Pre-Festival quotes

Our Auckland Writers and Readers Festival team have been having a think about the books they’ve read,  and the authors they’re going to see:

Every book I’ve read seems to have homeless people in it.
(Roberta on Martin Edmond, A.D.Miller, Charlotte Wood …)

The characters are so like people you might know … I recognised a friend’s love rat ex-boyfriend … It’s gone viral …
(Joyce on Animal People by Charlotte Wood)

A juxtaposition of images you don’t see very often in New Zealand art books … Frizzell does art speak very well.
(Rachel on Dick Frizzell’s book All about the image)

I ‘ve been waiting for someone from the secret service to sidle up to me and ask me to be a spy for 25 years now. Do you think I should give up? Stella started life as an archivist, so I figure I’m in with a chance still. (Bronwyn on Stella Rimington’s autobiography Open Secret)

Was amazed to find I’d read a Kathy Lette book in four straight hours start to finish. Even more amazed to find I am now thinking of taking up surf-lifesaving in Australia.
(Bronwyn on Kathy Lette’s To Love, Honour and Betray)

Crafts at the library: Picturing Canterbury

Crafts at the Library
Crafts at the library.

Winter gardening

book coverAs the morning chill creeps up on us my garden has passed what I call its jungle phase and is moving into a gentle, mildew-sprinkled decline. I love how much its landscape changes through the seasons. Soon it will be mid-winter, when the bones of the garden are exposed – save for a few clumps of hardy brassicas, beets and emerging spikes of garlic.

There’s a wealth of information about spring and summer gardening available, but many gardeners struggle with maintaining a year-round garden. It’s too late to plant many things from seed now but you can still sow broad beans and peas. Garlic cloves can go in a couple of months either side of the traditional midwinter planting time and you can still get away with some seedling punnets of winter vegetables.

The exposed winter paths and beds also turn my thoughts to landscaping and planning the plantings for the next spring and summer. I’ve got a wee (read: enormous) list of tasks in mind, in between curling up by the fire with a few good winter recipe books. Maybe I’ll let the library come to me and spend a wet day or two browsing the Gale Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Collection on my home computer, available via The Source.

What do you like about your garden in winter? What are your inspirational winter gardening reads?

Anzac Day in pictures

We remember.

Graves of officers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula [1915]

Returned soldiers pass through Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1917]

About 200 wreaths lay outside the front porch of the Christchurch Cathedral [25 April 1923]

Colonel Hugh Stewart, President of the Christchurch Branch of the RSA places a wreath on the foundation stone, Bridge of Remembrance
[25 Apr. 1923]

Anzac Day 1980, Akaroa

Anzac Day 1980

OverDrive: a new way to explore our stories

To keep our history and culture alive, it is important to convey information down the generations. We have our oral and written traditions and now we see both these forms of communication take a twist with the development of e-books and downloadable audiobooks.

To allow us to access these communication formats we use OverDrive which now includes a number of stories on Gallipoli and other war experiences in an e-book format.

With Anzac Day fast approaching, it seems an ideal time to read about sacrifices and bravery during those dark times. The format may be new and portable, but the stories have not lost any of their poignancy.

Not many books containing New Zealand content have been licensed to be used in an e-book format. Where content has been licensed, we will endeavour to bring it to our OverDrive service. Regardless of technological change our stories will continue to be told!

You can access OverDrive from home with your library card and PIN.

Was your grandfather in the Māori Battalion?

Book cover: Nga TamatoaIn 1939 New Zealand answered the call to arms and many Māori enlisted.  In response to Sir Āpirana Ngata‘s request for a Māori Battalion, the 28th Māori Battalion was formed. It was to be a front line infantry unit made up of volunteers.

For these men, it was a baptism of fire in the Mediterranean. They saw action first in Greece, then Crete, where they were outnumbered by the Germans. The Battalion then spent time regrouping and retraining in Egypt. In November 1941 the New Zealand Division moved west into Libya to take part in Operation Crusader, the British Army’s push to lift the siege of Tobruk. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to fight Rommel’s Afrika Corps in the desert. However, on 13 May 1943  the war in the desert ended, leading to the surrender of 238,000 German and Italian troops.

Sgt. Hone (Jackie) Paerata, Trainer, World War II
Sgt. Hone (Jackie) Paerata

In October 1943 the Māori Battalion arrived in Italy. The mud and snow, mountains and rivers were a sharp contrast to the hot arid desert of North Africa.

The Battalion’s main target was Monte Cassino: a mount some 130 kms south-east of Rome, with a Benedictine monastery at the top.  The allies had several attempts at capturing Cassino and the Māori Battalion suffered heavy losses, with 128 out of 200 men killed, wounded or captured. At the end of the war in Europe, it took more than seven months to bring the  Māori Battalion home.

When I started writing this blog post, my colleague Dianne hunted out some fantastic books in our collection for me. I also found this useful link which may help you answer my question: was your grandfather in the Māori Battalion?

If so, or if on Anzac Day you are commemorating the sacrifices of a relative or friend who was or is a war veteran, please do share your memories with us – we’d love to read them.

P.S. Don’t forget also to check out the fantastic Anzac Day display at Shirley Library.

Goldilocks and the three blogs

My favourite festival cover this year.

It had to happen eventually – Goldilocks got tired of bears, their furniture and yucky porridge and took up blogging instead. Her first blog was too hard – she sweated bullets over that one, she really did. Her second blog was too long – she’d got life story and blogging all mussed up. But her third blog was just about right and Goldilocks really got into the swing of it and settled into a steady blogging rhythm.

Then she got sent to Auckland Writers and Readers Festival and that was when Goldilocks realised that there’s blogging and then there’s FESTIVAL BLOGGING. Four days of frantic reading, writing, interviewing and panicking. Colours seem brighter, ideas come faster and she never once thought of porridge. As for beds – that was where you collapsed at 2am, all blogged out. Turns out that festival blogging is like blogging on steroids. And Goldilocks found that she liked steroids!

Youth, hair and flouncing dresses way off to one side here, I’m the Goldilocks in this story. And after much deliberation, here are some of the authors that I am really looking forward to hearing,  meeting and definitely blogging on at AWRF this year.

But first there’s the technology to master. So I took my new laptop to a wifi cafe for a trial run and prevailed on my waitperson to photograph me for this festival blog. In the first photo my nose looked too big. In the second my nose looked too…., you get where I am going with this. After the third shot, my waitron put the camera firmly back on the table and said:

You’re really excited about this festival thing aren’t you?

However did she guess?

That time of year again!

book coverUnbelievable how quickly the financial year rolls round, isn’t it? No sooner have you packed away the final accounts and neatly filed invoices (I wish) for the previous year, than March is here again and it’s time to wade through a whole new pile of bank statements.

If you’d like to save money on accountant’s fees or tax refund specialist charges by filing your own return there is help available.

Christchurch City Libraries’ tax page is a great place to start. There’s information about filing returns and links to the IRD to find out if you will get tax back.  Teens can keep up-to-date about workplace rights and tax responsibilities.

Gareth Morgan’s recent book, The Big Kahuna, gives an interesting perspective on the purpose of tax and the distribution of wealth in New Zealand. It’s content that affects Kiwi taxpayers – and, let’s face it, that’s pretty much all of us.

DIY – what can I do?

“From 1 March 2012 critical building work that is known as Restricted Building Work, must be done by an LBP (Licensed Building Practitioner).”

book coverIf you are a keen do-it -yourselfer or have one in the family, now is the time to get familiar with RBW and LBP. (They sound like sports stars don’t they)

Restricted Building Work is “building work (including design work) that relates to either the structure (load-bearing walls; foundations etc) or moisture penetration (roofs; cladding etc) of homes including small to medium sized apartments… also includes the design of fire safety systems for small to medium apartments”

Designers, carpenters, external plasterers, bricklayers and blocklayers, foundation specialists, roofers and  on-site supervisors or managers must all be registered as Licensed Building Practitioners. Registered Architects and Plumbers as well as Chartered Professional Engineers are also deemed to be licensed.

The go to site for all the official information is the Department of Building and Housing which has a special section for homeowners.

If it sounds like it is taking all the fun away from DIY we can still indulge our love affair with home improvements – interior design , painting and decks for example.

New Vauxhall Victor at new University: Picturing Canterbury

New Vauxhall Victor at new university

February 1965: This photo was commissioned by Farmers Motors to display the newly released Vauxhall Victor.  Several of us were enlisted to show that the vehicle was a true 6 seater.  The photo  was taken outside the Engineering Building at the new Ilam University site.