Replica Leper’s Cottage, Quail Island, Lyttelton Harbour: Picturing Canterbury

Replica Leper’s Cottage, Quail Island, Lyttelton Harbour. Kete Christchurch. Replica-Leper_s-Cottage-Quail-Island-31-March-2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Date: 31 March 2013

Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jane Rodgers.

Quail Island was proclaimed a quarantine station on 11 February 1875. The first leprosy patient was Willa Vallane, who was confined to the island in 1906. A second was admitted in 1908, with a third in 1909. By 1925 there were eight patients in residence (a ninth, George Philips, made an escape after having being certified as cured). In that year the eight patients were relocated from Quail Island to a new “leper colony” on Makogai Island in the Pacific.

Do you have any photographs of Quail Island? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation

How to be a Gruffalo Explorer and more fun at The Breeze Walking Festival

I love Bottle Lake Plantation. If you know where to look, there is always something to see. Sometimes its birds and rabbits. Other times it’s blackberries and birds. Once I saw two carved trees. But I have never, ever seen a Gruffalo. This year that could change. The Breeze Walking Festival is on again from 29 September to 14 October (over the school holidays) and young walkers can become Mouse to explore the deep dark woods on this self-guided walk featuring storytelling and Gruffalo craft activities. The Gruffalo Explorers walk starts at Bottle Lake Information Centre and the walk takes 30 to 60 minutes. Make a pair of mouse ears and go for a walk. Will you find any of mouse’s friends? Will you find the Gruffalo? I hope so.

Things to know:

  • It’s on Wednesday 3th October, with a postponement date of Thursday 4th October.
  • The walk starts anytime between 10am and 1pm and finishes by 2pm.
  • You meet at the Bottle Lake Information Centre.
  • It is an easy, flat walk,suitable for preschoolers and for children in pushchairs/buggies.
  • Your dog is welcome too, but must stay on a leash at all times.

I’ll see you there.

The Breeze Walking Festival

The Breeze Walking Festival is on from Saturday 29 September to Sunday 14 October.

Here are some more walks that particularly suit whānau and tamariki:

Going on a Bear Hunt – Tuesday 2 October (approx. distance 1km)

Bear Hunt

1pm – 2pm; 2pm – 3pm Walter Park Playground, Hills Road, Mairehau, Christchurch
Bring the children down to the park for a swishy swashy, splashy, sploshy, squelchy, muddy, experience. Great outing for the younger walkers and their families. Gumboots essential.
Find out more.

Pukeko Stomp – Tuesday 9 October (approx. distance 1.5km)

Pukeko Stomp

Start anytime between 10am and 11.30am to finish at noon. Halswell Quarry, Kennedys Bush Road, Kennedys Bush, Christchurch
Shake your tail feathers as you skip, walk, hop and stomp your way around Halswell Quarry to find Perky the Pukeko and friends. Find out more.

There are plenty more walks for all ages and abilities. See them all on The Breeze Walking Festival site, check the PDF calendar of all events, or pick up a brochure from your library or CCC facility.

庆祝2018年新西兰中文周Celebrations in New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2018

New Zealand Chinese Language Week is a Kiwi-driven initiative aiming at encouraging New Zealanders to discover Chinese language and culture. It was officially launched by Raymond Huo as a sitting Member of Parliament on 24 May 2014. This year New Zealand Chinese Language Week is on from 23 to 29 September. Explore all the events in the nationwide celebration during New Zealand Chinese Language Week.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week Celebrations at Shirley and Hornby Libraries

Coincidentally, Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on 24 September and Confucius’ Birthday on 28 September fall during this year’s New Zealand Chinese Language Week. Christchurch City Libraries is collaborating with the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury to celebrate the two events.

Shirley Library

Our activities include paper cutting, calligraphy, plate painting, Chinese games, Chinese folk dancing, and learning basic Chinese greeting and numbers. Free, no bookings required. Recommended for all ages. Caregiver required.

Hornby Library

Come and celebrate Chinese Language Week with us at Hornby Library. Lead teacher, Fang Tian from the Confucius Institute will run a Chinese calligraphy taster and Cherry Blossom painting session. Suitable for all ages. FREE, no bookings required. Wednesday 26 September, 3.30pm to 4.30pm. Find out more.

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival中秋节

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the 8th month of a lunar calendar year when the moon is believed to the biggest and fullest. Chinese people believe that a full moon is a symbol of reunion, harmony and happiness so Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion. Mooncakes are the main characteristic food for this occasion. Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was derived from the ancient rite of offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Folklore about the origin of the festival is based on the ancient legend of Chang’e and her fateful ascent to the heavens after having swallowed an elixir pill.

Books and resources in the library related to Mid-Autumn Festival 图书馆有关中秋节的读物

Confucius’ Birthday孔子诞辰

Confucius, also known as Kong Qiu, is a great Chinese scholar, teacher and social philosopher. Confucius is believed to be born on 28 September, 551BC. He was living in a period regarded as a time of great moral decline. Working with his disciples, Confucius edited and wrote the classics and compiled Four Books and Five Classics 四书五经 to find solutions. In his life time, Confucius traveled throughout eastern China to persuade the official classes and rulers of Chinese states with the great moral teachings of the sages of the past. Although Confucius did not succeed in reviving the classics, his teachings formed as a dominant Chinese ideology, known as Confucianism, which values the concepts of benevolence仁, ritual仪, propriety礼. His teachings have had a profoundly influence on Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese thoughts and life for 2500 years.

Each year, Confucius’ birthday celebration ceremonies are held on the island of Qufu (Shangdong Province, Mainland China), the birthplace of Confucius. Outside Mainland China, Confucius’ birthday is also celebrated in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Japan. In Taiwan, Confucius’ birthday is set as a public holiday for teachers, known as Teachers’ Day, to memorise the first great teacher in the Chinese history.

  

Books and resources on Confucius in the library 图书馆有关孔子的读物

Chinese Language Collection

Chinese eResources

  • Overdrive — Chinese language eBooks中文电子书
  • Dragonsource — Chinese language magazines龙源中文杂志
  • Press Reader — Chinese language newspaper and magazines 在线中文报纸和杂志

Logo    

Resources for Learning Chinese

Programmes and services offered in Chinese at your library

Hong Wang
Network Library Assistant

International Day of Older Persons and the Positive Ageing Expo – Monday 1 October 2018

Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 percent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. According to Statistics New Zealand, here in Aotearoa by 2051, there will be over 1.14 million people aged 65 years and over. They are expected to make up 25.5 percent (or 1 in every 4) of all New Zealanders (4.49 million). That’s a significant group of part of why the United Nations has an official International Day of Older Persons, and why Christchurch City Council has an Ageing Together Policy.

Download Positive Ageing Expo poster [220KB PDF]
Download Positive Ageing Expo poster [220KB PDF]

Positive Ageing Expo – Monday 1 October at Papanui High School 9am to 2.30pm

The Positive Ageing Expo is a fun day combining information about services for older adults with free entertainment. Chat with librarians – their stand will display some items from the collection, promote the Christchurch Photo Hunt, rest home services, Outreach and public programmes.

Exhibitors will cover areas such as Health and Wellbeing; Recreation; Staying safe; Nutrition; Social Opportunities; and Transport Options.

Library resources for older people

We have many resources and services that can be of use to older people, including: Audiobooks; eBooks; Large Print books; eMagazines; DVDs with subtitles or captions for the hearing impaired

Find our more about library services for older adults

Library events for older people

  • Community connections for adults
    Classes and programmes for adults offered in our Learning Centres.
  • GenConnect
    Informal tech instruction for seniors provided by high school students at Upper Riccarton and Papanui libraries.

Find out more

School holidays! Library holiday programmes & events, plus more Christchurch holiday events & activities – October 2018

It’s nearly time for school holidays! The October school holidays run from Monday 1 October to Friday 12 October.

October 2018 holiday programmes

During school holidays our libraries and learning centres offer a mix of free, drop-in activities, free activities that require bookings, and bookable classes with a small charge per child.

Free, drop-in holiday activities

Free, drop-in holiday activities – there is no charge or booking required for these sessions.

Spring Crafts

Create spring butterflies and other insects using pipe cleaners, coloured thread and googly eyes!
Browse libraries and times for these sessions.

Maker Space Family Time

Come and check out this cool maker space! There will be craft, 3D colouring, interactive games and more. FREE. Recommended for all ages. Caregiver required.
Browse libraries and times for these sessions.

3D Printing Demo

Come and see what spring surprises get 3D printed at your library! This is an informal drop-in session to have a look at how 3D printing works.
Browse libraries and times for these sessions.

Nutcracker Diorama

Create your own theatre scene! Start with a simple shoebox as your stage and craft your creations. You may like to enter your creation into our library competition and be in to win a
family pass to the matinee show of The Nutcracker at the Isaac Theatre Royal in November.
Browse libraries and times for these sessions.

Filipino Lantern Making

Make your own Filipino Parol (lantern) in this fun free session aimed at children aged 9–12 years. However, the whole family is welcome to come along and work together!
Browse libraries and times for these sessions.

Free activities, bookings required

Tangaroa Whakamautai – Sea Art

Looking for something to do during the October holidays? Then come learn about the sea through story, games and craft – there’s something for everyone! Have you got what it takes? Are you up for the challenge? Recommended for ages 5 to 15. FREE. Bookings ARE essential, please phone 941 7923.

Bookable holiday activities

Bookings are required for the following programmes – call (03) 941 5140 or email:learningcentre@ccc.govt.nz (conditions apply).

Stop Motion Animation

Get creative using Lego and discover the process of producing animated movies. Plan a story themed on being kind to our world, create a set and craft your own movie using stop motion photography.
Ages: 8 to 12 years
Cost: $20

Minecraft Game Zone

Minecraft Game Zone is a 3D gaming experience that involves creating your own virtual world and interacting with others online. To really enjoy this programme, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of Minecraft. Book in for a two hour session and play to your heart’s content.
Ages: 8 to 12 years
Cost: $7

Earth Smart

A STEAM holiday programme with an emphasis on sustainability and recycling. Children will explore environmental issues with a focus on connecting to the planet around them using books, interactive activities, digital media and craft. Come along to listen, participate and create.
Ages: 5 to 7 years
Cost: $7

South Library Monday 1 October, 10am to 12pm
New Brighton Library Wednesday 3 October 10am to 12pm
Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre Wednesday 10 October 10am to 12pm

Sound Treks

Do you love music and like the idea of making your own, using an iPad? Pitched at a beginner level and using Garageband, you can make your own adventurous
soundtracks to match our awesome themed video clips of space, nature and cats.
Ages: 9 to 12 years
Cost: $7

Robofun

Working with a range of robots, you’ll learn the basics of how robots work and how to programme them to use sensors to complete a set of challenges.
Ages: 10 years +
Cost: $15

3D Tinker workshop

Calling all Tinkerers! Come along to our 3D Maker workshop and use 3D design software to create your very own masterpiece.
Ages: 10 years+
Cost: $30

Upper Riccarton Library Friday 12 October, 9.30am to 3pm course.

  • Children may be enrolled in two programmes only. If you would like to enrol your child in more than two programmes he/she will be placed on a waitlist and notified closer to the start date as to whether or not there is place available.

Christchurch holiday programmes and workshops

The following organisations regularly run holiday programmes or workshops for kids or teens in the October 2018 holidays.

Search CINCH, our Community Information Christchurch database, for more Canterbury holiday programmes.
Find an OSCAR programme (Out of School Care and Recreation).

Amazing Atoms at Rutherford’s Den

Shows, movies, and performances

Kid friendly movies on in the holidays include: Smallfoot, The House with a clock in its walls, and Teen Titans go! to the movies.

The Breeze Walking Festival

The Breeze Walking Festival is on from Saturday 29 September to Sunday 14 October.

Three that particularly suit whānau and tamariki:

Going on a Bear Hunt – Tuesday 2 October (approx. distance 1km)

Bear Hunt

1pm – 2pm; 2pm – 3pm Walter Park Playground, Hills Road, Mairehau, Christchurch
Bring the children down to the park for a swishy swashy, splashy, sploshy, squelchy, muddy, experience. Great outing for the younger walkers and their families. Gumboots essential.
Find out more.

Gruffalo Explorer – Wednesday 3 October (approx. distance 2.3km)

Gruffalo Explorers

Start anytime between 10am and 1pm (event finishes at 2pm). Bottle Lake Forest Information Centre, 100 Waitikiri Drive, Parklands, Christchurch
Young walkers can become mouse to explore the deep dark woods on this self-guided walk featuring storytelling and Gruffalo craft activities.
Find out more.

Pukeko Stomp – Tuesday 9 October (approx. distance 1.5km)

Pukeko Stomp

Start anytime between 10am and 11.30am to finish at noon. Halswell Quarry, Kennedys Bush Road, Kennedys Bush, Christchurch

Shake your tail feathers as you skip, walk, hop and stomp your way around Halswell Quarry to find Perky the Pukeko and friends.

Find out more.

SCAPE Season 2018

SCAPE Season 2018 Opening: Hellers Family Fun Day Saturday 6 October 10am to 2pm

Margaret Mahy Playground, 177 Armagh Street, Christchurch
Join in the fun at SCAPE’s festival of colour, flair and ambitious new ideas – it’s all free! Hellers will be on the barbecue serving up a free sausage for everyone! Entertainment from the renowned Christchurch Pops Choir. Everyone is welcome at the family day to kick off six weeks of free public artworks popping up in spaces around Christchurch. Free art activities, giveaways and a great bunch of people getting the first glimpse of SCAPE’s new artworks in the spring sunshine. Find out more.

Check out Christchurch City Council family events for more kid-friendly goings on in the school holidays.

Things to do, and places to go in Christchurch

Some of these venues are free, but others have a entry fee. There is more information on their websites.

New Brighton Beachside Playground.

For more events and activities, search Eventfinda.

Suffrage 125 in Ōtautahi – celebrating women winning the right to vote in 19 September 1893

New Zealand women gained the right to vote on 19 September 1893, so this year marks 125 years since women won the right to vote. The Suffrage 125 celebration is being led by the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Minitatanga mō ngā Wahine in partnership with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The Suffrage 125 Events and Celebrations include happenings in Ōtautahi, on Wednesday 19 September (and before and after the anniversary date):

Kate Sheppard memorial
Kate Sheppard memorial, Friday 19 September 2014. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2212

Events on Wednesday 19 September

Kate Sheppard Suffrage Dollshouse display and Raffle for Cholmondeley Children’s Centre

Come along and see tiny suffrage dollshouses at the new Woolston Community Library 689 Ferry Road from Saturday 15 to Saturday 22 September and enter the live raffle draw at 11am on Saturday 22 September at the Woolston Library. You could win the Kate Sheppard dollshouse ($2 a ticket or 3 tickets for $5). Come and enjoy the display, tiny cupcakes, and coffee – and also see tiny dollshouse tributes to other women who campaigned for the vote including the Dunedin Tailoresses Union, Meri Te Tai Mangakahia and more.

  

More local Suffrage 125 events

  • Women’s Suffrage Ride Sunday 7 October 1-3pm Armagh Street bridge, Hagley Park. Part of Biketober, this guided ride around the central city will incorporate significant places of interest related to the women of Christchurch, both past and present. Places limited. Sign up via Facebook to secure your spot.
  • Suffrage Series at the Arts Centre Tuesday 16, Wednesday 17, and Friday 19 October
    The Suffrage Series celebrates the diverse range of women we have in Canterbury through three nights of quick fire talks, discussions and music.
  • We do this 12 May 2018 to 26 May 2019 and We Do This – Suffrage art tours (12 to 22 October 2pm)
    A recharged contemporary exhibition to mark 125 years of women’s suffrage at Christchurch Art Gallery.
  • Suffrage and Suffering – Changing Canterbury Canterbury Museum 12 October to 22 October
    Visit a display commemorating Kate Sheppard’s role in achieving suffrage for women in New Zealand. Tours: Tuesday 16 October 3.30pm to 4.30pm; Thursday 18 October 3.30pm to 4.30pm
  • Suffrage and Heroism Saturday 13 October 2pm to 3.30pm, Former Trinity Congregational Church, 124 Worcester Street
    A floor talk by Dr Anna Crighton of the Christchurch Heritage Trust, will explain why the theme of Suffrage and Heroism relates to the history of the Church.
  • Methodist Suffrage Trail Talk [bookings required]  Thursday 18 October 2pm to 3pm Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives, 50 Langdons Road, PapanuiCome to an illustrated presentation on the role of the Methodist Church in the campaign for women’s suffrage in New Zealand during the 1890s.
  • Trust the Women: Dora Meeson Coates Friday 19 October 12.30pm to 1pm Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o WaiwhetūChristchurch Art Gallery Curator Felicity Milburn discusses the extraordinary life of Canterbury College-trained artist Dora Meeson Coates (1869-1955).
Meri Te Tai Mangakahia - Kate Sheppard Memorial
Meri Te Tai Mangakahia of Taitokerau who requested the vote for women from the Kotahitanga Māori Parliament. Kate Sheppard Memorial.

Suffrage 125 national events

Here are some events and resources online specially for Suffrage 125:

#Trailblaizing125

#Trailblazing125 marks this massive milestone and honours all the amazing women of New Zealand.  We are proud and privileged to bring you 24 incredible wāhine toa – one post for every day for the first 24 days of September.

Suffrage 125: The Women on Wikipedia Challenge

Celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage by helping to increase the visibility of New Zealand women who have made a contribution to the arts and community life in Aotearoa. Your mission if you choose to accept it: think of a female NZ writer, artist or community figure, check whether they are represented on Wikipedia, and if not, create an article about them and their work. If an article already exists, check there’s nothing important missing and fill the gap if you can. When you’re done, post the links to the Women on Wikipedia Challenge Facebook page so other people can read, share, and add to them. Find out more.

FUNNY GIRLS

And hooray, there’s a Funny Girls NZ Suffrage Special on THREE on Thursday 20 September 8.30pm to 9.30pm

Connect with Suffrage 125

Suffrage 125 resources

Suffrage 125 resources
Explore suffrage resources compiled by the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Minitatanga mō ngā Wahine in partnership with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

New Zealand women and the vote
Information on women and suffrage from New Zealand History Online.

Women’s Suffrage Petition
The petition was organised in 1893, and was described by Kate Sheppard as “a monster petition” demanding the right for women to vote. A digital image of the actual petition held at National Archives. Search for the names of women who signed the petition at New Zealand History Online.

Our pages:

A Very Big Deal – Charles Kingsford-Smith’s flight to Wigram, 11 September 1928

When it’s so easy to cross the Tasman, many people do – a winter holiday on the Gold Coast, a show in Melbourne, shopping in Sydney, family in Perth …thousands of Kiwis travel to Australia every year, and its easy to forget that the very first trans-Tasman flight was less than 100 years ago and was A Very Big Deal.

The Southern Cross. [10 September 1928] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0015
The Southern Cross. [10 September 1928] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0015
The flight time was 14 hours and 25 minutes, with the three-engineed Fokker plane Southern Cross flown by Australians Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm along with navigator Harold Litchfield, and radio operator Thomas H. McWilliams. This flight was only the latest in a series of ‘firsts’ for Kingsford Smith and Ulm: in June 1927 they completed a round-Australia circuit in 10 days, 5 hours; then on 31 May 1928 they  made the first eastward trans-Pacific flight, leaving from Oakland (California) to Brisbane, via Hawaii and Suva, in 83 hours, 38 minutes of flying time. In August 1928 came the first non-stop trans-Australia flight from Victoria to Perth.

An unsuccessful attempt to fly the Tasman had been made by two New Zealand Air Force pilots – Captain George Hood and Lieutenant John Moncrieff in January 1928. The crew of Southern Cross dropped a wreath to their memories approximate 240 km off the coast of New Zealand.

Initially Kingsford-Smith and Ulm planned to depart Australia on 2nd September, but were forced to delay departure due to poor weather, departing Richmond (near Sydney) on the evening of 10th September. The flight was made in stormy – at times icy – conditions, with landfall near Cook Strait.

The crowd that greeted them in Christchurch was estimated at between 30 and 40,000, and the whole country celebrated the achievement – finally we were connected to the rest of the world.

Charles Edward Kingsford Smith, and others, upon the arrival of the aeroplane Southern Cross at Wigram, Christchurch. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/2-084047-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23012759

While the New Zealand Air Force overhauled their plane, Kingsford-Smith and crew were taken on a triumphant nationwide tour. Their return flight from Blenheim to Richmond took 23 hours due to severe weather, fog and a navigational error. On landing they had 10 minutes of fuel left.

It was another twelve years before a regular air service by flying boat began in April 1940, and flight time was 9 hours.  Thank goodness it doesn’t take so long now!

Kingsford-Smith went on to make further record-breaking flights and was knighted for services to aviation in 1932.

Kingsford Smith & Sumner school. Kete Christchurch PH13-058.jpg
Kingsford Smith & Sumner school. Kete Christchurch PH13-058.jpg

CoverCover

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains: Picturing Canterbury

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains. File Reference CCL-KPCD1-IMG0090.

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains [ca. 1904].

Between 1900 and 1901 reserve land was set aside in Hanmer Springs for planting exotic trees to supply the Christchurch market. Planting of radiata pine and Douglas fir began in 1902-1903 and prison labour was used 1903-1913. There were 25 prisoners here in 1904, most of whom had asked to serve their sentence at Hanmer. Conditions were the same as a city prison, the only difference being the men got an additional four marks a week remission for industry. See The Press, 10 Sept, 1904, p. 3; The weekly press, 24 Mar. 1909, p. 67.

Do you have any photographs of Hanmer Springs? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Prisoners Planting Trees On The Hanmer Plains

Selina Tusitala Marsh and Tusiata Avia – Fast burning women: WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Selina Tusitala Marsh is impressive. Tall and exuding warmth with an open, smiley countenance topped by a mass of long dark curls, she enters carrying her tokotoko which is topped with long hair mirroring her own.

Selina Tusitala Marsh. Image supplied.
Selina Tusitala Marsh. Image supplied.

One immediately feels drawn to her and the packed audience settles down to be entertained. Selina is in conversation with her sister poet and friend, Tusiata Avia. They are obviously at ease with each other and enjoy talking together.

Selina is New Zealand’s current Poet Laureate, the fifth woman to hold this position and the first woman of colour. She feels she has an obligation and responsibility to make everyone feel included as well as showcasing her Pasifika heritage.

Her mission is to get the story of the tokotoko out there and she regularly invites people to come along and touch it. It is fitting that she is the 11th Poet Laureate and the tokotoko breaks down into eleven pieces which is necessary for travel.

Paula Green, NZ poet, says “Hone Tuwhare and Sam Hunt are the two poets that are so beloved by our nation. I predict Selina is our third.”

One wonders how she manages to fit everything in in her extremely packed schedule. She has composed and performed for the Queen and welcomed Barack Obama to New Zealand. As well as travelling extensively both here and abroad, she is involved in the Writers in Schools Programme which is booked up for the next two years.

She feels women find it hard to value their self-worth and to ask for help. With the help of her friend Tusiata, she is learning to be more forthright. She equates life to four burners – Family, Health, Work and Friendship. For a long time the friendship burner was missing. She felt guilty about leaning on friends when she had so little time to reciprocate. She is definitely in the fast burning lane.

Tusiata meanwhile is recovering from burnout, suffering ill health from her fast pace of life. Whilst recuperating at home, they spent many hours on the phone talking. Selina was thrilled. She could now talk whilst running around Waiheke Island, where she lives and maintain two burners at once – exercising for health and friendship by being each other’s sounding board. She also advocates movement of mind and body for relaxation. This is achieved by running, yoga, writing and creating. Running is also where she has inspiration for her poetry. She has boundaries surrounding her family time and makes sure she spends weekends with them when she is in New Zealand, hence her 4pm flight back to Auckland following her appearance.

Tusiata Avia. Image supplied.
Tusiata Avia. Image supplied.

We were treated to Selina reading a poem from her latest book Tightrope titled ‘The Working Mother’s Guide to Reading Seventy Books a Year‘.

Where to now? Her latest project is a graphic mini memoir very aptly titled “Mophead to Poet Laureate” which is due out in 2019.

Colette Squire
Papanui Library

Motherhood – Emily Writes & Hollie McNish: WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

There was a welcome number of baby bumps and wee ones in the audience for the WORD Christchurch session on Motherhood with Kiwi blogger and The Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes – who has recently launched her second book on parenting – Is It Bedtime Yet?  – and British superstar poet Hollie McNish, known for her poetry and writings on the lesser talked about aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenting, collated in Nobody Told Me.

dav
Emily Writes and Hollie McNish, at WORD Christchurch, September 2018

When Emily wasn’t sure whether to sit or stand to start off the session with a reading from her book, moderator Catherine Robertson jokingly suggested she just pretend that the audience are all in bed and that Emily is reading to us at our bedside. By the size of the sold-out audience, it’s evident even adults love being read to.

CoverIn the anthology Is It Bedtime Yet? Emily has edited together different perspectives of parenthood, be they single parenting, parenting from a Māori perspective, parenting a child with a disability or learning needs, older mothers, queer parents conceiving, stay-at-home dads and more. The variety of experiences shows that there are so many versions of normal parenting. Emily has said there is a danger in a single story or narrative of parenting so by sharing multiple variations of parenting it fosters empathy and the reassurance that actually, we’re doing it okay. Here, mothers are both equally ordinary and extraordinary.

This is most certainly not an advice book – just personal situations, reflections or a snippet in time on a parenting continuum. You can dip into the book anywhere – there are 50 short vignettes with half of them written by Emily herself and interspersed throughout the book. The stories range from poignant to the comedic. In interviews for this book, Emily has said: “We are all so different in the way we parent but that can be a thing that unites us.” She hopes these stories “make us change just a little bit in our day-to-day interaction with each other as parents – or to parents.”

The personal stories shared in Is It Bedtime Yet? are from both never before published writers as well as established authors, some of whom also regularly write for the The Spinoff Parents website. Humorous highlights from the book include musings on “competi-parents” – even those unwittingly being competitive without meaning to; the myth of the magical creature known as ‘the relaxed mother’; the anti-glitter brigade and the realisation that we’re not just mothers, we’re sudden experts in palaeontology to our dinosaur mad kids. The confessions chapter was especially funny! And after reading one dad’s vasectomy story, I will never see The Wiggles the same again!

CoverThere are plenty of WTF? moments in parenting shared in the book. And there’s no holding back on the use of the F word but unfortunately for the parents contributing, there’s not a lot of the Zzzzz word (which may have something to do with the former?) Ironically it was Emily’s lack of sleep after having babies that meant she had plenty of time (albiet in the wee hours) to write and we are benefiting from that with her books like Rants in the Dark: From one tired mama to another. “I’ve always been someone who writes to work out my feelings.” She hopes her books are like “a friend in the dark” as they offer realistic views of parenting versus idealistic notions. Judging by the 15,000+ emails she says she got right after her initial sleep-deprived parenting post (“I am grateful, now f*** off!”) went viral in 2015, there’s a few friends out there in the dark indeed. One mother in the audience said perhaps if she had been given books like Emily’s when she had her babies – instead of just Gina Ford parenting books – then she might have been a lot better off.

There’s one chapter which is just a literal recording of what Emily says to her wee son one day, starting from 5:00am. We don’t get to hear the child’s replies but the one-sided conversation of “put your shoes on” is oh so familiar. I read this transcription to my young son and he thought it was hilarious and spot-on, just change a few words and it could be any parent repetitively saying the same basic instructions to their kid and then amplifying their pleas with hollow threats.

There’s a few piss-takes in the book too and Emily read to the audience her humorous chapter on parenting styles. Move over ‘helicopter parenting’ and make way for the ‘cucumber’ style of parenting which consists of just giving your kid the only food they’ll happily eat. In this case, cucumber! Someone needs to invent a word for laughter crying because there was a lot of it coming from both the audience and guest speakers. In fact, before doing her reading, poet Hollie McNish shared her bemusement at Emily’s cucumber parenting description since she herself has pictures of her own child sharing a pram with a whole cucumber. (My first child too was so obsessed with cucumber to the point that he can be seen wielding one in the birth photos of his sibling). But Emily has ultimately decided on the style of parenting she got from growing up with the Cub Scout motto of ‘We will do our best’ – not ‘do THE best’ she clarifies – just YOUR best! And as Emily inscribed in her book at the author signing afterwards, “Hang in there!” – perhaps that’s a parenting style too?

HOLLIE McNISH

CoverRight on the back of National Poetry Day last week, we were privileged to have British poet Hollie McNish appearing at the festival at several sessions, including this one. Hollie writes of the shared unspoken experiences of pregnancy and motherhood and read a poem from her book on these themes, Nobody Told Me. The poem, Megatron, was inspired by her first post-birth date-night where her then partner took her to see the movie Transformers and after they had argued about who was the best Transformer, she realised she had become the ultimate transformer herself after giving birth – rib cages moving, hips widening, breasts becoming milk machines. Hollie only read one poem in this session and I would have loved to have heard more. Hollie became well-known for her poem about the stigma of breastfeeding in public, entitled Embarrassed, which got quite a reaction when it was published – both positive thanks as well as hate mail. Hollie wondered where this hate came from in the world – literally – so she checked the analytics on her website and saw a lot of abuse came from the United States – especially places like Texas where in fact, she discovered, there is a secret breastfeeding club of mothers too embarrassed to breastfeed in public or face religious vilification.

Watch the well-directed video for Hollie’s poem Embarrassed:

Hollie has noticed, while touring, that it is easier to be a parent in Europe in places like Sweden or France and that a lot of urban design isn’t made with parenting in mind (eg. don’t put sweets at the checkout counter!) Hollie was jealous that in France mothers get a year’s worth of free physiotherapy to help them regain their pelvic floor strength after birth. Hollie joked that she was doing her pelvic Kegel exercises “right now” in her chair on stage. Hollie and Emily are very open about ‘taboo’ subjects and they touched on things we don’t talk enough about like post-birth prolapse, sex after birth or even resorting to using our children’s nappies for ourselves in dire moments. It was perhaps apt that I accidentally pulled out my ticket for the WORD ‘Mortification’ show instead of my ‘Motherhood’ ticket when I went to enter the session. Sometimes society makes us feels as if these two go hand in hand but Hollie’s point is, they absolutely shouldn’t! Hollie wondered if people found pregnant women or breastfeeding confronting, in part, because people – like her grandparents – “could finally see I had sex.” In her grandmother’s day she said women weren’t allowed to talk about their vaginas or bleeding and sometimes didn’t even know where they had given birth from.

Regarding the disdain directed at mothers, likewise, Emily said that after giving birth she suddenly felt unwelcome in places she used to go, like cafes. Emily suggested we need to do away with the ‘half-human’ view of babies – and that we should view children as active members of society instead of waiting until they are fully-formed or until they become “tax-paying units” to consider them of equal worth in society. She also questioned the double-standard that happens when a guy goes out-and-about with a baby and onlookers are full of praise for what a wonderful dad he is whereas a mother with children is looked at in worry for when her kids might be an annoying disturbance. However, Is it Bedtime Yet? honours dads as well with their perspectives and author Brannavan Gnanalingam joined the session to read his chapter about dads not just being seen as ‘the babysitter.’

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Brannavan Gnanalingam, Catherine Robertson, Emily Writes and Hollie McNish having a laugh.

Q & A

In answer to the moderator’s question to the authors: “If you can change one thing … ” Emily joked/not joked: “Smash the patriarchy and destroy capitalism” – there was plenty of applause at this rally cry (although my spellchecker changed ‘applause’ to ‘applesauce,’ appropriate for parents perhaps). Brannavan wished there was more information given to parents from the start and Hollie specified “more government money into care and support for parents.” Lucky for New Zealand, they concurred, that we have a current government sympathetic to parents. (In fact, at the book launch for Is it Bedtime Yet? in Auckland, Emily said it was heartening to see a certain Prime Minister had popped in with her new baby).

A question from the audience followed on from this theme: “How do we get the government to change?” or as rephrased: “How am I going to go back to work to afford avocados?” For some, becoming a mother immediately politicises them and they become an instant activist wanting to fight for change but as their children grow, their priorities for what they want to fight for the most also changes – eg. do you give stretched energies to supporting midwives or supporting teachers? How do we get traction when needs change as our children grow? Emily said that the only way we can make change is to make heaps of noise! “Protest, hikoi, engage in conscious-raising – talk to people around you about what’s important to you” – like publicly praising why teachers need a raise or the importance of midwives (who saved her life) and just generally “combat bullshit.” Emily closed the session impassioned: “We need to be noisy and use our voice!” At this, there was enough applause from the audience to wake a baby!

Special thanks to the the Christchurch Art Gallery for offering free ‘babysitting’ (aka a kid’s art workshop) –  while parents were attending this Motherhood session at WORD. More of this kind of thoughtfulness for parents in society is needed! Check out the art gallery’s monthly Parent & Baby tours (Prams welcome). 


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