Commemorating Waitangi Day

Book Cover6 February. Waitangi Day. A public holiday for most of us to commemorate the signing of The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between representatives of the British Crown and Rangatira representing some iwi.

Here at Christchurch City Libraries we have a wealth of Treaty resources you might be interested in exploring both in our Libraries and online. Our website has some wonderful introductory level information about the Treaty with links to books, and online resources.

We’ve made a list of local Canterbury events for Waitangi Day.

After you’ve had a browse through the information we have, you might like to have a go at our updated Treaty quiz. Do you know if and where the Treaty was signed in the South Island and who the signatories were? If not, looking here might be of interest.

Treaty of Waitangi display at New Brighton Library
Treaty of Waitangi display at New Brighton Library

After something a little meatier? Then take a look at our most recent staff picks for Treaty of Waitangi Resources- our newest booklist has quite a varied selection.

Treaty of Waitangi Settlements has caught my eye. With a focus more on the future and moving on from the 2014 Treaty Settlements deadline, I am interested in reading what the varying contributors have to say about future developments –  in terms of the spirit of the partnership the Treaty was supposed to facilitate and what they have to say in regards to what the future might hold.

Is there a particular book or website about the Treaty that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others?

Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay
6 February 1977. Waitangi Day at Okain’s Bay.
Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977
6 February 1977. Waitangi Day at Okain’s Bay.

Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers are back in 2013

Are you a writer? Do you aspire to be one? Perhaps you’ve never really thought about it, but you’ve got the seed of a story scuttling about in the back of your mind? If the answer to any of the above was Yes, then now could be the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard if you prefer.

Huia Publishers and the Māori Literature Trust have just announced the return of the Pikihuia Awards for Māori Authors 2013.

Information on the website states that the awards aim to encourage,
“…..diversity in writing and supporting innovation, these awards recognise outstanding work by Māori writers.”

Book Cover
This edition is a collection of work from finalists for the 2011 Awards.

Categories for 2013 include:
Best short story in Māori
Best short story in English
Best novel extract in English
Best short film script in English
Secondary School Award Category

Winners receive a small cash prize in addition to the opportunity to be published. Entries close on April the 15th at 5 pm. Meaning that’s nearly three months time to craft a creative offering for submission.

Want to know a little more? You can read some of the stories that have been finalists and winners of these awards over previous years in the Huia short stories collections.

So, if I’ve piqued your interest and you’ve got some work in draft that just needs a bit of a polish up, or an idea for a great story in any of these formats brewing in your brain and your belly, why not think about giving this a go and submit an entry?

Fairies, little white lies and castles built of teeth

CoverI had an interesting exchange with my eldest child earlier in the week. It involved me telling lies and handing over money. If you’re interested, read on. The Eldest Child is at the age where he’s started losing his teeth. He had lost his bottom one and popped it under his pillow for collection that evening by the Tooth Fairy. Morning arrived, and he came bounding out of his room gleefully waving a ten dollar note.  Note to readers: Ten dollars per tooth is not a normal occurrence at our house. I had been caught short with not a coin to be found the night before, when it was time for me to make the stealthy exchange of extracting the goods without detection and depositing the loot.

Therefore on cue, I acted surprised and excited for him, (despite getting a disapproving glare and headshake from the bloke when he heard the aforementioned sum). I then semi-deflated Eldest Child’s bubble by exclaiming that he was really lucky, as most times the Tooth Fairy only left a coin. Obviously, she mustn’t have had any change left, so he had scored big time but i didn’t think he’d get that much every time a tooth fell out.

He was still pretty excited but then suddenly turned thoughtful and asked me, “What does she do with the teeth?’ “Huh?” I asked “The Tooth Fairy, what does she do with all the teeth she goes around collecting?” Being that he’s a boy I didn’t think he’d be impressed with the idea of her making jewellery with them, so I burbled something along the lines of “She uses them to build her castle, you know, just like bricks.” (I admit, that wasn’t much better but he caught me unprepared). “Oh” he said “Ok,”and off he went. A minute later he shouts from the lounge, ” You know I reckon there’s still probably at least ten more in here that have got to come out. That’s like $100 bucks worth.” He’d obviously been occupied doing the math.

This entire expensive episode requiring the shelling out of an exorbitant amount of moolah and concocting and enacting an entire secret scenario of little (white?) lies has since inspired me to investigate further. Why on earth do we do this? Where does this tradition originate from? What does she do with the teeth? Was it a cultural coming of age ritual in a different form that has somehow morphed into a whole body of folklore/traditional practice or is it just a fairytale? Also, why is it so important to us (parents) that our children believe in this fictitious tooth collecting being, to the point where we make up ridiculous lies?

I don’t have the answers to all of that yet but what I have found so far is this. We have a great selection of books for children based on the Tooth Fairy (even some boys are bound to like, I would recommend Horrid Henry tricks the Tooth Fairy). The Tooth Fairy’s Mistake is another great read. We also have some children’s DVDs on the subject. The Tooth Fairy starring The Rock is decent family viewing, I know as I have had to watch it 5-6 times. Check out our entire selection.

What I haven’t been able to find, is anything that can shed some light on this tradition that I am guessing is a fairly common practice in many houses up and down the country.

So there we have it. A true tale of children, fairies, little white lies and castles built of teeth. Do you have a humorous Tooth Fairy story or a favorite children’s book on the subject? Or better yet do you have any ideas or book recommendations that might help me discover the answers to my questions?

Summer reading treasures

My summer reading has been disappointingly dismal so far. I had selected several works of fiction that I intended to consume over the course of my summer holiday whilst lounging languorously in the North Island sun (looking luscious of course!)  Sadly, there wasn’t much lounging to be had with a three year old demanding to be entertained), and not one of my selections managed to capture my imagination or attention long enough for me to finish them, leaving me feeling disgruntled and out of sorts that I had some time and nothing GOOD to read close to  hand.

It was inevitable then, that amazing books would catch my eye and clamour for my attention the minute I returned to work.  First to catch my interest this morning was a little gem entitled Pounamu Treasures Ngā Taonga Pounamu by Russell Beck with Maika Mason.  A quick flick through shows that the text and accompanying images (taken by Andris Apse) gently introduce the reader to the world of Pounamu, discuss the geology associated with pounamu, before looking at traditional weaponry, adornments, and tools.  The author then investigates the European influence on design and current contemporary carving designs.  The photography captures the absolute beauty and elegance of the pounamu and taonga showcased within this publication and I can’t wait to get this home to have a more in-depth read.

My second discovery was made soon after, again while browsing the shelf.  Entitled Te Hao Nui, The Great Catch, I feel in love with the cover art before i had even opened the book. A quick dip into its depths over morning tea reveal that I appear to have stumbled across an unexpected treasure trove of stories of unique and beautiful objects.  Stephen Fox writes in the foreword that, “This publication celebrates the rich and diverse collections of Te Manawa.” (The Museum of Art, Science and History based in the Manawatū), the back cover blurbs states it “provides fascinating insights into the history, people and places of the Manawatū and beyond. Dame Judith Binney is also quoted on the back cover- “Storytelling is an art deep within human nature.  It follows that the art of transmitting the ‘histories that matter’ to successive generations is as old as human existence.”

Thus far, the stories encapsulated in the table of contents look promising.  Each entry details the story of a different object, complemented by an impressive selection of delectable imagery by Michael Hall.  A small selection of the treasures showcased within include; a Polish Army League paperweight, Brydon Speedy’s Pā Kahawai, Queen Anne Boleyn’s Purse, a Senufo mask from the Ivory Coast, Mere Ngareta’s Kahu Kiwi, Regent Confectionery’s Sweet Roller, Helena Harcourt’s Fencing Uniform or my absolute favourite thus far, Phoebe Pinfold’s Pine needle tea set. I have delighted in showing this section to everyone in the workroom this morning– I think it is indescribably fascinating that someone would have had the time and patience to create and construct an entire tea set from pine needles, macrocarpa nuts and straw.

So, as of this morning my summer reading looks like it may be on the up and up. Have you read either of these or do you have any suggestions I can add to my list?

Musings on Mau Moko

Mau Moko is an absolute treasure.  In my opinion this is the best book we have in our collection on the subject of Moko (often described by others as Māori tattoo). The book is the result of Dr Ngahuia Te Awekotuku’s doctoral thesis and as such provides a fascinating and comprehensive introduction and exploration into the world of Māori moko – both the facial and body moko worn by men and the more delicate and beautiful moko kauae worn by women. If you have an interest in Moko, this book is an easy and engaging read.

Some of the ideas explored in the book include the history and traditions associated with moko from pre-colonisation to the present day, an exploration of the links between moko and other aspects of Māori culture, the cultural values (whakapapa, tapu, the wairuatanga) associated with moko, discussion on gender and how this relates to moko as well as delving into the current revival and resurgence of the traditional art form by providing case studies of those who have chosen to mau moko in the present day. To make it even better, the book is full of strikingly beautiful images and photography.

If you do read this book, and are keen to learn more, we have over 40 titles at Christchurch City Libraries that relate to moko you may be interested in. You may also like to check out the latest edition of the Ngāi Tahu Magazine Te Karaka, which has a moving feature article sharing the stories of Kai Tahu takata who all wear moko.

This book also features on our latest Staff Picks from the Ngā Pounamu Māori Collection List, which has a real variety of titles – if you’re after some inspiration for your summer reading list you might like to have a look here as well.

All about angels

This morning saw me staring in despair at the large mound of (nearly) overdue books that has inexplicably taken up residence in my room and bemoaning the fact that now I have to lug it all back to the library … oh my arms!! When I started the pack up, I realized I have read quite a few books lately featuring angels as the main characters. This wouldn’t be my usual choice of reading material so I was left wondering if there was some odd subconscious message here that I haven’t been able to decipher yet or if it was all some sort of strange, happy coincidence.

The first one I extracted from the pile for the going back bag was Archon: The Books of Raziel by Sabrina Benulis. If you are after something whimsical and nice, then don’t pick this one up. To give you some idea, the back cover blurb starts with: “Between Heaven and hell the battle for supremacy is about to begin …” The pages are populated with angels, priests, demons, witches, blood heads, Fae and Jinn. Intrigued? Read on. It presented angels from a very different perspective. There were interesting characters and a few sneaky twists and tricks that kind of crept up on me. Last weekend, I was still sitting up at one in the morning because I just … had … to … finish it. I thought it was a pretty good read and justified the late night. I would recommend it.

The second lot of angel books I had in my pile were two of the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh (NZ author too!). If you like paranormal romance, you will probably quite like this series. Whilst the cover image may put you off if you pick up one of the older editions ( and you may possibly want to scuttle to the self-issue machine if you are sensitive about such things), I would say I bet this series will surprise you! Great characters who will grow on you (even if you don’t always like all of them), a world where Angels rule and vampires serve them, and there are exciting people like Guild Hunters and then the regulars like you and I. An easy enjoyable read with engaging plots and sub plots, interesting character back stories, complex inter-relationships between characters and a fair amount of sometimes gory action. If the amount of holds on these items is any indication, loads of other people think they are quite good too.

The last one I excavated from the heap was Vellum, Book One of the Book of all Hours. Again, I was left feeling quite disturbed upon finishing it, but really glad I had. If you are a sci-fi fantasy fan and you haven’t read this you may like to add it to your holds list. I enjoyed it and I already have Ink (Book 2) on mine.

Have you got any “angel” based book recommendations or read any of these?

Fireworks and Pacifism – Parihaka, 5 November 1881

5th November. What does this date bring to mind for you? I bet some of you have been perusing the pages of a certain mailer, deliberating over which fireworks package to purchase for Family fireworks night? I imagine that for many people if they associate anything with this date it is most Guy Fawkes, who was one of the plotters and would-be perpetrators of that unsuccessful attempt at regicide in Britain on 5 November 1605 –  The Gunpowder plot.

What you may not be aware of, is that 5 November is actually a significant date in our own history here in Aotearoa.  5 November 1881 saw the armed invasion of the settlement of Parihaka in Taranaki.

The community at Parihaka grew following the land wars and as a result of the “confiscation” of land (often enabled legally through the Government passing legislation) in the Taranaki area. In addition to the continuing land grab, the government of the time also failed to set aside the reserve land it had promised to the local peoples. In response to this, the citizens of Parihaka lead by the prophets, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi established a movement of peaceful resistance to protest the actions of the Crown. Government officials feared that Parihaka might well incite more iwi to rebel against Government policies and set about destroying the peaceful resistance movement by means of an armed invasion and the destruction of the settlement of Parihaka.

It is said that on the day of the invasion the soldiers were greeted by singing children (tātarakihi) and the followers of Te Whiti and Tohu put up no resistance. Many of the men involved in the peaceful resistance movement were detained- some were imprisoned for years without trial and were transported to prisons in the South Island or sentenced to hard manual labour in places like Dunedin, where they built many of the buildings and roads. Some of them would perish here from tuberculosis.

So there we go, a brief look at significant date in our national history. Interested in learning more?  We have a great page of resources if you’re interested in reading more.

Stuck for something to do this weekend and thinking you would like to learn more about the history of events that took place at Parihaka? This weekend in Christchurch there are screenings of the film Tātarakihi , The children of Parihaka.  A true story of war passive resistance and the children who never forgot. This film has been part of the New Zealand International Film Festival and has received rave reviews.  The website will take you through to local screening times and venues and you can view a trailer of the film as well.  I intend to get to the Sunday screening.

No doubt we will still celebrate Mr Fawkes trying to kill his King at my place this weekend,  but I think I will also look a little closer to home and remember the events of 5/11/1881 in Parihaka, Taranaki come Monday. Will you be doing anything to commemorate the 5th of November?

Winning Maori reads

Stuck for something to read over the long weekend?  “Read on then!”  I say, I may have just the thing for you …

In case you missed it, I thought I would share the winners for the 2012  Ngā Kupu Ora Book Awards. According to the information on our website, these awards were established in 2009 by Massey University to mark Māori Language week and to celebrate and encourage excellence in Māori publishing.

Over the years these awards have recognised some fantastic books- many of which I have read. Some of my standouts include:

The winners this year do not disappoint and as the award categories are quite varied there is sure to be something to cater for all tastes.  The two I most want to read first from this year are:

Whatu Kākahu by Awhina Tamarapa.  (Te Mahi Toi/Arts, Architecture and Design category). This book looks at the art of weaving from everyday practical items such as the rourou (food basket)  through to those of immense cultural significance such as kākahu (cloaks).  The book features contributions from expert weavers and makes accessible some of the information relating to 40 of the cloaks from the Te Papa Tongarewa Māori Collection, accompanied by new images.  I am certain that reading this book will be an absolute feast for both the eyes and mind.

Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua, written by the late Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira.  She was awarded the Te Tohu o nga kupu ora/ Lifetime Achievement Award.  A wonderful and most fitting acknowledgement for her colossal contribution to both the resurgence of Te Reo Māori and for her contribution to Māori publishing- not only did she author her own works, she also translated the work of many other authors into Te Reo Māori.  Out of curiosity I did a quick catalogue search – at CCL we have 72 items in our Collection that she either wrote or translated – a massive contribution to the body of literature available in print in the Māori Language.  I thought it was amazing.The story itself (Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua/The Chronicles of Rehua) is a YA novel written in Te Reo Māori that tells the story of four teenagers living on another planet (called Rēhua) following the destruction of Earth after global war and ecological disaster. The characters end up embarking on a quest to decipher a mysterious code. Sounds like just my cup of tea and I’m looking forward to getting into this over the weekend.  Roll on bedtime for small children I say!

If non-fiction is more your style and race relations and history interest you, you may like to try,  He kōrero: Words between us- First Māori- Pākehā Conversations on paper. This book traces Māori engagement with handwriting from 1769-1826 and explores the evolution of Māori- Pākehā relationships based around the written word However, if that sounds a little too heavy going for your long weekend or you prefer fiction you might like to try Rangatira by Paula Morris.

Have you read any of this year’s winners already?  If so what did you think?  Or do you have a stand out favourite from previous years that you would recommend as an absolute must read?

Courgette carnage

I’m a killer. I confess.

I have managed to knock off courgette plant number one for 2012 in less than a week.  This is an improvement on last year, when I went through three before managing to get one to grow. Excited about the arrival of spring this year, I had dutifully prepared my vegetable garden beds which incidentally have expanded in number. I am attributing this to my well planned and successfully orchestrated guerilla campaign of last year. This involved stealthily planting veges in strategic places to an unpredictable timetable, all through the bloke’s flower gardens. I also brought home lots of books on companion planting (see a whole selection of titles here…) and artfully left them strewn all over the house with feigned nonchalance hoping to convince him it was a great  idea.

In the end,  having initially refused to increase the space allocated to the cultivation of kai (in case it didn’t get looked after?) he got sick and tired of my edibles messing up the look of his beautifully maintained flower beds and  kindly expanded mine with the assistance of  Mr 8. On the proviso that I,  “Look after it” (translation:  keep it weeded). Bless.   Unfortunately it appears I was over-eager at the weekend, planting seeds and transplanting  little seedlings into my garden as we’ve had a frost since then. I went out in the morning to discover my poor courgette, all limp and slimy looking- a victim of hypothermia perhaps? ?

Since then I’ve been scouring the library catalogue for gardening books about what I should be planting when, to avoid any more accidental assassinations.  So far, I’ve found this one to be quite inspirational – One Magic Square. It just goes to prove you don’t need a jumbo-sized garden to be a successful vege cultivator and explains how you can make your small patch super-productive with different crops in different seasons.

The Small Edible garden looks promising (I’ve got it on hold).  I’m trying to grow organically so hopefully this will offer some good tips.

Finally this one looks like it might give the children some good ideas Yates Young Gardener. We had lots of success last year with peas and radishes.  This might help us expand our horizons.

Do you have any ideas to help me get my spring garden going?

Pssst!….. Aotearoa Whispers. Spread the word.

I found this graphic novel yesterday at Shirley Library quite by accident. It’s called Aotearoa Whispers, The Awakening. I think it’s awesome, so decided to blog it as maybe other people might enjoy it too. The story is set in Christchurch. Be warned there were a couple of illustrations of the Cathedral, the Chalice and the chess set from the square – this gave me a bit of an unexpected whiplash of nostalgia ( a reaction I wasn’t expecting from a graphic novel) and the author Gonzalo Navarro wrote his foreword in the city in February 2011, in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

The Awakening tells the story of of Kahi Moana, a young teenager who has a potentially life-changing exchange with his grandmother after tripping over his own shoelace.

The conversation that ensues with his kuia introduces the reader to Te Rauparaha, touches on aspects of local history (it mentions the naming and history of Cathedral Square), the battles at Kaiapoi Pa, Ōnawe and Akaroa before moving on to share a retelling of the traditional kōrero of Māui and Mahuika from the perspective of the author. Ultimately the conversation with his Nan impacts on his perspective of how he sees the world and views his own identity.

I loved the style of the art work and the fact that I could read the story in Te Reo  (the translation has been provided by Charisma Rangipunga) or English.  The fact that the story was set locally and that the storyline included events and happenings that occurred in our area. It  made me feel like I had an instant connection with the story and the characters.  I also liked the fact that it was sharing story in a graphic novel type format, I haven’t come across many New Zealand stories told in this way.

If you try this one and like it, you might also like to have a look at Ngārimu Te Tohu Toa (Te Reo) which tells the story of Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu VC or Victory at Point 209 if you want to read the English version.  Both of these were written by Andrew Burdan who has also written Hautipua rererangi (Te Reo) or Born to Fly (English version) which tells the story of NZRAF Flying Officer Porokoru Patapu (John) Pohe of Ngati Rangi,who served 22 missions in his first tour of duty during the Second World War.  I have added both of  these to my for later shelf.

As an aside, If you do read Aotearoa Whispers and it whets your appetite in terms of learning a little more about local history then you might like to check out our website Tī Kōuka Whenua. This resource is a great source of local history and Ngāi Tahu information- and if you’re interested you can read more about the battles mentioned in Aotearoa Whispers, the history of Kaiapoi and the battle at Ōnawe Pa as well.