Haere ra Raumati, Kia ora Ngahuru: The change of season in children’s books

As the mother of a preschooler, one thing I’ve noticed is how much small children respond to learning about topics that they can see reflected in their day to day life. Whether it’s seeing a picture of a tuna (eel) or a duck (both creatures we’ve fed on the Avon River), or stories about diggers (of which there are many in Christchurch), or picture books about Christmas at that time of year – little ones really love stories that they can relate to what they see in the world.

Yesterday (21 March) marked the official beginning of autumn in the southern hemisphere and already there are clear signs of summer’s departure that even small folk can make note of – fruit from neighbourhood trees dropping, new warmer pyjamas being bought, some trees already losing their leaves, and the need for rainjackets or gumboots on rainy days. So now’s a great time to comb the library’s bookbins for titles that either explain the change of seasons or reinforce those signs of autumn that younger family members might be noticing.

There are plenty of titles in the library to choose from. Here are just a few to get you started:

Change of Season (Autumn)

List created by ChristchurchKids

Books about the change of seasons and the signs of autumn. A Christchurch City Libraries list.

Cover of LeavesCover of Weather and seasonsCover of Goodbye summer, hello autumnCover of AutumnCover of SeasonsCover of Awesome Autumn

Find more

Stephen Hawking 101

Stephen Hawking has been called the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Albert Einstein. FI loved his appearances on the Simpsons and the fact he had a fan club. I also love the fact that whenever I hear a computer generated voice I associate it with the astrophysicist. From what I have read, he was very witty and had a great sense of humour as well as a brilliant mind, so he wouldn’t mind my blog about him. So here is some information about Stephen Hawking and about his work — learn about Quantum Mechanics and cosmology and black holes from my selection of class readings for Stephen Hawking 101.

I started with eDS (eResource Discovery Search) eDS search Stephen Hawking and which covers articles and books in our eResources collection.


CoverRead Stephen Hawking’s bestseller A Brief History of Time that has sold more than 10 million copies. It only contains one equation E=mc² as Hawking was told the readership would be halved with every equation included.

Or try an eAudiobook if you would prefer to listen.


First off start with the basics, learn about black holes with this article by Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking

What is a black hole? By: Lucy, Hawking, Stephen, Clark, Dave, Ask, 15354105, , Vol. 10, Issue 6

Then once you have your head around the basics of black hole you may want to delve a bit deeper with this article from our Scientific American Archive.

The Quantum Mechanics of Black Holes pp34-41 by Stephen Hawking

More articles from Scientific American Archive

Science Reference Center has a selection of excellent scholarly articles –


Find out more about Mr Hawking with these great biographical sources:

Biography in context has excellent information and even has ReadSpeaker text to speech technology so you can hear the biography been read in computer generated voice similar to the technology that Stephen Hawking used himself.
Biography Reference Center has a selection biographies from different sources.

CoverOr check out this eBook Introducing Stephen Hawking

If quantum mechanics is getting a bit much for you try this kids book written by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking which is a great introduction to cosmology: George’s Secret Key to the Universe.

What I have learnt from reading about Stephen Hawking and his work is that I need to know more about astrophysics and not be scared of science.

Victoria Square reopens – Friday 9 March 2018

Today Victoria Square has reopened. It has been closed for a year, having a revamp and repairs.

What’s new:

  • New pieces of art have been added including Ngā Whāriki Manaaki – Woven mats of welcome, and a Literary Trail (series of text sculptures).
  • The Bowker Fountain will be working again and will put on a water and light display.

Here’s what Victoria Square looked like this morning:

Find out more about Victoria Square

Unruly enclaves and Ruly dogs: Cool stuff from the selectors

Beyond the Map: Unruly Enclaves, Ghostly Places, Emerging Lands and Our Search for New Utopias

9781781316382Places that maps can’t confine or identify, Utopias, pieces of land in the middle of a highway, political places and cyberplaces. Written by the author of Off the Map, this book is hard to define but easy to read.  Each chapter is short, creative writing about places that defy definition in the normal scheme of things. Makes you look at the notion of Place in an entirely different way.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating book

9781328944986Perhaps you are a child of the 50s and 60s, or you just love the design from this era? Better Homes and Gardens presents the new decorating bible for those favouring that wonderful mid-century design sensibility.  Crammed full of original designs, plans, colours, design and advertising. Great for ideas but also wonderful just to ponder times past.


Really Good Dog Photography

9781846149429I love cute dog photos, (I blame Facebook for this), and luckily Really Good Dog photography has plenty of them, but what has been surprising (and in a good way) is the depth of the photos and the accompanying essays.  These are no ordinary pictures, they tell a story both about the dog and the photographers. Many are startlingly beautiful, some fit the cute variety and others are just wonderful photographs with a dog almost there by chance. All tell a story and this is a great book for those who love dogs but also for those who are interested in photography.

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

Find out more

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

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Into each life (and city) some rain must fall

The current summer deluge is a) disastrous for your hair, b) a good reason to get your winter gumboots out of storage and c) an excellent excuse to watch Singin’ in the rain for, oh, the millionth time.

But rain does bring slightly more serious consequences as well, like surface flooding, leaking rooves, and inundated waterways.

So here are some tips and great resources on how to deal with the literal fallout when the heavens open.

And while it may seem counterintuitive, in some areas, like Banks Peninsula, water conservation is important during heavy rain due to water quality at reservoirs being affected.

A recent development in the central city has been the installation of rain gardens, which help filter excess rainwater, helping to keep the Avon River clean from contaminants.

For more on conservation and water quality see our page about Water

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

Mona Anderson’s tale of High Country life

A River Rules My Life has been re-released!

Originally published in 1963, Mona Anderson’s unique perspective of a woman’s experience on a South Island farm brings to life the High Country of days gone by.

Deep in the Rolleston Ranges, in the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, Mount Algidus Station is isolated between the mighty and dangerous Wilberforce and Rakaia rivers.

Mona crosses the Wilberforce as a new bride in the 1930s to start her life in this harsh environment. To get to her new home she must ride a dray cart for hours in a freezing wind – perched on top of all her worldly possessions – including a piano!

Mona’s observations of everything from errant cooks to brave horses are quite matter of fact and entertaining, while sad events are accepted as a part of life.

When World War II takes away many farmhands never to return, Mona and her husband Ron are stretched to do many jobs, and Mona has to muck in – feeding the men, and working alongside them – often on horseback.

Poetry and “back country” ditties pepper the tale, including one written by the author. Most notable are these lines written by a young hand leaving to join the Army:

Oh land of river, rock and spur / Of sunkissed hills and sky so blue / I, a humble musterer, Will ever leave my heart with you. / Tho I dwell beneath some distant sky / My memory will ever turn / To mates I knew in days gone by / And evenings when the camp fires burn. / For I am leaving you this day / To return again. But who can tell, / For good or bad. I cannot say.  Mount Algidus, I wish you well.

The charm of this book includes quaint “station names” for many local features; such as Bustmegall (Bust my gall) Creek, More-rain Hut and Boulderstone Creek (the Rolleston). Mistake ‘Hill’, at 7000 feet illustrates the Southern capacity for understatement.

Filled with thrills and spills (no-one is spared a dip in the Wilberforce), this book is a cornerstone of New Zealand back country life and a must for your holiday reading list.

More information

A River Rules My Life
by Mona Anderson
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781775541141

Christchurch Photo Hunt 2017 – The winners

Christchurch Photo Hunt poster 2017Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way was the theme for 2017.

This year we had some excellent individual photographs and collections submitted telling wonderful stories of people, family and Christchurch. Thank you so much for sharing your memories and contributing to our photographic history.

This year’s judges were Sarah Snelling the Digital Curation Librarian and Masha Oliver, Information Librarian at Central Manchester Library joined by Jacqui Stewart from the Kete Christchurch Team. They met on 27 November to decide on the winners in the categories of Places – Your landmarks in time, Your People – How we lived, and an overall winner.

All category winners and highly commended entries win a book prize.

This year’s entries

Photographs date from 1913 to October 2017 and it has been a great to receive so many photographs from the 1960s, 70s and 1980s. Of note is the collection of photographs from Cynthia Roberts. These photos document women involved in the Christchurch Women’s Resource Centre in the 1970s.

The judges noted that this year the photos reflected Christchurch’s social history, depicting everything from anti-nuclear awareness and anti-mining protesting to Cantabrians at work and play. We also see buildings and landscapes that have been lost due to development and earthquakes.

Several entries are recent photographs beautifully highlighting the magnificent landscape we live in.

Overall winner

Rehua Marae, 1980. Cynthia Roberts. 

Rehua Marae, 1980
Hui at Rehua Marae. Carolyn with pram, 1980. Rehua Marae by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

This image was awarded the overall winner for multiple reasons. One of the judges commented that so much was being told by the photograph it has an almost illustrative quality to it. A strong composition is balanced by the people in the foreground.  This photograph was taken in 1980 and shows Māori, Pākehā, a family group and people of different age groups. The woman with the pram and suitcase fits in with the “finding our way” theme. The image shows people in places and a sense of community spirit.

This photograph is part of a wider collection that Cynthia submitted focusing on people in the 1970s and 1980s. Our digital heritage collection has really been enhanced by Cynthia’s photographs.



Group by Lyttelton Harbour, 1948. Doug Bovett.

Group by Lyttelton Harbour
Group by Lyttelton Harbour by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

Doug’s image is part of a wider collection of twelve photographs taken by his mother in the late 1940s. The collection shows pictures of a group of friends that caught the daily train from Rangiora to Papanui High School and went tramping and socialised together, showing what young people did in their leisure time.

The judges fell in love with the images of young women enjoying themselves and living life in post WWII Christchurch.

It was noted that this photograph has a feeling of a modern selfie and that really not much changes in 69 years. Teenagers still hang out and take photos of themselves. It was also commented that the clothing was not the active wear and shoes we wear now but everyday clothes, maybe even school uniform.

This collection continued the story of a photograph on Kete Christchurch that we published as a post card for this year’s Photo Hunt. Doug’s collection has told more of that story.

People – Highly commended

Making a Yogi Bear Snowman in the evening, 1976. June Hunt.

Making a Yogi Bear Snowman in the evening
Making a Yogi Bear Snowman in the evening by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

June Hunt’s photograph of the snowman was highly commended as this photo and her other submissions show her story and everyday family life in 1970s Christchurch. The excitement of the first snow, the clothes people wore and what people did in their leisure time.

Masons preparing stone for the Memorial Church Tai Tapu, 1930s. Bryan Bates.

Masons preparing stone for the Memorial Church Tai Tapu
Masons preparing stone for the Memorial Church Tai Tapu by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ license

This photograph was judged as highly commended as it tells such a lot about what was happening in post-WWI New Zealand. We can see what men wore to work – craftsmen doing a trade that may have been in its decline. The depiction of stonemasons working on stone to build a church when so many of our stone churches has gone after the earthquakes is also significant.

Leader of the band, 1913. Name withheld

Leader of the band, 1913
Leader of the band by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

This photograph is one of the oldest we received this year. It shows Fredrick Wilson the leader of the Stanmore Brass band in 1913.  The Wilson family ran the tearooms at the Sign of the Bellbird and Fredrick also helped Harry Ell build the walking tracks.

The image shows what people did in their leisure time and a bygone era when nearly every suburb had a brass band.

Charlotte on a motorbike. 1923. L Sullivan.

Charlotte on a motorbike, ca. 1923
Charlotte on a motorbike. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

Charlotte is 18 years old and dressed in her boyfriend’s clothes riding his motorbike that she liked riding fast. The photograph was awarded a highly commended. It shows an adventurous young woman who had a long life in Christchurch. She travelled throughout Canterbury on the back of her boyfriend’s bike, “finding their way”.

This photograph continues the theme of many of this year’s submissions, strong women enjoying life in Christchurch.


The images in this category included landscapes, images of Banks Peninsula, interiors and buildings.


Rugby match at Lancaster Park. 1960. Des Pinn

Rugby Match at Lancaster Park
Rugby Match at Lancaster Park. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

This image was chosen for several reasons. It shows a crowd at a rugby game at Lancaster Park – they may be leaving after a game. Socially it reminds us of what many people did regularly on a Saturday afternoon, what people wore and what people did in their leisure time.

A judge also commented that it feels like the crowd escapes the photo.

Places – Highly commended

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Co. Ltd, 1979. Alan Tunnicliffe.

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Co. Ltd
Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Co.Ltd by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

This photograph was taken in 1979. We have very few photos of the city at this time and the photograph shows a lost city scape, specifically the east side of Manchester Street between Allen and Eaton Streets.

Shag Rock, Sumner Beach, 2009. Phil Le Cren

Shag Rock, Sumner Beach, 2009
Shag Rock, Sumner Beach, 2009 by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

An image of iconic Sumner at sunset. Taken in 2009 the landscape was dramatically altered by the earthquakes.

Men’s Toiletries Department at Hays, 1960. Des Pinn.

Men's Toiletries Department at Hays.
Men’s Toiletries Department at Hays. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

This a unique image as it shows the interior of a shop in 1960, and it shows a display introducing Old Spice.

Totara tree, 1995. Merle Conaghan.

Totara tree
Totara tree by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ License

Merle’s photographs taken while out on Banks Peninsula with her walking group have added greatly to our collection. She highlights the varied landscape found on Banks Peninsula, from the coast to the rugged hills.

The Totara tree looks like a sign pointing in several ways tying in nicely with the “finding our way” theme.

We welcome submissions of photos, information and stories to Kete Christchurch at any time.