Ngā Pounamu Māori explored

Whangia ka tupu, ka puawai

That which is nurtured, blossoms and grows

Christchurch City Libraries hold many taonga. Ngā Pounamu Māori Collection is one of them. Filled with history, art, mahi toi,  te Reo Māori, tikanga, kaupapa, whakapapa, politics, moemoea, traditions, kōrero, whānau me pūrākau.

Each library has someone who is the kaitiaki of that librarys’ Ngā Pounamu Collection (Ngā Kaiāwhina) and we recently shared some pukapuka from this collection.

This is what was on show. Quite a variety indeed!  We hope there will be some discovery moments for our blog readers as you venture into this awesome collection.

  • Native Land Court 1862-1887: a historical study, cases and commentary / Richard Boast, 346.043 BOA – fascinating history, history of the Maori Land Court and over 100 principal cases including text and introductory commentary explaining the case and its significance.
  • Ora Nui, Maori Literary Journalcover for Ora Nui – collection of different works from different authors, great starting point. (Available as an free downloadable eBook).
  • Choosing a Māori Name for your baby / Miriama Ohlson – transliterations and  traditional names.
  • Māori Agriculture, Elsdon Best – Interesting reading in context. A good start but does need to come with a proviso, also available online. Library disclaimer: Elsdon Best has come under criticism over some of his work.
  • Apirana Taylor – poet, short story and novel writer. A Canoe in Midstream
  • cover for parihaka - the art of passive resistanceParihaka the art of passive resistance,- edited by Te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory O’Brien and Lara Strongman –  well written and capturing interest
  • Ben Brown< “amazing” performance poet.
  • Hone Tuwhare Tuwhare – poetry made into music. Not by wind ravaged (Parihaka)
  • Te Rongoa Māori / PME Williams
  • Tikao Talks / Teone Taare Tikao – a must read! Traditions and tales as told by Teone Tikao (Rapaki) to Herries Beattie. Related information can be found in Tī Kōuka Whenua.
  • A Booming in the night / Benjamin Brown and Helen Taylor – beautiful!! Childrens. More from these two.
  • cover for Ko Wai Kei te Huna?Ko Wai E Huna Ana? / Satoru Ōnishi – Childrens, Te Reo Māori publication
  • Toddling into Te Reo(series), reprinted 2014 by Huia Print – Childrens – nice to have the translations at the back, good to let parents know about this, colourful and thoughtful
  • He aha tenei? / Sharon Holt – Childrens Reo Singalong Written in Te reo Māori and includes translation and CD.
  • Five Māori Painters / 759.993 – gorgeous!! See the exhibition and interviews.
  • Matters of the Heart / Angela Wanhalla – A history of interracial marriage in New Zealand. Evocative of the time periods, good for seeing family connections
  • Cover of The Last MaopoThe last Maopo / Wiremu Tanai Kaihau Maopo – WW1 commemorations, letters that he sent home to a friend about his experiences as part of the second Maori contingent in WW1, personal story woven into it. 2014 publication
  • e Whai / Briar O’Connor – the art/activity of making string patterns – fun, informative and nostalgic.




More recommendations  from Ngā Pounamu Māori.


cover for Mau Mokocover from huia histories of māoricover from Once upon a time in aotearoa

Whaia te iti kahurangi ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei

Aim for the highest cloud so that if you miss it, you will hit a lofty mountain.

I’m on the road again

I first got the travel bug on my 10th birthday when my best friends and I went to see Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday.  I was smitten and not just with Cliff. To buy a big bus and you and all of your friends head off to Greece! Or anywhere for that matter. My girlfriend’s playhouse became a bus and then in my late teens I was off to the UK. I met Mr Bishi in London and we started our travelling in a VW Beetle with tent and gear in the back for our grand European tour honeymoon.

A little older, more responsible, widely travelled and back in NZ, getting away is just that bit more expensive, but I hanker after visiting favourite places and seeing new ones. What to do? No brainer really: live vicariously through travel books, the quirkier the better.

Cover of Sleeping AroundBrian Thacker is Australian and it shows in his style of writing (humourous and irreverent) and his continual wearing of shorts. Using, etc., Brian is travelling on the smell of the traditional mechanic’s wiping cloth. He’s bed testing/couch surfing to Reykjavik, Istanbul, Kitchener, Rio, places he’s never been. In fact you might say he’s been Sleeping Around.

His potential hosts he chooses carefully. A lot of profiles mention their desire for guests to use the loo instead of the bathroom floor and generally that they like to party and drink copiously. No-one boring – the more outlandish the better. His liver takes a bashing and he lacks sleep, but he certainly sees places through different eyes. No longer a tourist but a friend of a local. Ideal.

Cover of Narrow Dog to Wigan PierLike a lot of people I have “Take canal boat through canals of UK” on my secondary bucket list. Being secondary, there is little hope of this happening. This makes the stories from Terry Darlington featuring wife Monica, Jim the cowardly thieving whippet who hates boating, and their English canal boat Phyllis May all the more fun.

Together we’ve been across the English Channel (a first for a narrow boat) and down to the Med and along an Indian River in the south of the good ole US in Narrow Dog to Indian River and I joined them in their earlier journeys around the UK in Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier. Darlington’s writing is funny and I’ve been transported to some beautiful places (some with insects that bring to mind small aircraft), have met the “gongoozlers” on the towpaths, and have visited the pubs where Jim scoffs pork scratchings.

But it was Dervla Murphy who got us attempting to cycle from the UK to Australia*. She is modest, fearless, tough, funny, Cover of In Ethiopia with a Muleextremely fond of beer and my hero. At the age of 30-something, she headed off on her bike from Ireland to Nepal. She made it and having a social conscience she stayed and worked in  the refugee camps. Once she got a taste for travel she was soon off again and over the years has cycled, ridden or walked – whatever works for the terrain (but never used motor transport if she can help it). When her daughter was barely old enough, Rachel adventured with her mother to India, Cameroon, Baltistan and beyond.

She is a personable woman and it comes through in her writing.  I admire Dervla hugely; she is a very brave woman and brilliant travel writer.

Not forgetting the library’s own Armchair Travel Newsletter which brings us new  and recently released titles.  I’ll end up anchored to my armchair in the Spring sunshine in Christchurch, but in my head I’ll be enjoying some of these new titles that I have already reserved.

Do you travel dangerously, wittily and vicariously? Admire writers for their get up and go and the ability to string the words together in an interesting fashion? Use their books as a guide for your own travels?


*We left the tandem in Iran due to a severe shortage of money and made it to Australia with $3 to our name.



Bee Aware Month

My neighbours are doing it. Michelle Obama is doing it. They’re keeping bees! The National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand is highlighting the importance of bees, and this month is Bee Aware Month.

Bees around the world are in trouble. A world without bees would be a very bleak place indeed. Much of our food depends on pollination by bees as do our gardens and a lot of other products we rely on. Over $5 billion of New Zealand’s agricultural exports also depend on bees. Bee numbers worldwide are in decline and we must do all that we can to save them before it’s too late.

Cover of Practical Beekeeping in New ZealandSo how can you help? Easy ways you can give these hardworkers a happy life include planting bee friendly plants, and being careful when using pesticides in your garden, or better still stopping using them altogether.

You could also start your own hive. The Beekeepers’ Association has helpful information, and in Christchurch you can now rent a hive and have someone else come and do all the work for you. The library of course has a large number of beekeeping titles that will help make your garden and your hive a bee mecca.

Don’t forget also to check CINCH for contact details of beekeeping clubs.

Popular Culture: Picks from our September Newsletter

Cinema Sex Sirens, Joan Rivers, Ja Rule and comedians are the stars of our September Popular Culture newsletter:

Book cover of Cinema Sex Sirens Book cover of Diary of a mad diva Book Cover of Unruly Book cover of We killed Book cover of Dirty Daddy Book cover of Seriously...I'm kidding


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For more topical reading ideas, check out our blog posts from the WORD Christchurch festival.