He is known by many names: Papa Hec to some, Hector to others. And now Sir Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby. You may not have heard of him but it is a name you should know. His name is known all over the Pacific for his huge contributions to the revitalisation of celestial navigation, as a master carver, Te Rarawa elder, a font of cultural knowledge, for the revitalisation of waka building and waka hourua (double-hulled boat), as kaitiaki of Waitangi waka Ngātokimatawhaorua, and as he man responsible for the first return journey of Māori to Rarotonga by traditional methods after more than 600 years.
In February, I was extremely lucky to attend ACE Aotearoa’s Hui-Fono (an annual conference for Pasifika and Māori educators working in the Adult Community Education space) in Te Tai Tokerau – the Far North where we got to hear Sir Hec speak at his beautiful home in Aurere. Turning onto the Doubtless Bay Road after Te Awanui if you are heading north, you drive a few kilometres to the turn off to Aurere. There is no sign. Just a bridge that leads to a dirt road. Our two coach buses crossed that bridge, and although we couldn’t see the bridge under our bus we were assured that it was safe as Papa Hec was a bridge builder before he retired to carve waka and learn celestial navigation.
About two kilometres up the dirt road, we came to a clearing. A grassy hill, bordered by a warehouse, a carved whare, a waka hourua resting under a tarpaulin, and a house that had been extended several times looking out onto the expanse of the Doubtless Bay Sound.
On top of the emerald green, grassy hill was a ring of pou. And inside the ring was a group waiting to welcome us on. Papa Hec sat in the middle on a seat next to his golf cart. The scenery was breath taking. When Papa Hec began to speak his reo was so fluid, initially our group of over 100 sat far away from him. But as his sharing continued we crept forward mesmerised by his kōrero, and even when the Northland skies decided to sprinkle us with rain we still sat there listening intently.
The circle that we sat inside was actually a compass. Each of the 32 pou, set 11 degrees apart represented a direction, and when he began to swivel in his chair we realised that through his own design Sir Hector had manufactured a seat centred in the middle of his compass, complete with adjustable sights to study the night sky. It was here that Sir Hec began to study celestial navigation guided by Master Navigator Mau Piailug who came to stay with Sir Hec at Aurere to teach wayfinding and navigating using the sun, stars, clouds, other indicators of nature, and the importance of finding true north.
I came away from Aurere, the lucky winner of a copy of Sir Hec’s biography written by Jeff Evans. I devoured that book, hungry for more and inspired by the ability of our ancestors to traverse the largest ocean in the world with ease. The things that are shared in that book made me realise that our hour with Sir Hec shed very little light on his amazing achievements and contribution to navigation worldwide.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to hear such a man speak in person at his beautiful home in Te Tai Tokerau, and we as a community that spans the Pacific Ocean are immensely grateful for your efforts and willingness to share your knowledge and inspiration to find our true North.
Philippine independence day marks the anniversary of the nation’s independence from Spanish rule on June 12 1898. Changed from being on the 4th of July (independence was officially granted to the Philippines by the US on this date in 1946, plus the date was thought to fit in neatly with the States own independence day), this year marks the 54th anniversary of the Philippines ’12th of June’ independence day, and the 120th anniversary of its independence day generally. While we don’t have an option in NZ to mark this as a public holiday, or to have a parade as impressive as the one that will take place in Manila, there are still some things you can do to commemorate this day. Here are our top five options:
Talk in Tagalog: If you can manage this you will be doing a lot better than me (even though I am half Filipino the only Tagalog words I’m familiar with are those associated with food, a sad indictment on my life incidentally). Happily the library has plenty of resources to help you manage this, including Mango languages, a fantastic language learning website (and app) available 24/7 on our website. Mango offers a course on Tagalog (as well as 60 other languages), and as Tagalog’s standardized form is one of the two official languages of the Philippines (the other is English) Mango could be a great starting point.
There are also some great books available in our libraries to help you learn some Filipino, for both youth and adult learners.
Read all about it: The Philippines has an extraordinary history spanning from pre 15th century barangays (settlements), to three hundred years as a Spanish colony, through American occupation, to its status as a Republic. It has a rich culture that is influenced by both East and West, its Spanish influence clearly evident in the archipelago’s sumptuous feasts, parades, and prevalent Catholicism, and its Chinese influence clearly seen in some of the counties favorite dishes (think rice cakes and noodles), and the supreme importance of family. Our libraries have some fantastic books available to help you learn more about the Philippines fascinating history and culture.
Cook Philippine style: A mere mention of pork adobe will make most Filipino weak at the knees (I would be one of the unashamed statistic aforementioned). Why not try your hand at one of the Philippines’ truly delicious dishes? The library has some cookbooks at hand to help you – some in Tagalog and some in English.
Karaoke: Karaoke has become one of those integral parts of Philippine culture, but if you’re not feeling up for singing there are plenty of pros around to listen to. Our libraries have some great Filipino CDs you can borrow which could inspire you to great karaoke success (or excuse you from performing, which in my case would be the same thing).
Borrow a Tagalog book: Did you know that we now have a Tagalog collection at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre? And Central Library Peterborough is also hosting some books from the collection (photo above) this month to celebrate Philippine independence day. If neither of these libraries are close to you, never fear, there are Tagalog eBooks you can borrow from home through one of the libraries ebook platforms, Overdrive.
If you’re not feeling like a book today, there is also a great selection of Tagalog eMagazines and newspapers available through PressReader, one of Christchurch City Libraries’ eMagazine and newspaper platforms.
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on 6-9 July 2018. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Matariki 2018 at Christchurch City Libraries continues the theme of ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’, this year with a focus on Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable natural resources of Matariki: Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi.
During June in the lead up to Māori New Year we’ll be offering a range of whānau-friendly celebrations and activities at our libraries.
Each year a community art project runs in our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is create a replica manu tukutuku (traditional Māori kite). Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.
Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.
The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community / whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities including a talk by Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, kapa haka, music and themed storytime sessions.
Pop along to the Bromley Community Centre to celebrate Matariki (Māori New Year)
Free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase! Bromley School Kapa Haka Group will be performing at 4:30pm
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Listen to a new story, The Stolen Stars of Marariki by Miriana Kamo and Zak Waipara, and then make your own Matariki mobile to take home. Ages 4-9. $5 per child, book online.
Organised by Avebury House, Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Richmond Community Garden. Guests are encouraged to contribute produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm. Please RSVP to let them know participant numbers and harvest contribution at: www.aveburyhouse.co.nz
Māori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
Fun things to do for kids.
Shared kai of soups by Richard Till, and a hangi
blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden
Beginning on Monday 18th June at 5pm with a powhiri, this exhibition showcases contemporary and traditional art works by local Māori artists. Free Kapa haka classes will be held throughout the exhibition and follow the theme of the seven stars of Matariki. The classes offered this year are kite making, movies, waiata and a concert on the final night of Friday 6th July at 5pm.
The children’s activities will be held Tuesdays 4.30pm – 6.30pm & Fridays 5pm onwards throughout the exhibition.
Tuesday 19 June Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 22 June Traditional Games
Tuesday 26 June Movie night
Friday 29 June Whānau movie night
Tuesday 3 July Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 6 July Concert night.
There is no charge for classes however registrations are essential. Call 981 2881 to book. Children and families most welcome.
388 Worcester Street
Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm
Saturday 12pm – 3pm
Most art works will be for sale
Create nature inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Gardens. Combine twigs, leaves and paper to make LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki. Limited places and parents and guardians will be required to help with construction. Please note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7 to 12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Cost $5 per child.
10am to midday
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visitor Centre and Ilex Cafe
Celebrating Matariki at the Phillipstown Community Hub!
A family day with lots of activities, bouncy castle, face painting, carving, music, waiata, traditional sports, photo booths, arts & crafts, kapa haka, and – of course – kai!
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Road
Matariki celebrations at Rehua Marae – subscribe to the Facebook event.
Kai and craft stalls, entertainment from local kapa haka and Maori musicians, free workshops. Entertainment: Kaitaka Tupuna O Rehua, Nga Toi O Te Rangi, Lisa Tui, Nga Manu a Tane, Mahina Kaui, Te Ahikaaroa, Te Kotahitanga, and the Koro Band. Workshops (start at 11.30) include star weaving, miniature kite making, tiki making, lantern making,and poi making. Some workshops have limited spaces.
The mobile library van will also be on site.
79 Springfield Road
Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki the Māori New Year with a dawn karakia and tree planting as a symbol of new beginnings. The dawn planting will be followed by a hui with kai (bring a plate of food to share) and discussion of the plans for the next 12 months for this new park.
There will also second planting event at 10am. This planting event is suitable for families.
KidsFest is full of winter holiday fun for kids in Christchurch and Canterbury. It runs from 7 to 21 July. KidsFest is always popular and many events book out quickly, so have a look and secure your spot! Tickets are on sale now!
Coolstuff will be visiting our libraries in the two weeks before KidsFest. Come along and say “Hi!” and be in to win some sweet prizes! Pick up a special KidsFest colouring sheet and a More FM Mata Riki Parade instruction sheet and you could win even MORE prizes! Free event, no bookings required.
Learn how to create and code your very own electronic instrument using Makey Makey and Scratch. You’ll learn how to build a musical instrument out of cardboard and make it come to life! No prior coding experience or electronics knowledge necessary.
Ages: 8–10 years
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: 8–12 years
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: 8–12 years
Minecraft is a virtual world where you can discover and create interesting worlds. This event takes it to the next level! Learn how to use graphic design tools to create your own paper 3D Minecraft character.
Ages: 7–10 years
Join the Julie Wylie Musical Play team at this interactive musical event for parents, grandparents, caregivers and children aged 2–4 years (younger and older children are welcome to attend). You’ll enjoy a range of musical play activities which promote singing, listening, moving and playing. Children and adults will have great fun together, as they respond musically with props such as the parachute, rainbow ring and organza. Look out for the Julie Wylie Musical Play rainbow flag!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space. Children $10 (babies who are not yet crawling, only $5) and caregivers $5.
The Big Chill at Linwood Park – Saturday 7 July 12pm
Kicking off KidsFest 2018 is The Big Chill in Linwood Park, full of wacky activities, skate boarding, bouncy castles, faeries and fury creatures.
More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade – Saturday 21 July, 4.30–6.30pm
The More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade starts in Cathedral Square. Join an exciting exploratory night time journey through central Christchurch from Cathedral Square to The Terraces around the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. Bring along your own creations, lanterns, wearable light art or torches. Mata Riki or Little Faces is connected with celebrating Māori New Year – the perfect match for the KidsFest Parade. Dress up warm.
CoCA Create! Printing Workshops
Work together and dye, paint, print, and create a large colourful installation of ribbons in response to Tiffany Singh’s Om Mani Padme Hum at CoCA.
Ages: 5 to 13
Cost: $10 Caregiver optional (but required for under 8 year olds) (free) Book online, phone 366 7261 or email email@example.com
Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 July 11am to 12.30pm
CoCA Create! Cardboard Construction
This workshop will involve a large scale communal project where kids will learn manipulation and fastening techniques with cardboard craft architecture.
Ages: 5 to 13
Cost: $10 Caregiver optional (but required for under 8 year olds) (free) Book online, phone 366 7261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 July 11am to 12.30pm
Info from CoCA curator Jen:
Our KidsFest events are in response to Tiffany Singh’s exhibition, A Collective Voice, which consists of two major recent installations of hers reconfigured for CoCA. Gaby Montejo is running two workshops in response to the two works! The ribbon printing workshop is in response to OM MANI PADME HUM, a work consisting of over 1500 metres of colourful silk ribbon hanging from our walls, creating an immersive experience, and the cardboard construction workshop responds to the themes of storytelling and citybuilding in Journey of a Million Miles, which collects and shares stories of migration to New Zealand. Both of the works are really socially conscious and encourage empathy and compassion, so we’re aiming for the workshops to reflect that.
SCAPE Public Art – Bubbles Painting
Come and experience the fun and quirky artwork Conduct Cumulus in the South Quad at the Arts Centre. We’ll explore the artwork by walking around it and experiencing it together, then move into The Common Room to create a unique bubble painting. Gold coin donation appreciated.
Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 July; Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 July
10.30 am to 11.30am; and 1pm to 2pm
Christchurch Art Gallery – The Moon and Crawling Colour
We read Jimmy and Jane and the Tale of the Yellow Moon, a humorous story about moon-dwelling Lunatrons and what happens when colour comes into their world. Then make your own raised painting using salt and dye and see how it morphs into an amazing array of colours and patterns.
Ages: 5 to 7
Cost: $8 Caregiver required (free)
Bookings essential. Book online, phone 941 7382 or email Lana.Coles@ccc.govt.nz
Monday 9 to Friday 13 July 11am to 12pm
Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 11am to 12pm
Christchurch Art Gallery – Rama Tuna – KidsFest Paper Lantern Workshops
The Rama Tuna lesson is led by Māori artist Piri Cowie, and will focus on the cultural significance of Tuna from Ngai Tahu and Māori perspective. We will be creating paper lanterns that may be used in the MoreFM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade.
Ages: 8 to 13
Cost: FREE! Children only
Thursday 12 July 3pm to 4.30pm
Friday 13 July 3pm to 4.30pm
Christchurch Art Gallery – Clay World
You’ll adore rolling, squeezing, twirling and pulling clay to sculpt animals, make jewellery, create dinosaur fossils or simply let your imagination run riot and create something unique!
Caregiver optional (free)* (but required for under 8 year olds).
Bookings recommended, Book online, phone 941 7382 or email Lana.Coles@ccc.govt.nz
Monday 9 to Friday 13 July 1pm to 2.15pm
Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 1pm to 2.15pm
Galactic night at the Museum
The Museum is changing up their annual Explorer night at the Museum. We go most years, it is busy and fun romping around the Museum on a cold winter night. This July, join in the Galactic Night at the Museum.
Calling all space invaders, star trekkers and aliens. Explore a galaxy, not so far away, in an astronomical after-hours adventure at the Museum. Dress up as your favourite space character or creature and follow the clues to unscramble some amazing space facts. You could win a prize! Koha appreciated. Free and no bookings required.
Tuesday 10 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 12 July 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday 17 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 19 July 6pm to 8pm
The Christchurch Brick Show – Saturday and Sunday 14 and 15 July
Fun for all the family – amazing LEGO displays to admire, hands-on play areas, and more. Don’t miss out on this amazing LEGO exhibition. Enthusiasts and collectors alike will display their designs, collections and contraptions. Children will also have the chance to get hands-on with a fun LEGO play area.
Me neither. That’s why I borrow films and tele series’ from the library! It’s a much better way of being in control of what you’re actually watching during screen time, and you can tailor your viewing to perfectly suit your taste and your timetable, WIN-WIN and, no more infomercials!!
And it’s really just about good old-fashioned storytelling isn’t it!? For me, film and television is a coming-together of multiple artforms that, when it’s done well, has the ability to move you at a level many other artforms might not individually.
So here’s a list of the best films and series’ that I’ve had the pleasure of viewing this year, so far – many more to come!
These are the best films and television series’ that I have explored throughout the year so far, all available to you through Christchurch City Libraries membership.
The fencer– Post WWII Estonia. The Germans are gone and the Russians are taking control. They’re especially interested in those Estonians that fought for the Germans and are systematically hunting them out. This story is about one such man, a world-class fencer who is concealing himself as a sports teacher for a country college. This is a stunning and heartfelt film about humanity, strength, and love.
Get Out– A gripping story of a young black man heading away for a weekend with his as-yet un-met in-laws… what comes after is a web of dark intrigue and something is definitely not right!
The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch – Ever wanted to know more about the mysterious Hieronymus Bosch?!? Then get a load of this – it’s a part of the ‘Exhibition on Screen’ series that takes viewers on a tour of the works and life of some of history’s great artists. This one is all about Hieronymus Bosch and is surprising in its revelations about who he was and where his inspirations were drawn, plus you get up close with some of his most amazing works!
Chasing Trane– The latest telling of the life, love, and music of the great jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane. Rare footage and loads of interviews with music legends that were close to him. He was truly a musical visionary and died at such a young age from liver cancer, it begs the questions of how much more impact could he have had on contemporary music!? A must-watch for all music fans!
Saint Amour – An old man and his adult son go on a wine-tasting road trip around France in order to reconnect. Sounds normal, but this is French comedy and things get strange! Good story.
The Limehouse Golem– I really liked this film – a Victorian Whodunnit! I loved the Victorian era look of it, the clever direction, the story was weaving and uncertain – as it should be for a classic whodunnit! And the acting was solid and dramatic without being over the top. It’s a small shame that I picked the killer in the first 20mins but I still liked the story and enjoyed it to the end!
The Dinner – A family of privileged white Americans meet for a very posh dinner to discuss an incident that involved their children. The details slowly emerge as the film unfolds and explores the issues of parenting, mental health, social navigations etc. Great performances from the four lead actors.
Detectorists– A short series about the engrossing world of metal detecting in rural Britain. Written and directed by Mackenzie Crook (from the Office, and Pirates of the Caribbean), it’s full of pathos and at once hilarious, cringey-embarrassing, and full of heart. It’s about how even small lives are big and important and that everyone deserves to be happy. Highly recommended if you like British comedy.
Rellik – A dark and twisted crime series with an uniusual device; the story is told in reverse. We begin with the outcome of a police investiagtion into a series of acid-burn murders, from there we go back in increments of hours/days as the foundations are explored and new light begins to show on reasons for behaviours evident earlier/later… it’s a little confusing to explain so just watch it, it’s quality crime drama!
Swinging Safari – A gloriously retro look at family life in 1970’s Australia. Try to think of every brand name, in-safe parenting practice, cliché, and add a bit of over-styling and you’ve got it. Loosely wrapped as a coming-of-age story, it centres around 3 Aussie families living, loving, and loafing. Very funny film, especially if you’ve lived through some of these circumstances.
Sunday 27th May kicked off national Sāmoan Language Week, with each of the main city centres hosting a service at a nominated Sāmoan church. There will be loads of events happening across Christchurch (the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website has a national events calendar).
This year the national theme for le Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa is “Alofa atu nei, alofa mai taeao.” Kindness given is kindness gained. To incorporate the themes of alofa (love and kindness) and ‘āiga (family) into our activities here at Christchurch City Libraries we are shaping our Tala mo Tamaiti (Storytimes sessions) around a picture book called How Do You Say ‘Thank you’? by Sāmoan author Karamia Müller. We were lucky enough to get permission from Karamia to feature her book for the week, and to catch her for a moment in her very busy life to have a quick chat to find out more about her writing and her life outside of writing.
Karamia was born in Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Like many peoples of the Pacific, her Sāmoan heritage is influenced by the many islands of the Pacific, with her father being raised in Fiji, and her paternal grandfather being brought up in Tonga. It was the pull of family settled here in New Zealand that led to Karamia’s family settling in Auckland. She is the youngest of five siblings, and a proud aunty to three nieces and 4 nephews who range from 5 to 11 years old. A creative in many ways, Karamia is currently completing her Master’s thesis at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.
As is common with many New Zealand-raised Sāmoans Karamia was not brought up speaking Gagana Sāmoa exclusively. And like many of us who are not allowed the privilege of speaking our own languages for different reasons “this absence was felt profoundly.” Being the younger of her siblings, her mother spoke Sāmoan to her older sisters but Karamia has had to take on the learning of Gagana Sāmoa as an adult.
It was this learning journey that inspired Karamia to write How Do You Say ‘Thank You’? After finding that her learning style was not suitable for learning languages, she wanted to share her technique with others with similar learning preferences through the navigators in the book Alofa and Filipo. Karamia acknowledges that as a Samoan, speaking Samoan is important to us all. She is not only working on developing her proficiency in Gagana Sāmoa, but also looks to utilise Indigenous Pasifika themes and titles wherever she can in her architectural practice and scholarship.
When I first started to ask Karamia questions she assured me that she was “quite boring”, but after speaking to her I felt nothing but awe and inspiration.
As a parting gift for our readers I asked Karamia if she had a favourite Sāmoan proverb or ‘alagā’upu to share. She didn’t have one but when I told her about our theme – “Alofa atu nei, alofa mai taeao.” She shared her perspective: “This means to me that we can never run out of kindness because as much as we give, we receive. Which I think is a lovely way to think about kindness. I shall keep that in mind myself when I feel stressed or unkind! I think is my favourite, so thank you!”
每年五月是新西兰的音乐节。人们在庆祝本土音乐的成就之余也会想到存在于不同的历史时期、不同社会、不同形式的音乐。音乐作为人类情感的表达，是任何文明社会不可缺少的。孔夫子曰：夫乐者，乐也，人情之所不能免也。 Confucius said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”. 尽管不是每个人都有天赋成为一名音乐家，但都能通过发展音乐欣赏的能力，成为一名业余的音乐爱好者或专业的音乐人。尤其对华人移民和他们的子女来说，学会赏析西洋音乐和来自其它文化背景的音乐能丰富在远离故土的生活，甚至开启一个职业的领域。在这方面，基督城图书馆的电子音乐资源能助您一臂之力。
Credo Reference is a great series of online eBooks that you can search and browse. Filled with pictures as well as information, they make a perfect starting point for that school project, or a interesting resource to satisfy a curious mind. Keep the kids entertained (and still learning) in the holidays, with this collection of eBooks.
Whatever they want to do when they grow up, we have it covered.
In The Wife’s tale, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam recounts the life of her grandmother Yetemegnu, an indomitable woman who lived through the most extraordinary century in Ethiopia’s history.
Edemariam first introduces readers to Yetemegnu on the day of her wedding, when she is just eight years old. Barely aware of the vows she is making, Yetemegnu is being married to Tsega, an ambitious priest more than two decades her senior. Over the next thirty years, Tsega is varyingly tender and brutal to his wife – a tyrant who beats her when she returns home from merely buying food, and a father who..
‘…when I was a child braided my hair.
Trimming the rough edges, teaching me manners.
My husband who raised me’
Edemariam heartbreakingly evokes Yetemegnu’s secluded marriage, (as a child bride and a clergyman’s wife), and her difficult motherhood which consisted of ten births, infant deaths, and difficult partings to give her children a better future. Edemariam brings her grandmother’s voice to life with vivid descriptions of her daily routine, observations of the world around her, and her prayers offered to the Virgin Mary. Edemariam’s narrative is filled with rich prose that perfectly evokes her grandmother’s life, such as:
“The dry season wore on… Wild figs darkened in the trees. The peaches mellowed.”
Edemariam also gives a fascinating and unique perspective into the events of the time. Born over a century ago, Yetemegnu lived well into her nineties and bore witness to the 1930s Italian occupation as well as famines, revolutions, and political coups. She vividly recounts events such as Yetemegnu fleeing her city during allied bombardment, her audiences with Emperor Haile Selassie to defend and avenge her husband; and her battles in a male dominated court to protect her property rights. With a housewife’s unique perspective, Yetemegnu also bore witness to economic and educational changes, as well as the huge changes in culture and attitude Yetemegnu herself had to struggle to understand.
Edemariam’s distinctive narrative manages to delve not only into the mind of her grandmother, but also into the rich history and culture which surrounded her. Elegant, and superbly researched, ‘The Wife’s Tale’ is both a rich panoroma of 19th century Ethiopia, and an inspiring tribute to the courage and importance of seemingly ordinary wives like Yetemegnu.
The Wife’s Tale
by Aida Edemariam
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
This Saturday I’ll be heading down to the former residential Red Zone in Dallington (on the corner of New Brighton Road & Locksley Ave) with my kids in tow, picnic, rug and chairs for the biggest annual specifically Pacific event this side of the Cook Strait. Saturday will see 730-odd performers from 19 secondary schools from Nelson College all the way down to Ashburton College take the stage to showcase the hours of hard work they have put in to refining every last movement and note.
This event has grown from strength to strength in the past few years with the hard work of some very dedicated teachers, parents, volunteers and agencies. The Pasifika population holds the youngest median age in the diverse populations of New Zealand, so it is best fitting that our Pasifika youth celebrate this on stage.
Make your way down to the red zone and expect to have your senses assaulted as you witness the graceful movement, rhythmic drums, enticing scent of warm coconut buns and chop suey, and the “chee-hoo!” of Pasifika celebration. Check out the performance order to make sure that you don’t miss out on your favourite group!