Nearly eight years on, the yearning for a vibrant city centre still persists, but there is hope. Hope captured in the moments of collective celebration; the intimacy between two young students; the connection between friends and neighbours as they work, live and play – all within the boundaries of an inner city reinventing itself. In fact, more than hope, there is sense of quiet wonder and anticipation captured by Thomas Herman, Elise Williams and Summer Robson in the fourth and latest instalment of The Christchurch Documentary Project: Inside the Four Avenues, 2018.
The Christchurch Documentary Project is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts. Internship positions are offered to photography students in their 3rd or 4th year of study with the brief to create a documentary photographic record of a Christchurch community. The work is then included in the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage Collection.
To date, over 1000 images have been made of communities across our city; beginning with the Halswell Project in 2015, Edge of the East in 2016, Bishopdale in 2017 and now the central city. Collectively these projects document the lives of Christchurch residents and the changing face of our communities as the city rebuilds and evolves after the Christchurch Earthquakes.
Come and celebrate with us as the exhibition for Inside the Four Avenues, 2018 launches at Tūranga on Wednesday 21 November 5:30pm.
The exhibition is on until 30 January 2019. It is outside the TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1.
Lee Child has just released his 23rd Jack Reacher book – Past Tense – and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. The only thing that could possibly be better, is attending ‘An Evening with Lee Child’ – but you also won’t be surprised to hear that this WORD Christchurch event is already sold out. With a drawcard like bestselling author Lee Child having a chat with local author Paul Cleave – it’s no wonder! There was much seat bouncing and skiting to anyone who would listen when I heard that I would be going to see the creator of the Jack Reacher series in the flesh. It is almost like being in the same room as the great man himself – and who wouldn’t want to be up close and personal with someone like Jack?
Lee Child is one of an elite group of authors of whose work I have read in its entirety – and eagerly anticipate his next offering. This doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, I agree; but I am actually one of those librarians who don’t read many books. Blame the alluring pull of technology, being time-poor and feeling like it is taking my work home with me. But for another tale about Jack, I will always make an exception.
With 23 books under his belt and more than 40 short story anthologies, Lee Child has been giving his imagination and typing skills a serious work out over the last 21 years. His books have been bestsellers and he’s sold well over 100 million of them all over the world. From a librarian’s point of view I can honestly say that they are rarely back in the library long enough to actually get shelved.
Now I can see how this is a wee bit like teasing you all given that the event is actually sold out – but don’t despair. You can put your name on the waitlist according to the WORD Christchurch website – so you might be in with a chance! I on the other hand will be there with bells on and will let you know what you missed from the comfort of your lounge room – so watch this space!
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of November in 1918, the First World War – ‘The War to End All Wars’ – ended; this day is known as Armistice Day. The 11th of November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of this day. 18,200 New Zealanders died and 41,300 were wounded. Let’s take this opportunity to remember the millions of people worldwide who lost their lives in the First World War, and remember how horrible this event was — in the hope that such large-scale war never happens again.
World War One was the first modern war that made use of modern advancements in technology and machinery. This led to wholesale destruction across greater Europe, Northern Africa, and areas of the Middle East that would sow the seeds for not only World War Two, but the years of conflict in various parts of the world to come. Working class people from all around the world were conscripted to fight in World War One, in what was almost certainly an invitation to go die on foreign soil for an empire. In remembering the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War, let’s remember the human cost of war, not just for the soldiers involved, but for entire communities, cities, and the generations that came after.
So at 11 a.m., on the 11th day, 11th month, let’s not glorify this tragedy, but remember the lives and generations lost to it.
Get involved with these events across Christchurch and Canterbury
At the Field of Remembrance in Cranmer Square, a field of white crosses marks the centenary of the Great War. 4389 crosses and one Star of David depict the heavy losses suffered by Canterbury families.
Britannica Online and interactive version of Encyclopædia Britannica. All branches of knowledge are covered in this resource aimed at older students and adults. You will require a library membership to access:
Remembrance Day: An Article on Remembrance Day, the British Public Holiday that has its origins in the original Armistice Day celebration in 1919.
World War 1: The Britannica online article on World War 1
Canterbury Museum has launched an online version Canterbury and World War One: Lives Lost, Lives Changed.Canterbury Museum Acting Director Jennifer Storer says this will give visitors ongoing digital access to content and stories after the physical exhibition closes on Armistice Day, 11 November.
WW100 Infographic on World War 1
This is an interesting and easy to understand infographic that aims to prevent key information about WW1 in regards to its effect on New Zealand.
Kaveh Akbar is more of a shepherd than a wolf. The internationally acclaimed Iranian-American poet not only produces amazing thought-provoking poetry, but nurtures other poets to achieve their full potential too. So it was a perfect date for us to be hosting him at Tūranga, the flagship of the future. We are all about helping our citizens to access all they need to reach for the top.
Mr Akbar is a really nice guy. Humble and quietly spoken (though this changes when he reads) Kaveh kept thanking us for coming. When reading, Kaveh is animated, moving with the lilting rhythm of his words, his voice rising with the swell of emotion and experience.
An Iranian-American, he sees his poetry as:
“the membrane between myself and the divine…a new idiom for ancient binaries.”
Binaries such as solitude and community, decay and rebirth, literature and culture.
Kaveh has been posting interviews with poets making waves on DiveDapper; a website he created as a platform for exposure, promotion and connection. It has become a community, bringing poets and enthusiasts together worldwide. The list of poets on this website is impressive! Akbar sees this as a way to “push (his gratitude) outwards.” He further demonstrated this by reading two poems by New Zealand poet Helen Heath.
Kaveh’s book of poetry Calling a Wolf a Wolf was released to much acclaim this year. In it, Kaveh addresses difficult themes from addiction to desire; his poetry refreshing in a way that feels uplifting rather than downbeat.
Akbar’s work shares a sense of lessons learned and experience shared, as opposed to a self-indulgent train wreck. In all, there is a theme of hunger: for the physical sensation of being alive. Akbar’s poems grabbed me at first taste. Alliteration, onomatopoeia and themes of life, death and longing fill his poems. Addiction is portrayed as a kind of death; “a void to fill in wellness”. The poetry came from a need to fill the gap left after he became sober: “my entire life up to that point was predicated on the pursuit of this or that narcotic experience.” All this brings to mind a Persian poet who celebrated the wine and song of life, yet without the cautionary tale: Omar Khayyam.
In the light of current politics, Kaveh asserts that the ‘utility’ of poetry ‘forces us to slow down our metabolism of language’. A useful antidote to doublespeak, perhaps. He makes it sound like a science. And in fact it is.
Although he now only speaks a few words of Farsi these days, Akbar sees feeling as a ‘universal language,’ one that we all understand. The purpose of poetry, he says, is as Homer put it – to ‘delight and instruct.’ So often, we leave out the delight, loving to lecture others on the way of things. Pre-sobriety, Akbar the poet painted himself as the hero of his works; a ‘gloriously misunderstood scumbag.’ A way of being, he says, that’s insufferable (I’ve dated guys like that).
‘So you’re the sobriquet of the School of Delight?’ quips Eric Kennedy. Sobriquet. Oh clever. Thus begins a new Golden Age in Poetry. The interview website DiveDapper came from Kaveh’s hunger for dialogue with other poets while going through recovery. It’s a way to share experience with others – ‘a vast expanse of empathetic resources.’
The internet has meant that ‘the age of coy diminishment of one’s passions is over’…it is now an age of ‘unabashed zeal.’ Eric: Zeal Land!”
Kaveh read a number of wonderful poems from Calling a Wolf a Wolf. I love the titles – so real but imaginative. He really does have a way with words:
Kaveh has won awards, and his poems have appeared in heaps of prestigious publications like The New Yorker, The New York Times, Best American Poetry 2018, and The Guardian.
Check out Kaveh reading Max Ritvo’s “Touching the Floor” and his own poem “Portrait of an Alcoholic Frozen in Block of Ice”:
He founded DiveDapper, a poetry interview site. It is pretty much the poetry equivalent of Jerry Seinfeld’s show ‘Comedians in cars getting coffee’, but in DiveDapper you get two poets on top of their games in conversation. It features a stellar lineup of poets including:
Claudia Rankine, “I’m not investigating race as much as I’m investigating intimacy.”
and slam poet Anis Mojgani (who many of you will remember from his previous visits to Christchurch, slaying us with his potent words).
It makes total sense that Jeevika Verma in NPR refers to him as “poetry’s biggest cheerleader”:
He believes that everyone should be reciting poems as they walk into a coffee shop, as they do the dishes, as they go on with their lives.
“The fact that poems exist is the load-bearing gratitude upon which I have built my life,” he explains. “And what do you do with gratitude when it piles up? You have to push it outwards.”
He says it’s sort of like eating a Snickers bar. “Not sharing your gratitude is like holding a Snickers bar in your mouth for a week. You’d just get cavities,” he laughs. “This is what I want to do with DiveDapper. As far as I’m concerned, poetry is the best thing that exists in the universe.”
The event will be followed by a book signing, with Scorpio Books will be selling copies of Kaveh’s book. There will be food and drink available for sale too.
The nation’s best poets will compete in a literary showdown on Saturday, November 3rd in Christchurch. Poets representing Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Dunedin, Nelson and Southern Lakes will perform in a three-round poetry slam as selected members from the audience will judge to determine the winner. Can Christchurch defend their title or will a new city take the crown?
Featuring 2017 National Slam Champion, Christchurch’s own Daisy Lavea-Timo (DaisySpeaks), this is not a night to miss.
What: NZ National Poetry Slam Finals
When: Saturday November 3rd 2018
Time: Doors 7pm, Show 7:30pm
Where: Haeata Community Campus, 240 Breezes Rd.
Cost: $20 general, $15 students
We are happy to announce the winner of the family pass to the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of the Nutcracker at the Isaac Theatre Royal! A huge congratulations to Alexander and Greta. The details on your entry were so well thought out and precisely executed. The moveable curtains on a mini-track and the LED lights along the stage line were an added extra. The detailed illustration on the paintings on the wall, the fireplace, the cut-out windows, tree etc are gorgeous. Thank you again – Enjoy the ballet!
Alexander and Greta’s winning entry (8 and 5 years old)
This was an extraordinarily difficult task to judge! All entries were outstanding, and we thank you all for sending through such special creations.
Highly Commended Entries
One prize was simply not enough, so we have rummaged around to find some extra prizes to gift a few of our Highly Commended entries. Each of these entries will receive a goodie bag.
Another piece of exciting news! See an exhibition of Nutcracker Dioramas
We are excited to be able to display the entries from our Nutcracker Diorama competition at Te Hāpua: Halswell Library from Friday 9 November to Tuesday 27 November. Come along and see these amazing creations including the winner and highly commended entries.
If you entered the competition and would like your artwork back immediately, and would prefer it not be in this exhibition, please contact Clare at LibraryEvents@ccc.govt.nz to organise pick up. We know how much wonderful work and effort went into making your creations – and we want to make sure they are kept safe.
Diwali Indian Festival of Lights in Cathedral Square – Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November, 2pm to 9pm
Stage performances start at 5pm
Celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali with fabulous food and fun, in the heart of Christchurch. There will be Indian arts and crafts stalls and colourful classical and modern stage performances. The most popular of all Hindu festivals, Diwali is dedicated to the goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the rest of India. As with several other festivals, Diwali is associated with one of the stories about the destruction of evil by God in one of his many manifestations. In Jainism, where the festival is also known as Mahavira Nirvana, Diwali celebrates the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira. Diwali also marks the start of the Hindu New Year; goddess Lakshmi is therefore thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead. In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of his kingdom welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepawali, simply shortened to Diwali.
Diwali concert and workshop at Tūranga – Sunday 11 November 11am to 12.30pm
Celebrate Diwali with acclaimed local group Revathi Performing Arts. Enjoy a demonstration of Bharathanatyam, the most popular South Indian Classical Dance, then participate in a workshop. Bharathanatyam originated in the temples of South India thousands of years ago. Started as part of daily worship of the temple deity, this art form has evolved over the years to its current form. Free, no bookings required. TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga
What is Diwali?
Diwali or dīpāvali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs with the rising of the new moon at the end of the month, Ashvin. However, in a country as diverse as India, where people from many different faiths live side by side, the festival is not limited to one particular faith for it represents the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of wisdom over ignorance. Throughout cities and villages the darkness will be symbolically turned back. Clay lamps (diya) will be lit in homes and shops, fireworks will be released into the sky and the streets will be filled with music. Read more in Simon’s blog post about Diwali.
This WORD session was hosted by David Higgins, Upoko of Moeraki Rūnanga, with kōrero by the book’s editors Helen Brown (Ngāi Tahu) and Takerei Norton (Ngāi Tahu), and by book contributors Robyn Walsh (Ngāi Tahu) and Mike Stevens (Ngāi Tahu).
The book emerged from the work of the Ngāi Tahu Archives team on Kā Huru Manu, the amazing Ngāi Tahu digital atlas. While collecting and recording places names around Te Waipounamu, the research team realised they were also discovering the names and stories of people who were the very heart of Ngāi Tahu whakapapa. This book is intended to be the first of a series born out of the work of the atlas, and a second volume is already in process.
The individual biographies in Tāngata Ngāi Tahu cover 200 years of Ngāi Tahu whānau history, producing a ‘tribal family album’ of stories and images. Editor Helen Brown talked about how among the stories of the ordinary, often household names in te iwi, have been revealed the extraordinary lives of so many Ngāi Tahu people.
The book has been arranged by person/name, which Helen said gives a more nuanced history than a book based on themes or a more traditional history book arrangement, perhaps in alphabetical or chronological order. The order of the book does invoke a back-and-forth journey across time, with people from the 1800s to more recent times spread at random throughout the book. The effect embraces serendipity, with a mix of stunning, historical black-and-white photographs between more modern colour images drawing the reader into the rich history within.
Each biography had a limit of 1000 words, and editing to this limit Helen described as often excruciating. “Whole books are needed,” she said. Perhaps for individual whānau this book will plant the seed to pick up the stories and expand on them for their own tīpuna?
The biographies have been written by a team of writers, whose writing experience in this context Helen described as ranging from gathering the purely anecdotal to more academic pursuits. We were lucky to have some of the writers present in the team of speakers at the WORD event, and each speaker featured an individual from the book, giving the audience a summary of their whakapapa and life.
Robyn Walsh talked about her mother Dorothy Te Mahana Walsh of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu decent, a leader heavily involved in the ‘hui hopping’ during the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings and a keen performer who travelled to San Francisco supporting the Te Māori exhibition. Robyn concluded “we need and must remember these histories and people.”
Others spoken about on the day were Amiria Puhirere – a stunning figure standing in her full-length korowai in the photo on page 86, she was a prominent leader and renowned weaver who lived at Ōnukū on the Akaroa Harbour; Trevor Hapi Howse – a major part of the research team that led the long work for Ngāi Tahu Te Kerēme/the Ngāi Tahu Waitangi Claim and a key figure in the Kā Huru Manu project; and William Te Paro Spencer – a seafaring kaumātua and muttonbirder, described as “proudly and strongly Ngāi Tahu” and “very much a Bluff local but wordly with it”.
As mentioned above, one of the strong features of the book are the photographs, many of which are from iwi archives and other private collections, and often have not been published or displayed outside the embrace of whānau before. It is clear that it is something special these photos are being shared not only with iwi whānui but with the whole country, and such a personal act of whakawhanaungatanga is to be valued and cherished.
Although the prime audience for the book is Ngāi Tahu tāngata there has been huge interest in it since media company The Spinoff published an article about Mere Harper, who helped setup the Plunket organisation. The audience has since become national and international, with a strong focus on the book’s contribution to the historical narrative of Aotearoa.
On the 31st of October we celebrate Halloween. Also known as Hallowe’en; All Hallow’s Eve; Allhalloween and All Saint’s Eve. Although not everybody recognises this contentious holiday, I will celebrate by scaring myself to death with a selection of horror films.
Ferrymead’s Hall of Doom and Raise the Dead Rave – Further afield, for the Young Adults (over 16) there is the intriguing sounding Hall of Doom and Raise the Dead Rave at Ferrymead Heritage Park, featuring ‘DJ Spinal,’ if that is your thing.
Ferrymead’s Family Trick or Treat – and there is the slightly more family friendly sounding Family Trick or Treat event, also held at Ferrymead Heritage Park in conjunction with Plunket.
I have not always been a Halloween advocate. Growing up in a religious household, I did not have the option of observing Halloween as an event, nor was I allowed to watch anything resembling a horror film. Now that I’ve flown the nest and am free to make my own traditions, I am pleased to say that Halloween is cemented on my calendar as an important day of the year.
So maybe there is a correlation: for some time now, whenever we dare to discuss our future, my husband has envisioned us buying a lifestyle block somewhere out in the countryside, perhaps halfway to the alps, miles from the neighbours in isolated bliss. I resist this dream fervently. My very legitimate reasons include:
My penchant for horror films and true crime
Still being scared of the dark and don’t like being home alone as it is
Nobody would be around to hear me scream should I be being murdered.
His argument is that should I scream for help in the centre of suburbia, it is likely nobody would come to help anyway. Probably true. But it is psychological terror which prevents me from contemplating a life more than a stone’s throw away from civilization.
Yet despite being afraid of the dark, of potential murderers and of being home alone, I continue to love and watch horror films of all varieties. I have seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre about five times, and have suffered through all sequences of Paranormal Activity.
The latest horror I have seen was the recent film A Quiet Place directed by John Krasinski (remember Jim Halpert from The Office?). This film is set post-apocalypse and follows a family through their struggle to survive in a landscape featuring monsters who hunt by sound (the slightest of sounds). To avoid being eaten the family are forced to live in silence and communicate through sign language. Unfortunately, I watched A Quiet Place in a cinema full of people munching popcorn and chatting away as though they were in their own living room- did ruin the effect somewhat, but the good news is that the library have acquired a copy.
Sometimes reading about it can be every bit as horrid as watching it. Horror books tend to be atmospheric, tension building page-turners. Just like other genres of fiction, they come in all sorts; gory, gothic, psychological, apocalyptic, supernatural, fantasy/sci-fi based, filled with monsters…the common thread being that they are designed to scare the daylights out of you. In honour of Halloween here are some starter ideas. Just in case you feel you’ve been getting a bit too much sleep.
Brutal, gory serial killer novel. If you’ve seen the film by the same name, you’ll know that pop culture loving, suit-and-tie wearing Patrick Bateman is anything but a respectable businessman. Disturbing, violent, and written in the first-person narrative – you really get to go inside the head of this particular sadist.
House of Leaves has inspired a cult-like following, and for good reason. It is based upon an intriguing and original premise; “a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” The story is intricate and complex, and will appeal if you enjoy a shot of literary fiction with your horror. Reads much like a documentary, and if you like found footage films, may find this to hit the spot.
If you’re more into the supernatural, ‘Amityville Horror’ type (which has thankfully been proven, beyond a doubt, to be a scam), then ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is a must read classic. Atmospheric, creepy and menacing, ‘The Haunting of House Hill’ will have leave you paranoid, wary of lurking ghosts at every turn.
Sometimes the horrors that really get under your skin are those which hark to a potential reality. Personally, I’ve never been excessively freaked by things that I know (hope) don’t exist – the undead, ghosts, demons, monsters and the like. Home invasion? That will keep me up at night. ‘Endless Night’ will turn your nights into exactly that, as you follow the experiences of a sixteen year old girl at a sleepover turned murder-fest. Fast-paced and action packed. On a gore scale from Brother’s Grimm to Rob Zombie, this rates closer to the latter.
Ah yes, a Scandinavian horror. The Scandinavians do the darkness and the bleakness extraordinary well, after all. This book, in summation: dark, creepy, vampires. But don’t run at the mention of vampires: ‘Let the Right One in’ would make Stephanie Meyer shake in her pretty boots.
As Halloween approaches, the fake spider phenomena is really setting me on edge. But is my fear really a phobia in disguise, and can it be controlled or even conquered? According to the website of the NHS (UK):
[Phobias] develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.
Although the humble wee jumping spider might not take me down Shelob style, it may certainly send me screaming from the room. And arachnophobic librarians like me will understand that moment of primal terror directly following the unwitting retrieval of a book from the returns bin, whose front cover illustration happens to be the unspeakable, hairy, eight-legged object of mortification. And since we’re going there, I can’t help but recall the awful, PTSD inducing squashed-whitetail-between-the-cookbooks incident of 2017. Why people.
But life would be a little easier if I didn’t have to run from the room every time a spider scurried into my line of sight. Whilst it can be very difficult (and perhaps, folly) to get over your quite rational fears, it is definitely possible to conquer your phobias. Sadly one of the most effective methods is not particularly pleasant, and involves getting ever closer and more personal with the very thing you fear, in a form of therapy known as exposure. Here is a video showing the use of augmented reality as a technique to perform exposure therapy, to treat a spider phobia. This was part of research conducted at the University of Canterbury’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ), in 2012.
Take that, phobia.
If you would like help getting over your phobia, there are lots of great resources to get you started. Check out:
HealthInfo Canterbury – a great website written specifically for Canterbury residents, by nurses and doctors. A good place to go for reliable, regional specific advice, resources and general health info.
Health Navigator New Zealand – Health Navigator NZ is a New Zealand focused charitable trust endorsed by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners- so you know you’re getting reliable information.