Te ranga tahi, together we grow

Today is Race Relations Day and the theme this year could not be more apt for Christchurch in 2014:

I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.

Race Relations Day 2014 PosterOur city, as we all know, is undergoing many changes post-earthquakes. For me one of the most exciting ones has been the influx of people from all over the world who have come to help in the rebuild. Together we are growing a new Christchurch, a city of not only new buildings but also and especially of new relationships.

The library reflects this harmonious coming together of cultures: we have growing collections of resources for new settlers, including books and magazines in a number of world languages. And our staff is similarly multicultural and multilingual.

So what better way to celebrate this Race Relations Day than to share this year’s theme in some of the languages that we collectively speak?

  • Te ranga tahi
  • Together we grow
  • いっしょに成長しよう
  • Juntos crecemos
  • Fakalataha auloa a tautolu
  • Ensemble, nous grandissons
  • 我们一起成长
  • Zusammen wachsen wir
  • एक साथ हम आगे बढ़ें
  • Magkasama tayong uusbong at yayabong
  • Ons groei tesame
  • با هم رشد می کنیم
  • Insieme cresciamo
  • A tatou fa’atasi e tupu
  • 우리 함께 가요
  • Samen groeien we

Can you guess what all the languages we speak are? Please comment with “together we grow” in your language if it isn’t included in the list.

Happy Race Relations Day!

Biking in the blossoms: Picturing Canterbury

Maidie (15) & Dorothy (13) Gimblett at Mr. McDowell's home in Heathcote
Maidie (15) & Dorothy (13) Gimblett at Mr. McDowell’s home in Heathcote

Take a look at our Big Bargain Book Sale – it kicks off tomorrow!

Some photos from Library book sales gone by (including yours truly with her book booty – Dirk Bogarde! Halston! Andrew Loog Oldham!).

Library Book Sale

And more recent times:

KidsLibrary book sale 20132010 Library book saleLibrary book sale 2012

The annual world famous in Christchurch Big Bargain Book Sale is on soon at the Pioneer Recreation & Sport Centre, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon.

  • Friday 21 March 2014 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday 22 March 2014 9am – 4pm

Big bargain book sale banner

Lego animation, Minecraft craft – Learning Centre Holiday Programmes

3D craftsCheck our the Learning Centre holiday programme – starting after Easter. Digital storytelling, Lego animation, Minecraft craft in combination with the awesome MakerCrate crew – lots of fun and learning for kids.

Take a look at what the kids did in the January holidays.

Film School Competition
Film School 1st Prize Winner

Film School 2nd Prize Winner

Trendy Trading Cards

Digital Illustration
Digital Illustration Best Of

Laine 2

Biography and Memoir: picks from our March newsletter

Some picks from our March Biography and Memoir newsletter. Don’t miss Mum’s The Word, the fascinating life of Eve Branson, mother of Ted, and Jung Chang’s extensive biography of the oft-maligned Empress Dowager Cixi.

Cover of Phil CrossCover of Glitter and GlueCover of Faster Than LightningCover of An Italian Down UnderCover of Alfred Queen Victoria's Second SonCover of Empress Dowager CixiCover of Mum's The WordCover of UglyCover of Mermaid

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight in your inbox.

For more great biographies and memoirs, check out our lists of winners of  the Costa Biography Award.

Red House Bakery, Victoria Street : 1902

The former Robertson’s Bakery was demolished in September 2010 after the 4 September earthquake.
Demolition of Robertsons Bakery, 8 September 2010 - Kete Christchurch


We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

Contain yourself!

It’s Sunday evening. You’re on the patio of your new home on a lifestyle block/subdivision just outside Christchurch, sipping a well earned glass of wine.

You’ve just spent the entire weekend washing, cleaning, weeding and generally tidying your four bedroom (all en-suite) new home with two living areas, a rumpus room, a study, a state-of-the-art kitchen and wrap round patio plus internal access garage and laundry. You are totally exhausted and worried about finances. You turn to your partner and say:

I wish we could just live in a container.

And you are not alone. Little houses are the new Big Thing. After all, how much space do you really need? Depends on where you live seems to be the answer. How Big Is A House: Average House Size per Country is an interesting site which details the variation in house sizes around the world. It ranges from an average of 45 m2 in Hong Kong to a massive average of 214 m2 in Australia. Annoyingly New Zealand doesn’t get a mention, but we can safely say we are leaning more Ozziewards.

The allure of the small home seems to be like an emerging, modern fairy story. Everyone  wants to imagine what it would be like to pare life back to the bare basics and to do it with flair, integrity and off-grid. There are several library resources on this topic:

  • Tiny Homes by Lloyd Kahn is a beautiful book detailing the small abodes of 150 builders – each of whose homes is less than 50 m2
  • Nano House by Phyllis Richardson shows 42 teeny tiny dwelling spaces, all stunningly beautiful and all sustainable and economical.
  • New Container Architecture by Jure Kotnik is a design guide with 30 case studies detailing how to build with shipping containers.
  • Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs’ fame builds his own off-the-grid cabin using only recycled materials on the DVD Man Made Home. And yes, it is very small.

Before you get too excited about all of this, just remember: a half container measures approximately 2.44 metres x 6.1 metres. Even if you splurge, a full container is only approx 2.44 metres by 12.2 metres. Heights can be variable, but the average is 2.59 metres.

Here’s what I want you to do: get up from your desk or armchair right now and pace that out on the floor. Then stand in the middle of it.

And you will soon see – something will have to go. For starters there won’t be space for hubby and the kids. And a great deal of slashing of personal collectibles will have to take place. Here’s my philosophical take on the little home. You have to be single. Or you have to dream that you are single.

But there is no harm in dreaming: your own private, teeny tiny dream home. You so deserve it!

History and current affairs – picks from our March newsletter

Some picks from our March History and current affairs newsletter:

cover for Those wild Wyndhams cover of Hydrofracking cover for The empire of necessity cover for The voyagers cover of The news cover for Edible cover for The last of the tribe cover for Redefining girly cover for Sex and punishment

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

For more great reading suggestions, check out our booklists and recommended websites on the Literature page of our website.

Christchurch – this week in history (17 – 23 March)

View this photo of Dr Barker
Dr Barker gave up practising medicine after the death of his wife, Emma, in 1858 and photography became his career. With the wet-plate process, developing had to be carried out almost immediately and so he designed this four-wheeled buggy which incorporated a mobile dark-room.18 March 1850
18 March 1850
Jollie completes survey and plan of Christchurch.

20 March 1873
Death of pioneer doctor and photographer Dr A.C. Barker.

21 March 1848
Canterbury Association formed in London.

22 March 1975
3000 joggers take part in the first City-to-Surf fun run.

22 March 1894
First “local option” poll fails to achieve liquor prohibition in Christchurch.

23 March 1827
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, later to be the architect of the Canterbury settlement, tried and imprisoned in England for abduction.

Christchurch chronology
A timeline of Christchurch events in
chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More March events in our Christchurch Chronology.

St Patrick’s Day without the green beer

Cover for The day of the Jack RussellIt sometimes seems like St Patrick’s Day in New Zealand is yet another excuse to overindulge in beer – and green beer at that. Not a good idea as far as I’m concerned. Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Do you know if you have Irish ancestry?

Before you join the ranks of the green beer drinkers you can find out if you have Irish in your family tree by visiting our great online resources like Find my past Ireland and the British Newspaper Archive.

For a small country, Ireland has had a great influence across the world as the Irish diaspora has spread through many countries. Music and language are the great passions of Ireland and from this has come a great stream of writers, lawyers, politicians and musicians both traditional and popular.

Though I claim no Irish roots, I’ve always loved the traditional music that has been popularized by such great groups as the Chieftains. So perhaps instead of green beer I’ll celebrate St Patrick’s Day by listening to the Chieftains, reading a poem by Yeats and having a laugh with the black humour of Colin Bateman.