It’s mid-December. That means there’s only a few more days before school breaks up, and Kiwi families start getting together to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year. Whether you spend Christmas holidays camping out in the bush or at the beach, meeting up with the whānau at the bach, or just hanging out at home playing backyard cricket or basketball, there are some things that just scream ‘Kiwi summer holidays!’
Heading over to the West Coast? Watch out for the tricky kea – they might try and attack your car! Going to stay at the bach in the country? Remember to check for daddy long legs in the outhouse! Taking the whānau to the beach for a picnic? Those seagulls will try and snatch your kai, so keep a good eye on your picnic basket!
It is these Kiwi classics that Peter Millett and Scott Tulloch draw on in their new book, More Classic Rhymes for Kiwi Kids (Bateman Publishing) where well-known rhymes like ‘I’m a little teapot’, ‘Old McDonald had a farm’, and ‘Wee Willie Winky’ get given a Kiwi twist. There are sheep, kiwi, and huhu grubs galore in this book, and because the pictures show typical everyday scenes, they are a great starting point for talking to children about family holidays you have taken together, sports you used to play when you were little, and about that squiggly, squirmy huhu grub you ate that one time when you were camping.
If you have whānau members coming from overseas, borrowing More Classic Rhymes for Kiwi Kids will introduce them to a side of New Zealand they might not get a chance to see. If you live here in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is a fun book to read and see characters just like you – playing rugby, mountain biking, and camping in the rain.
A history book spanning one hundred years is nothing out of the ordinary, however what makes this book so unusual is that all the photographs have been fully and painstakingly redigitised in colour by Brazilian artist Marina Amaral. The detail and exhaustive research that has gone into ensuring the colours are correct is amazing. The black and white pictures come to life, bringing new meaning and poignancy to many famous photos that we are familiar with. It is a shame the cover is so dull and monochrome but perhaps this is to heighten the surprise of what is inside.
This book is an absolute treat and is beautifully produced by Te Papa Press. The blurb describes it as “lavish” and it really is. Highlighting old advertisements, photos (many hand-coloured, quite different from The Colour of Time, but just as beautiful) and paintings, the New Zealand alpine experience is brought to life. As an aside, I couldn’t get over how well-dressed and smart the people are in all the photos, no tatty jeans, nasty track pants or daggy shorts here, they all look incredibly glam and well put together in amongst the most stunning scenery.
We were privileged to host Christchurch East School for our first two-day school in Tūranga, a programme called ‘Smart’ City. Christchurch is the City Of Opportunity where new, advanced technology is helping the city use resources more efficiently.
This was the focus of our programme, looking specifically at the advanced technology in the library. Jack Hartley, the Operations Support Coordinator, gave Christchurch East students an in-depth, behind the scenes tour to discuss the range of sensors used within the building.
Little did we know there was an enormous aquifer underneath the site heating and cooling the building, or that the solar panels angle with the sun to adjust the temperatures and automate the blinds.
Our students used Microbit electronics to create their own sensors. They then filmed each floor using a 360 degree camera to capture the variety of sensors used. The footage collected was then uploaded as a virtual tour.
Christchurch 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.
11 November 2018 marked one hundred years since the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War. The scale of this war makes a compelling argument for commemorating it – we must remember in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past – yet does this argument hold true? Guests are invited to ponder the question: Does teaching about war translate into teaching about peace?
Part I:Rowan Light (University of Canterbury)
ANZAC Day commemoration as teaching; changes to ANZAC Day over time including shift from veteran- to state-led event.
Go Girl: A Storybook of epic NZ women by Barbara Else. Illustrations by Ali Teo, Fifi Colston, Helen Taylor, Phoebe Morris, Rebecca ter Borg, Sarah Laing, Sarah Wilkins, Sophie Watson and Vasanti Unka.
Oh Boy: A Storybook of epic NZ men by Stuart Lipshaw. Illustrations by Ant Sang, Bob Kerr, Daron Parton, Elliot O’Donnell (aka Askew One), Fraser Williamson, Michel Mulipola, Neil Bond, Patrick McDonald, Toby Morris and Zak Waipara.
Both titles published by Puffin (Penguin Books New Zealand).
This pair of books are a stand out. The bright sturdy covers, the diverse range of historic and contemprary Kiwis depicted, and the illustrations by New Zealand’s finest. An all-ages joy.
This week Jack Hartley filled me in on why he writes Young Adult fiction and what it means to him.
Jack, what motivated you to write this novel?
I started writing this text as a screenplay when I was 17. I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a book that was written from a guy’s perspective, a genuine voice, so I decided that I would be the one to attempt to do that.
Describe this book.
This book has drama, mystery and romance components. It’s also about mental health and what that can look like for a young person. The main character Judd is having what you could say was an existential crisis. He absorbs himself in drawing to possibly escape the reality of his life in which his parents who are constantly fighting.
I enjoy classics like Romeo and Juliet, I like love stories but love stories that don’t necessarily have happy endings. Happy endings are not always realistic. I like James Franco and his short stories because they are weird and messed up. But tell the truth of what it’s like to be young.
In your busy life how do you find time to write?
It took me five years to write the screenplay of All the other days. When I finished my Psychology degree in 2016, I went back to complete my teaching degree last year. This made me miserable so I left teachers college and I spent the next six weeks writing full time to adapt the screenplay into a novel. My Psychology degree helped me immensely in my character development for this novel.
Are you working on anything else?
Yes I am writing two more books at the moment, one of them is about young people and mental health and is focused on actions shaping your life when you are young. The other is a time travelling romance mystery.
Have you got any advice for new writers who are wanting to be published?
Just go for it. Writing is something if you’re passionate about you’ll do regardless of getting published. If you get published then that’s awesome, but don’t let that be the thing that stops you from writing or not.
Jack was interviewed by Greta Christie, Youth Librarian at Tūranga
You are invited to hear Dr Lois Tonkin who has written a book honouring women who are childless by circumstance. She has interviewed a mixture of single, gay, straight, partnered and transgender women all of whom come from different backgrounds and whose lives have taken different paths for complex reasons, leading to childlessness.
Stories are presented in the voice of women from New Zealand, Australian, Europe and the United States. They reveal feelings of grief, and the search for fulfillment and purpose in their lives. Their hope, and the positive way in which they have found meaningful lives gives us insight into a growing issue for women today, in a society which does not recognise the grief of childlessness through circumstance.
Tonkin, who lectures at the University of Canterbury as well as working as a counsellor at Genea Oxford Fertility in Christchurch, will read an excerpt from the book and talk about it in an open discussion. Her book published in September by Jessica Kingsley Publishers was published to coincide with World Childless Week. Jody Day has written an insightful foreword. She met Tonkin at Fertility Fest.com in 2016 and is the founder of Gateway Women.
One story from the book tells of being part of a generation of women told the worst thing we could do was get pregnant. This is the story of our generation. This book tells the stories of women who fear having a child for the wrong reasons at the wrong time, with the wrong person, and then the desperation of trying to get pregnant in their late thirties. Then the acceptance that it would not be happening and what that meant for the future, and how they might build a fulfilling life in another way.
Come along and hear their stories at the launch of a book dealing with one of the most important and least discussed topics for this generation of New Zealand women.
Those who choose the traditional route of motherhood need to be aware of the sense of social isolation and the judgement these women feel, and the lack of understanding we have of the complex issues at play. Most women see themselves having a child at some point but in their thirties find themselves thinking “is this the way it is going to be?” They still see themselves having children at some point, but due to expectations to fill early promise in education and career, or due to economic vulnerability and family background, they choose to postpone motherhood.
We have only to look at the different paths our female Prime Ministers have taken and the way the world perceives them regarding motherhood – the role chance has played in our latest Prime Minister’s choice regarding motherhood and how the media have feted her – to see how society views childlessness.
Come and hear Lois Tonkin and listen to the gift of these women’s experiences, and find out what it is to be childless by circumstance, and how women find other ways to forge valued and fulfilling lives.
Nearly eight years on, the yearning for a vibrant city centre still persists, but there is hope. Hope captured in the moments of collective celebration; the intimacy between two young students; the connection between friends and neighbours as they work, live and play – all within the boundaries of an inner city reinventing itself. In fact, more than hope, there is sense of quiet wonder and anticipation captured by Thomas Herman, Elise Williams and Summer Robson in the fourth and latest instalment of The Christchurch Documentary Project: Inside the Four Avenues, 2018.
The Christchurch Documentary Project is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts. Internship positions are offered to photography students in their 3rd or 4th year of study with the brief to create a documentary photographic record of a Christchurch community. The work is then included in the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage Collection.
To date, over 1000 images have been made of communities across our city; beginning with the Halswell Project in 2015, Edge of the East in 2016, Bishopdale in 2017 and now the central city. Collectively these projects document the lives of Christchurch residents and the changing face of our communities as the city rebuilds and evolves after the Christchurch Earthquakes.
Come and celebrate with us as the exhibition for Inside the Four Avenues, 2018 launches at Tūranga on Wednesday 21 November 5:30pm.
The exhibition is on until 23 January 2019. It is outside the TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1.
Kaveh Akbar is more of a shepherd than a wolf. The internationally acclaimed Iranian-American poet not only produces amazing thought-provoking poetry, but nurtures other poets to achieve their full potential too. So it was a perfect date for us to be hosting him at Tūranga, the flagship of the future. We are all about helping our citizens to access all they need to reach for the top.
Mr Akbar is a really nice guy. Humble and quietly spoken (though this changes when he reads) Kaveh kept thanking us for coming. When reading, Kaveh is animated, moving with the lilting rhythm of his words, his voice rising with the swell of emotion and experience.
An Iranian-American, he sees his poetry as:
“the membrane between myself and the divine…a new idiom for ancient binaries.”
Binaries such as solitude and community, decay and rebirth, literature and culture.
Kaveh has been posting interviews with poets making waves on DiveDapper; a website he created as a platform for exposure, promotion and connection. It has become a community, bringing poets and enthusiasts together worldwide. The list of poets on this website is impressive! Akbar sees this as a way to “push (his gratitude) outwards.” He further demonstrated this by reading two poems by New Zealand poet Helen Heath.
Kaveh’s book of poetry Calling a Wolf a Wolf was released to much acclaim this year. In it, Kaveh addresses difficult themes from addiction to desire; his poetry refreshing in a way that feels uplifting rather than downbeat.
Akbar’s work shares a sense of lessons learned and experience shared, as opposed to a self-indulgent train wreck. In all, there is a theme of hunger: for the physical sensation of being alive. Akbar’s poems grabbed me at first taste. Alliteration, onomatopoeia and themes of life, death and longing fill his poems. Addiction is portrayed as a kind of death; “a void to fill in wellness”. The poetry came from a need to fill the gap left after he became sober: “my entire life up to that point was predicated on the pursuit of this or that narcotic experience.” All this brings to mind a Persian poet who celebrated the wine and song of life, yet without the cautionary tale: Omar Khayyam.
In the light of current politics, Kaveh asserts that the ‘utility’ of poetry ‘forces us to slow down our metabolism of language’. A useful antidote to doublespeak, perhaps. He makes it sound like a science. And in fact it is.
Although he now only speaks a few words of Farsi these days, Akbar sees feeling as a ‘universal language,’ one that we all understand. The purpose of poetry, he says, is as Homer put it – to ‘delight and instruct.’ So often, we leave out the delight, loving to lecture others on the way of things. Pre-sobriety, Akbar the poet painted himself as the hero of his works; a ‘gloriously misunderstood scumbag.’ A way of being, he says, that’s insufferable (I’ve dated guys like that).
‘So you’re the sobriquet of the School of Delight?’ quips Eric Kennedy. Sobriquet. Oh clever. Thus begins a new Golden Age in Poetry. The interview website DiveDapper came from Kaveh’s hunger for dialogue with other poets while going through recovery. It’s a way to share experience with others – ‘a vast expanse of empathetic resources.’
The internet has meant that ‘the age of coy diminishment of one’s passions is over’…it is now an age of ‘unabashed zeal.’ Eric: Zeal Land!”
Kaveh read a number of wonderful poems from Calling a Wolf a Wolf. I love the titles – so real but imaginative. He really does have a way with words: