Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival

4 – 8 March 2015, hosted by the Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch. Kia Rōnaki The Maori Performing Arts

Every two years, Te Matatini organises the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, where top kapa haka teams from New Zealand and Australia compete for the honour of being crowned the best of the best.

The Festival started in 1972 and is now the world’s largest celebration of Māori traditional performing arts, attracting over 30,000 performers, supporters and visitors.

Over four days audiences experience the best Māori performing arts in the world, from the harmonies of dynamic group singing to the graceful movements of women performing the poi and the ferocity of the male haka.

The Festival is a whānau friendly, smoke, alcohol and drug free event.  It is an opportunity for all people, regardless of culture, background or age to come together, to share and celebrate.

While the main focus is Kapa Haka , the Festival also celebrates Māori culture and cuisine.  Visitors can enjoy a range of retail and food stalls, art and craft exhibitions and other entertainment activities.

Day 1 – Pōwhiri b The Girls in the Kapahaka y the Tangata Whenua.

All Kapa Haka performers, supporters, dignitaries and visitors are welcomed by the local hosts.

Days 2, 3 and 4 – Pool Rounds (Te Ihu, Te Haumi, Te Kei).

Kapa Haka teams are required to perform six disciplines within their performance piece – whakaeke (a choreographed entry), mōteatea (traditional chant), poi (light ball swung on the end of a rope), waiata-ā-ringa (action song), haka and whakawātea (exit).  They must perfect every discipline in a polished 25-minute performance.

Each performance is judged against set criteria, by expert judges, appointed from around New Zealand.

Taonga (trophies) are awarded to the team with the highest score in the seven compulsory (aggregate) categ Waiata mai 35 Maori songs Leathem, Kare Rapata ories (the six disciplines mentioned and the seventh category, Te Reo Maori – the use and clarity of the Maori language). Further taonga are awarded across non compulsory (non-aggregate) categories such as Kaitātaki Wahine (Best Female Leader), Kaitātaki Tāne (Best Male Leader) and Kākahu (Costume).

The top three teams with the highest combined marks in their competition pool will compete in the Competition Finals.

Day 5 – The Finals (Te Whakarae)

The finalists are judged anew to determine third, second and the new Toa Whakaihuwaka – overall winner of the competition.

More information:

Underground Overground Archaeology display

There’s lots of rubbish on display at South Library!

Well, once upon a time, some of it may have been rubbish. Now, however, the broken crockery, old bottles, fragmented clay pipes and fragmented porcelain dolls are important clues to historic lives in Christchurch.

Demolition of buildings built prior to 1900 requires an archaeological survey and sign-off as a requirement under the Historic Places Act. Consequently, archaeologists from Underground Overground Archaeology have been finding lots of interesting artefacts that show us how people lived in Christchurch – back when Europeans were relatively recent immigrants to this country.
Underground Overground Archaeology displayUnderground Overground Archaeology display

The display is at South Library, 66 Colombo Street, Beckenham at least until mid March.

Beth Clayton
South Library

Resistance is fertile

GardeningI first came across the phrase “guerrilla gardening” while trawling through the thousands of gardening-related websites available to be Googled. Now Richard Reynolds, initiator of http://www.guerrillagardening.org has written a book On guerrilla gardening: a handbook for gardening without boundaries.

Reynolds defines guerrilla gardening as “the illicit cultivation of someone else’s land”. Guerrilla gardeners see a waste patch of ground – an empty building site, for example – and plant it with flowers or crops. Often this activity is undertaken in the dead of night, on “raids”, so as to evade the eyes of authority or the legal owners of the land.

This is not mere anarchy, however. As Renolds explains in his book, illicit gardening has a history and a philiosophy, and uses the tactics of guerrilla warfare to make our built environments more beautiful and useful spaces.

If Johnny Appleseed was one of your childhood heroes, this book will strike a chord. Visit the website too – it’s full of photos of people doing naughty things with plants on traffic islands.

See our gardening pages for more information.

No ordinary son

Hone Tuwhare, 1922 – 2008

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

from Rain


Image: At the Wairoa Maori Writers & Artists Hui, 1973.
Photo: John Miller

Our page on Hone Tuwhare

Qiu Xiaolong

Last week the Chinese government executed Zheng Xiaoyu, the head of their State Food and Drug Administration for taking bribes to approve substandard medicines, including antibiotics blamed for at least 10 deaths. This has come amidst widespread scandals over the safety of Chinese export products covering everything from pet food contaminated with melamine to toxic toothpaste. According to a recent article in Newsweek virtually every product category is affected.

I have been following this with particular interest because I have just finished reading the first three detective novels by Qiu Xiaolong, which are set in modern Shanghai. These give an intriguing insight into life in modern China and the government’s attempts to curb corruption.

Inspector Chen started his career as a student of English literature and a poet. Originally destined for the foreign service he was rejected at the last minute because of a politically incorrect relation and assigned a job in the police. He has attained his rank due to the patronage of his boss, whose role is solely political. Each case he is allocated involves a delicate balancing act, as he attempts to intuit whether he is really supposed to investigate the politically sensitive cases he is allocated, or if finding the real culprit will bring his career to a sudden halt. Does the government really want to expose corruption or does it just want a scapegoat? The answers make for absorbing reading.


(posting from Bernice)

An evening with Richard E. Grant – Chaired by Te Radar

Christchurch City Libraries won a free ticket to this event from the British Council – we gifted it to this anonymous poster – here are their thoughts

The queue formed early, headed by ladies of ‘a certain age’ (myself amongst them), most bemoaning the lack of allocated seating. However, it was enjoyable sharing one’s anticipation with a stranger who soon became a friend, or at least someone very pleasant to sit with and chat to. The young Chinese usher asked “Is he famous?” – she sat in on the session and had a better idea by the end of it.

The lower level of the ASB Theatre was quickly filled with the circle taking the overspill of the audience. My companion and her husband chose the middle of the 4th row, so we had an excellent view.

Radar: “It all began in Swaziland…” Richard: “It sounds like an obituary!”

But the self-confessed ‘Swaziboy’ (we now have the key to his passwords, luggage tags, email and psyche), from a background that sounded like “equatorial Ealing” according to Radar, entertained the audience for the next hour. In the course of a conversation that covered the actor’s career, but not linearly, he made us laugh till the tears came, read from his book “The Wah-wah diaries”, with acting, and also gave us much to ponder on – how for an actor life is lived between low self-esteem and a big ego – wanting to be noticed, but feeling like a fraud, constantly going through auditions where “the humiliation never stops” .

The questions posed by the audience elicited some kind and thoughtful remarks, while Richard himself was shocked and surprised to take a question from Mr Shirley from Swaziland, who knew his parents and remembered the School production of “Equus”, as well as hearing from the man who had been in Intelligence and who hailed from Manzini – not too far from Richard’s town, Mbabane – and from a woman whose family circumstances in Zimbabwe were similar to Richard’s own. The world is a small enough place, but one hopes that ghosts don’t haunt the poor man in Sydney.

Radar impressed Richard by not having notes, but his ‘winging it’ allowed to audience to feel part of a conversation, rather than an interview or performance. The well-worn anecdotes, with which we have become very familiar over the past weeks’ media interviews, were told differently or just touched on, rather than dwelt on.

As we left, I heard someone ask “and who is Te Radar? Is he famous?”

Thanks to Christchurch City Libraries and the British Council for an experience I am so pleased not to have missed. Now I have to buy the book.

Christchurch City Libraries enters the Blogsphere

Kia ora and welcome to our blog, as Christchurch City Libraries enters the Blogsphere. OK, we know –  what took us so long?!

Now we’re up and running, our mission is to keep you in touch with our world, sharing views, opinions and ideas on reading, listening and watching. Our world is the world of information, so our team spend their working (and private) lives exploring books, movies, magazines, music, the web and more.

We’ll be sharing our experiences of our world through an on-going digest of reviews, and we want your comments on the things we’ve got to say. This is a two-way street, so we want to know what you think about what we do. After all, the library is your library.

To launch the blog, we’re covering the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival – Thursday 24 May to Sunday 27 May 2007. Our team on the ground in Auckland – Donna and Robyn – will be posting news and reviews about the festival several times a day, sharing their thoughts on the flavours of the festival and many of the writers taking part. For those of us who can’t get to Auckland, we hope it’ll be the next best thing.