What a great whānau day!

10AFFIRMLast Saturday was a busy day in the Christchurch eastern suburbs, with the traditional Christmas parade in New Brighton and AFFIRM  in Aranui, you could not be bored.

AFFIRM is a fantastic community event for all ages  – my favourite this side of Christmas –  and in this tenth edition it was clear that there still is a strongly united neighbourhood in Aranui.

Everybody enjoyed the “Aranui Top Team” competition, some of the tasks the teams had to do were hard but made all the supporters and spectators laugh, have you ever watched a multi-person sack race? It is quite amusing!

At the Christchurch City Libraries’ tent people had the opportunity to record their earthquake memories in the Plains FM recording POD, they will be added to the CCL’s permanent collection as it is such a special part of our city’s history. Have you donated your earthquake story yet?

The Pasifika performances from local groups got us all dancing and Ladi6 paid homage to her origins by giving it all on stage.

Kia kaha vibrations were in the air.

Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri, ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us: TEDxEQChCh

TEDxEQChChNgāi Tahu’s vision brings together the essence of TEDxEQChCh last Saturday, 21 May 2011. Over 700 people gathered at Burnside to be invigorated by outstanding speakers. Internauts from all over the globe watched the live stream online. Coincidentally, TEDxTokyo was held on the same day.

Decorative rubble, safety hats and high visibility vests were displayed on a stage where Bob Parker restated his intention to make Christchurch safe and community led.

In order to make this happen, have you added your ten cents yet? Share your ideas!

Popular topics were sustainability, achieving certainty from uncertainty and creating an iconic city not a boring one. As Karen Blincoe pointed out, sustainability can be quite a broad term. My favorite definition is the one coined in 1983 by the Norwegian Prime Minister for the UN: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

If you would like more information about this event, read this impressive coverage by a 16-year-old Christchurch student.

Hope is in the air. There are a lot of good ideas around, now they just need to happen.

The re-imagination of Christchurch

Our city is broken.  When I talk to fellow Christchurch residents, I get the feeling people are ready to make the city better and stronger. I feel quite excited about all the different possibilities that arise and have already shared some of my ideas (which are magnificent, if you ask me) with the Christchurch City Council.

And now, I am getting ready to be inspired at the TEDxEQChCh event that is being held this Saturday at The Aurora Centre for the Performing Arts. Speakers will cover a broad range of disciplines including urban planning, architecture, entrepreneurship, culture, and economics.

Looking at the programme, I feel as curious as George to find out what Art Agnos learned from rebuilding San Francisco after the ’89 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Undoubtedly, Ariana Tikao’s opening performance will be something not to miss.Do not worry if you haven’t got tickets to attend, you can feel the spark in the comfort of your home because they will be streaming live on the day!

I like to think that a lot of love and thought will go into the rebuilding of our city … who knows? It might end up looking as nice and open as this aerial image from the 1910s!

Aerial view of Christchurch looking west towards Hagley Park photographed by F.G. Radcliffe from the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, ref.35-R406

Come fly a manu tukutuku (kite)

…or two.

Not long until Tip Top Kite Day, what a great day out for the whole whanau!

If you want to make a kite on the day, come along to the New Brighton Library on the 29th of January between 12 and 3pm and you can craft your own flying device at a fun session put together by Creative Junk  and the New Brighton Project.

Mr Nicholls' Kites flying at New Brighton Library
Come to the New Brighton Library and have a peek at the cool kites on display courtesy of Mr Jim Nicholls.

Would you like to know more about kites? Check out the latest info on the Christchurch City Libraries webpage.

Te Manu Tukutuku
Would you like some books about kites?

Oh! And the Buskers Festival  will be on at New Brighton on that weekend too!

Fun times ahead, New Brighton certainly is Canterbury’s Playground.

“Iti noa, he pito mata”

The proverb above refers to how with care, a small kumara will produce a harvest. I love how it captures the idea of the end result being much greater than the actual investment.

If you have got tamariki in your life you will thoroughly enjoy this compilation of lullabies. Sung by a passionate Te Reo Māori advocate, Ms Pānia Papa, accompanied by a fantastic blend of female and male voices, taonga pūoro and contemporary instruments. It is all about the potential children hold within themselves. 

Molly is happy listening to Pito Mata

What a gem. Listening to this audio CD will make you want to cuddle, dance, nurture and sing away with your little one like nothing else. It is filled with aroha.

For those of us that don’t feel so confident singing in Te Reo, it comes with a singalong DVD with words rolling along the bottom of the screen.

And if you are keen want to give waiata a go, why not try the Nga Pihi series? Trust me, they are tino pai.

The Secret Life of Librarians


Forget fuddy-duddy shushing type librarians, these guys are LOUD!


For the first time, Library Staff from nine different Libraries in Christchurch are showcasing their paintings, photographs, sculptures, pottery, and even unique upcycled furniture.

The Bookish Artists Exhibition is currently up and running at the New Brighton Library until the 31 October.

Come and have a stroll by the sea, you will certainly enjoy the art and the view at this incomparable venue!

“Only the unknown frightens men…

But once a man has faced the unknown, that terror becomes the known.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

CoverI can’t wait to see The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton & Antarctic Photography at the Canterbury Museum (the library has copies of the book).

H. G. Ponting’s images record Scott’s Terra Nova expedition of 1910 – 1913 and F. Hurley’s icescapes were taken during Ernest Shackleton’s polar expedition on the Endurance in 1914-16. They were presented to King George V and today belong to the Royal Photograph Collection.

From 20 August 2010 to 20 February 2011 Canterbury Museum is the only venue for this exhibition outside the Queen’s galleries. Not bad, eh?

I’m amazed by how they managed to get such good photos in such weather conditions, it demonstrates that it’s not the equipment that matters but the photographer’s ability (remember to breathe in when you press the shutter!).

If you want to hear and see how Antarctic photography works nowadays, book your spot at the Canterbury Museum for New Zealand’s independent publishing mogul, photographer and conservationist Craig Potton‘s presentation on the 26th of August 2010.

Or perhaps you might prefer to listen to the Curator of the Royal Photograph Collection on the 24th of August 2010.

Who is your favourite great outdoors photographer?

I am very fond of Light and Landscape by Andris Apse, beautiful New Zealand. And it’s hard not to be moved by Ansel Adams‘ black and white masterpieces.

Cool Kids on the Blog

I’m off to a VAMPIRE WEEKEND in Auckland!

What can I say about these guys to give you an idea of their wittiness and class?

Founded in 2006, they became well known in the so-called indie-rock circles through blogs, they were the first band to make the cover for Spin magazine before they had even released an album!

His avant-garde highness Mr David Byrne gave a gracious review of one of their early gigs in his e-journal.
Debut album out in 2008, second one released last January and they are still using those African and Caribbean rythms as well as they did on their first (think Paul Simon).

These guys are ice cold, make sure to give them a go!

In defense of the Graphic Novel

At the beginning of this month, I attended the South Island Children and
Young Adult Librarians Conference 2010  (yes, it exists) where I had the pleasure of meeting Wayne Mills. Mr Mills is senior lecturer at the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies at Auckland University as well as the originator of the fantastic Kids’ Lit Quiz, an interactive literary quiz which has spread globally since its beginning in 1991.
He changed the subject of his presentation last minute and decided to talk about why libraries are important to an audience that was already fervently in favour of that cause. I was disappointed because I really wanted to hear what he has to say about Boys and Literacy.

(Graphic) Novels can be good

Mr. Mills is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on children’s and young adult books and I found it interesting when he advocated for graphic novels and… boy! did this cause a reaction amongst the attendees!
I agree with Mr Mills in that, as any other genre of literature, graphic novels can be good or bad; I don’t think it’s fair to put them all in the same bag, exempli gratia is Maus: a survivor’s tale  by Art Spiegelman, which even won the Pulitzer Prize Special Award.

Love them… Hate them… What’s your favourite graphic novel?
It might be technically considered a comic but I quite like Tintin by Hergé and I can’t wait for Spielberg to finish the movie!

If you are 7 years old…

Sheep With Boots
Sheep With Boots

… or 70; maybe in your 30s; a teenager, perhaps?

No matter your age, this little book will get you hooked.

A charming tale infused with Dutch folklore, some clever twists and the most stylish Wolf (in close competition with Harvey Keitel) which is a joy to read.

Written by Maritgen Matter with lovely eye-catching illustrations by Jan Jutte, another curiously good read from the people at Gecko Press.