Podcast – Homelessness

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

Three expert guests share their knowledge regarding the state of homelessness in New Zealand.

  1. Part I: Alan Johnson (Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, Salvation Army)
    Overview of homelessness in NZ; statistics; geographic differences across NZ; reasons driving homelessness
  2. Part II: Matthew Mark (City Missioner, Christchurch City Mission)
    Homelessness in Christchurch including post-earthquake
  3. Part III: Green Party Co-Leader MP Marama Davidson
    2016 ‘Ending homelessness in New Zealand’ report; government actions on reducing homelessness

Transcript – Homelessness

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Podcast – Child poverty and the Budget 2018

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

For the second year in a row, Speak Up-Kōrerotia has partnered with CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) to record a show about child poverty and the Budget. As the first Budget of the new Labour/New Zealand First/Greens coalition, it was expected that the 2018 Budget would see an increase in spending in key areas such as housing and education – but what do the experts say about it?
Speakers were recorded at the Christchurch post-Budget Breakfast MCed by Jane Higgins.

  • Paul Dalziel talked about economy and child poverty
  • Lucy Daeth talked about wellbeing, the All right? campaign, and Christopher Robin
  • Christina McKerchar talked about children and healthy and junk food

Transcript – Child poverty and Budget 2018

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Redesigning the Welfare State in New Zealand: Problems, Polices, Prospects Cover of Child poverty in New Zealand Cover of From innocents to agents Cover of The child poverty debate Cover of Twelve thousand hours Cover of Wellbeing economics Cover of The New Zealand project Cover of Children of Rogernomics Cover of Economic futures Cover of For Each and Every Child Cover of The New Zealand economy

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The world’s most expensive piece of paper

Long before I was born, my dad worked briefly for a firm of a stamp auctioneers in London. Apparently he helped, in some small way, to sell King Farouk of Egypt‘s stamp collection! He had a small collection of his own and he used to take me to stamp fairs, mostly I think to catch up with old friends. For me, it wasn’t so much the stamps I found appealing as the people who collected them, who seemed an unusually obsessive bunch with their own arcane rules, jargon, and preoccupations that appeared baffling from the outside.

Cover of The one cent magenta by James BarronI was therefore delighted to discover, in the Library’s catalogue, a book called “The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World” by James Barron, which is full of stories of people like those I remember.

This book tells the extraordinary tale of a single stamp, the only one of its kind, as it changed hands and rapidly increased in value with each new owner over it’s 150 year history. (The title of each chapter reflects the stamp’s value at that point in the story.)

The stamp in question is really just a tiny scrap of coloured paper bearing an almost indiscernible design. It was printed quickly in what was then British Guiana (now Guyana) to replace some stamps that had gone missing on their way from London. As stamps of this value (unlike the more common four-cent stamp that was also printed at the time) were mostly used for newspapers and magazines, almost all of the them were thrown away when they were finished with, but miraculously a single stamp survived and was rediscovered some years later in 1873 by a 12 year-old boy among papers in his uncle’s house.

After a number of changes of ownership, that stamp eventually sold at auction in 2014 for the astonishing sum of US$9.5 million (about NZ$13.5 million) – more than a billion times it’s original value! At just 2.5cm x 3.2 cm that means each square millimetre is worth nearly NZ$170, making it the world’s most valuable object for its size and weight.

British Guiana 1c stamp issued in 1856. Last sold for NZ$13.5 million. (Public Domain image from Wikipedia)

The reasons why someone would pay such an inordinate sum of money for something with no real material value, and why some very rich people find extreme rarity of this kind so irresistible, is the central question explored in this book. It would be tempting to consider these people crazy, but they all made excellent returns on their investments, and future owners will continue to do so as long as the stamp remains so highly sought after.

The book is a real page-turner, and there are lots of astonishing tales along the way about the people involved, such as the man who tried (unsuccessfully) to use the stamp as a bargaining chip to get out of a murder charge, or another who may (or may not – no one really knows) have found a second one cent-magenta and destroyed it to maintain the value of the first. These stories may sound incredible, but in the bizarre world of high-value stamp collecting this sort of behaviour is not out of the question.

This book reminded me of the 1936 novel “Antigua, Penny, Puce” by Robert Graves, about a brother and sister who fall out in spectacular fashion over a dispute concerning the ownership of a rare stamp with many similarities to the one-cent magenta, which is well worth reading too if you find this sort of thing as fascinating as I do. The Library doesn’t have a copy, but as it’s out of copyright, it is available as an e-book from the Internet Archive, where you can also find the audio of a 1995 BBC Radio dramatic adaptation of the book.

Enjoy!

Podcast – Food waste

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States. Added to this immense environmental impact is the social impact: How much food is thrown away that could be eaten?

Join our guests as they share statistics and information about the various ways in which they work to repurpose food waste and save it from landfill.

Guests:

Transcript – Food waste

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Cover of Waste: Uncovering the global food scandal Cover of The waste not want no cookbook Cover of Scrap wilt and weeds Cover of American wasteland Cover of Too good to waste Cover of Leftover gourmet Cover of Eat it up Cover of My zero-waste kitchen Cover of How to make and use compost Cover of This book stinks Cover of Making a meal of itCover of Waste free kitchen handbookCover of Food waste

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Tasty, bite-sized economics: Fifty things that made the modern economy

A History of the World in 100 Objects was my first foray into books that use something small to describe something big, and I’ve been reading them ever since.

Luckily this has proved to be a popular concept, with topics ranging from Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History, Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee, to Banana: A Global History. Each book is like a museum exhibition with each chapter a different exhibit, perfect for dipping into and reading aloud interesting facts to your long-suffering friends.

My most recent read was a little out of my comfort zone — Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy, by Tim Harford.

Cover of Fifty things that made the modern economy by Tim Harford

Hearing the words “modern” and economy” generally gives me an expression similar to my cat after he’s eaten a moth, but luckily the content delivers. Harford writes in an incredibly engaging, conversational style. Often I slog through non-fiction books as the information density can be overwhelming even if fascinating, but Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy is as readable as a novel. Each section is so short that I found it difficult to stop at the end of one chapter and not just continue on to the next.

Even more mundane-seeming inventions like the plough had far reaching effects on almost every aspect of society, a symptom of a changing life from nomadic to settled, and influencing gender relations as well as our diet (not necessarily for the better). In fact a lot of our steps forward as a species have unintentionally brought us a step back in other ways. We spend a lot less time preparing food due to ready-meals and supermarkets, but our nutrition has suffered as a result. I suppose one good thing is that by constantly creating new problems for ourselves, we’ll never run out of things to do.

Due to the nature of a long list each entry is by necessity relatively brief, but each builds on the previous chapters — Harford points out all the ways in which an invention is reliant on those that came before, or the perfect timing for an invention to take off. Some were invented several times before they caught on, and others it was only a matter of time before it was invented by someone. History is a mess of happy accidents, lucky timing and reinventing the wheel.
If you’re interested in economics, history or want to know why anyone could get excited about double-entry bookkeeping, I’d recommend dipping into Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy.

Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy
by Tim Harford
Published by Hachette New Zealand
ISBN: 9781408709115

Big little books – The BWB Texts Collection

The last book I got out of the library was huge a whopping 800 pages. It was a little daunting and I wondered it would be easier to read if it was a series of smaller books. Bridget Williams has a great series of little books called the BWB Texts Collection. There are some seriously good reads in this collection and all of them are short. There are some great short memoirs, and other interesting topics like combining motherhood and politics, and the Australia vs New Zealand debate.

BWB Texts are available in book and eBook format.

There are even big little books with local flavour. With the seventh anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake coming up, there are some great books on Christchurch and analysis of the earthquake – or find out why Christchurch was once nicknamed Cyclopolis.

As well as the BWB Texts Collection. Bridget Williams Books has these other great New Zealand eBook collections:

Podcast – The public intellectual in the nuclear age

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

“When nuclear science can affect everyone but is understood by only a few, most of whom have pledged to remain silent, the public intellectual is needed.”

Associate Professor Benoît Pelopidas and Dr Lyndon Burford theorise and problematise the role of the public intellectual today, with particular focus on New Zealand and the United Nations’ July 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This podcast episode is a recording of a 2017 lecture to New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Canterbury Branch.

Nuclear age – Transcript

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Cover of Back from the brink Cover of Peace, power & politics Cover of Mad on radium cover of The ANZUS crisis, nuclear visiting and deterrence Cover of Speaking truth to power Cover of Nuclear powerCover of The quest Cover of The age of radiance Cover of Nuclear war and environmental catastrophe Cover of We need silence to find out what we think Cover of The rise of nuclear fear Cover of Inside the centre

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Podcast – Collaborative urban living

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

In this episode Sally is joined by Jason Twill (UTS: University of Technology Sydney),  Greer O’Donnell (Ohu) and Jane Quigley (Viva Project Ōtautahi Christchurch NZ) who discuss ideas and opportunities for collaborative urban living in Christchurch and NZ.

  • Part I: What do we mean by ‘collaborative urban living’?
  • Part II: Benefits of collaborative urban living – social, cultural, economic, environmental
  • Part III: Viability of collaborative urban living in NZ including building regulations and legislation; challenges to encouraging collaborative urban living
  • Part IV: Likely uptake of collaborative urban living in NZ and Christchurch – Why (won’t) people get behind the concept?

Transcript – Collaborative urban living

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Cover of Creating cohousingCover of Living togetherCover of Growth misconductCover of Tāone tupu oraCover of Drivers of urban changeCover of Living spaceCover of Living in the communityCover of Christchurch central recovery planCover of Community gardeningCover of Living in paradoxCover with Growing a garden city

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Christmas eMagazines on RBDigital 2017

Get your Christmas inspiration online with eMagazines. Check out the titles on RBDigital.

Cover imageCover imageCover imageCover imageCover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover imageCover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover imageCover image Cover image

The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, North Canterbury: Picturing Canterbury

The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, Christchurch Star, 4 Aug. 1922, p. 6.
The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, North Canterbury. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 9, IMG0080.

Date: 3 August 1922.

“This was a week-long hui attended by Wiremu Ratana (1873-1939) and was the largest gathering of the Waipounamu Maori that had been held for many years. Its chief purpose was to discuss their claims over land taken from them in the past. Grievances were referred to as “Te hapa o nuitireni”, meaning promises made to them had not been fulfilled. Carrying bunches of broom, the three women headed a procession of women who welcomed the visitors, the waiata being led by the woman in the middle.”

Source: Christchurch Star, 4 Aug. 1922, p. 6.

The Ngāi Tahu Land Claim finally concluded with the signing of the Deed of Settlement on 21 November 1997 at Takahanga Marae, Kaikōura. The Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act was passed into law the following year on 29 September 1998.

Do you have any historical photographs of Christchurch and Canterbury? 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.