Writing and writers

Cover of Pacific: The Ocean of the FutureWeeks after NaNoWriMo ended, and still no blog post! Alas, I didn’t reach 50,000 words — finished up around 35k — but I achieved my main goal, which was to write every day. I’ve continued to write on and off since the 30th, but Christmas panic is definitely descending so who knows how long that will last.

My current distraction has been flicking through the New Zealand Festival lineup, which will be held in Wellington next year. All of the events look great, but I’m especially excited about the Writers Week. I want to see almost all of them! I’ve narrowed it down to some favourites:

  • Kate Beaton. I’ve been enjoying her online comics since she was on livejournal.com, and I own all her published material (which now includes a picture book, the adorable Princess and the Pony). She is so clever and funny and writes about my favourite subjects (history! feminism! fat ponies!).
  • Jasper FfordeCover of Hark! A Vagrant. I haven’t got around to reading his more recently published works, but I thought the Thursday Next books were super fun. If you like quirky books about books, with dodos and national croquet, then start with The Eyre Affair.
  • Mariko Tamaki. I first came across her in collaboration with her cousin Jillian Tamaki, whose comic Supermutant Magic Academy came out this year. Together they’ve published graphic novels Skim and This One Summer, both beautifully illustrated reflections of adolescent experiences.
  • Simon WinchesterWriter of recreational non-fiction, most recently Pacific, all about our neighbouring ocean. I can’t wait to read it.

Needless to say there are loads of other authors I’d like to see, including Anis Mojgani (spoken word poet) who Alireads blogged about last year, but those are my top five.

Is anyone else planning on going to the New Zealand Festival? What events are on your must-see list?

New Zealand Festival

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Tūpato (careful)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kīwaha (idiom)


Kupu (word)


Kia tūpato, e te tau.
Be careful, my darling.

Whāngahia te Reo

This week in Christchurch history (21 to 27 December)

21 December 1877
New Christchurch railway station opens.

Christchurch railway station [1878]
Christchurch railway station [1878], CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0028
22 December 1885
Statue of William Moorhouse unveiled in the Botanic Gardens.

23 December 1876
Lyttelton time-ball station in operation. Its time signals to shipping were superseded by radio signals in 1934.

24 December 1864
First gas street lights.

24 December 1953
4 Christchurch victims among 151 dead in Tangiwai railway disaster.

25 December 1864
Durham Street Methodist Church opens – the City’s first stone church.

26 December 1863
Opening of the Royal Princess Theatre, the city’s first true theatre. It had been the Canterbury Music Hall.

26 December 1870
First rowing regatta on the Avon. This photo shows a 1921 regatta.

Regatta Day on the Avon [ca. 1921]
Regatta Day on the Avon [ca. 1921], PhotoCD 12, IMG0030
26 December 1879
Serious Catholic/Protestant riot in Manchester Street.

27 December 1850
“Cressy” arrives. These 4 ships brought a total of 773 settlers. Although Cantabrians like to commemorate these “first four ships”, there were actually 8 chartered vessels which brought 1500 Canterbury Association settlers in the first few months. By the following December, 19 ships had brought over 3000 settlers.

Port Lyttelton, showing the first four ships and emigrants landing from the Cressy, December 28th 1850 [28 Dec. 1850]
Port Lyttelton, showing the first four ships and emigrants landing from the Cressy, December 28th 1850 [28 Dec. 1850], CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0017
More December events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.