Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby: Not sir by chance

Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby was given a knighthood for his service to Māori on this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

He is known by many names: Papa Hec to some, Hector to others. And now Sir Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby. You may not have heard of him but it is a name you should know.  His name is known all over the Pacific for his huge contributions to the revitalisation of celestial navigation, as a master carver, Te Rarawa elder, a font of cultural knowledge, for the revitalisation of waka building and waka hourua (double-hulled boat), as kaitiaki of Waitangi waka Ngātokimatawhaorua, and as he man responsible for the first return journey of Māori to Rarotonga by traditional methods after more than 600 years.

In February, I was extremely lucky to attend ACE Aotearoa’s Hui-Fono (an annual conference for Pasifika and Māori educators working in the Adult Community Education space) in Te Tai Tokerau – the Far North where we got to hear Sir Hec speak at his beautiful home in Aurere. Turning onto the Doubtless Bay Road after Te Awanui if you are heading north, you drive a few kilometres to the turn off to Aurere. There is no sign. Just a bridge that leads to a dirt road. Our two coach buses crossed that bridge, and although we couldn’t see the bridge under our bus we were assured that it was safe as Papa Hec was a bridge builder before he retired to carve waka and learn celestial navigation.

About two kilometres up the dirt road, we came to a clearing. A grassy hill, bordered by a warehouse, a carved whare, a waka hourua resting under a tarpaulin, and a house that had been extended several times looking out onto the expanse of the Doubtless Bay Sound.

On top of the emerald green, grassy hill was a ring of pou. And inside the ring was a group waiting to welcome us on. Papa Hec sat in the middle on a seat next to his golf cart. The scenery was breath taking. When Papa Hec began to speak his reo was so fluid, initially our group of over 100 sat far away from him. But as his sharing continued we crept forward mesmerised by his kōrero, and even when the Northland skies decided to sprinkle us with rain we still sat there listening intently.

Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby sitting next to his golf cart
Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby sitting in his special chair next to his golf cart

The circle that we sat inside was actually a compass. Each of the 32 pou, set 11 degrees apart represented a direction, and when he began to swivel in his chair we realised that through his own design Sir Hector had manufactured a seat centred in the middle of his compass, complete with adjustable sights to study the night sky. It was here that Sir Hec began to study celestial navigation guided by Master Navigator Mau Piailug who came to stay with Sir Hec at Aurere to teach wayfinding and navigating using the sun, stars, clouds, other indicators of nature, and the importance of finding true north.

32 pou on a hill at Te Aurere
32 pou on a hill at Aurere

I came away from Aurere, the lucky winner of a copy of Sir Hec’s biography written by Jeff Evans. I devoured that book, hungry for more and inspired by the ability of our ancestors to traverse the largest ocean in the world with ease. The things that are shared in that book made me realise that our hour with Sir Hec shed very little light on his amazing achievements and contribution to navigation worldwide.

Sir Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby and Jan-Hai with a copy of his biography
Sir Heke-Nuku-Mai-Nga-Iwi Busby and Jan-Hai with a copy of his biography

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to hear such a man speak in person at his beautiful home in Te Tai Tokerau, and we as a community that spans the Pacific Ocean are immensely grateful for your efforts and willingness to share your knowledge and inspiration to find our true North.

Thank you Sir Heke-Nuku-Mai-Ngai-Iwi Busby.

Find out more

Jan-Hai
Libraries Learning Specialist

A section of Armagh Street, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

A section of Armagh Street, Christchurch [1899 or 1900]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0024.
Horses were volunteered by the public for use by the New Zealand Rough Riders in the South African War (1899-1902). Here sixty of them are seen being officially inspected outside the Rink Stables of W. Hayward & Co. at 199 Armagh Street. Fourteen of them passed all tests and were taken to camp that night. Fodder was supplied by George Treleaven & Co., produce merchants, of 193 Armagh Street and shipped to South Africa for the horses.

Do you have any photographs of Canterbury’s involvement in the South African War? 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.

Map of a scheme suggested by the Port and City Committee showing a new road tunnel to Lyttelton: Picturing Canterbury

Map of a scheme suggested by the Port and City Committee showing a new road tunnel to Lyttelton [1926?] Port and City Committee (Christchurch, N.Z.). File Reference CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0001.
“An aerial view showing Christchurch in relation to the magnificent natural harbour of Lyttelton, and the proposed highway and vehicular tunnel through the barrier of the Port Hills which, in conjunction with the present railway, will enable the city to employ modern transport methods in the carriage of goods and passengers to and from the ships.”

Date: c.1926

Although a rail tunnel linking Lyttelton to Christchurch had been in existence since 1867, it wasn’t until 1956 that legislation was passed allowing for the construction of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1964, opening on 27 February.

Do you have any photographs of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel? 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.

Map Of A Scheme Suggested By The Port And City Committee Showing A New Road Tunnel To Lyttelton

Earth Day, Every Day for Canterbury Kids

Love the Earth? So do we! Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April each year and Christchurch City Libraries is kicking off an Earth Smart programme for kids this April school holidays as part of the Christchurch City Council’s commitment to sustainability and climate change initiatives. The following initiatives, programmes and resources are a great introduction to ‘environmental literacy’ for our tamariki, the future guardians of the Earth.

Reduce reuse Recycle

Earth Smart – school holiday programmes 

A school holiday programme with an emphasis on sustainability and recycling. Children explore environmental issues with a focus on connecting to the planet around them using books, interactive activities, digital media and craft.

If you miss these sessions, look out for more later in the year.

Eco-conscious Books and Resources for Kids

Borrowing from the library is the ultimate in recycling – check out these eco-friendly reads!

Environmental Picture Books 
These picture books and narrative non-fiction books contain valuable messages about the environment, pollution, recycling, the importance of trees, water as a resource, sustainability and saving the Earth. These environmentally-friendly themed resources include eBooks and apps and New Zealand content.

Non-Fiction Environmental Children’s Books
A selection of non-fiction informational text and how-to guides for kids on related topics around recycling, climate changing, caring for the earth, sustainability, composting and water resources. Includes craft activities.

Every little bit helps… What can you do in Canterbury?

Join the Kiwi Conservation Club for kids and participate in activities with the local branch in Canterbury.

Recycle Right!

Watch two Christchurch kids show us how to ‘recycle right’ !

When you toss your plastic bottles and containers into the recycling bin, are you unintentionally doing more harm than good? Christchurch people are great at recycling but a few common mistakes are causing issues at the city’s recycling plant. See how to make it easier for council to recycle.

Note sure which bin something goes in? You can download the Christchurch City Libraries Wheels Bin App to check, for iOS and Android devices.

Car share with Christchurch City Council’s electric Yoogo cars

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Lianne Dalziel recently launched the Christchurch City Council’s co-shared fleet of electric cars operated by Yoogo. The public can sign up to borrow these cars too!

Remembering the Wahine Disaster – 10 April 1968

The Wahine Disaster took place fifty years ago. Today we reflect on the loss of fifty one people on the 10th of April 1968. This tragedy resonates strongly down the decades.

Policeman Ray Ruane holding a young survivor of the Wahine shipwreck. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1968/1574/26a-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22508739

The Wahine Disaster played out across the nation’s television in grainy black and white, and the newsroom brought the story to our living rooms.  The ferry’s proximity to shore where people watched helplessly certainly added to our sense of powerlessness in the face of tragedy.

You can watch some of the original footage on NZ On Screen.

NZBC Classics - Wahine Disaster

Wahine at Lyttelton, 1965
The Wahine used as a backdrop for a shot on the Port at Lyttelton, circa 1965. Kete Christchurch 1965_g_-_Wahine.jpg

The storm affected many parts of the country including Canterbury. It tore of the roofs of houses on Canon Hill and forced many homes in Sumner to be evacuated.

I recall my parents pointing to the wreckage, which was still visible for many years, as we neared Wellington on our ferry voyage. Each time there is a rough ferry crossing, the fate of the Wahine ferry is remembered and our thoughts are once again with those who died and with the survivors of that ill-fated voyage.

Find out more:

Articles on the 50th anniversary of the Wahine disaster

Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner: Picturing Canterbury

Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner [1900]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0097.
Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner [1900].

The seaside suburb of Sumner was first connected to Christchurch city by tram in 1888.

Do you have any photographs of trams in Christchurch? 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.

Charles Nicholas Oates and his motor-car: Picturing Canterbury

Charles Nicholas Oates (1853?-1938) and his motor-car. File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00797.

Charles Nicholas Oates (1853?-1938) and his motor-car [1901].

“The passengers are Mr P Denton, Mr N. Oates and two of his children”. Mr Oates owned Zealandia Cycle Works, which later became Oates & Lowry & Co. He imported this car into New Zealand. It was a “small-type, fitted with solid tyres, and driven by the Benz system”, The Canterbury Times, 5 June 1901, p. 24-25 (see our newspaper holdings page for information on where to access this issue). This article also lists the seven motor vehicles in Canterbury in 1901. See also The veteran years of New Zealand motoring by Pam MacLean & Brian Joyce.

Do you have any photographs of historic transport in Christchurch and Canterbury? 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.

Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle: Picturing Canterbury

Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle [1895]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0012.
Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle (1895). Standish & Preece.
In 1895 there were no cars and motor-cycles for traffic officers. He is shown surrounded by his brothers and sisters.

Do you have any photographs of cycling in Canterbury? 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.

Cycling for beginners

The bicycle band, 1898
Cycling while playing music is not recommended for beginners. A cycling novelty [1898], Christchurch City Libraries PhotoCD 5, IMG0053
A friend of mine has just started riding a bike around Christchurch. She is a very tentative cyclist but I’m so proud of her for getting on her new bike and giving it a go. So far her forays along bike paths have been positive ones and I hope she comes to love cycling as much as I do.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what I know about cycle commuting in Christchurch with her, but also with other wannabe cyclists who are thinking about trying to rack up some kilometres this month in the friendly competition that is the Aotearoa Bike Challenge. (Registering on the website is quick and easy and if you download one of the recommended apps to your phone it’ll record your cycle journeys automagically! Also there are prizes!)

Tips for newbie Christchurch cyclists

If you’ve never done it before, riding a bike can be a bit intimidating but the more you do it, and the more you learn, the more confident you’ll be. Here are some things it might help you to know:

  • Cyclists are friendly folk – We love encouraging new cyclists and there are numerous clubs and groups that would love nothing better than to encourage you towards freewheeling greatness. Try:
  • Plan your route – If you’re nervous about busy roads and intersections plan your route so you can avoid them. And if you feel like a particular intersection or bit of road is dicey, there’s no shame in pulling over and being a pedestrian for a bit. I do it all the time!
  • Cycle lane etiquette – If you’re a slowpoke like me you’ll want to keep to the left of a cycle lane so it’s easier for faster cyclists to overtake you on the right. If you’re speedy calling out a cheery “coming up/overtaking on your right” as you approach is helpful for avoiding any collisions. A bell is a useful piece of kit for cyclists of all speeds as it’s great for getting the attention of pedestrians on shared pathways (or those who absentmindedly wander into a cycle lane). To me a bell always sounds more friendly than “OI!”.
  • Do wear a helmet – Because them’s the rules. And if you’re in an accident you’ll appreciate not being concussed (I speak from experience). And yes, it’s still the rules if you’re cycling on the footpath (but don’t cycle on the footpath unless it’s designated a shared pathway). Correct deployment of your helmet is firmly strapped on your head… not dangling off your handlebars.
  • Do wear whatever else you want though – There is no cycling uniform and I have successfully biked in everything from heels to jelly shoes (and even a veil once – it was Halloween). Short or floaty skirts can be problematic (especially when windy) but a snug pair of shorts underneath or the coin and a rubber band trick (or a peg) can successfully keep things “under wraps”.

Things to know about cycling infrastructure

There are a lot of cycling initiatives and changes to infrastructure happening in Christchurch and some of these can be a bit confusing or mysterious if you’ve never come across them before. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Sharrows – If you’ve seen road markings that incorporate a bicycle icon and a chevron shape then you’ve seen a “sharrow” (share arrow). These are used on slow or quiet streets and indicate that cyclists should bike towards the middle of the road. But do move across to the left if a motorist wants to come through.
  • How to make lights go – You may notice at or on the approach to an intersection a section of road that looks like the surface has been sliced into, often in the form of a box or rectangle. Underneath the road surface is a sensor that can detect bicycles and in some instances this may be the only way to trigger the lights. If you feel like you’ve been waiting an age for the lights to change, look down or around you. You may be a little too far ahead, behind or to the side to be registering as a cyclist.
  • Extra lights just for you – In the central city there are now some intersections that operate on a different system to work in with the new separated cycle lanes. Instead of following what the main traffic lights indicate, you’ll need to pay attention to the special lights just for cyclists (you’ll know they’re for you because they’ll have a bike symbol). Keep your eyes out for these at spots like the Tuam/Colombo intersection, and by the bus exit of the Bus Interchange.
  • Hook turn boxes – A hook turn is a handy option at really busy intersections where making a right hand turn in heavy traffic might not be the safest option. If you see a painted box featuring a hooked arrow and a bicycle icon at an intersection this is a good place for cyclists to perform a “hook turn” (although hook turns are allowed at most intersections). A hook turn is when you take a two step approach to a right turn. Staying to the left, a cyclist can go with traffic through a green light then stop in the hook turn box, and then go with traffic through a second green light (or even ahead of it if the road is clear), effectively making a right hand turn in two stages. The NZTA has official instructions on performing hook turns (with pictures) that explain this really well.

Where to go for more information

Library resources for beginner cyclists

 

Get in the driver’s seat with Youthtown – Sign up for Learners Licence workshops starting 12 February

Christchurch City Libraries is hosting Youthtown’s six week after-school Learners Licence Workshops from 12 February. It costs $130 for six sessions. The workshop for teens aged 16 to 18 involve four group theory sessions going through the road code and practice tests, with snacks provided. On session 5, your tutors will take you to book in your test, and on session 6 they will take you to sit the test. The workshop also has a Facebook closed group you can join and be tested daily on questions from the road code.

Learner Licence Workshop schedule

Bishopdale

Monday 12 February to Monday 26 March at Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Commmunity Centre, 3.30pm to 5pm

Upper Riccarton

Thursday 15 February to Thursday 29 March at Upper Riccarton Community and School Library, 3.30pm to 5pm

New Brighton

Friday 16 February to Friday 30 March at New Brighton Library, 3.30pm to 5pm

There is also a programme downstairs in Eastgate Mall:

Linwood

Tuesday 13 February to Tuesday 26 March in the mall opposite Bed, Bath, Beyond.

Bookings

The course is delivered by professional Youthtown tutors who are highly experienced in delivering the programme and making sure all young people get the best chance possible to qualify for their learner licence.

More about learning to drive

More about Youthtown

Youthtown is a nationally operated, not for profit organisation. In their own words:

Since first opening our doors as Boystown in 1932, we have evolved into one of New Zealand’s leading youth organisations within key communities. We are highly regarded for the developmental programmes we offer young people and we’re committed to providing a safe environment where young New Zealanders can dream it, then do it the Youthtown way. We empower young New Zealanders, aged 5-18, to be the best they can be! Their journey with Youthtown alongside their schooling, supplements the learning and development they receive there, in a physical, creative and social way.