KidsFest 2015

KidsFest is full of winter holiday fun for kids in Christchurch and Canterbury. It runs from 4 to 18 July 2015. Bookings open 9am Tuesday 2 June – it pays to get in early as KidsFest is always popular and many events book out quickly.

KidsFest

KidsFest at the library

2015 KidsFest events at libraries include:

Stop motion animation 8 to 12 year olds
Discover the process of producing animated movies. Plan an original story, create your own characters and craft your own movie using stop motion photography.

Minecraft 8 to 12 year olds
Minecraft game zone is a 3D gaming experience, and also sessions about Minecraft for absolute beginners.

Minecraft

Family game time
Game on! This is a chance for a family play-off using both traditional board games and online games.

Book ‘n’ Beats 10 to 13 year olds
This is an introduction to the iPad music app Garageband.

Let the book bug bite 4 to 7 year olds
Children will re-create their own bug story using a ‘story creator’ app on the iPad.

Creating comics: Who’s the star? WORD Christchurch event for 8 to 13 year olds
Creating comics: Your wonderful world WORD Christchurch event for 8 to 13 year olds
Join famous cartoonist, author and designer Sarah Laing and find out about creating cartoon characters and worlds.

NZ stories with Sharon Holt
Join award winning author Sharon Holt as she presents her Te Reo singalong books.

Cover of Mahi Tahi Cover of Anei Kē Cover of Kei te Peke ahau

Back with the future 8 to 12 year olds (and their grandparents)
Bring your family history into the future! Record a conversation between you and your grandparent/grandchild using old family photographs and the interactive story telling iPad app, Puppetpals.

Fly story Fly – Kirsty Collett
Fly Story Fly is an interactive storytelling experience that brings picture books to life

Science Alive! will be bringing their Mindball sessions to our libraries too.

See the full list of KidsFest events at Christchurch City Libraries. Bookings open 9am Tuesday 2 June.

More KidsFest events

Here’s a few events that sound awesome:

See the full list on the KidsFest website.

Find out more

This week in Christchurch history (25 to 31 May)

25 May 1861
“Christchurch Press” appears. The first editor was ex-Superintendent James FitzGerald, a bitter opponent of the proposed Lyttelton-Christchurch railway tunnel. He and supporters began the paper to air their views.

25 May 1903
Statue of Queen Victoria unveiled in Market Square, and the area is renamed Victoria Square.

Queen Victoria statue, 2007. Flickr: CCL-2013-01-15-DSC05886
Queen Victoria statue, 2007. Flickr: CCL-2013-01-15-DSC05886

25 May 1969
First pair of one-way streets (Lichfield and St Asaph Streets) in operation. With traffic signals eventually controlled by a computer, this was the beginning of New Zealand’s first area traffic control scheme.

26 May 1859
Public Library begins as the Mechanics Institute in Town Hall.

 

28 May 1840
Major Bunbury on HMS “Herald” visits Akaroa collecting signatures of Maori chiefs for the Treaty of Waitangi.

28 May 1955
First parking meters installed.

29 May 1967
Opening of the new Bank of New Zealand building in Cathedral Square.

30 May 1874
First rugby match played.

More May events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Xinran at the WORD Christchurch Autumn Season

It was interesting to hear Xinran speak at a WORD Christchurch event. She spoke for more than an hour and we could have listened to her for much longer. Xinran is a very good story teller. She told many stories from her 300 interviews in China. She spoke about some negative effects of the one child policy, especially the way these children were treated as little princes or princesses, spoilt, cossetted, and given very little opportunity to grow up as independent people.

Cover of Buy me the sky Cover of The Good women of China  Cover of Miss Chopsticks Cover of China Witness

Some stories were hard to believe and in fact were probably isolated cases, such as the child who demanded that her mother buy her the river. Other stories concerning mothers doing everything for the child were not so surprising when there was so much pressure on children to perform academically. For the same reason, we heard similar stories of Japanese children in the past, even if there were two or more children in the family. Xinran admitted that the one-child family was probably a necessity, however. It’s hard to know how these negative effects could have been avoided.

Many people wanted to ask her questions. One woman wanted to know more about her charity The Mothers’ Bridge of Love concerning girls who were adopted out to foreign countries like New Zealand. Xinran talked a little about this and how such girl babies were smuggled out by mothers. The long term result of a preference for male children is now the huge imbalance of adult men unable to find partners, especially in rural areas.

Her speech only covered negative aspects of the one child policy. I am looking forward to reading her book Buy Me the Sky to find out if it also includes some positive aspects.

Anna Sun
Upper Riccarton Library

Satirists at large – Steve Braunias and David Slack

Writer and editor Stephen Stratford (@stephenstra) (blogging at Quote Unquote) joined two of Aotearoa’s top satirists to discuss satirical writing at the Auckland Writers Festival. The aforementioned satirists:

And what a sharp-witted triumvirate they were.  Stephen kicked off with a great potted history of satire – Juvenal, Jonathan Swift, Private Eye, The Thick of it – into New Zealand’s own history – John Clarke,  A week of it – McPhail, Gadsby, A. K. Grant, Chris McVeigh (in the audience apparently).

He riffs a bit more:

Steve Braunias is the finest satirist Mount Maunganui has ever produced.

And not only that:

Fielding is the epicentre of New Zealand satire.

Steve Braunias explains his Secret Diairies. They have an inbuilt narrative:

I regard them rather pretentiously as motifs.

How do they choose their victims? David Slack says you don’t punch down, you punch up:

Who’s asking for it? Who apart from John Key?

Discussion turns to left wing /right wing satire, and Braunias wryly imagines:

Bomber Bradbury but with nuance and jokes, or Chris Trotter with a laugh track.

Cover of Madmen Cover of Smoking in Antarctica Cover of Fish of the week Cover of Civilisation

How do people respond to having the mickey taken? Unexpectedly well sometimes. David Slack ended up getting some work from Gareth Morgan:

Sometimes satire is a sort of LinkedIn thing.

and at the Beehive:

Every minister’s office is full of cartoons of themself.

We gained insight into writing satire. Steve spoke of:

long slow lugubrious magic … I don’t have a first draft, every line is written one line after the other.

There were SO MANY cracking anecdotes in this session – complaining letters from Judith Collin’s family, a tattoo of Paul Holmes,  upsetting Julian Assange, giving it but not being able to take it …

And as a finale, a well-deserved award for Steve:

Top stuff, satirists. As you were.

Hack Attack: WORD Festival Event 12 May 2015

Cover of Hack AttackNick Davies, the author of Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch, was the subject of a Q&A session with Joanna Norris, the editor of The Press, in the chair.

We learned from Joanna Norris’ introduction that George Clooney was making a movie based on the book.

When asked about the difficulty of digging deeply into the phone hacking scandal for several years, Davies answered that he had a very reliable source who had guided him through his investigation for over two years. He said it was clear from the outset how extensive the crimes were, but the difficulty was in proving the truth of the story when up against a powerful corporation headed by a ruthless operator like Rupert Murdoch.

All along through the investigation, paradoxically, the impetus was driven by News Corp. itself because the company’s staff acted stupidly, arrogantly and aggressively. News Corp. kept up relentless attacks on Davies and The Guardian, which spurred Davies and his editor on to follow the story, knowing it must have substance.

Cover of Flat Earth NewsThe ball got rolling when Davies was giving a radio interview about a previous book, Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media. His source was listening to the interview and contacted him about the dodgy dealings that were going on at The Sun and News of the World, both Murdoch tabloid newspapers.

When asked if he thought his book had made any difference to the behaviour of the UK press, Davies answered that, unfortunately, it was business as usual. It remained a “journalist’s fantasy” that writing about a bad thing could make it stop. He gave, as an example, The Sun conducting a campaign to undermine Labour in the most recent UK election as proof Murdoch’s power remained unchanged.

Davies disclosed that he had discovered that UK tabloids were “peculiarly ruthless” and the journalists who staffed them were “almost like a parody of themselves”.

It was Davies’ belief that it was the arrival of Princess Diana that triggered this avalanche of celebrity investigative digging and bred an attitude of journalistic cruelty where “nothing is off limits, nothing is private”. But the tabloid journalists’ hypocrisy was astounding. Andy Coulson and Rebecca Brooks were having an eight-year-long affair while callously exposing the sex lives of public figures.

All through the long investigation by The Guardian into the phone hacking scandal, Davies was pilloried in all the right-wing Murdoch newspapers. He observed that no-one threatened him with physical violence to stop investigating, but the Murdoch empire indulges in what Davies called “reputational violence”, trying to ruin people’s reputations.

Towards the end of the session, in response to questions from the audience, Davies gave the view that the internet had broken the model of newspapers across the world and journalists no longer had the funding nor the resources needed to do their jobs properly.

He thought that the Leveson Enquiry was a powerful one, but Lord Justice Leveson’s report had been deliberately smothered by powerful people in the UK.

The audience got the impression that Nick Davies would go on fighting the good fight, but he was weary and cynical as to the extent he could make a change for a better society.

Read our other blog posts about Hack Attack by Nick Davies.

Samoan Language Week 2015

Tālofa. Samoan Language Week 2015 will take place from 24 to 30 May. Here at Christchurch City Libraries we are celebrating with several events.

Events at our libraries

Samoan Language WeekStorytimes

Monday 25 May
Upper Riccarton Library, 9.30am
Tuesday 26 May
Fendalton Library, 10.30am
Wednesday 27 May
Hornby Library, 10.15am
Thursday 28 May
South Library, 10am
Aranui Library, 11.15am
Friday 29 May
Parklands Library, 10.30am

Koko and computers

Thursday 28 May
Take part in a free computer (and cocoa) session at South Library, 1-2.30pm

Samoan language resources

Find more information about Samoan Language Week and about Samoan language resources on:

Samoa_Language_Week_2015

This week in Christchurch history (18 to 24 May)

18 May 1881
Christchurch Boys’ High School (designed by W.B. Armson) opens in Worcester Street. The school moved to the present Straven Road site in 1926, and the old building is now part of the Arts Centre.

Boys' High School, Worcester Street, Christchurch [ca. 1882], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0018
Boys’ High School, Worcester Street, Christchurch [ca. 1882], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0018
19 May 1910
Halley’s Comet visible by telescope in night sky. Prophesies of doom and superstition abounded while the comet was visible.

20 May 1861
Gold discovered in Gabriels Gully, Otago. As with other discoveries, the ensuing gold rush depleted the city of its more adventurous young men.

21 May 1866
City Council abandons the vital city drainage scheme because of its financial state. A huge shipment of pipes which had just arrived from England had to be sold off. This guaranteed Christchurch’s reputation as New Zealand’s most polluted and unhealthy city for another 20 years. It is interesting to compare the transport cost of these pipes from Glasgow to Lyttelton – £882 – with the cost from Lyttelton by lighter and cart to Christchurch – £400!

22-25 May 1988
Snow falls in Central City for first time in 10 years .

22 May 1868
William Rolleston becomes the fourth (and last) Superintendent of Canterbury. The 4 superintendents have been remembered in the names of the city’s “four avenues”, previously called the Town Belts.

Looking south down Rolleston Avenue to the Port Hills [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0053
Looking south down Rolleston Avenue to the Port Hills [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0053
23 May 1960
Tsunami (tidal wave) causes water level range of nearly 6 metres in 2 hours at Lyttelton.

More May events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Free Comic Book Day

On Free Comic Book Day – Saturday 2 May 2015 –  I went to Comics Compulsion in Papanui, and we bought a My Little Pony comic and got some freebies.

Meanwhile 31 teens were at Papanui Library celebrating Free Comic Book Day with a fun workshop and pizza and comic swap. Spencer Hall and Elijah Lopez, two graphic artists, helped the budding comic-makers with drawing technique tips and advice.  Comics Compulsion came to the party with free comics.

Free Comic Day at Papanui Library

Spencer thought the teens “made some really great work!” He animated some of their pictures together on his blog.

Find out more

A very booky week – WORD Christchurch Autumn Season, and the Auckland Writers Festival

If you like exploring new ideas, if you revel in reading, if you are partial to intelligent and funny conversation – 12 to 17 May2015 was a winner of a week!

Auckland Writers Festival

In Auckland we reported back from the litfest-apalooza Auckland Writers Festival. We tweeted with the hashtag #awf15.

Read our AWF15 blog posts.

Cover of Colorless Cover of Being Mortal Cover of Not my father's son Cover of Station Eleven

WORD Christchurch Autumn Season

Christchurch played host to the WORD Christchurch Autumn Season. We attended sessions, blogged, and tweeted (hashtag #wordchch).

Read our WORD Christchurch blog posts.

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This week in Christchurch history (11 to 17 May)

11 May 1891
Sumner Borough formed.

Sumner [1895], CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0090
Sumner [1895], CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0090
11 May 1908
Colosseum becomes the city’s first picture theatre. The building was claimed to have the largest wooden span in New Zealand. It had previously been a skating rink, a boot factory and a cab stand. It was demolished in 1931 to make way for New Regent Street.

13-15 May 1920
Visit of Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII).

One section of the unprecedented crowd in Latimer Square. The Weekly Press, 19 May 1920, p. 24
One section of the unprecedented crowd in Latimer Square. (Inset) The crowd in Cathedral Square before the Prince has passed on the way to the military review in Hagley Park. The Weekly Press, 19 May 1920, p. 24

14-15 May 1886
Flooding in city centre.

 

14 May 1868
“Lyttelton Times” publishes evening paper, The Star.

14 May 1907
Fire seriously damages the Antigua Street boatsheds.

14 May 1908
Municipal tepid baths in Manchester Street open. It was described as “the finest indoor swimming pool in Australasia”.

14 May 1947
Mabel Howard (Sydenham) becomes Minister of Health, the country’s first woman Cabinet Minister.

16 May 1975
Opening of Four Avenues, New Zealand’s first State alternative education school.

More May events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.