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.

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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

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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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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

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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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eMagazines for your weekend – RBDigital Magazines

Here are a dozen fresh eMagazines hot off the press from RBDigital Magazines. Perfect for a spot of weekend reading – on your laptop, desktop, phone, tablet …

Cover

  1. British Vogue (includes great interview with Salman Rushdie – apparently he was great buddies with Carrie Fisher)
  2. Vanity Fair
  3. New Zealand Listener
  4. Woman’s Day
  5. Hello!
  6. Grazia
  7. Nadia
  8. All about history
  9. All about space
  10. The Economist [U.S. edition]
  11. Home
  12. F1 Racing

Dainty Inn, High Street: Picturing Canterbury

Dainty Inn, High Street by Patricia Scott, Kete Christchurch. StaceyBuildings-006. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Situated at 242 High Street, the Dainty Inn first opened in 1940 as a “milk bar and quick lunch business”. It was later purchased by James Michael Curnow (1922-2014) who ran it for 28 years. His recollections feature in Remembering Christchurch. Although it was not the only milk bar on High Street (the other being the Milky Way), part of its attraction was a pulley system which took orders to the kitchen. The business closed in 1989.

This photograph shows a glimpse of neighbouring booksellers Simpson & Williams at the right, with Evans Footwear and Princess Restaurant at the left.

Do you have any photographs of the Dainty Inn or High Street? 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.

New Titles, tweeted: Chris picks some top new books

Our selectors spot plenty of new and interesting titles as part of their work. Here are some titles that took the fancy of tweeting selector Chris:

The Little Library Cookbook

You know that a book is a wonder when you stomp around the house muttering ‘I should have written this’. The wonderful new cookbook by Kate Young The little library cookbook really is one such SATHM (stomp around the house muttering) book.

Fiction and food are one of life’s irresistible combinations, and ‘literary’ cookbooks have always been a weakness of mine. I’m thinking of Cherry cake and ginger beer, The unofficial Harry Potter cookbook, and Dinner With Mr Darcy, the list goes on. However, there is something particularly appealing about Kate Young’s contribution to this unique foodie genre. Not only are the recipes seriously good- (if a cookbook contains a bread recipe that enables me to produce a loaf of crusty goodness rather than a forlorn looking dough worthy of papier mache, then I know that the cook knows their stuff), but also, the narrative is simply gorgeous. Young takes us on not only a culinary and literary journey, but also an engagingly personal one that had me wanting to reminisce, cook and read simultaneously.

Young includes the essential recipes that any respectable ‘library cookbook’ should have (I am of course thinking of Proust’s madeleine in particular here), but she also includes recipes from books that are simply dear to her heart. These include crab and avocado salad from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, chicken casserole from Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women, and gin martini and chicken sandwich from JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey.

Young is not limited in her literary taste either, with ‘hunny’ and rosemary cakes’ worthy of Winnie the Pooh getting a deserved mention, and even vanilla layer cake as Anne of Green Gables originally intended getting its full due.

This was perhaps what I loved best about this gorgeous book — the lovely surprises when I turned page after page to also see one of my own beloved authors getting their recipe out there, such as mince pies from Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum, curried chicken from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Homes, and eclairs from Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. Young’s taste in both food and literature is so close to my own; I was busy lapping up every word and nodding profusely in agreement.

Observations really do make Young’s narrative a joy, see du Maurier’s Rebecca:

the sinister Mrs, Danvers, surely one of the most insidious and manipulative villains in literature, turns a story that could be romantic into one where even the crumpets seem to be a threat.

and E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View:

the thing is, I think meringues and coffee get a raw deal here. They’re meant to be emblematic of the comfortable, predictable life that Lucy lives as a young woman, but I think they deserve better… And so I am here to advocate for meringues and coffee.

I very much enjoyed her bookish reminiscences along the way, such as her passage on first reading The book thief:

I have a vivid memory of being reduced to tears by the ending, trapped in a window seat on a flight to Italy. Perhaps inevitably for a story narrated by death and set in Germany during the second world war, it’s devastating.

I also enjoyed the stories of family and friends along the way, in fact, as the youngest of three sisters, her dedication of Shirley Jackson’s ‘spice cookies’ to her own sister bought a bit of a lump to my throat (also, as my sisters would heartily concur, greater love hath no sister than this that she should lay down her cookie recipe…).

There is nothing not to love about this gorgeous book — engaging, beautifully presented, and full of scrumptious recipes, this really is a must read for all book loving foodies.

The Little Library Cookbook
by Kate Young
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781784977672

See also: Moata’s booklist  Pop culture will eat itself for themed cookbooks for movies, TV shows, literature and art.

Cool stuff from the selectors: Children’s books

Nadiya’s Bake me a story by Nadiya Hussain
Winner of the 2015 Great British Bake Off combines traditional tales and recipes for all the family. She also has a new Christmas title Bake me a Festive Story arriving in October.

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Fish girl by Donna Jo Napoli
Napoli teams with Caldecott winner David Wiesner in this Graphic Novel about a young mermaid who is the main attraction in an aquarium. She can’t talk and she can’t walk but she can make friends with a girl named Livia. Can she find a new life on land?  Like all David Wiesner’s books the pictures in this book are outstanding.

Celebration of Beatrix Potter : art and letters by more than 30 of today’s book illustrators
Wonderful re-imaginations of some of Beatrix Potter’s famous tales by artists like Jon Agee, Tommie dePaola, Brian Pinkney and Rosemary Wells, the fabulous David Wiesner makes another appearance here also.  Each illustration is accompanied by text from the artist explaining what that character means to them, making this a true celebration of Beatrix Potter.

Christchurch – Our Underground  Story by Phil Wilkins
If you have a child who has been fascinated by all the trucks, bulldozers, diggers and construction going on around Christchurch then this rather quirky book could be a hit.  Designed as a large board book with lift the flaps it contains everything you did (or perhaps didn’t want to know) about what has been going on under our feet.
Read our post on Christchurch – Our underground story

A look inside Christchurch: Our underground story by Phil Wilkins and Martin Coates