Papers Past – now with more Christchurch

Papers Past is a New Zealand taonga . This collection of digitised newspapers is an invaluable resource for students, historians, writers, researchers and anyone who wants to timetravel. Some recent additions will be of particular interest for Christchurch.

The Press now includes the years 1921 to 1928. Coverage is now from 25 May 1861 to 29 December 1928 (20192 issues)

The Star now covers issues from 1910 to 1914. The coverage is now from 4 May 1868 to 31 December 1914 (14589 issues)

Newly added is The Sun 6 February 1914 – 31 December 1915 (595 issues)

In 1912, Edward C Huie resigned from editorship of the Press Company’s Evening News in Christchurch, frustrated that the proprietors were not interested in the young Australian’s ideas about livelier journalism and layout. The Evening News’ primary role was to carry news and advertisements too late for that day’s Press. The 36-year-old Huie announced shortly afterwards his intention to launch a third evening paper, a competitor to the Evening News and the Lyttelton Times’ Star.

Here is an article on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, in The Star of 29 June 1914:


Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

Cover of The Good LifeIf you indulge in the odd spot of social networking on Facebook, you may have seen the lashings of “likes” for a post with the cheeky Polish saying: Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

First I smiled. Then I panicked. What if my plumber, dentist, bank manager, underwear sales assistant, even (though this would never happen!) my library assistant, took this stance? Where would that leave me?

At a time (in Christchurch in particular) when we are daily urged to look out for one another, and random acts of kindness make living worthwhile, where does this proverb fit?

Here’s some great library resources for you to delve into on this very topic:Cover of Be Different

  • Give, but give until it hurts said Mother Teresa. Can’t say better than that now, can you.
  • In his 2014 book The Good Life, Graham Music takes us on a research trip to uncover what tips us towards selfish or altruistic behaviour. He strikes a near fatal blow at the Selfish Gene hypothesis. This is a very compelling read.
  • Recognising the importance of connection for those on the Autism spectrum, John Elder Robison has written Be Different, a book that stresses every individual’s ability to create strong loving bonds and that, Cover of The Selfish Geneessentially, we do this by caring for one another’s monkeys.
  • Readings that encourage selfishness for survival maintain that we are genetically hard-wired to look after number one first. Check out the Team Selfish readings here, headed by Richard Dawkins’ controversial The Selfish Gene.

Truth is, I’ve grown to love your circuses and your monkeys. This to the extent that I may (on occasion) have neglected some of my own show ponies. Head-messing thought here: Could it be that I am caring, but for selfish reasons? And where is the book on that?