We are happy to announce the winner of the family pass to the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of the Nutcracker at the Isaac Theatre Royal! A huge congratulations to Alexander and Greta. The details on your entry were so well thought out and precisely executed. The moveable curtains on a mini-track and the LED lights along the stage line were an added extra. The detailed illustration on the paintings on the wall, the fireplace, the cut-out windows, tree etc are gorgeous. Thank you again – Enjoy the ballet!
Alexander and Greta’s winning entry (8 and 5 years old)
This was an extraordinarily difficult task to judge! All entries were outstanding, and we thank you all for sending through such special creations.
Highly Commended Entries
One prize was simply not enough, so we have rummaged around to find some extra prizes to gift a few of our Highly Commended entries. Each of these entries will receive a goodie bag.
Another piece of exciting news! See an exhibition of Nutcracker Dioramas
We are excited to be able to display the entries from our Nutcracker Diorama competition at Te Hāpua: Halswell Library from Friday 9 November to Tuesday 27 November. Come along and see these amazing creations including the winner and highly commended entries.
If you entered the competition and would like your artwork back immediately, and would prefer it not be in this exhibition, please contact Clare at LibraryEvents@ccc.govt.nz to organise pick up. We know how much wonderful work and effort went into making your creations – and we want to make sure they are kept safe.
I read The Handmaid’s Tale a long time ago, but could only stomach the first season on the box. Maybe it feels a bit more real or even possible, or perhaps the dramatisation was all a bit much, but I just couldn’t cope with more terror or the gruesome relentless treatment of the women.
Dystopian fiction has always had a following, the stories are gripping and usually paint a vivid picture of a life in the margins. The Handmaid’s tale has been the most well-known book with a feminist perspective, but P.D. James wrote a book called The Children of Men in 1992 which was about a world with plummeting birthrates – no children and no future, and The Parable of the Sower was written by Octavia Butler in 1993 and set in 2025 when communities have to protect themselves from marauding scavengers and roaming bands of ‘Paints’, people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder.
In recent years a good deal more titles have been published and range from women coping with climate change, war, isolation and issues around fertility. A bit of a “trend” perhaps, but one that more and more seems to have the fiction set in reality.
I recently read an article about Marie Antoinette’s jewels been auctioned, which got me thinking about how far back our newspaper archives go and I thought try Proquest Historical Newspapers which has The Guardian (1821-2003), The Observer (1791-2003); Irish Times (1859-2010); Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958). So I simply put in “Marie Antoinette” in the search terms to see what I would get, I then re-ordered my search so I got the oldest items first and voilà, there in my search results was the Trial of Marie Antoinette and the Execution of the Queen of France, all from 225 years ago.
Trial of the Queen
The Observer published this article about the trial and execution of Marie Antoinette about 10 days after her execution.
This article includes commentary of the day some transcription from the trial including –
On Tuesday morning at nine o’clock, she was conducted in a private coach by Henroit, Commandant of the National Force of Paris, to the Revolutionary Tribunal. The people lined the streets, through which she passed, and repeatedly exclaimed “Vive la Republique!” …
The Greffier read the Act of Accusation as follows:
Marie Antoinette, widow of Louis Capet, has, since her abode in France, been the scourge and the blood sucker of the French.
Nothing like sorrow or pity for the Queen’s fate was shown by the people, who lined the streets, through which she had to pass. On her arrival at the place de la Revolution, she was helped out of the carriage, and ascended the scaffold with seeming composure. She was accompanied by a Priest, who discharged the office of Confessor, and gave her absolution,before she was ﬁxed to the fatal machine. She was in a half-mourning dress, evidently not adjusted with much attention. Her hands were tied behind her back, she looked around, apparently without much terror; her body being then bent forward by the machine,the axe was let down, and at once separated the head from the body. After the head was displayed by the Executioner, three young woman were observed dipping their handkerchiefs in the streaming blood of the deceased Queen. They were taken into Custody.
The Lyttelton Times originally set up in Lyttelton with the printing press that arrived on the Charlotte Jane, one of the ‘first four ships’. They published their first paper 26 days after the printing press arrived in 1851 and the run continued till 1935. For a taste of the Times, we have digitised the first issue, 11 January 1851, for you to read online. Marvel at the adds for bullocks and unbroken fillies for sale and wonder at the plea by John Robert Godley, on behalf of the Canterbury Association, who were in desperate need of pickaxes and shovels.
While the headquarters started out in Lyttelton, the newspaper had an agency in Christchurch that sat around about the middle of Tūranga now. Here it is in 1859, facing Gloucester Street.
The Lyttelton Times moved its headquarters to Christchurch in 1863, after their two-storey wooden building was finished in 1862. Here’s what it looked like, if you were peering through the trees on the Square in 1863:
Come out from the trees and this is what it looked like, still facing the square:
In the photo above, taken in 1885, you can see the flagstaff that was used to signal to the people of Christchurch when ships arrived in the port over the hills. If you knew the code, you could be in the Square and know that a brig was arriving from the North by the blue flag that would be waving at the head of the mast. Very handy if you knew which ship brought in the mail! It was an important spot in Christchurch for staying connected with the outside world.
On the right side of the photo is Warner’s hotel (where the Novotel is now) whose guests would complain about the noise of the printing press lasting long into the night (this wing of Warner’s was eventually demolished and replaced with a theatre (The Liberty, later The Savoy), the building intended to act as a buffer for sound and vibration. In later years the situation would be reversed. Following the demolition of the theatre, vacant space between the buildings became a beer garden for Warner’s hotel and bar, while the Times building by then had been converted to backpackers’ accommodation. Band performances and music in the beer garden were required to stop at a reasonable hour in order not to disturb the sleep of the guests in rooms next door. Later still, this wing of the building would be reinstated, and is now the only part of Warner’s that remains.
On the left in the above image is Cathedral Chambers. The taller building behind the Lyttelton Times was still part of the Lyttelton Times premises, which was added in 1884. While it looks fairly drab from behind, it’s pretty spectacular facing Gloucester Street. Here’s the handsome frontage (134-140 Gloucester St) in 1884:
Somewhat confusingly the building was home to 3 newspapers (the titles of which can be seen engraved into the front of the building): The Lyttelton Times, The Canterbury Times (a weekly started in 1865), and The Star (an evening paper started in 1868). All 3 papers were produced by the Lyttelton Times Company, and for different audiences and purposes.
You could also head down to the Lyttelton Times building to get things printed, just like you can do in Tūranga. We too can boast a large assortment of plain and fancy types, just like Ward and Reeves, the printers who worked from Lyttelton Times Office building.
Well the Lyttelton Times, they kept a-changing, and by 1903 had grown into the majestic beast below, with an addition designed by the Luttrell Brothers on the Cathedral Square side becoming the first building in New Zealand to adopt the Chicago skyscraper style. It was also known as ‘gingerbread style’ or even ‘streaky bacon style’. You can see why looking at the colour pictures of it – it does have a kind of foody look to it. With Oamaru stone facings on a Post Chalmers bluestone base, it was the tallest building on the Square at the time it was built. Here’s the new building decorating its corner of the square in 1904, a black and white photograph from our collection and a pen and ink watercolour by Raymond Morris:
The Lyttelton Times changed its name to the Christchurch Times in 1929, then stopped publishing in 1935 because the competition was too great. When it ended, it was the oldest newspaper in the country. The building was still used for newspapers though – New Zealand Newspapers Ltd, formerly the Lyttelton Times Company, kept publishing the evening Star-Sun, which had started as the Star in 1868. In 1958 the Star-Sun moved out of this building to a new location in Kilmore Street, and changed its name to the Christchurch Star.
Once all the newspapers had departed, the building was occupied by several different commercial tenants over the years, including The Record Joynt and the fondly remembered Atlantis Market, described by journalist Russell Brown as “a long-gone hippie emporium”. Before the 2011 earthquake, there was a Tandoori Palace restaurant on the ground floor and Base Backpackers above. On the Gloucester Street side, the ground floor was home to a number of restaurants including Samurai Bowl, O-cha Thai, and Le Pot Au Feu. By August that year the building would be demolished.
Diwali Indian Festival of Lights in Cathedral Square – Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November, 2pm to 9pm
Stage performances start at 5pm
Celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali with fabulous food and fun, in the heart of Christchurch. There will be Indian arts and crafts stalls and colourful classical and modern stage performances. The most popular of all Hindu festivals, Diwali is dedicated to the goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the rest of India. As with several other festivals, Diwali is associated with one of the stories about the destruction of evil by God in one of his many manifestations. In Jainism, where the festival is also known as Mahavira Nirvana, Diwali celebrates the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira. Diwali also marks the start of the Hindu New Year; goddess Lakshmi is therefore thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead. In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of his kingdom welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepawali, simply shortened to Diwali.
Diwali concert and workshop at Tūranga – Sunday 11 November 11am to 12.30pm
Celebrate Diwali with acclaimed local group Revathi Performing Arts. Enjoy a demonstration of Bharathanatyam, the most popular South Indian Classical Dance, then participate in a workshop. Bharathanatyam originated in the temples of South India thousands of years ago. Started as part of daily worship of the temple deity, this art form has evolved over the years to its current form. Free, no bookings required. TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga
What is Diwali?
Diwali or dīpāvali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs with the rising of the new moon at the end of the month, Ashvin. However, in a country as diverse as India, where people from many different faiths live side by side, the festival is not limited to one particular faith for it represents the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of wisdom over ignorance. Throughout cities and villages the darkness will be symbolically turned back. Clay lamps (diya) will be lit in homes and shops, fireworks will be released into the sky and the streets will be filled with music. Read more in Simon’s blog post about Diwali.
We take it for granted now, but it’s really not that long that Christchurch has had a city council that covered the whole city – only since 1989.
Before that was not only the Christchurch City Council (established in 1862) but also the Waimairi, Paparua, Halswell, and Heathcote County Councils, the Riccarton Borough Council, and the Christchurch Drainage and Transport Boards. Phew!
( The Banks Peninsula District Council joined Christchurch City Council later on, in 2005)
And that doesn’t even take into account other councils that had existed prior to that – one of which was the Sydenham Borough Council whose first meeting was held this day in 1877. At the time the population of the borough was between 5-6,000, which grew to around 12,000 by the turn of the century. According to The Cyclopedia of New Zealand by 1902 Sydenham had 26 miles of streets, 95 gas lamps for street lighting with 2009 ratepayers. Businesses included butchers, bootmakers, bakers and builders!
This WORD session was hosted by David Higgins, Upoko of Moeraki Rūnanga, with kōrero by the book’s editors Helen Brown (Ngāi Tahu) and Takerei Norton (Ngāi Tahu), and by book contributors Robyn Walsh (Ngāi Tahu) and Mike Stevens (Ngāi Tahu).
The book emerged from the work of the Ngāi Tahu Archives team on Kā Huru Manu, the amazing Ngāi Tahu digital atlas. While collecting and recording places names around Te Waipounamu, the research team realised they were also discovering the names and stories of people who were the very heart of Ngāi Tahu whakapapa. This book is intended to be the first of a series born out of the work of the atlas, and a second volume is already in process.
The individual biographies in Tāngata Ngāi Tahu cover 200 years of Ngāi Tahu whānau history, producing a ‘tribal family album’ of stories and images. Editor Helen Brown talked about how among the stories of the ordinary, often household names in te iwi, have been revealed the extraordinary lives of so many Ngāi Tahu people.
The book has been arranged by person/name, which Helen said gives a more nuanced history than a book based on themes or a more traditional history book arrangement, perhaps in alphabetical or chronological order. The order of the book does invoke a back-and-forth journey across time, with people from the 1800s to more recent times spread at random throughout the book. The effect embraces serendipity, with a mix of stunning, historical black-and-white photographs between more modern colour images drawing the reader into the rich history within.
Each biography had a limit of 1000 words, and editing to this limit Helen described as often excruciating. “Whole books are needed,” she said. Perhaps for individual whānau this book will plant the seed to pick up the stories and expand on them for their own tīpuna?
The biographies have been written by a team of writers, whose writing experience in this context Helen described as ranging from gathering the purely anecdotal to more academic pursuits. We were lucky to have some of the writers present in the team of speakers at the WORD event, and each speaker featured an individual from the book, giving the audience a summary of their whakapapa and life.
Robyn Walsh talked about her mother Dorothy Te Mahana Walsh of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu decent, a leader heavily involved in the ‘hui hopping’ during the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings and a keen performer who travelled to San Francisco supporting the Te Māori exhibition. Robyn concluded “we need and must remember these histories and people.”
Others spoken about on the day were Amiria Puhirere – a stunning figure standing in her full-length korowai in the photo on page 86, she was a prominent leader and renowned weaver who lived at Ōnukū on the Akaroa Harbour; Trevor Hapi Howse – a major part of the research team that led the long work for Ngāi Tahu Te Kerēme/the Ngāi Tahu Waitangi Claim and a key figure in the Kā Huru Manu project; and William Te Paro Spencer – a seafaring kaumātua and muttonbirder, described as “proudly and strongly Ngāi Tahu” and “very much a Bluff local but wordly with it”.
As mentioned above, one of the strong features of the book are the photographs, many of which are from iwi archives and other private collections, and often have not been published or displayed outside the embrace of whānau before. It is clear that it is something special these photos are being shared not only with iwi whānui but with the whole country, and such a personal act of whakawhanaungatanga is to be valued and cherished.
Although the prime audience for the book is Ngāi Tahu tāngata there has been huge interest in it since media company The Spinoff published an article about Mere Harper, who helped setup the Plunket organisation. The audience has since become national and international, with a strong focus on the book’s contribution to the historical narrative of Aotearoa.
At a time of political upheaval, where nothing seems to stay the same, and calamity and craziness is our daily news … there does seem to be an appetite for books about human connection, optimism and love (but not necessarily romance). The publishing community has declared that “UpLit” is a new trend – books about likeable characters on the margins of society who through sheer determination, a good dose of positivity mixed with some luck, empathy and kindness become the gentle heroes and heroines of the ordinary. With the publication of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, ‘UpLit’ went into overdrive and this new genre has become incredibly popular. Find out more in The Guardian: UpLit has become a ‘thing’.
Eleanor Oliphant is a great example of the genre, and another title I really enjoyed was The Cactus, about a prickly character who finds herself pregnant and surprisingly vulnerable, something she is not at all accustomed to feeling!
There are some great books being published and this is a trend that may well last a while given the daily amount of fear, negativity and trauma that comes streaming onto our TVs and phones. Take a break and enjoy some of these titles.