Podcast – Suffrage 125

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

It is 125 years since New Zealand became the first country to allow women to vote in parliamentary elections. In this show, guests Vanisa Dhiru (National President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand), Katie Pickles (Historian of Women’s and Feminist History at the University of Canterbury) and Kym Hamilton (Tokona Te Raki) ponder the history of suffrage in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the current state of women’s rights in the country. This show is proudly supported by the Ministry for Women’s Suffrage 125 Community Fund.

  • Part I: Brief overview of the Suffrage movement in Aotearoa New Zealand; who exactly was entitled to vote following the 1893 Electoral Act
  • Part II: Women’s rights and challenges in NZ 125 years since Suffrage
  • Part III: The need for a gender-equal NZ; the need to look at gender beyond stereotypes and beyond the binary
  • Part IV: Hopes for the future

Transcript – Suffrage 125

Find out more in our collection

 Cover of Women's suffrage in New Zealand Cover of Women now: The legacy of female suffrage Cover of Unsung heroines Cover of Leading the way Cover of Be counted! Cover of Polly Plum Cover of The suffragists Cover of Women's suffrage in New Zealand Cover of Canterbury women since 1893 Cover of Class, Gender and the Vote Historical Perspectives From New Zealand Cover of Rethinking Women and Politics

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Podcast – Tā moko

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.

Tā moko – Māori tattoos – are enjoying a resurgence. Tā moko artist Chris Harvey, University of Canterbury lecturer Komene Kururangi and photographer Michael Bradley (whose recent ‘Puaki’ exhibition documents wearers of mataora and moko kauwae – facial tattoos) discuss this resurgence, as well as the reasons and responsibilities that come with deciding to wear such a visible sign of mātauranga Māori.

Part I: What is tā moko? How is it different to kirituhi (writing on the skin)? Who can wear moko? Why do people get moko?

Part II: Responsibilities that come with wearing and giving moko

Part III: Changing attitudes in Aotearoa towards moko; changing designs; likely continuing interest in moko in the future

Transcript – Tā moko

Mentioned in this podcast

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Mau moko Cover of New Zealand Tattoo Cover of Ancient Wisdom Modern Solutions The Inspirational Story of One Man's Quest to Become A Modern Day Warrior Cover of Moko Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century Cover of Moko Rangatira Māori Tattoo Cover of Moko Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century Cover of MataoraCover of Moko The Art and History of Maori TattooingCover of Ta Moko The Art of Maori Tattoo

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Interview with Laurence Fearnley – WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

During the chaos of dashing between WORD sessions, writer and co-editor Laurence Fearnley kindly agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions about her new anthology To the Mountains and other works.

What brought you to writing about mountaineering?

My parents used to do a lot of climbing in Scotland and Wales after the war [before moving to Christchurch]. We spent a lot of weekends tramping — dad went on a couple of expeditions to the Himalayas, my brother was a keen climber… When I was doing research for my novel The Hut Builder I read a lot of Alpine Club articles and ended up with boxes and boxes of material, so I thought it would be quite nice to do something with that. There hadn’t been an anthology of mountain writing since Ray Knox’s A Thousand Mountains Shining in the 80s, so it seemed a good time. I hadn’t really kept up to date with modern mountaineering writing but [co-editor] Paul Hersey edited the Alpine Journal and is a climber, so he had that sort of knowledge.

You researched a lot in the Hocken Collection. What was that like?

They have full archives from the Alpine Club, which was established in 1891. It’s interesting because they allowed women to join as members right from the start, compared to others like the Canterbury Mountaineering Club which didn’t allow women in until the 1980s. I got material from those archives and also from notebooks, journals, and letters that individuals have donated to the collection. It’s an amazing archival record, it’s incredible. It does taper off from the 1970s/80s onwards so it would be great if people continued to donate to the collection, if this could be our central repository of mountain writing.

A lot of voices chosen for this anthology aren’t those most people would associate with alpine writing — usually we only hear from those at the cutting edge of mountaineering.

That’s the sad thing because that’s how you get the same old voices coming through, if they’re not disrupted by allowing different voices. Mountains are a big part of our sporting identity, it would be nice if it was seen as something families do, not just rugged individuals. There are so many reasons why people go into the mountains — photography, art, for somewhere quiet and restful, to admire the beauty… The public perception of conquest [of the Alps] doesn’t really hold true, it’s not necessarily a motivation for most people.

At the same time a lot of the 1930s Canterbury Mountaineering Club articles are of trips in the Port Hills because it was difficult to get good transport to the Alps — they might only be able to get into the mountains once or twice a year but they were very fit. It was a class orientated sport, particularly in the early days. It’s interesting when the boundaries start breaking down between the upper middle class mountaineers and the working class mountain guides. Guides weren’t allowed in the Alpine Club because they were professionals.

Laurence Fearnley. Image supplied.
Laurence Fearnley. Image supplied.

Which doesn’t give credit to the fact that the guides were doing a lot of the work putting up tents, cutting steps, carrying the equipment…

Yes, you get someone like Dora De Beer on an expedition overseas in China, they walked 400 miles before they even got to the mountain, it was a real Victorian expedition. They would expect shelter from whatever was available, from monasteries to embassies, just take over their house. She was an amazing woman — during the 30s just before the war she would drive from London through Holland, Germany and Switzerland to get to Italy, on her own a lot of the time. Her diaries are from 1936-37, a lot of her entries are things like “Very inconvenienced getting across the border,” such a sense of imperious entitlement with no mention of the political climate. People like her were so curious and enthusiastic, in New Zealand they’d set off on horseback across Otira to the West Coast, just loving the absolute freedom of being out of that rigid society. They thought it was a great hoot.

Some of my favourite parts of the book are letters from the 1800s, there were some really funny excerpts. You must have had a lot of fun finding these in the Hocken collection. Do you have any favourites?

The ones I liked were the quieter, reflective pieces, people going back later in life and just enjoying being in the outdoors with their friends. I guess Jill Tremain had a big impact on me as a kid when she did the [1971 traverse of the Southern Alps] with Graeme Dingle — I can remember it being on the radio, there was a lot of controversy about them sharing a tent as she wasn’t married. From her letters she seemed to have such a generous outlook on life.

Voices I like least would be the 1970s slightly macho hard men stuff, that’s not a voice that appeals to me but quite a big part of the literature of the time. When you compare those writers with Aat Vervoorn, so reflective and spiritual, learning from the landscape… The ones who enjoy being in the space rather than needing to prove themselves or get a reputation, those would be the voices I like.

To the Mountains. Image supplied.
To the Mountains. Image supplied.

What are you currently working on?

I’m two-thirds of the way through a novel looking at landscape through scent and identity, under the umbrella narrative of a woman who loses her job when the university Humanities department is done away with. That one will be coming out next year. I’m also looking at doing an anthology of New Zealand women mountaineers. This will be more historical, it will be worthwhile to have a chronology of women mountaineers as there are so many of them.

What are you reading at the moment?

Just read a couple of books that I reviewed for Landfall, one called Oxygen by [New Zealand freediver) William Trubridge — not a book I’d necessarily be drawn to but interesting to see just how determined and focussed he has to be. The other is a beautiful book about hunting called Dark Forest Deep Water by Richard Fall, which would normally be something that turns me off but hearing him reflecting on why he hunts and the emotional journeys of hunting… It’s a great book, I’d really recommend it.

Thanks Laurence for a lovely interview, and I look forward to reading your next books!

Saving the Future: Interview with Ant Sang

Ant Sang, self portrait.Ant Sang is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed cartoonists and graphic novelists.

His best-selling graphic novel, Shaolin Burning, won an Honour Award at the 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. He’ll be appearing in Ant Sang: Dharma Punk with Tracy Farr, Saturday 1 September, as part of WORD Christchurch Festival 2018.

Welcome to Christchurch, Ant!

Graphic novels are very popular here across all age groups, as are animated series and films. New Zealand artists compete well in this genre. Can you say why you think the comic strip and cartoon has remained a popular genre?

I think cartoons are naturally appealing to people, from a young age.

And with the breadth of work being produced in the comic form there really is something for everyone; from easy-to-read comics for younger readers, experimental ‘alternative’ comics, Japanese horror and romance manga, superheroes and so much more.

As a kid I read Monster Fun, The Beano and Judge Dredd. What early cartoonists and artists appealed to you as a young person?

I read so many comics when I was young. Asterix, Tintin, Footrot Flats, Beano, Tarzan, Uncle Scrooge, Richie Rich; anything i could get my hands on really!

Cover of Shaolin Burning by Ant SangI enjoyed the clear black and white plates of Shaolin Burning, not to mention the great plot and strong characters. It appeals to those (like me) who don’t like too much text, or are reading graphic novels for the first time.

Was Shaolin Burning your interpretation of a folktale, or a myth of your own creation?

Thanks. Shaolin Burning was a retelling of kung fu myths and Chinese history, interwoven with my own original characters. I really liked the idea of creating characters who were written out of history, but who might have interacted with famous kung fu personalities such as Wing Chun.

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas is a standout as your first foray in colour comics. How did you make this transition and how did you find it as a medium?

I loved working in colour for Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas. I’ve worked with colour previously in my illustration and comic projects, but never on the scale of this book. To make it visually interesting I wanted to use different colour palettes for different locations and times of day so that there was a sense of a varied landscape and a long passage of time throughout the book.

The Dharma Punks, Shaolin Burning and Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas feature strong female characters. How did you develop Helen’s character?

Helen was created by my co-author Michael Bennett, who originally wrote the story as film script. As we developed the graphic novel, Helen did evolve; for instance in the original script she was married, and a few years older. But at the heart of it, it’s always been a story about a young woman finding herself and her place (or time) in the world.

Not just action-adventure, your comics address strong themes. In Helen we touch on disability, environmental destruction, state control and domestic violence, to name a few. Were these issues part of Michael Bennett’s original script idea, or did they develop as you responded to it?

A lot of these were very much a part of Michael’s script, though we did emphasise the environmental issue as we developed the script into comic form. Originally the collapse of civilisation was more mysterious and wasn’t fully explained, and Helen wasn’t an environmental activist.

These things became clearer as we collaborated on the comic and dug deeper as to Helen’s motivations and character. That’s something I really love about collaborating with other creatives; the process of pushing our work into new and undiscovered directions.

How do you think zine culture and comic strip writing could be better nurtured and preserved in New Zealand?

I think there’s already so much great work being produced here in New Zealand. Back when I started, it was all about using photocopiers to make and self-publish mini-comics, but now there’s a huge amount of great work being produced as webcomics.

Do you have any advice tor people planning to run a comic or ‘zine workshop?

I’ve been teaching comics at MIT here in Auckland for the last two years, and I think it’s a good idea to give participants an environment where they can create in a hands-on way. For short workshops, I like to focus on one topic and let participants get into it.

Lastly, we all loved Bro’ Town. Can we hope to see more of your series animated? (Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas would make a great film!)

The Naked Samoans have been busy writing a bro’Town feature script, and I really hope it goes into development. It’d be great to get together with the bro’Town crew again. As for my other projects, I’d love to see them all adapted into films. I’m currently making an animated kung fu short film about the young woman Wing Chun, so that’s a start.

Find out more

More about WORD Christchurch Festival

Quick Questions with Laurie Winkless – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Laurie Winkless is a physicist-turned-science-writer. After a research career in materials science at Britain’s National Physical Laboratory, her first book, Science and the City, was published worldwide by Bloomsbury. Laurie’s second book, Sticky, is in the works.

Laurie Winkless. Photo credit: Tim Goffe
Laurie Winkless. Photo credit: Tim Goffe

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’m looking forward to exploring Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, and finding some of the famous street art dotted around the city

What do you think about libraries?

My local library changed my life! As soon as I started to show an interest in books – before I could read – my parents brought me to the library. There, I found my happy place. Without that access, I doubt I’d have written my own book. Even today, I’m at my most comfortable when surrounded by books. Libraries have just as important today as they always have been. As our cities grow, and populations spread, libraries act as the heart of the community, opening the world to readers, young and old. Librarians, too, offer an incredible, vital service

What would be your desert island book?

I can’t possibly pick just one!

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Here are a few:

  • I come from a stage-school family, so I can sing and dance
  • I used to collect stamps
  • I’ve done a parachute jump
  • I am obsessed with trains

Laurie’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Inspiring writers secondary schools day Thursday 30 August

Laurie Winkless: Science and the city Saturday 1 September

Quick Questions with Michèle A’Court – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Winner of Female Comedian of the Decade in 2010, Michèle A’Court is a stand-up comedian, writer and social commentator. She has written two books: Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter (2015) and How We Met (2018).

Michèle A’Court. Image supplied.
Michèle A’Court. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Hanging out with writers and the people who read their books. Writers are delightful people – they love words and they love wine, which are two of my Top Five Favourite Things. And people who read have curious minds and excellent manners. Also hoping for clear skies and crisp days.

What do you think about libraries?

Every time I walk into a library, I feel like I’m rich. You can have anything you want without having to worry about how much it costs.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Everything ever written by Joan Didion – essays, memoir, fiction. I love the way she uses words, the way she sees the world, and captures particular moments in modern history.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I own a selection of Minnie Mouse ears – daywear, formal, Christmas and other special occasions. I fully accept that not everyone will find this fact surprising.

Michèle A’Court’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Tom Scott: Drawn out Saturday 1 September 11.30am

Let love in Saturday 1 September 2.30pm

The Great WORD Debate Saturday 1 September 8pm SOLD OUT

Quick Questions with Brannavan Gnanalingam – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington writer who has published five novels through Lawrence & Gibson. His latest, Sodden Downstream (2017), was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Brannavan Gnanalingam. Photo credit: Lucy Li
Brannavan Gnanalingam. Photo credit: Lucy Li

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with Christchurch friends, seeing some amazing writers, and hopefully spinning some yarns

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are the reason why I’m a writer. My Mum would take me to the various Hutt Libraries when I was a child and sit there and wait while I read books (I hadn’t fully appreciated I could take books home). They are so so crucial. They’re also a great way for people to read my books, hint hint.

What would be your desert island book?

Can I cheat and say Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine. They’re mostly all interrelated so I feel like it’s an ok bending of the rules. I’m halfway there and I love them but I’d love to have the time to read the remaining 50 books.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I was once robbed by a gang of old ladies in Kazakhstan. They also robbed my friend Gareth, but he was trying to hold onto his money, which he did… until one bit him and drew blood so he let go. We lost about $20 all up.

Brannavan Gnanalingam’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Motherhood Saturday 1 September 11.30am SOLD OUT

The politics of fiction Saturday 1 September 4pm

Explosive Archaeology Sunday 2 September 10am

Quick Questions with Catherine Robertson – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Catherine Robertson’s five novels have all been No. 1 New Zealand best-sellers. She reviews fiction for the New Zealand Listener and is a regular guest on RNZ. She has appeared at and chaired sessions for several writers festivals.

Catherine Robertson. Photo credit: Russell Kleyn

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Visiting the art gallery again. My art collection started with postcards from the gift shop.

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are a bastion against ignorance and a gateway to learning, inspiration and joy. They’re the most powerful places on earth.

What would be your desert island book?

Roget’s Thesaurus, because I can create infinite stories from its contents.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I can recite several AA Milne poems, including The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak.

Catherine Robertson’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

High tea and tales with Nicky Pellegrino Thursday 30 August 2pm

Motherhood Saturday 1 September 11.30am

Let Love in Saturday 1 September 2.30pm

Quick Questions with Kirsten McDougall – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Kirsten McDougall has written a book of interconnected short stories, The Invisible Rider, and a novel Tess. She has published stories and non-fiction in Landfall, Sport, Turbine and Tell You What: Great New Zealand Non-fiction 2016.

Kirsten McDougall. Photo credit: Grant Maiden Photography.
Kirsten McDougall. Photo credit: Grant Maiden Photography.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

The literary whisky tasting at WORD Christchurch Festival and seeing what new street art has popped up since I was last there.

What do you think about libraries?

They’re one of the world’s great inventions. They’re a socialist idea that delivers and they create a scene without an economic imperative. In that sense – you might call libraries a kind of art form.

What would be your desert island book?

Treasure Island.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I have really good timing for someone who isn’t a musician. I can pick up rhythms really easily and tap them out on my knees no problem. I wish this was a more recognised party trick than it is.

Kirsten McDougall’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

The Body Issue Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

Quick Questions with Vanda Symon – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Vanda Symon is the author of the Detective Sam Shephard series, and the standalone thriller, The Faceless. She is a three-time Ngaio Marsh Award finalist, and is a judge of the Ngaio Marsh Award for best first crime novel.

Vanda Symon, Image supplied.
Vanda Symon, Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with my writer cronies.

What do you think about libraries?

They are my happy place.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I attack people with swords for relaxation.

Vanda Symon’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Paul Cleave: Crimechurch Friday 31 August 11.30am

Murder in the Chamber: Ngaio Marsh finalists Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

The 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards Saturday 1 September 7pm