirit that I bonded with one of my recent holiday reads: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe. Maxwell has lost his way in life. His wife and daughter have left him, his depression has debilitated him, he has given up his secure job. Instead he becomes a travelling salesman for organic toothbrushes and his most enduring relationship is with Emma, his name for the SatNav in his hired car. Maxwell Sim badly needs a “You Are Here” moment.

Rescue is at hand though in the form of three pieces of writing that come his way. From his ex- wife, an old flame and his father – these writings help Maxwell understand who he is and where he should be. Coe has written this novel in a disarming style which fudges the boundaries between the writer, the protagonist and the reader.  Coe speaks directly to us, further enhancing our engagement with this character for whom everything seems to have gone wrong. Yet make no mistake, this is a very funny book.

This is the first of Coe’s novels that I have read so I am well pleased to discover that he is a fairly prolific and very successful writer. My only gripe is that I absolutely hated the ending of this book. Did anyone else get that far?

Sure to rise – breadmaking adventures

book coverThe other  night I ventured out in a torrential downpour and returned with a tray of Chelsea buns somewhat blackened on the bottom. Yes I had been to night class. It doesn’t sound very encouraging but the buns tasted delicious once the blackened bits were removed. The burning was the fault of a somewhat dodgy oven.

I’ve been to a number of night classes over the years – woodworking and yoga revealed my personal inadequacies in those fields but breadmaking has been fun and I have been learning heaps – not to mention eating some delicious fancy breads. My multicultural classmates and teacher bring all sorts of interesting traditions and ideas to the class. The course culminated in me producing a very nice wholemeal loaf. (Pictorial evidence provided on request).

Now I feel ready to practice what I have learnt and follow up by dipping into the great collection of resources at our libraries.  One of the best known baking gurus writing these days is Dean Brettschneider who began his training at the famous Rangiora Bakery.

Beethoven’s greatest symphony

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Choral Symphony is considered one of his greatest works and is one of the enduring favourites of the classical repertoire. The NZSO are performing it tonight at the CBS arena, along with a newly commissioned work by Gareth Farr.

The performance features a great collection of New Zealand talent – Madeleine Pierard – soprano, Sarah Castle – mezzo-soprano, Simon O’Neill – tenor, Jonathan Lemalu – bass.

Listening to the Concert Programme the other day, I heard a glowing review to the effect that (to use the technical terms) they really nailed it. An excerpt from the last movement of the Auckland performance was then played. The reviewer was right. It was stunning. Pietari Inkinen clearly has the orchestra, choir and soloists under his spell. The audience is in for a special evening.

CD CoverOther great interpreters of this symphony are Furtwangler, Toscanini, Bernstein and Von Karajan. You can listen to all of these and others in the Naxos Online Music Library.

We don’t know what Gareth Farr will come up with, but his work is always compelling. Search for his music in Naxos.

Tumbled obelisks in Christchurch

Barbadoes Street Cemetery

Our Genealogy Librarian and heritage expert Richard L. N. Greenaway spoke this morning on Radio New Zealand National’s Morning Report: Heritage supporters want Christchurch headstones repaired. Have a listen as he, and other experts, discuss Christchurch cemeteries.

He spoke from Barbadoes Street Cemetery.

Explore more about Christchurch cemeteries:

Mana wahine: Dr Patricia Te Arapo Wallace

Cover of Pūawaitanga o te Ringa - Fruits of our busy hands Dr Patricia Te Arapo Wallace was involved in one of Christchurch City Libraries’ most significant cultural taonga Pūawaitanga o te Ringa – Fruits of our busy hands, a series of tukutuku panels that were specially woven as a community project for the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre.

She is widely respected for her knowledge of Māori material culture:

When Dr Patricia Wallace wanted to piece together the mysteries of traditional Maori dress,  she found inspiration in an unconventional form – modern-day plastic Ken dolls. With the help of ‘Barbie boyfriends’ she was able to reconstruct how early Maori traditionally wore large kaitaka (cloaks) wrapped around their bodies.

Cover of Looking flashLast month Dr Wallace became the first Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar to graduate from Canterbury with a PhD in Maori. While the department has previously awarded four doctorates, Dr Wallace is the first Maori person to do her doctoral study solely in the Maori department. Her achievements are even more remarkable for the fact that she only embarked on a university education in her fifties. Research throws new light on traditional Maori dress.

from the article Research throws new light on traditional Maori dress (2003)

She wrote an impressive  Introduction to Māori Dress feature in the  Berg Fashion Library,  in 2010.

Dr Wallace also wrote the chapter ‘He whatu ariki- he kura, he waero: chiefly threads – red and white’ in the book Looking Flash: Clothing in Aotearoa New Zealand by Labrum, McKergow and Gibson (2007).

She is one of six contributors to Whatu Kākahu-Māori Cloaks (2011) which will be launched at the 2011 National Weavers’ Hui.

Read Patricia’s Researcher profile from the University of Canterbury.

Support the Court tonight with Ngaio Marsh – Crime Queen

CoverFans of classic crime fiction, of film and of the Court Theatre should all turn out for tonight’s fundraising screening of Ngaio Marsh – Crime Queen (Monday 26 September).

Hosted by Peter Elliott as Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn, there will be a Q & A for 20 minutes with the film makers after the showing and a full compendium of Ngaio Marsh’s 32 detective stories and a signed copy of Joanne Drayton’s biography of Ngaio Marsh will be raffled on the night.

All funds raised will go to the Court Theatre’s fundraising appeal for “The Shed”.

This event is on at The Aurora Centre (corner of Greers Road and Memorial Avenue), at 7.30. tonight. Tickets are $25.00 and will be on sale at the door.

For more:

Communications and Mass Media Collection: getting your point across

logoWe all need reasonable communication skills to get through our lives.  Some people need these skills to be sharper than most like:

  • Writers
  • Journalists, editors and publishers
  • Marketing and public relations professionals
  • Graphic artists and advertisers
  • Students of all the above!

With information from journals, books, and multimedia, there is a solution to any communication type question asked – from Facebook privacy issues to punctuation rules – this resource can help.

Communications and Mass Media Collection and many other  electronic resources can be found in the Source.

Access this from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our open community libraries.

Canterbury poets in performance

Hooray! Poetry is back in full effect! Kia ora to Poetry in Performance from Canterbury Poets.

Their new venue is at the CPIT Students Association (CPSA) Hall, 5 Madras Street (close to their previous home  Madras Cafe and Bookshop).

Events include open microphone and guest readers including Vincent O’Sullivan,  Bill Manhire,  David Eggleton, Poets of the The Hagley Writers’ Institute, and James Norcliffe. It takes place on Wednesdays at 6.30pm.

Find out more on the  CCAC Christchurch Community Arts Council website.

Get ya geek on: Really useful resources for NCEA French

Cover image of "Spectacular Paris"Put on your beret, munch on a pain au chocolat and let the library be your French tutor.

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