Pukapuka for pepi – Kitty Brown talks about Te Reo Māori board books

Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson are cousins who’ve worked together on creating brilliant bilingual board books in te reo Māori and English with Reo Pepi. Kitty is here in Ōtautahi, and is presenting a special Storytimes / Wā Kōrero at New Brighton Library on Tuesday 5 July for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. We had a kōrero with her.

Kitty Brown

Kitty and her whānau are in Ōtautahi for a while, visiting their granny who lives in New Brighton. Her husband and son Tama are now living in a housebus and Christchurch is the first stop in their plan to visit places and be location free. Her co-author Kirsten is a dance teacher and has a Fine Arts degree – as Kitty says “she works fulltime, she’s got 3 kids, she’s a major overachiever!”

Tell us a bit about the special Storytimes / Wā Kōrero you are doing at New Brighton Library on Tuesday 5 July.

I will do our three – they are really fun to read:

  • Karahehe (Animals) – animal noises
  • Kanohi (My face) – everyone can play along with finding parts of face
  • Kākahu (Getting dressed) – play with pretending to get dressed up

CoverI will also do a selection of my faves. I am a huge fan of reading aloud. One favourite is Taniwha taniwha by Robyn Kahukiwa which she wrote for her moko (grandchildren). I will also do a couple of waiata. Tama and I go along to the one at New Brighton Library so I know how it rolls and I know what not to do!

What gave you the idea of doing bilingual books?

Kirsten and I both had pepi at the same time – Mihi is only about four months younger than Tama. We were both on maternity leave at the same time, and we’re cousins. We live around the corner from each other; we are really close – then we had babies and we needed to really reconnect with our reo ourselves. We thought what better time to do it than with our own pepi – they are learning to speak, we’re learning to speak. But what happened is we couldn’t find many resources. There’s not enough, and there’s not enough beautiful resources. There’s not enough durable, chewable books that we can share with our pepi after you’ve used every one at the library and you’re getting the same ones out again. We just saw that there was a lack.

We had the same idea. She started drawing, and I started researching text. We’d probably still be doing that now if it wasn’t for the support of Te Pūtahitanga. They gave us startup money to publish our pukapuka.

What role does the library play for you and your whānau?

The library in Dunedin to us is quite important to our lives. Libraries are integral. We had a lovely email from a whānau who had found the Kanohi book at their local library. They sent us a photograph of their daughter and she had the same hat on that’s in the book. Because it’s in the pukapuka that she got from the library she’s wanting to wear this hat all the time.

Libraries are really important so that those resources get to the whānau. For us going to the library and getting the books out from the Māori section is important – we’re really proud to be contributing to that section to make sure it has more resources and whānau find new things there. You can never have too many books.

Are there any books or resources you’d recommend if you want your tamaraki and whānau to be bilingual?

We really like Carolyn Collis. I like the sentence structures that she uses.  We try to make our reo everyday. I also like NZ books that integrate a little bit of te reo. Also:
Peter Gossage
Robyn Kahukiwa
Gavin Bishop

CoverWhat are you currently reading?

Māori made easy by Scotty Morrison. Thirty minutes a day, sort of like a prescription.

What next for you and Reo Pepi?

We are inspired by our tamariki again. They are just reaching for new concepts and we’re just following what they do. Kirsten has completed the illustrations for a second set of three pukapuka. The second set should be ready to go for the new educational year in February:

  • Kaute / Counting – illustrated with toys from the rooms of our tamariki
  • Ngā Tae / Colours – illustrated with insects
  • Kai  / Food – illustrated with tamariki enjoying kai (market testing unanimously picked kai as the third topic!)

After that there will be a third set of 3 books. We are looking into additional resources like posters and wall charts.

We’re going to the IBBY International Congress in August. We are going to have a stall there.  It’s majorly exciting – we’ll be going to Joy Cowley’s 80th birthday at Auckland Library!

Cover Cover

If you are flying to Auckland or elsewhere, you might spot Kitty and Kirsten’s Reo Pepi mentioned in the latest Air New Zealand Kia ora magazine!

Sewilicious birthday wishes

Cover of The Buys Girls Guide to SewingD’you know what I wanted to do for my birthday most of all? I wanted a day to sew – for myself! My family totally didn’t get it! They were all “You want to what?!”

I know it doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but how often do I get to make something for me? Not often, I can tell you. It’s hard enough to keep up with the things I’ve promised to make for other people* let alone making anything for myself. So I took the day off, and  sewed all day, apart from when Mr K took me out for lunch. I actually finished a top that I had bought the fabric for about seven years ago. It was the best birthday ever.

Of course, I’ve still got fabric for Africa waiting to be made — bits I bought that were just too gorgeous not to, bits Mum gave me that I love but haven’t figured out what to do with, not to mention the bits I bought with actual projects in mind. All waiting, waiting…

Cover of Shape Shape 2: Sewing for minimalist styleWhat is a would-be-sewing-if-I-just-had-the-time-girl to do? Flicking through Shape Shape 2: Sewing for Minimalist Style by Natsuno Hiraiwa it occured to me that clothes that can be worn multiple ways would give me more bang for my buck. And OK, it won’t make much of a dent in my fabric stash, but I’ll have more wardrobe options for my efforts. (And a fabric stash is a good thing in its own right, isn’t it? Isn’t it?) And besides the designs are gorgeously simple and simply gorgeous!

So if I ever getting another day to just sew and sew, I know where I’ll be heading for inspiration. My favourites are the Double Circular Scarf, the Upside-Down Bolero Jacket, and the Long Vest/Stole. Do I have the right fabric in my stash to make them, though? I might have to go fabric shopping first…

*BTW, I managed to finish one sock for Grandpa…what’s the bet winter will be over before I get the other one done?

Remembering a disastrous day – The Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme lasted from July to November 1916. The New Zealand Division became involved on 15 September at Flers-Courcelette, which was their first major action on the Western Front.

New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23130341
New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23130341

While the casualty figures for the whole battle are horrendous for all nations involved, those for the opening day of the battle for the British Army and Newfoundland forces are truly staggering – over 57,000 wounded and more than 19,000 killed. It was truly a disastrous day and only the Fall of Singapore in 1942 saw more casualties for the British Army – although the majority of those were prisoners of war.

What makes 1 July even more devastating is that so many British and Newfoundland soldiers were going into action for the first time, many in what were known as Pals Battalions where men from local communities joined up together. Not surprisingly, this had disastrous consequences for these communities which were often in working class, industrial areas.

There are a couple of excellent and contrasting histories of this day. Martin Middlebrook’s First Day on the Somme is a classic military history which looks in great depth at the formation of the British units on the Somme and tells the story of the battle through the of a number of soldiers. Andrew Macdonald’s recent First Day of the Somme explores in great detail how the battle plan evolved and analyses the tactics of the army formations involved to show how they failed or partially succeeded.

Cover Cover

Over the next few days and months I will be thinking of those who fought on 1 July and throughout the rest of the battle, in particular the 7th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who went into action near Fricourt late on 2 July.

Do you have any connection to the first day of the Somme, 1 July 1916?

Our newspaper and magazine archives are a great way to explore historic events as they unfold. Log in with your library card number and password / PIN.

Can I recommend …

CoverI’ve just found a new way to add to the ever-increasing list of book titles that I have great difficulty getting around to reading but have kept on my ‘For Later’ shelf in BiblioCommons. The cliché ‘better late than never’ springs to mind.

My shelf currently stands at a very respectable 17 (I’m sure there are people out there in ‘Library land’ openly gobsmacked at this paltry total BUT I have just had a cull. I was completely ruthless and it took only 2 minutes to cut it back from 27 to 17.

Oh the internal debating and agonising I didn’t put myself through! Most of these tomes have been on my ‘For Later’ shelf for an eternity and have either been recommended to me via colleagues and customers or I have read a favourable review in a magazine or newspaper and placed it onto the shelf before I forget the title.  Then I forget to look at the shelf and pick my next read from it – well nobody’s perfect!

Now I have another method by which I can add to this list – on the front page of the Christchurch City Libraries website right at the bottom of the page is a link called Books. This takes you to New in Books, Staff Picks, On Order and then Recent Comments.

ExampleRecent Comments deals with any comments or reviews of books from newspapers, library borrowers and library staff.  In a steady flow, these brief comments automatically move from one book to the next book that has been recently reviewed. Clicking on the cover will bring up a synopsis of the story line, publisher details followed by the heading OPINION where all the reviews appear.

Sometimes a certain sentence within a review personally resonates and is all that is needed to push you from apathy to action. Before you realise it, you’ve clicked on the book cover and are placing a hold OR adding to your ‘For Later’ Shelf.  If inclined you can even give the book a star rating.

Anyone out there enjoying the freedom of reviewing the books they read or feeling that they would like to give it a whirl?

Ready for the big guns? Time for eResources Discovery Search

Young-lady-sitting-on-the-floor-using-her-laptop-233x300When you have come to your senses and cast aside Wikipedia and Google in the quest for serious research solutions – then the library has what you require. The best research tool to start with is eResources Discovery Search or eDS for short. No matter how tight the deadline is this online treasure is available 24/7.

What makes it so great? Well it provides you with access to most of our eResource collection, articles, eBooks, journals, and photographs, through a single simultaneous search at a single access point. So with one search in one place you can search across huge swathes of information just like Google – but all of the information you find is authoritative and referenced without funny yet distracting cat videos.

For example what if you had to research Donald Trump? Put that name in eDS and these miraculous things happen …

eDS

Research starters – at the top of your search results there will be a “research starter” on Trump. There are starters for most topics which is useful if you want a starting point or a brief background.

To the left – tools to refine results to the most relevant. These include:

  • Publication date – maybe you only want articles from the last six months?
  • Source types – do you need a video, journal article or book on Trump?
  • Subject – are you interested in his talk shows or his political campaign?
  • Content providers – maybe you want a biography from Gale Biography in Context?

To the right – you get images, videos and newswires you can use or access the library catalogue. If you get stuck there is also Live Online to get you back on track.

Basically eDS is all you need in your answer arsenal and can be used anytime of the day but is most effective when you are really stressed and have a deadline looming. All you need to use this solution to all your research requirements is your library card number and password/PIN. Bookmark it now.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2016

The dates for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) this year are 4 – 11 Hōngongoi (4-11 July) and this year the theme is –

Te reo tautoko – behind you all the way

The phrase “Ākina te reo – using the Māori to show support” is also being used as part of the campaign which includes celebrity ambassadors like Canterbury’s own Andrew Mehrtens making more of an effort to improve their te reo skills.

Te Reo Māori i Te Whare pukapuka – Māori Language at The Library

Cover of Kanohi: My faceChristchurch City Libraries – Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi will be celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with special bilingual storytimes throughout the week. See our events calendar for one near you.

The Wā Kōrero (Storytime) session at New Brighton will have a special guest performer in Kitty Brown, co-author of a series of te reo Māori board books for children.

We’re also hosting a special event on The History of Te Reo Māori in Children’s Publishing on Thursday, 7 July at Fendalton Library.

But there’s no need to attend a special event to add te reo Māori to your library experience -why not simply try out the reo Māori option on our self checkout machines?

Te Reo Māori self checkout
Te Reo Māori self checkout, Flickr File Reference: 2014-07-10-IMG_0669

Read our Te Kupu o Te Wiki (Word of the week) blog posts.

Or learn a new kupu (word) by reading our bilingual library signs or even just learn to say the Māori name of your local library.

Ngā Rauemi Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Resources

Whaowhia te kete mātauranga – Fill the basket of knowledge

There are many, many resources available for anyone wanting to improve their te reo Māori knowledge. Here are some suggestions for filling your basket.

Hākinakina – Sports

Ākina te reo - support the language

Ngā Rauemi mō Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Resources

Download one of our colouring in pages [39KB PNG, 354KB PDF]

Matariki

Cover of Ko wai tōku ingoa?Search our catalogue

We’ve also made lists of modern classic picture books in Te Reo Māori and Māori stories for older children.

Barbie: The Icon

9781943876112Rightly or wrongly I was determined that my daughter was not going to have Barbie dolls, but by the time our daughter was 3 our house was awash with Barbie and all her paraphernalia. How did this happen?

To try to even things out I presented our son with Barbie – he proceeded to use her spiky limbs as a weapon! We had Malibu Barbie, Night and Day Barbie but best of all was Wedding Day Barbie! Tiny little handbags were lost as were multiple pairs of shoes … bits and pieces of Barbie limbs would appear in odd places. Thankfully all could be replaced by the neverending Barbie gravy train at the local toy store.

In my own way I became quite fond of Barbie, and I grudgingly admitted that she did provide hours of fun for my daughter and her friends.

When Barbie: The Icon arrived in the library I couldn’t help myself, and immediately borrowed it. Perhaps it’s the memories of times past, but I have had a lovely time browsing its full page photos of Barbie dressed in her finest, as well as enjoying the writing.

The focus of the early seventies was to make Barbie increasingly bendable…

and

Barbie has become the interpreter of aesthetic and cultural transformations that have distinguished more than half a century of history, but unlike other myths of contemporaneity, crushed by time passing, she has had the privilege, as a doll to be timeless.

Bendable and timeless! Oh how I envy her.

Some Barbie facts:

  • After a 43 year relationship Barbie and Ken break up in 2004. Barbie meets a new man, Blain – a surfer from Australia, however by 2011 Barbie and Ken are back together again. Phew.
  • Barbie has had more than 150 careers including being US President, watch out Hillary Clinton!
  • It wasn’t until 1980 that a black Barbie doll was created , called… ta da…Black Barbie.
  • Fashion designers who have created her outfits have included Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein and Dior.
  • Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Find more Barbie stuff – including movies – in our collection.

Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand – an interview with Emma Johnson of Freerange Press

Everyone’s talking about journalism, how it is changing, and where its future lies. We asked Emma Johnson about the upcoming Freerange Press publication Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. This multi-author title includes contributions from Peter Arnett, Brent Edwards, Mihingarangi Forbes, Simon Wilson, Naomi Arnold, Toby Morris, Paula Penfold, Nicky Hager, Morgan Godfery and Beck Eleven. Freerange is crowdfunding to get the book printed, and you can contribute until 2 July. The book will be launched at the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival 25 to 28 August.

Don't dream it's over

Emma JohnsonTell me about yourself and your role at Freerange Press.

Freerange Press is a small cooperative, which means that I get to wear many hats, though my main role is that of editor. As I love books, languages, reading and writing, working as the editor is my favourite part of the job. This entails working with people’s words on several levels: the big picture stuff (a cohesive book or well-structured essay that facilitates the reader’s experience) through to the small, finicky details such as apostrophes and the right choice of word. I also project manage the books through to publication, deal with all of the various contributors (from designers through to sponsors), organise events, do media, sales and admin.

CoverWas there a lightbulb moment that led to Don’t dream it’s over?

After the release of our last multi-author book Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch, Giovanni Tiso (who is one of the other editors for Don’t Dream It’s Over) attended a conference on journalism and came to us with the idea that a similar approach to Once in a Lifetime – where different voices and perspectives are presented on an important topic in a single book – was needed to look at the challenges and opportunities facing journalism. We all agreed!

What do you see as the core purpose of journalism?

For me, journalism’s core purpose is keeping the public informed – through gathering news, the subsequent analysis of that news and bringing important stories or elements of culture into the public sphere. An informed public is essential to an effective democracy and to the notion of consent being attributed to decisions made by those in government.

You’ve got a stellar lineup of contributors – how do you about getting these people on board and managing such a large bunch of writers?

It was a combination of a public call-out and approaching people we really wanted to have on the book. Sarah Illingworth and Giovanni Tiso both work in journalism circles, so they had some really good ideas regarding potential contributors. Barnaby Bennett and myself also brainstormed. Then we explained the project and approached people – many signed on. I think that the number of them indicates the need to examine journalism and the timely nature of the publication.

Can you give some examples of journalism and news sites that are dealing well with the evolving media landscape – who is swimming, who is sinking?

I think sites like Pantograph Punch, which has great arts and culture content, and The Spinoff have responded to the challenging times and are both producing great writing, including long reads, by fantastic contributors. I think that mainstream media and traditional outlets are struggling and the quality of their journalism overall has slipped for a number of reasons. As revenue is limited, they have let lots of experienced staff go, which has emptied out the profession (and in turn the journalism that the public has access to), so they turn to clickbait and such to garner attention amidst the noise. There is more content, but less diversity (some genres are really struggling).

What IS the future of the media landscape in New Zealand?

This is the question that book seeks to explore – there are many responses and points of view on this. Many of the contributors have strong ideas about where it needs to go and what it needs to do – the difficulties lie more around the ‘how’, or more specifically, how we pay for it. As a society we need to look at what we value in journalism, and seek to address these challenges.

Can you tell us a bit about your Pledgeme campaign – can people still contribute?

As making books in New Zealand is expensive, and as we wish to pay everyone (at least a little) for their work, we are crowdfunding to help get us over the line with our cash flow for printing. Our target is $11,500 (budget breakdown is included on our campaign page). We have lots of great rewards too. You can contribute until 2 July.

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are extremely important to our communities – they are reservoirs of knowledge, and the keepers of memories and the ways we express ourselves. Most importantly, they are cultural hubs that are available and open to all,  for free.

What are you reading/watching/listening to?

I have been reading the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante – such wonderful writing and translations. I have also just finished Silencing Science by Shaun Hendy – one of the great BWB Texts.

CoverCover Cover

Find out more

Get a taster of the upcoming book Don’t dream it’s over – Read Navigating the waters of Māori broadcasting by Mihingarangi Forbes, published on the Pantograph Punch website.

The power of fiction

The Lubetkin LegacyCan reading fiction make you a better person?

For example, the state of housing in New Zealand is a serious topic that surges and wanes with the seasons but never completely disappears from our radar. Winter always brings about an increase in concern: no one wants to live in a cold, leaky home, and no one can tolerate the idea of homelessness in winter. How can fiction help with this?

This month alone I’ve had books on housing fair jumping off the shelves at me. And it started from the unlikely corner of light fiction, with a novel by Marina Lewycka (she of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian fame.) Her latest novel The Lubetkin Legacy tackles the topic of council housing in England and the modern day sale of previously held council accommodation to the upwardly mobile.

This light-hearted romp introduces us to some thorny housing issues that are apparent worldwide and also raises our awareness of the architect Lubetkin who pioneered the fusion of  social, political and aesthetic factors in the drive for a better world for “ordinary people”.

Style CouncilNext up, the artily compiled Style Council (Inspirational Interiors in Ex-council Homes) fell into my hands. I read this book in a single night. And no, I did not only look at the pictures. It deals with exactly the same problem: the dissolution of council housing in Britain in favour of private ownership. But this time it is from the perspective of the new owners – many of whom have niggly social concerns about what they are doing, but who quite simply cannot afford anything better. The book shows how they transform their new homes, while at the same time, paying respectful homage to the original design philosophies.

Let’s not leave New Zealand out of this. I’ve looked at three books about state housing in New Zealand, here goes:

Only The Houses Remain is a well researched book on an admittedly complex topic, but it is unlikely to attract uninitiated readers like myself. For example, the word “policy” is mentioned fifteen times in the introduction alone – ever the kiss of death for me.

We Call it HomeHomes People Can Afford (How to Improve Housing in New Zealand) is very slightly more upbeat. It consists of a series of essays by different contributors, but despite a more appealing cover, it still fails to pull in all the fence-sitters whose support it will likely need for a new housing policy to get the traction it requires.

We Call it Home – A History of State Housing in New Zealand is an older book (2005) but is the most appealing of the three as it focuses more on families and their relationship with state housing. It has more photographic content and as a result, from it I have garnered a better sense of what state housing means to New Zealanders.

What I love about this particular learning curve, is that my improved awareness of a serious topic, like housing, was kick-started by an entertaining novel, set in England and written by a Ukrainian writer.

Never underestimate the power of fiction!

Lumber on an epic scale

cover of BarkskinsI discovered at the weekend with a rapidly beating heart, that one of my all time favourite writers,  Annie Proulx, has released a new novel.

Thirteen years since her last novel, Barkskins is, by all accounts, a rip snorter. According to what I can glean from good old Mr Google, it is 736 pages long, spanning 3 centuries, and tells the story of two French immigrants in the new land of America. They are bound to a feudal lord for three years and are sent to work in the dense and remote forests of the New World in exchange for a promise of land. The book follows them and their descendants from 1693 through to the 21st century and various family members travel all over the world, including to little old New Zealand.

Annie Proulx first caught my eye when I read The Shipping News, another great story of families, set in Newfoundland. I have never forgotten the ways she described snow and ice and barren landscapes and the families and eccentrics who lived amongst it.

Cover of The shipping news

Accordion Crimes was also a favourite, charting the lives of immigrants settling in America through the life of an accordion that is handed down through families; Jewish, Irish, Italian and many others.

Both The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain (a short story originally), were also made into movies, both well worth watching.

Ms Proulx, now in her eighties, was a bit of a late bloomer, with her first short stories published in her 50s and her first novel in 1992. She has gone onto to publish 13 works and win over twenty literary prizes, including a Pulitzer prize for The Shipping News.

Her novels and short storys are filled with hard bitten complex characters and landscapes that are wonderful described, I find I get immersed in her stories and I think this is because she herself has led a full and intense life, always on her own terms. She has been married and divorced three times and has raised three sons alone. She worked as postal worker and a waitress, and early on a writer of magazine articles on everything from chilli growers to canoeing.

She has two history degrees, drifted the countryside in her pickup truck, can fly fish, fiddle, and hunt game birds. But for all her life experience, she has said that she likes to write about what she doesn’t know, rather than draw on what she has already experienced. If you haven’t read her books, I strongly recommend them.

So, I’m on the library waiting list, hoping the book arrives quickly so I can again revel in her wondrous prose!