Heartlanders : New Zealanders of The Great War

The National Army Museum Te Mata Toa has put together a travelling exhibition: Heartlanders New Zealanders of The Great War. This free exhibition will be touring the South Island and will be in Christchurch on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st February in Market Square, The Arts Centre. The exhibition has been built in containers and tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary New Zealanders of the First World War.

Heartlanders tells the stories of those who went to war and returned home afterwards; as well as the stories of those who went to war and never came home. Original film footage sourced from New Zealand and overseas, battle sounds and music from the time will complement the artefacts that will be on display. Heartland will also feature an Auckland War Memorial Museum Artefact Digitising Unit which will enable visitors to search the Cenotaph database for information on soldiers.

After you visit this exhibition, you might like to look at some of our resources that will help you find information about your ancestor’s war record and learn more about the First World War.

The Gig Guide: February to April 2016

Planning on attending a concert, show, or gig in Christchurch? Then why not take a look at what we’ve got of that artist’s back catalogue?



What gigs are you looking forward to in the near future? Anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the comments.

Services for the visually impaired

Librarians recently had some useful training by Tom Smith, the Accessible Information Consultant at the Blind Foundation. Here’s some useful information from Tom on things that can help anyone with visual impairment, and some other resources available at Christchurch City Libraries.

The Blind Foundation

The Blind Foundation Library offers books and magazines in audio, braille and etext to its clients around the country. Books and magazines are available via a postal service or can be downloaded to a device. The Blind Foundation has special rights under the Section 69 of The Copyright Act 1994.

If you are used to the Blind Foundation’s old daisy players and not interested in those it please spread the news that they now have an app called BookLink available through the Blind Foundation for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Newspapers will be added to the app, and an app for Windows PCs and Android devices will be developed in 2016.

For more information read more on the Blind Foundation website:

If you have low vision or dyslexia, you may now be able to access talking books through the Blind Foundation’s new app as an associate member. Contact the Blind Foundation for more information.

Accessibility on Apple devices

If you have low vision, poor hearing or problems with co-ordination, the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch all have great accessibility functions to make life easier. The Blind Foundation works with their clients to show them how to use these functions and customise the settings on their devices.

Find out more about accessibility on Apple devices:

Large print

Christchurch City Libraries

Large print
Search our catalogue for fiction and non–fiction books in large print.

eAudiobooks and audiobooks
We have two eAudiobook platforms you can borrow from: OverDrive and BorrowBox.

Find downloadable eAudiobooks in our catalogue.
Browse the latest downloadable eAudiobooks.
Search our catalogue for audiobooks.

Cover of Searching for Grace Kelly Cover of The Invention of childhood Cover of The red eagles

An easy–to–use audio player provided by the library and ready loaded with up to 80 hours of listening. It can fit in your pocket and go anywhere with you. Search our catalogue for playaway.

Talking books
Fiction and non–fiction items recorded on a variety of other formats e.g. tape or CD. Search our catalogue for talking books.

A list of DVDs that include captions for the hearing impaired. Search our catalogue for captioned DVDs.

Find out more about library resources for people with visual and/or hearing impairments.

Darryl Barnaby & Donna Robertson

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Christchurch City Libraries

Our 2016 Year of the Monkey celebrations at Christchurch City Libraries are underway! There are fun activities for the Chinese New Year, including:

Year of the monkey

  • Library scavenger hunt – quizzes, Chinese Zodiac Challenge and lantern riddles: simple quizzes to get to know your library, make a quest on the Chinese Zodiac, solve the Chinese lantern riddles to get your brain exercised.
  • Chinese New Year Colouring in: great for adults and kids.

  • A display on researching Chinese family history in New Zealand – interesting historical photos, articles from family history databases, research done by library family history expert – looking into the life of early Chinese settlers in New Zealand.
  • Bilingual storytelling: bilingual stories from library staff on Chinese New Year, learn simple Mandarin and get your body moving.
  • Family Fun Day

Learn how to use your iPad or laptop at the library – join our classes

Been given an iPad or laptop for Christmas and it’s still in the box? Well do something about it. Come to the Library and learn how to use it.

Older ereader

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre  (15th Feb – 11 April)

Beginning Computer Classes
Mondays 11.00-12.30pm  $15 per term

Beginning iPads Classes
Wednesdays 11.00-12.30pm  $15 per term

South Learning Centre (16th Feb – 5th April)

Coffee & Computers (Beginning Computers)
Mondays 11 – 12.30pm  $15 per term

Introduction to iPads
Tuesdays 1 – 2.30pm $15 per term


The art of commuter cycling

Mr W. Schwiegerhausen, cyclist [1903]
Mr W. Schwiegerhausen, cyclist [1903] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0032
Tomorrow it’s the annual celebration of commuter cycling known as Go By Bike Day when Kiwis are encouraged to ditch the car or bus and get to where they’re going by the power of pedal alone.

I’ve been a commuter cyclist on and off since I got my first bike (a gold Raleigh 20) at the age of twelve and it is a terrific way to get around the city. Nowdays I often have a passenger as my 2 year-old enjoys the view from his child-seat up front, and the opportunity it affords him to wave at everything from ducks, to dog-walkers, to diggers.

It’s not without its downsides – impatient or inattentive motorists, bad weather, potholes, helmet hair, and lanes that aren’t quite wide enough because of roadworks – all hazards and impediments. But hey, what in life is perfect? Nothing. And there are plenty of reasons why going by bike is a good idea, not just on Wednesday, but every day.

  • Exercise – If, like me you’re a bit averse to exercise for its own sake, commuting by bike can really help you get moving and active. Commuter cycling has its own motivation built in, “Sure I can stop if I get tired…but I’ll be late for work/school so I’d better keep going”.
  • Cover of Everyday cycling in Aotearoa New ZealandMoney – It’s hard to argue against the money-saving aspect. No bus fare, parking fees, petrol costs, rego or insurance required. Once you have a bike, helmet, lights, lock and some reflective-wear you’ll spend almost nothing (unless you want to treat yourself to a cookie because you burned so many calories on your way to work).
  • Freedom of movement – Often people equate the motor vehicle with freedom to come and go as they please. In reality you’re much freer with a bike. You never have to circle the block looking for a park on a bike. If you see something interesting on your way somewhere there’s always a convenient spot to “pull over”. Depending on what kind of bike you have, you can pick it up and carry it places. Take it into a park. On a ferry. Put it on the front of a bus. You can stop, get off, and walk pretty much any time it takes your fancy. You just can’t do that with cars.
  • Panniers, baskets and trailers, oh my! – It’s never been easier to lug your stuff (and kids) around by bike as there are more options available for customising your ride than ever before. Not sure if a bike trailer is for you? Then try a trailer out for free.
  • Cover of The Bikie to work guideEnvironmentally friendly – With a bike you supply the fuel. Your legs (or arms – hand-cycles are a thing) propel you, not fossil fuels. You’ll never run out of petrol, (though it is possible to run out of puff).
  • Sense of achievement – I like knowing that I got from one place to another by the power of My Mighty Legs. Also, the first time I successfully repaired a puncture on my own was one of my proudest moments.
  • The cool factor – I have a very cool bike. Strangers often compliment me on it. I’d never be able to afford a car that makes people envious but a bike is a much easier (and affordable) proposition. People are also really impressed when you turn up somewhere on a bike, as if you’ve done something superhuman. In some corners it’s considered novel and somewhat daring to have travelled by bicycle. Take my advice and MILK THIS FOR ALL IT’S WORTH.

Or at the very least take advantage of the FREE BREAKFASTS happening around the city on Go By Bike Day at no less than five different locations. And if you’re interested, there are a raft of cycling-related activities happening in Christchurch in February.

Information for the cycling-curious

Cover of The enlightened cyclistIn our catalogue

On the web

  • Bikewise Information about bikes for kids and adults. Bike safety, choosing a bike, maintenance, and more.
  • Cycling in Christchurch News, information and events for Christchurch cyclists
  • Cycling (Christchurch City Council) Information on cycleways, bike parks and cycle safety.
  • Spark Bikes Bike Share A two year pilot to promote bike share as a part of the city’s transport mix.  Borrowable bikes availabe at 5 central city stations.
  • Bikes on buses Information on using Metro’s bus-mounted bike racks
  • RAD bikes (Recycle a Dunger) Bike need some work before it can hit the road? Help is at hand with parts, tools, and instruction on bicycle maintenance and repair.


Open for business – an interview with Lara Strongman, Christchurch Art Gallery

The Christchurch Art Gallery re-opened on Saturday 19 December 2015, and has had record visit numbers ever since. Their latest publication is 101 works of art, beautifully designed by Aaron Beehre, features texts by Lara Strongman, Ken Hall, Felicity Milburn, Nathan Pohio, Peter Vangioni and Jenny Harper.

101 works of art book - Christchurch Art Gallery
101 works of art. Flickr 2016-01-15-IMG_2051

Lara Strongman

Lara Strongman is the senior curator of the Christchurch Art Gallery, and I talked to her about the re-opening.

Now that the Gallery is open again, what’s your feeling as to how people are using and enjoying it?

I’m a little surprised—but very moved—by the deeply emotional response people are having to the re-opening. There have been many people in tears. It’s not just that they are seeing the works they’ve missed over the past five years, it’s what it means to them to be seeing the gallery open again.

There have been many unsolicited hugs for Jenny (the Art Gallery director).

I’ve noticed lots of teenagers coming through, as well as families and international visitors. Wayne Youle’s postcard project has people sending messages all round the world to tell people to come and visit, as well as Christchurch people sending them to other family members.

Parents are showing young children works they haven’t seen, but which were very familiar to their parents. (There’s a half generation of kids who’ve never visited the gallery, or who were too young at the time of the earthquakes to remember.) There are loads of old favourites on show, but also works that are new to everyone – Unseen and The Newest new world are examples. People are also discovering unexpected connections between works:

When the Gallery was closed, you all branched out – blogging, social media, exhibitions in different places and out on the streets, will these things still play a role? How has being closed changed the Gallery?

Now we’re open again, we’ve brought the Outer Spaces projects back into the proximity of the gallery. While we were shut, we went out into the city, and in the process learned a great deal about putting different kinds of art into public spaces. Now we’re commissioning new works for unexpected spaces around the gallery building and concourse. We’re calling them Other Spaces.

What’s coming up?

Local artist Tony de Lautour is painting a new work on the Bunker building out the front of the gallery that will be open for Waitangi weekend. We’re also opening our final summer exhibition, Op and Pop. There’s a massive interactive work called Tangle on the forecourt, especially for kids and families over the weekend. And I understand there’s going to be free gelato again, courtesy of our friends at NZI.

Over this year, our collection shows will be constantly changing. And I’m really looking forward to A Beautiful Hesitation, the survey exhibition by Ngai Tahu artist Fiona Pardington coming up mid year.

Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch Art Gallery reopening weekend, Sunday 20 December 2015. Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1713

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries! They’re my second favourite places, after art galleries. Curators spend a lot of time in libraries, doing research. And I really admire Christchurch City Libraries: the way they’re continuously innovative and put people first.

The Gallery’s librarian Tim Jones deals with a lot of research enquiries, including some extremely obscure ones. There is sharing of archival information around the world, which helps fill in gaps in understanding. By putting works online, unknown works start to be identified and our knowledge of the collection is made richer and more complex.

You also have another gig, doing tv reviews on Radio New Zealand. What are your picks?

This summer I’m going to do a rewatch of Deadwood (my favourite show). I hear there’s a telemovie coming out that will tie up the loose ends.
Season 2 of Catastrophe: it’s quite rude but very funny.
And I’ve been watching Luther from the beginning — I like watching an episode each evening and becoming immersed in the story, as if you’re reading a chapter each night. It’s a very bookish way of watching telly.

Thanks to Lara, and to the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Read more

Read articles and interviews by Lara on the Christchurch Art Gallery website, including:

You can also find works by Lara Strongman in our collection.

Christchurch Art Gallery photos

The newest new world by Pip & Pop
The newest new world by Pip & Pop, Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1690
Christchurch Art Gallery reopening weekend, Sunday 20 December 2015. Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1673

Find more on our page on art.

Waitangi Day in Christchurch and Canterbury – Saturday 6 February 2016

Find out about Christchurch and Canterbury Waitangi Day celebrations in 2016.

Rapaki Marae citizenship ceremony
6 February 2014. Rāpaki Marae citizenship ceremony. Flickr: 2014-02-06-Citizenship6Feb2014PR-0082. Photo supplied by Christchurch City Council.

Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival Ōnuku Marae

Every year Ngāi Tahu commemorates Waitangi Day at one of three locations where the iwi signed the Treaty – Awarua, Ōtākou and Ōnuku. In 2016, the Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival will be held at the Ōnuku Marae in Akaroa on Saturday 6 February. Pōwhiri at 9am.

Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum 1146 Main Road, Okains Bay

Join the 41st commemoration at the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum. Highlights include a powhiri (traditional welcome), hangi lunch, children’s races, spot prizes and the paddling of waka on the Opara Stream at 4pm. View the Museum’s collections and enjoy continuous demonstrations all day include blacksmithing, bread baking in a traditional clay oven, black powder shooting, early printing works, sheep shearing, crafts, stalls and more! Adults $10, Children $2. Please bring cash. No ATM available. Gates open at 10am. Powhiri (traditional welcome) commences at 10:30am.

Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay
Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay, 6 February 1977 Flickr: HWC08-SO10

Kaiapoi Waitangi Day Family Celebrations Troussellot Park, Kaiapoi

A family fun day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi with entertainment, kapa haka, food, hangi, music and mock signing of the treaty.

Summer of Fun – Waitangi Day Community Country Picnic Darfield

I love New Brighton Thomson Park, Marine Parade, New Brighton (Monday 8 Feb)

I Love New Brighton is an annual event held at Thomson Park for the local greater Brighton area offering music, games, sports, and a market.

Waitangi Day coverage

Online Live Video Stream of Waitangi commemorations

Te Hiku Media of Kaitaia provides online live video stream of proceedings from Waitangi. The stream is available on most mobile devices and computers worldwide at waitangi.tv or by visiting tehiku.nz. Video announcing is in both Māori and English.

Māori Televison

Read Waitangi related information on Māori TV website.

More events on Waitangi Day

Find out more

Go fly a kite

Cover of Just A KiteDo you remember what your first kite was like? Mine was made out of brown wrapping paper. It had a picture of John, Paul, George and Ringo that had been carefully cut out of a magazine stuck on it. It didn’t fly very well at all.

Cover of KitesI was not deterred, and over the years I owned many kites that flew. I don’t own a kite at the moment, but I wouldn’t mind having a go at making one and taking it down to New Brighton beach and flying it. Kite Day is going to be on January 30th, and if I don’t get my kite to fly, I will get to enjoy those that do. I love the way that the small kites seem to duck and weave their way between the huge colourful kites.

So if you are like me and love kites, head on down to the New Brighton Beach, south of the Pier, on Saturday, 30th January between 1.30pm – 4.30pm with your kite and join in the fun.

Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4948
Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4942

The librarian and the freedom camper

Freedom campers seem to be a something of a New Zealand invention.  They are tourists who avail themselves of the opportunity to camp in areas where they do not have to pay.

We have loads of books on camping in general, but if you want to know more about freedom camping, there is unfortunately remarkably little info available. Sure Lonely Planet Books and Rough guides mention it and, in quite a teacherly way, remind us all to be good boys and girls and clear up our rubbish when we leave. The only reference book is entitled Freedom Camping: The problem of human waste disposal.

Librarians interface with tourists every day, helping them with their photocopying, printing, visa applications, holiday bookings and directing them to places and facilities.

If you are the overseas parent or friend of one of these young people, and worry that they may be forgetting you – Fear Not – for they seem driven by the need to connect to the internet in our libraries, and conduct long Skype calls to you. These calls make them happy.

As sure as night follows day, most of them will go back home. There they will extol the beauties of New Zealand, the kindness of the people and the lovely librarians. Some of the people they talk to will be older, and they too will think of coming to visit this beautiful place. They will board planes and visit New Brighton Library and Central Library Peterborough because that’s where their kids went. Then they will book into hotels and take bus tours and spend foreign currencies.

Pier from New Brighton Library
New Brighton Library view of pier. Flickr 2014-03-IMG_0136-New-Brighton

So I’ve come to think of freedom camping as a bit like paying it forward – a bit of an investment in our tourism future. Am I being disingenuous here?

Freedom camping links