Your history, my history, our history

The Penguin History of New ZealandWhen you emigrate, it takes time to get your histories all in a row.

First up all you are aware of is loss, the huge gaping and unfillable loss of who you were. It takes all your energy just to keep your head above water. At least that was how it was for me.

But then I rallied and joined the library where one of the first books ever issued to me was Michael King’s The Penguin History of New Zealand. Feeling very virtuous I carried it back on the bus to Brooklands. There I took it on little jaunts from room to room and finally bussed it back (unread) a month later. It was too much too soon. I pulled in my horns.

Time passed and I started to look out for books that related to my interests: art, architecture and the stories of women. Beautiful books drew me in and fed my soul. Books like: Māori Architecture by Dierdre Brown; books about New Zealand Art, and A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes. I am unapologetic about the fact that sometimes I just looked at the pictures. I had a lot of catching up to do.

Cover of Maori Architecture Cover of a A history of New Zealand women Cover of Mauri Ora

Then, just recently, I came upon my best New Zealand book thus far – Mauri Ora: Wisdom From the Māori World by Peter Alsop. This is a lovely book to look at, a satisfying book to hold and a profound book to read.

Fiona and chalkboard at Central Library ManchesterAt much the same time as I was reading this book, I arrived at Central Library Manchester one day to work. On the sandwich board outside the library (see the photo at right with Fiona – its creator) was a te reo quotation with its English translation. I could almost understand the reo and I was enchanted by its translation – so appropriate for the library in question.

A small group of us stood outside the library looking at the quotes on the board. We had an engaging conversation about language and place and thought. Like planets, I felt all my histories line up and I was finally (albeit briefly) at peace. A quote from the Mauri Ora book says it all:

Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata;

ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tīna

(Seek out distant horizons and cherish those you attain.)

Winter Reading Challenge

I know it’s hard to get excited about winter when there’s ice on the inside of your windows, but here’s something that should take your mind off your frozen toes!

Central Library Manchester and Central Library Peterborough are holding a joint Winter Reading Challenge which will run from now until the 20th of September this year. To be eligible to win some great prizes all you need to do is complete one line of winter reading challenges in any direction on your Winter Bingo card. Some challenges include:

  • Read a book set somewhere cold
  • Finish a winter craft project
  • Binge-watch a season of a TV show
  • Check out a winter issue of a magazine on Zinio
  • Read a book that makes you shiver

Pick up and drop off your completed line or square to either Central Library Peterborough or Manchester and be in to win!

Central Library Manchester – coming soon

Photo of Central Library ManchesterOur new temporary Central Library Manchester is scheduled to open Monday 20 January 2014.

It is on the corner of Manchester and Allen Street – close to Moorhouse Avenue. It may also be the only library in New Zealand with a view of a Harley-Davidson shop.

There will be a bit of a collection shuffle as part of this move. Ngā Pounamu Māori and Ngāi Tahu collections at Central Library Peterborough will be unavailable from Monday 13 January to Sunday 19 January 2014 inclusive. Family History, microfilm and microfiche collections at Central Library Peterborough will be unavailable from Thursday 16 January to Sunday 19 January 2014 inclusive. These collections will be available at Central Library Manchester when it opens.

Central Library Manchester will be the place to go for researchers, especially those needing our Māori and Family History resources.