Harry Giles: Doer of Things (WORD Christchurch event, Tues 13 March 7.30pm at Space Academy)

I must admit to some trepidation about reporting on a Poetry Reading. How does one describe a Poetry Reading to those that weren’t there? Even one by a flamboyant Scottish poet who has travelled halfway across the world.

Harry Josephine Giles originally came from the Orkney Islands but they did not elaborate from which island other than to tell us that their island had 700 people and six churches of various denominations. Obviously, a small island northeast of Scotland was never going to contain nor satisfy a restless, creative spirit like Harry’s so they headed for the big city and now reside in Edinburgh.

I vacillated on whether I should take notes, but I thought that would be a buzz kill when I was trying to listen and enjoy the poetry in the moment.

Harry started off reading some poems in English and then went on to read some in Scots. If you want to see what Scots poetry looks like, check out Whit tae write nou?

I profess ignorance and I have no excuse since I am descended from Scots, but I was unaware that three languages were spoken in Scotland as Harry enlightened us. I knew they spoke English (the language of their colonisers) and Scots Gaelic (related to the other Celtic dialects of Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany), but I hadn’t considered Scots as a separate language. I’d thought of it as a variation of English. But Harry put us straight, explaining that Scots has those Norse origins that English shares.

Harry kindly read their Scots versions of poems then followed with the English translation, so to speak.

Although tired after their whirlwind tour of Aotearoa (nine gigs in seven days in New Plymouth and Wellington), Harry gave an energetic performance. It was easy to see that Harry works in the performance and theatre arenas because they enlivened their poetry with modulations of their voice and gestures. Harry has a beguiling shyness that peeps out from time to time.

Harry read a small series of poems in which they had engendered their fears and anxieties through the persona of a female military drone. You can hear some of the sequence on Soundcloud.

Harry was introduced by Ray Shipley who is a Christchurch-based poet, comedian, youth worker and founder of the Faultline Poetry Collective. Ray made an able MC and general crowd-exciter, but Harry had the audience engaged from their first poem and many of us were sad to bid Harry farewell after only an hour and a half.

More Harry Giles

How do you learn a language in a month?: Mango Language’s #31DaysofLanguage Challenge

“Magandang umaga!” (Good morning!)

“Ako si Kate.” (My name is Kate.)

Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Is one of your 2018 New Year Resolutions to be able to chat in a different language?

Well then, you are in luck! Check out Mango Languages, and get on with it! It’s fun, easy, and free – all you need is a Christchurch City Libraries library card and a pin.

During January, Mango Languages ran the #31DaysofLanguage social media challenge. With a different language challenge for each day of the month, I used it as a chance to learn more about this great resource, and see how much Tagalog I could pick up in a month. (Spoiler – not as much as I would have wanted to, but hey, it’s been fun trying anyway!)


Here area some of my highlights from doing the 2018 Mango Language Challenge.

  • Learning how Filipinos celebrate New Year – Feasts, fun, and family! New Year is an opportunity to party, and food is a big part of that party. Long noodles and sticky rice bring good luck and a long life, so you’ll eat lots of that, but you won’t see chicken on the menu – chickens are always scrounging for food, and if you eat chicken at New Years’ you’ll be hungry all year.
  • Sharing books with Tagalog-speaking students and family at a local school.
  • Learning there are eleven Tagalog-language newspapers available to read online on PressReader (with your library card and pin). It’s interesting seeing the way that both English and Tagalog are used in the newspapers – I’d start feeling really clever because I’d read a whole newspaper article, only to realise that it was one of the English articles, not the Tagalog one!
  • Listening to the soundtrack from Pinoy Big Brother, the Philippine version of the Big Brother TV show, and other music from the Philippines.
  • Exploring recipes from the Philippines. I’ll be honest – I haven’t got around to actually making any of the recipes just yet, but I’ve found a recipe called ‘chicken tinola’ that looks quite yum, so that’s going to be my experiment this weekend. Chicken, broth, ginger, and mango – sounds just right for summer.

So there you have it. Some of my learning from a month of dipping in to Mango Languages. This is a fun app to use, and I love the variety of languages you can learn with it – Arabic, Greek, Vietnamese, Pirate, Shakespearian English… the list goes on. There is something for everyone, so give it a try and see which language takes your fancy.

Paalam! Bye!

新年愿望和图书馆的资源 (New Year’s Resolutions and Library Resources)

新的一年到来了!在这辞旧迎新之季,我们每个人都对来年有所期盼。自助书籍作家Melody Beattie 说过,新的一年就像一本书待写的一章,需要我们设定目标来完成。在西方社会,人们都有制定新年计划和愿望 (New Year’s Resolutions) 的习惯。这一习俗沿袭了四千年前古巴比伦的传统。早期的基督徒将其作为反省过去的过失,规划来年的契机。在中国,人们在新年之际也会互相发送新年寄语和收集一些 鼓励自己的话语。即使没有写下来,我们的心里可能都有这样一份自我规划和自律的清单( A to-do list)。然而,要将这些写在纸上的规划和愿望逐条地付诸实施并非易事,需要心理准备和物质条件。在这方面,图书馆的资源能提供有益的帮助。

所谓心理准备就是了解自己的弱点和预期实施计划会遇到的障碍,从而克服这些困难以达到预定的目标。成功地实施新年愿望的关键就是能自我控制,持之以恒地向预定的目标努力。社会心理学家 Roy F. Baumeister和纽约时报科学专栏作家John Tierney 认为,人类不同于动物的一大特点就是人类的自制力或称毅志力(willpower)。人类能够为了长远的目标自我克制以免受暂时诱惑的影响。人们的目标可能是组建一个和睦的家庭,追求一个成功的职业,寻求经济上的安全感,拥有和保持健康或追求兴趣、爱好和梦想。无论那一个目标的实现都取决于个人的自制力。在上个世纪六十年代,心理学教授Walter Mischel和他的同事在斯坦福开展的著名的棉花糖实验(Stanford Marshmallow Test )显示了自制力与成功密切相关。



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  • 运动、音乐, 种植和社区生活:如果您喜欢运动,图书馆有关练习瑜伽、 在基督城步行 的资料可提供指导;音乐爱好者不要错过 Music Online: Listening Plus,其中包含各种类型的音乐供选;种植爱好者可在图书馆找到大量有关园艺的书和杂志,一些推荐书目尤其有用;CINCH: Community Directory 收集了大约6,000家基督城的社团、俱乐部和成人教育的信息,能为您提供社区活动和组织的资讯。
  • 阅读:如果您想培养阅读的爱好,DragonSource, Overdrive, BorrowBox, PressReader 能提供您中文杂志、电子书、有声电子书和世界各地包括英文和华文报纸。


  • 基督城图书馆华人读书会:如果您喜欢读书、交友和与其他阅读爱好者交流读后感,欢迎加入Fendalton基督城华人读书会。我们每月第二个星期五晚6.30pm-7.30pm 在Fendalton 图书馆见面。


Hong Wang, NLA

새로운 시작을 준비하며 올 한해를 마감합니다

오랫 동안 기다리던 책을 우연히 만났을 때의 반가움을 맛 본 적이있나요? 오랜 동안 못 보던 친구를 만난것 처럼 궁금함이 폭발해 그 책을 단숨에 읽었습니다.

수키 김 의 통역사( The interpreter)를 소개합니다.

수키 김은 2003년에 이 한 권의 책으로 많은 상을 수상하며 작가로 등단했습니다. 서울에서 태어나 부모님을 따라 미국으로 이민을 간 저자의 배경은 이 책을  쓸 충분한 이유라 생각했습니다. 통역사로 일하며, 부모님의 의문사를 추적해 나가는 수지는 모호한 자신의 정체성을 하나 하나 찾아갑니다.담담하게 전개되는 이이야기는 오히려 큰 여운을 남겨 책을 다 읽은 후에도 계속 머리 속을 맴돌았습니다. 이 책은 이민자로 살아가는 우리와 우리 아이들이 극복하고 해결해 나가야 할 이야기였습니다.

Korean Book Club이 2018년 부터 둘째 주 금요일 6시에서 7시로 변경되었습니다.

독서 회원님들의 추천과 요청으로 한글 책들이 보다 더 다양해졌습니다. 이 독서 모임은 책을 중심으로 한 인문학 토론의 장입니다. 누구든지 책을 좋아하시는 분들을 초대합니다. 매월 독서 모임후 Korean Book Club list를 만들고 있습니다. 같이 읽어 보시고 독서평도 남겨보세요.  12월의 도서 목록을 소개합니다.클릭하세요.

크라이스트 쳐치 시립 도서관에서는 아이들의 여름방학을 위한 여러 가지 행사Summertime Reading Club이 준비되어있습니다. 도서관 카드가 없으신 분은 On line 으로 직접 신청하세요.

연말 연시의 도서관 운영 시간표를 잘 확인하세요. 즐거운 크리스마스 보내시고, 새해엔 더욱 더 행복하세요.

My Library – Robyn Chandler, Manager of Literacy Christchurch

Literacy Christchurch (formerly known as ARAS – Adult Reading Assistance Scheme) celebrates its 40th birthday today.  ARAS began on 13 December 1977 as a pilot scheme initiated by the Canterbury WEA (Workers Educational Association), with 8 volunteer tutors and 8 students.

Robyn Chandler, manager of Literacy Christchurch, talked to Jan Orme, Senior Library Assistant, Outreach and Learning Team for the sixth issue of our magazine uncover – huraina.

Professionally, what does the library mean to you?

So many things – university, education, nurturing, empowerment, research, choice, access to knowledge – the library is a place of instruction and delight, and such a key feature of a free society. It’s a world of information and cultural richness rather than a set of walls. Libraries have provided both education and entertainment for me.

And personally – what’s your favourite part of the library?

CoverDo I have to pick only one? I love the displays of artwork and artefacts, the children’s section and its sense of potential. I tend to focus on one area of a collection for a while – mountaineering, gardening, local history, music, art… recently the graphic novel collection (loved Northern Lights). But if I had to focus on just the one area because I had a time limit it would be the new books – there’s always something to find.

Would you please share some highlights of your own literacy journey?

CoverI remember sitting outside the University library on a bleak winter’s day reading the 19th century novel Wuthering Heights, the words collapsing the distances of history, space, and culture. I was there, on that “bleak hill-top,” lost in the “atmospheric tumult.”

On a professional level, it would have to be becoming a volunteer literacy tutor and having the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life and sharing their literacy journey for a time.

What would you say to your learners who are new to using the library?

I would want them to know that they are in charge of their library experience and that there are people available to support them with their library choices and needs. I would advise them to not be intimidated and to be aware of the resources available to them and that library staff are more than happy to help. The library is there for everybody; the library belongs to us all.

We’d love to see more of your learners in our libraries, what would be your best advice to help us achieve that?

The most important thing new library users need to see is a friendly face and to feel welcomed, to see proof that the library is there for them and their community. Some of our learners have English as an additional language and it would be nice to see more welcome signs in other languages. I’m really pleased to see that families are going to be able to take part in the Summer Reading challenges this year, this kind of activity encourages novice library users to participate in what’s going on in the library. Doing things with whānau can feel more natural than doing things alone.

What would be the one book you would take to a desert island?

I’m going to cheat – my desert island will have WiFi and I will be accessing the library’s great and growing collection of eResources. Me, my device, and more media than I’ll ever be able to get through … a whole world at my fingertips.

Read online in uncover- huraina issue 6, p 16

Donation of Polish books to Christchurch City Libraries

On Saturday 9th December, Central Library Peterborough hosted Mr Zbigniew Gniatkowskted, the Polish Ambassador to New Zealand; Mrs Winsome Dormer, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland for the South Island; Anna Gruczyska, President of the Polish Association in Christchurch; and Krysia Wiek, member of the Polish community in Christchurch. The Polish Embassy kindly gifted books in Polish, and about Poland, to the library.

The Polish collection has been a part of the Christchurch City Libraries’ World languages collection for several years now, established after the original Polish Library at the Hereford Street Community House perished in the February 2011 earthquake, with the entire collection of books lost.

In addition to purchases made by the Christchurch City Libraries, the Polish collection contains book donations from members, and on this occasion from the Polish Embassy. In addition to a number of books in Polish, the donation includes several books on Poland and Polish history in English, for the Christchurch City Libraries collection.

View Polish language items in our collection.

After presenting the collection to the Christchurch City Libraries our guests stayed for a morning tea – delicious polish buns made by Krysia – and a chat with the Central Library Peterborough team.

Information and photos from:
Anna Gruczynska
President of the Polish Association in Christchurch
Annie M
Central Library Peterborough

Podcast – Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in Disaster Risk Reduction

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.

In this episode Sally talks with Sharon O’Brien and Federico Federici of INTERACT (International Network on Crisis Translation) and J. C. Gaillard and Jay Marlowe (University of Auckland) on the issues, challenges and strategies around communicating important information to diverse communities during times of disaster. Talking points include –

  • Interpreting vs translating
  • Importance of translation and interpreting as means of inclusion – first language use and access to information as human rights
  • Risks to crisis translators / interpreters
  • Importance of disseminating info to everyone before, during and following disasters
  • Importance of building relationships before disasters occur
  • Canterbury earthquakes
  • Vulnerability and strength of minorities – what they can bring to disaster prep
  • Importance of allowing minorities to formulate their own policies – not just “participate” in outsider-produced policy

Transcript – Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in Disaster Risk Reduction

Cover of Best Practice Guidelines Engaging With Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities in Times of Disaster : Final Report Cover of Preparing for Emergencies  Cover of Community disaster recovery and resiliency Cover of The New Zealand guide: Prepare for Disasters : How to Prepare for A Disaster + What to Do When It Happens  Cover of The Social Roots of Risk Producing Disasters, Promoting Resilience Cover of Building Resilience Social Capital in Post-disaster Recovery Cover of Library as safe haven

Find out more in our collection

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Cool stuff from the selectors – from emojis to gardens

9781783963508What’s Your Bias? The surprising science of why we vote the way we do Lee De-Wit
This is a timely book considering some of the surprising election results of recent years.  We may take for granted that people vote the same way as their parents, but it turns out that this is not so much to do with upbringing,  but because of our genetic similarities.  However there is so much more that influences the way we vote – or indeed if we vote! With chapter headings such as “Why do you always think you are right”, “What’s in a face” and “Faking it”, De-Wit offers an easy to read and fascinating look at the psychology behind our political preferences.

9781250129062The Emoji Code: the linguists behind smiley faces and scaredy cats Vyvyan Evans
A positive look at the way our language has evolved rather than a  bemoaning of the imminent loss of the written language.  The author argues that emojis enrich our ability to communicate, they ” allow us to express our emotions and induce empathy – ultimately making us better communicators”.  When we communicate digitally (every day 41.5 billion texts are sent) our non verbal cues are missed, the emoji can express these nuances.  Perhaps after reading this book I will be able to evolve, and move on from  the smiley face.

9780711236332Children’s Garden: Loads of things to make and grow Matthew Appleby
Many of us want our children to get off the computer and enjoy the outdoors.  The beauty of this book is there is no need to travel to the high country, you can introduce your children via your own garden, however big or small.  The book is divided by the seasons and includes craft projects, cooking your produce, games, keeping animals etc.  It shows that a garden can be full of creativity and fun, whatever the season.

9780714874609Vitamin C: Clay  + ceramic in contemporary art
Ceramics have left behind their image of rather nasty shaped pots created in night-school, and have now been accepted into the hallowed folds of “Art”. Each page has full colour plates ranging from the small and delicate to large monstrosities  and installations.  There is colour, detail, a dash of ‘goodness my three year old could have made that’, and plenty to be challenged by.

Learning Chinese in Context 功夫在字外

Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It was created and developed in a rich social, cultural and historical context. For people growing up in a different environment like Christchurch, learning Chinese can be challenging. Fortunately there are resources and strategies that can help.

Combining learning resources 整合学习资源

In Christchurch, there are diverse Chinese learning resources available, thanks to online resources and international migration. Some examples are as follows.

Local Chinese language schools 中文学校

Free Chinese Learning resources at Christchurch City Libraries 免费图书馆资源

Mango languages logo Rosetta Stone logo Dragonsource logo

Cultural Events

The combination of the three types of learning resources will create an ideal environment for learners to immerse in the social and cultural context of Chinese learning. Especially, Mango Language and Rosetta Stone Library Solution are good complements to class learning and enable learners to be independent in the learning process

Learning Chinese characters with stories 通过故事学中文字

Unlike English, Chinese writing is a logographic system with each character simultaneously encoding sounds and meaning at the level of the syllable. For example, the Chinese character “word”, 字, is explained as follows.

字: 篆体: , 乳也。从子在宀下,子亦聲

The seal script of the Chinese character “word” is  , referring to bringing up a son in a house so that he can become well-educated and literate (be able to read and understand words). The semantic part宀 represents the house, and the sound of 字 (zì) encodes that of the phonetic part 子 (zǐ).

Cang Jie’s creating Chinese characters ,仓颉造字, is a widely accepted explanation of the legendary origin of Chinese language. It is believed that Chinese writing was invented by a legendary figure Cang Jie, 仓颉,a court historian of the powerful Yellow Emperor. Inspired by the patterns of the tracks left behind by the feet of birds and other animals, he created Chinese writing with basic strokes as follows.

8 Strokes of Han Characters
8 Strokes of Han Characters, Wikimedia Commons.

Xu Shen 许慎,a scholar of Han dynasty (206BCE-220CE), compiled a dictionary entitled “On graphs and composite graphs”, 《说文解字》. It explains the meaning, the sound and the composition of Chinese characters. Publications based on the dictionary, such as “Pictograph of Chinese Characters”, 《画说汉字》, are also useful resources for learners to understand the composition of Chinese characters and familiarise themselves with the historical origin of these characters.

When Lu You, 陆游, a poet of Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279) taught his son to write poems, he suggested, “if you want to learn how to write a good poem, you must go beyond gaining techniques on poetry writing”, 汝果欲学诗, 功夫在诗外. The idea can be applied to learning Chinese; that is, 功夫在字外. We should not only focus on gaining linguistic skills but also put an effort in broadening our knowledge on the social, cultural and historical context of the origin and development of Chinese language. Then, learning Chinese can become effective and fun.

Find out more

Hong Wang
Network Library Assistant

Start your Chinese learning with nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes are easy to remember, short to sing and have fun actions! So, in preparation for New Zealand Chinese Language Week (16-22 October) why not start your Chinese learning with Chinese nursery rhymes? Here are some easy Chinese nursery rhymes you can try. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the different tones in Chinese. Try to match the tune.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

xiǎo xīng xīng
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng
guà zài tiān kōng fàng guāng míng
hǎo xiàng xǔ duō xiǎo yǎn jīng
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
膝,腳趾 膝,腳趾
xī jiǎo zhǐ, xī jiǎo zhǐ
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
yǎn,ěr,bí hé kǒu


1, 2, 3
yī èr sān
4, 5, 6
sì wǔ liù
7, 8, 9
qī bā jiǔ
(repeat backwards)

Christchurch City Libraries have a good range of Chinese learning materials as well as the eResources Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone.

Come join our New Zealand Chinese Language Week Celebration in the libraries from October 15th to 22nd.

If you would like to learn more Chinese nursery rhymes, do check out the Bilingual Babytimes every Tuesday at 11am in Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre.

Bilingual storytime with Anita
Bilingual storytime with Anita, New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016, Flickr File Reference: 2016-09-Bilingual_storytime-Anita.jpg

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre