Picturing Canterbury: University students champagne breakfast on roundabout

Black and white photo showing University students champagne breakfast on roundabout. 1983
University students champagne breakfast on roundabout. Discovery Wall. CCL-StarP-01616A. Copyright Christchurch Star

3 March 1983.

Students, Tim Brooks, Karen O’Donnell, Richard Lake, Carol Hooke, Mark Alexander, and Shona Osmond having a champagne breakfast at Deans Avenue-Blenheim Road roundabout.

Do you have any photographs of student life in Christchurch? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, Central Library, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.

FAB FESTA – My five picks for FESTA 2018

We love FESTA! This Labour weekend “vibrant biennial celebration of urban creativity and community” is one of Ōtautahi’s most cool and unique events. It’s food for the mind, eyes, and soul. That is particularly apt in 2018 as FESTA gets foody – FESTA 2018 is all about architecture, design – and food. Contribute to the Pledgeme FESTA2018 by midday today (Thursday 27 September) and you’ll help the traditional Saturday evening mega-event street party FEASTA! be the best yet.

There are more than 55 events planned for FESTA 2018, here are some of my picks:

FEASTA

The big FREE street party is on Saturday 20 October from 5 to 11pm. It’s a FESTA tradition to activate different parts of the city, and this time Mollett Street (which runs between Colombo Street and Durham Street South) is the place to be.

There will be the stunning installations we’ve come to love at the FESTA party. The 2018 works have been created by more than 130 design and architecture students from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as NZIA and NZILA Canterbury branch members, in collaboration with Creative Director Barnaby Bennett. There will be loads of whānau fun, music, performances, art, markets, and plenty of yummy delights. One of the excellent initiatives on the night is Kono for Kai100 hand woven harakeke kono (small food baskets) filled with native plant seedlings and seeds will be available to the public in exchange for a koha of kai (non-perishable goods only please). All koha received will be gifted to a community group for distribution to those in need in the community. Read all about it.

FESTA at Tūranga

Ka rawe! Your new central library Tūranga will be open when FESTA is on, and it is the venue for:

Produce a City

Saturday 20 October and Sunday 21 October 1 to 4pm; Monday 22 October (Labour Day), 10am to 1pm at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Pop in to this drop-in session and make a cityscape out of food! Use the colourful clay provided to sculpt a house or a building in the shape of fruit and vegetables and add it to the map. Suitable for children aged 7+. FREE

Last Call: Christchurch’s Drinking and Dining Past

Sunday 21 October 6pm to 7.30pm. Meet at Victoria Square. FREE.
Take a trip back in time and explore our culinary past. Join Nik Mavromatis as he hosts a guided walking tour around central Christchurch, starting with Ōtautahi’s oldest market square. Nik then takes you to former hospitality sites and reminisces over the cafes, bars and restaurants that were previously part of the fabric of our city.

This is a mere taster, visit the FESTA 2018 to explore all the events on offer.

FESTA information

How you can help

Contribute to the Pledgeme FESTA2018 by midnight tonight Thursday 27 September.

Take a look back at the awesomeness of FESTA

FESTA 2016 – Lean Means

FESTA 2014 – CityUps

CityUps - FESTA Festival of Transitional Architecture

FESTA 2013 – Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales - FESTA

FESTA 2012 – LuxCity

Luxcity

Read our 2016 interview with FESTA director Jessica Halliday: Imagining a different Christchurch – Jessica Halliday and FESTA 2016

What to do in Christchurch while WORDing

I am the polar opposite of a travel blogger (my holiday this year was a night in Methven – 96.8 km away) and I don’t go out much at night (old, parsimonious) BUT I am an absolute fiend for town. In the week, at the weekends, I’m out there with my whānau, getting into all the stuff that the Christchurch CBD has to offer. 

SO here are some travel tips for all the writers, thinkers, readers, and people coming to Christchurch for WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 – Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September.
Add your suggestions in the comments!

ART

Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA)

We do art good. Go to Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) and have a browse of the new Chch / Ōtautahi Zine Library and Nicola Jackson: The Bloggs: “Nicola Jackson has created her own version of an anatomy museum, filling vitrines and cabinets with a range of curious objects and adorning the walls with paintings of inquisitive characters.”

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OPENING NEXT WEEK// The Bloggs & Mid Century Modern: The Morrison Collection.⠀ ⠀ Opening next Friday evening in our Mair Gallery, we are thrilled to present ‘Mid Century Modern: The Morrison Collection’, an exhibition of significant pieces of mid century design from the expansive collection of Christchurch mid century design dealer, Ross Morrison and his son, Nico.⠀ ⠀ In our Northern Galleries, we proudly open Nicola Jackson’s ‘The Bloggs’ featuring Jackson’s own version of an anatomy museum, filling vitrines and cabinets with a range of curious objects and adorning the walls with paintings of inquisitive characters.⠀ ⠀ Both shows run from August 25th to November 18th, with the opening event next Friday August 24th 5:30-7:30pm. Join us!!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #coca.chch #photooftheday #picoftheday #art #instadaily #design #drawing #magazine #artistoninstagram #artist #artwork #arts #instaart #art_collective #art_we_inspire #artofvisuals #artistic #digitalart #artcollective #contemporaryart #artisan #artists #artcollector #artdirection #artofinstagram #nzartist #contemporaryartist #nzart #christchurch

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Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū is an utter gem. Not only does it have fabulous art, but it includes a design store with an assortment of gifty goodness (including books). Right beside it there’s a great food spot called Universo (the yorkshire pudding, lamb ends, gravy and parsnip on the menu is delish).

Exhibitions on during WORD are We do this (I keep revisiting this one – Judy Darragh’s jaunty Rug, Roberta Thiornley’s stately photo of her Mum) and Tony de Lautour’s US V THEM. Some WORD events are on in the gallery, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to browse its riches. 

Street Art

We’ve become pretty famous here in Christchurch for our street art. If you spot something on your travels, your go-to resource is Watch this Space – a crowdsourced map of street art spots, past and present. It might also give you ideas of street art you want to find. 

Brandon Warrell's art on the side of the Ibis Hotel, Hereford Street.
Brandon Warrell’s art on the side of the Ibis Hotel, Hereford Street.

WORDS AND BOOKS

The official WORD booksellers are University Bookshop UBS and they will be on site at festival venues. Buy books by WORD authors, and get ’em signed!

Scorpio Books is in the BNZ complex at 120 Hereford Street if you want to wander to a bookshop in town and browse. I am fully a Scorpio Girl.

If you want to head further afield for books (old and/or new), some of my faves are the Edgeware Paperback Centre in St Albans, London Street Books in Lyttelton, and Smith’s Bookshop in The Tannery.  

London Street Books. Sunday 12 August 2018.
London Street Books. Sunday 12 August 2018.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square is a lovely spot to wander in, and it has words by Fiona Farrell (who has written acclaimed books about the Christchurch earthquakes). 

Words by Fiona Farrell in Victoria Square.
Words by Fiona Farrell in Victoria Square.

Ngaio Marsh House

The perfect post-Ngaio Marsh Awards activity is to go to the open day at Ngaio Marsh House on Sunday 2 September. You can see her paintings, and perfumes, as well as her books – it’s such a stylish Cashmere home. 

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Visit the Ngaio Marsh House and Heritage Trust website to find out more about Ngaio’s home

River of Words

Come to 110 Cashel Street, stand in front of the projectors, and watch as the words change. John Maillard’s interactive lighting display River of Words is inspired by the people of Christchurch. 

Tūranga

Normally I’d be advising you to visit our town library/ies, but they’ll be closed in preparation for the opening of our new central library Tūranga (set to open on Friday 12 October). Do check it out though, and there is free wifi in Cathedral Square too. 

Tūranga, this morning. Thursday 16 August 2018.
Tūranga, this morning. Thursday 16 August 2018.

You are most welcome at any of our branches

PLAY

  • Perch yourself on the big green seats in Cathedral Square by Gloucester Street for a good selfie op.
  • Have a boogie on the Dance o mat (right beside Tūranga).

Margaret Mahy Playground

This is a fun place for all ages. Writers and festival-goers – ride on the flying fox, or shriek your way down the dread twisty slide. 

This place also stands as a tribute to our great writers – word witch Margaret Mahy and peace activist heroine Elsie Locke

Margaret Mahy Playground 
Margaret Mahy Playground. Flickr 2015-12-23-IMG_1733

The Christchurch Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens and the Museum

Cuningham House 
Cuningham House, Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Flickr 2014-07-27-IMG_0809

A favourite local outing is the big 3 – the Arts CentreCanterbury Museum and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Highlights are:

The Quake City exhibition is on display at Quake City, 299 Durham Street North, corner Armagh Street. It provides a good insight into what Christchurch people have been through, and the progress of the rebuild.

FOOD AND DRINK

New Regent Street is the setting for a Pop-up Festival on Thursday 30 August. It also has lots of fab food and drink options to dip into. Rollickin’ Gelato (which also has a shop in the Arts Centre, and a cart at the Margaret Mahy Playground) is a Christchurch stand out. My fave is the hokey pokey, but I had the Fairy Bread yesterday and it was delicious. 

More food & drink picks:

  • Karage curry at Samurai Bowl on Colombo Street
  • Cookai Sushi Train in The Crossing
  • The Emerald Room at Dux Central – they have a cocktail that has mandarin in it
  • Leisurely beer and chats at Smash Palace
  • Pizza at Winnie Bagoes
  • Tiramisu and Quattro Stagioni Pizza at Mediterranean Food Co
  • Boxed Quarter on the corner of St Asaph and Madras has a stellar lineup – glorious pastas at ChiChi Kitchen, yum Korean street food at Steampunk Laboratory, lots of delish options here
  • There is this drink at OGB that may or may not be called a Tillbury Place. It has whiskey and freeze dried rhubarb
  • Little High Eatery – my faves are Bacon Brothers Burnt Broccoli and Base Woodfired Pizza (the St George)
  • Vanilla Ices in Victoria Square. My pick is the ice-cream and secret recipe raspberry (I’ve asked, they won’t tell)
  • Escarto Espresso in Cathedral Square (great coffee, and they use Whittakers Dark Ghana in their hot and iced chocs – yum).
  • Friday Night Food Trucks in Cathedral Square, after which you might feel like a wee boogie at the Dance-o-mat on the corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets.

Edible Book Festival – Wednesday 29 August

Ara Library will be hosting an Edible Book Festival event on Wednesday 29 August. Find out how to enter. 

You can view the entries from 10am at the Rakaia Centre Atrium of Ara Institute. The winners will be announced at 12.15pm and then the real fun begins – eating the entries.

"Best in show" winner - The Kite Runner, created by Bree Underhill
“Best in show” winner – The Kite Runner, created by Bree Underhill. Friday 1 April 2016. Ara Library’s Edible Book Competition at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. Read the Ara Library blog post. Flickr 2016-04-01

More to do in Christchurch

If you want to explore more things to do in Christchurch, try:

Ōtautahi locals, share your picks too – what are the places you recommend?

Previous travel tips for WORD Christchurch

The Great Library Seed and Plant Swap 2018

Spring is on its way and to celebrate the season of growing and gardening we are hosting seed and plant swaps in the first half of September.

Bring in your extra seeds and small plants and we’ll put them out to share.

The Great Library Seed and Plant Swap display, South Library
The Great Library Seed and Plant Swap display, South Library, 13 August 2018, File reference: 2018-08-13-SO-IMG_1345.jpg

We welcome vegetable, herb, flower, native, and heritage seeds. You can bring any spare potted-up seedlings. Seeds can be dropped in anytime before or during seed swap season, 1 – 15 September.

The Great Library Seed and Plant Swap: Where and when

Find out more

There are plenty more green-fingered resources at your libraries. Take a look at our page about gardens and gardening and explore the books, magazines, and eMagazines in our collection. Or try:

Cool stuff from the Selectors: Feeding frenzy

Eating. It’s the most natural thing in the world yet it is becoming increasingly loaded with emotion and so-called science. This can leave the most sensible of us awash in recipes and diet plans.

To add to the dilemma of what to eat as adults, we are now increasingly concentrating on what to feed our children. Now in “my day” (yes I know that sounds dreadful but I can’t think of any other way to put it) we blended up a bit of pumpkin, threw in some cheese ( if we had any),  pureed apple or banana and that was that. Did this lead to lack of vitamins, macro-nutrients, poor eating habits and an addiction to sugar? I really don’t know… My children seem reasonably healthy, but with the addition of twins to our family I am aware that there is much discussion, and a certain amount of anxiety amongst new parents when faced with the endless opinions and debate around food.

So here are some new titles that will either help or hinder the feeding process!

CoverLittle Foodie: recipes for babies and toddlers with taste

Michele Olivier describes herself as a complete control freak and I have to agree with her. The book emanates from a blog she created when feeding her daughter Ellie and is full of organic, fresh, tasty meals. She suggests all you “need is a couple of hours each month  and a passion to give your baby the best”.  Good luck with that.

CoverBaby-led Feeding

This book is very attractive with colour pictures accompanying  each recipe and plenty of interesting ideas for first food. I struggled a bit with the cost factor of strawberry and goat cheese spread, simple poached salmon (I can’t even afford this for the adults in my family let alone the children) and tomato fennel soup, but that aside there are some good ideas in here for all the family.

CoverBaby Food Matters: what science says about how to give your child healthy eating habits for life

For those of you who are serious about this baby feeding business!  Packed full of ideas including the blindingly obvious “… don’t pressure him to eat past the point at which he feels full” or “limit unhealthy foods and snacks” to in-depth information and charts for average daily energy requirements in the first year of life, recommendations for the required amount of vitamin D, and how to cope with fussy eaters. There are no pretty pictures in this book!

CoverPet Cookbook: Easy everyday recipes for happy healthy pets

Now that we are educated on how to feed our children we can turn our attention to the family pet with the Pet Cookbook: Easy everyday recipes for happy healthy pets. Treat them to watermelon pupsicles, a tasty salmon log, pupcakes, chicken scramble (apparently chickens love this even though they are eating their own) and a super smoothy.  Heck, use these recipes yourself – they look great!

Ururangi’s Gift – a Matariki Story

An original story about Matariki that draws on the themes of Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable Natural Resources of Matariki. The kaupapa (focus) for Matariki 2018 is sustainable natural resources of Matariki – Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi and Ururangi. These whetū (stars) are connected to food that is grown in the earth, food that comes from the sky, and the wind. It is essential for us to look after our Earth, and its natural resources, so that it can continue to sustain us.

Ururangi’s Gift – A Matariki Story

“Koro! Koro!” Nikau  ran as fast as he could muster, dodging rocks and hurling over bushes. Branches even grasped at the threads of his red hoodie, but they were no match for his speed.

“What is it Nikau?” a voice rang from the vegetable patch, pricking at his ears as he gleefully followed the sound.

” Koro!” Nikau almost tripped over his laces as his arms wrapped tightly around the old man, making Koro’s wrinkles iron out with a smile. “Look what I found!” Excitedly, Nikau opened his palm, showing the tiny seed hidden within.

“Ah! My dear moko you have found a Kōwhai seed.” Koro delicately lifted the seed from Nikau’s palm and pinched it between two fingers; gazing at it through the sunlight. “Ururangi must have brought it to us!”

“Ururangi?” Nikau was puzzled. “who is Ururangi?”

Sighing Koro started, “Ah, sit down Nikau, and let me tell you a story. You must know this- it is part of your whakapapa.”

“Really?” Nikau hurriedly sat on the grass, his shorts turning green from its stain.

“Do you know Matariki? It is our celebration of the new year- it is very, very special to us for many reasons.”

Nikau leaned in.

“Ururangi is one of 9 stars in the star cluster Matariki- there are hundreds of stars within, but these 9 are especially important as we can see them with our naked eye, and each hold domain over different areas of our environment. Their names are; Matariki, Pōhutukawa, Waitī and Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Ururangi, and finally Hiwa-i-te-rangi. Our tupuna would gaze at each of these stars, who would tell us what the year ahead would be like. You my dear moko, have the speed of Ururangi,” Koro chuckled “but the clumsiness of- maybe a duck?”

“Hey!” Nikau’s face turned bright red, with a sheepish grin breaking through his lips.

“Uruangi is fast too and has domain over the wind and its nature for the coming year. He gave you this special little seed, and soon you will need to pass it on for Tupu-ā-nuku to protect. We can’t plant this yet Nikau, as it’s too cold for the little Kōwhai – it is fast alseep. You will have to keep it safe until it is ready to plant in spring where it will be wide awake; but we can get the soil ready for it, and find it a safe spot for it to grow.”

Koro led Nikau by the hand, and together they found a perfect clearing for the Kōwhai to grow. Using Koro’s old trusty tools, Koro teaches Nikau how to till the soil, carefully breaking up clumps of dirt and preparing the little patch of garden.

“Tupu-ā-nuku has domain over the food grown in the earth,” Koro whispered. “Under her protection it will grow proud and tall bearing its yellow flowers as thanks.”

Nikau rubbed his hands together. They were sore, but the work they had accomplished together made him smile.

“So once Tupu-ā-nuku has it that’s it?” Nikau questioned, placing a little worm carefully  back into the dirt.

“Ehē of course not Nikau, life has a cycle, and that is only the first step.”

Nikau jumped into grandpa’s lap, relieved that isn’t the end of the story.

“Once it’s time to plant the little seed we will place it in the ground, cover it with soil and give it plenty of water. It will eventually grow its first leaves, sprouting from the ground, Tupu-ā-nuku will then help care for it, hiding it under the blades of grass, as it slowly grows and becomes stronger. The higher it reaches and the stronger it grows, the further from the ground it goes- until it cannot reach anymore!” Nikau gazed up at the sky “My seed will reach the clouds, I know it!”

Koro chuckled, “maybe not- but Kōwhai has its own purpose in life, as do I, as do you. Kōwhai gives thanks by bearing beautiful yellow flowers- this is part of its purpose.”

“So.. its purpose is to just be pretty.. that’s it?” Nikau’s heart sank.

“Ehē Nikau, kōwhai also has an ability to help us when we are unwell; its bark has healed many, as it can become a medicine to help wounds heal- but only when it grows; and once Kōwhai reaches up to the heavens, it becomes part of the domain of Tupu-ā-rangi who has domain over food from the sky.”

“Koro,” Nikau started, “you must be getting old- you can’t plant kumara in the sky!”

“Food is in many forms Nikau- and you are very cheeky!” Koro laughed, messing up Nikau’s hair.

“Kōwhai’s purpose is to feed the birds that fly in Tupu-ā-rangi’s domain-our native birds such as Tui, bellbirds, and wood pigeon feast happily on those bright flowers and lush leaves- Kōwhai give nectar as food for many of our bird life, and in return Tupu-ā-nuku cares for all of them.”

Nikau felt the inside of his pocket where the seed safely slept, excited about of what the little seed will achieve.

“The circle of life is completed when that little Kōwhai produces seeds, giving them back to Ururangi to scatter over the land. Each plays an important part; it is special to us and to our tupuna, as it will be to your own tamariki.”

Nikau hugged koro as hard as he could. He now knew why his Kōwhai seed was such a special gift to him and his whānau.

“Thank you for the story koro, I can’t wait for Matariki!”

Nikau jumped up and raced inside, hoping to have a taste of the Matariki feast.

“Nikau! Aren’t you going to help me harvest the kumara?” Koro questioned, but Nikau was already out of sight.

Koro chuckled “One day Nikau will learn,” he murmured, as he continued to prepare the soil; breaking up massive clumps of dirt and pulling out old plant roots,planning where the new plants could grow. It was hard work, but worth it for the new year coming, as then he would be ready to plant in spring. Koro had to work fast, as the kumara harvest would soon end at Marariki, which would fill their winter stores until he could plant new crops-just like his tupuna before him. Dusk soon basked the sky in bright colours, signalling the end of the day.

Koro cleaned his tools, storing them in the nearby shed. He then gathered the freshly harvested kumara in hand and made his way inside, waiting for the new year to begin.

Want to read more?

Matariki 2018

List created by ChristchurchLib

This year Christchurch City Libraries continue to explore the reintroduction of Te Iwa o Matariki – The Nine Stars of Matariki. This booklist features new favourites and some of our old favourites, as well as resources which relate to this year’s theme – Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable Natural Resources of Matariki. These three whetū are Tupu-ā-nuku which is associated with food that grows in the ground. Tupu-ā-rangi, associated with food that comes from the sky, and Ururangi, connected to the nature of the winds for the coming year. A Christchurch City Libraries list.

Cover of Ngā whetū matariki i whānakotiaNgā whetū matariki i whānakotia – Join Sam, Te Rerehua, Grandma and Pōua out at Te Mata Hāpuku (Bridling’s flat) for an adventure featuring patupaiarehe, eeling and stolen stars. Available in both te reo Māori and English with a portion of the book’s sales going towards the restoration of Te Roto o Wairewa.

Matariki – A beautiful book full of beautiful illustrations. The first of its kind this book is an easily read current piece of literature devoted to the star cluster Matariki, for adults. Also available in te reo Māori Rangi Matamua has produced a great piece of work reintroducing the knowledge of Te Iwa o Matariki.

Episode 7 – Matariki – Pipi Mā – The Cartoon

Learn about the Nine Stars of Matariki in the episode. Pipi Mā make a mobile of the star constellation Matariki and celebrate each star.

Associate Professor Dr Rangi Matamua talks about his recently released book, Matariki: The Star of the Year, at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University of Wellington.

Cover of Matariki: te whetū tapu o te tauMatariki

Tāwhirimātea – Recently released last year Tāwhirimātea A song for Matariki is beautifully illustrated and a hit with primary school aged tamariki.

View Full List 

Check out this year’s events celebrating Matariki 2018!

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

Mentioned in this podcast

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CINCH – Community Information Christchurch

Find organisations and groups:

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

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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

Mentioned in this podcast

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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

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

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Matariki – a time for garden plans

With Matariki approaching, it’s nearly time to start thinking about our food plantings for the coming year. Three stars of the Matariki cluster, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, and Ururangi, are important to planning for the coming year’s food crops – and traditionally the way they appear to viewers (hazy or clear, for instance) helped Māori determine when the best planting times and conditions would be.

Tupu-ā-nuku is the star of food from the earth – root vegetables and anything that grows directly from the ground, so this covers most of the vege garden. Tupu-ā-rangi governs food from the sky – so that’s fruit from trees, berries, and birds. Ururangi is the star of the winds, so it’s understandable this star would play an important part in determining key dates of the growing calendar – particularly in windy Canterbury!

As a gardener and seed-saver myself, all this makes perfect sense – the middle of winter is the best time to leave the saturated garden soils alone to hibernate (and slowly mature their winter crops), while I hibernate too in the warmth of the lounge and process my saved seeds from summer and autumn. As I do so, I’m thinking about next year’s garden rotation: making sure each type of vegetable will have a different spot from the previous year (to minimise the build-up of soil-borne diseases), assessing the harvest from each variety and whether it needs different conditions or an adjusted planting time, and deciding whether I have enough seeds of each type – and whether I’d like to try growing any new vege or varieties.

Seed saving is a great way to take control of your food supply, save money, teach kids about growing, preserve local varieties – and keep that delicious tomato you grew last summer so you can have it again! Anything you’ve grown from bought seed that isn’t an F1 hybrid (a cross to increase plant vigour that won’t grow ‘true to type’ in subsequent generations) can be left to go to seed and its seeds harvested for next year. If you’re buying seed with a view to saving it, look for heritage varieties as their seeds will ‘grow true’.

bean collection
Beans. An easy way to start seed saving.

Peas and beans are super-easy seeds to start saving yourself. Just let some pods dry as much as possible on the plant, pick them before they start getting too wet in autumn, and keep the seeds for next spring. These large and colourful seeds are fun for kids to grow too – easy for little fingers to handle, and their seedlings pop up super-fast.

You can also have a chat with other gardeners in your area and see if they have any seeds for you to try – locally-saved seeds are often a good bet, as they’re adapted to local conditions. You might also want to keep an eye out for the Libraries’ Spring Seeds Swaps, which take place in many libraries across the network (we’ll be posting the dates and locations of these in our events calendar closer to spring).

A parsnip plant gone to seed
A parsnip “tree” going to seed

For me one of the joys of seed saving is seeing the mature forms of vegetable plants, which we often don’t see since we harvest them before maturity. Who knew a parsnip left to go to seed would grow into a ‘tree’ as tall as the guttering of my house? Not me! It was magnificent. 🙂

Different plants need different seed saving techniques, but the good news is there are lots of great books available on seed saving. Why not try starting with one or two plants, and learning how to save seed from a new one every season?

Trust me, once you get started seed saving becomes quite addictive – my poor partner puts up with kitchen towels spread with tomato seeds, a laundry strung with drying corn cobs, and paper bags of seed heads drying all over the house. Gotta have a hobby, I say!

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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

Find out more in our collection

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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