Christchurch: Our underground story is a “lift-the-flaps” picture book with a difference. It has the sturdy thick board pages and colourful illustrations you’d expect to find in other books of this kind but the topic is a bit less straightforward than teaching simple colours or counting.
It’s about infrastructure, which is not a particularly thrilling word to most kids (or adults). But the ongoing maintenance and repair of quake-damaged infrastructure has a daily impact on Cantabrians, so thrilling or not, it’s probably something we should all pay a bit of attention to.
This is one of the reasons for the book as it attempts to open our eyes to exactly what all those coned-off holes in the ground, detours and diggers are in aid of.
It’s a challenging topic but SCIRT Civil Structural Engineer Phil Wilkins and Chemical Engineer/illustrator Martin Coates have brought their considerable experience to bear in producing a really unique and distinctly Cantabrian book.
Christchurch: Our underground story is sort of a “How Stuff Works” for infrastructure, filled as it is with diagrammatic drawings of how this pipe connects to that one connects to the next one, and the methods by which they’re maintained and repaired. By lifting the flaps you can see the processes and equipment underneath, and it’s all accompanied by explanations of what things are called and what their purpose is. It’s the kind of book that invites inquisitive kids to spend a lot of time absorbed on each page… and it’s pretty educational for adults too.
The illustrations make it clear that this book is about Christchurch with local landmarks and little touches like flowers poking out of road cones that place it very much in the Garden City.
Proceeds from the sale of the book go to Ronald McDonald House which provides accommodation for families who, because they have a sick child in hospital, have to travel from out of town.
With the Holi festival approaching its fourth year of being held in Christchurch, people should no longer be surprised by the sight of respectable adults running around, throwing coloured powder and water at each other in the first week of March.
The first Holi festival held in the Garden City was organised by Hitesh Sharma and Sandeep Khanna of Revel Events, and took place at the Pallet Pavilion on 23 March 2014. The festival has grown in size and popularity since and is now one of the many Indian cultural events which are becoming commonplace on the Christchurch social calendar.
There are food stalls, games and dance performances, all the while coloured powder is continuously being thrown around. Those who are attending are encouraged to wear clothing and shoes which are old (as the colour might not wash out). Sunglasses can help keep the powder out of your eyes. The coloured powder supplied at the event is corn based and non-toxic.
This year the festival will be held on the grass space at 221 Gloucester Street. Entry to the festival is free (though bring money to purchase coloured powder and food!)
The festival is traditionally celebrated throughout the Indian subcontinent on the last full moon of the Hindu month of Phalgun.
Holi derives its name and origins from a narrative found in the Hindu scripture, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, which tells of the sinful king, Hiranyakashipu. Believing himself to be more powerful than the gods, Hiranyakashipu was angered that his son, Prince Prahlad, who was a devotee of the god Viṣṇu, refused to worship him. Holika, the demoness sister of Hiranyakashipu, who was immune to fire, tried to kill Prahlad by leading him into the flames of a pyre. In order to save his devotee, Viṣṇu manifested in the world as the lion faced avatar, Narasiṃha, and saved Prahlad. This symbolises the victory of good over evil.
To celebrate the defeat of Holika, a holika dahan, a bonfire with an effigy of the demoness, is burned on the night before the festival. On the next day, the streets are awash with colour as people of all different ages and communities bombard their friends and strangers with coloured powder and water. People are encouraged to lose their inhibitions. Anyone, at anytime, can suddenly find themselves surrounded and doused with colour. In this way, the festival also represents the putting aside of grievances and the celebration of community.
One game, which is commonly played, involves teams forming a human pyramid to reach a pot of butter which hangs high above the street, while bystanders throw coloured water on them. The game has its origins in the story of Krishna (another avatar of Viṣṇu), who tried to steal butter from Radha and the gopis (female cowherders). The game has featured at previous Holi events in Christchurch.
To prepare yourself for the fun of Holi, watch this scene from the Bollywood film, Mangal Pandey, based on the historical events of 1857.
Also make sure to check out Christchurch City Libraries’ collection of India related material.
Marker Space Workshop afterschool programme delved into the World of Wearable Arts (WOW). But it was more than just costume making – it involved a trip to Creative Junk and sewing lessons with a sewing machine – but also circuit making with LEDs and Arduino chips.
Students were asked to create an Kiwiana outfit which included an electronic circuit with flashing LEDs.
A hundred years ago, on 9 February 1917, two very different Antarctic stories were being celebrated in New Zealand.
In Christchurch on 9 February 1917 a statue to honour the Antarctic explorer Robert Scott was unveiled.
The Scott Memorial Statue stood on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace and had been commissioned by the Council in 1913. Sculpted by Scott’s widow Kathleen, the 3-tonne, 2.6 metre high white marble statue of Scott in polar dress stood on a plinth inscribed with words from Scott’s farewell message ‘I do not regret this journey which shows that Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another and meet death with as great fortitude as ever in the past.’ A bronze plaque records his name and those of his companions who died on the expedition to be the first to reach the South Pole.
Scott’s statue remained in place until it was thrown off its plinth and damaged during the 22nd February 2011 earthquake. The broken statue was removed and in January 2016 it was put on display again at Canterbury Museum’s special exhibition, Quake City. Today, on the centenary of its unveiling, restoration plans for the repair of the statue were announced.
Meanwhile in another part of New Zealand a group from a very different Antarctic expedition were being welcomed to Wellington. On 9 February 1917 the Aurora arrived in New Zealand after returning from a rescue mission of the Ross Sea party from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
This group had been tasked with laying a series of supply depots for the final part of Shackleton’s proposed route across Antarctica, with the Aurora used for transport and carrying supplies. While anchored at Cape Evans in May 1915 the Aurora became frozen into the shore ice and after a severe gale it broke its moorings and was carried out to sea attached to an ice-floe. This left a ten-man sledding team marooned ashore where they would remain for nearly two years. The Aurora eventually broke free from the ice but then had to sail to New Zealand for repairs.
In December 1916, after repairs, and under the command of Captain J.K. Davis, the Aurora returned to rescue those left behind, leaving Port Chalmers bound for McMurdo Sound. The Aurora arrived at Cape Evans on 10th January 1917, and found seven surviving members of the Ross Sea party. You can read news reports of the ship’s arrival on Papers Past.
In the lead up to Waitangi Day, why not find out more about one of the most signficant Treaty claim made to date. Wai 262 is sometimes known as the “flora and fauna” or “intellectual property” claim. Noted academic, Sacha McMeeking will present a talk on this topic with time available for questions and answers.
Every year Ngāi Tahu commemorates Waitangi Day at one of three locations where the iwi signed the Treaty — Awarua, Ōtākou and Ōnuku. In 2017, the Ngāi Tahu Treaty of Waitangi commemorations are at Ōtākou Marae, Tamatea Road, Otago Peninsula.
Subscribe to the Ngāi Tahu Treaty of Waitangi commemorations event on Facebook.
On Monday 6 February, the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum has its 42nd annual family day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Highlights include a pōwhiri (traditional welcome), hangi lunch, children’s races and the paddling of the magnificent waka on the Opara River 1pm. View the Museum’s collections and enjoy continuous demonstrations all day including bread baking in a traditional clay oven, master weavers, wood chopping and sheep shearing. Crafts, stalls, pony rides, lolly scramble, sausage sizzle, espresso coffee, garden bar, cafeteria and more.
Entrance cost: Adults $10, Children $2. Please bring cash. No ATM available. Gates open at 10am. Pōwhiri commences at 10:30am. Phone the Okains Bay Museum 03 304 8611 for more details.
Commemorate Waitangi Day at the Christchurch Art Gallery with performances, art and family-friendly activities that celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand and tangata whenua. The day will include including harakeke weaving, and a kapa haka demonstration at 1pm.This will be followed by a performance of Dudley Benson’s incredible ‘A Wedding’ at 3pm — a bold and visceral declaration of our relationship with the land, expressed through engaging pop music.
The “I Love New Brighton” Annual Event is a local festival day that celebrates New Brighton — south, north, central and beyond. The 2017 event is at Thomson Park, Marine Parade from 11am to 3pm. Lots of free activities, have-a-go sports, market stalls, food stalls, bouncy castles, face painting, games and a LIVE stage featuring local bands.
Subscribe to the I love New Brighton event on Facebook.
Kaiapoi’s Annual Waitangi Day family celebration event is on again at Trousselot Park, Kaiapoi from 10am to 2pm on Monday 6 February. Activities include: live entertainment, school kapa haka performances, market and food stalls, bouncy castle, pony rides, face painting and ‘walk about’ quiz. Support Kaiapoi High School and buy a hangi meal for lunch, tickets are on sale from the Kaiapoi i-site $10 each.
Free fun activities for the whole family at Darfield’s Waitangi Day Community Country Picnic. Pedalmania, bouncy castles, pony rides, petting zoo, games — plus market stalls and more. Bring a picnic and top up at the food stalls while listening to local storyteller and puppeteer Liz Weir. Local emergency services will be there including rides on the old fire engine with a lolly scramble. Join in a game of backyard cricket, enjoy a Devonshire tea, ice cream, candyfloss and lemonade.
Why would one read a literary magazine in the time when novels are still the hottest form on the scene? Because reading a literary magazine is like being young and ready to fall in love every day fresh. You can pick up the read you fancy, and if you realize you made a wrong judgement, you can very easily let it go, because – guess what? There is another one waiting for you when you turn the page. No hard feelings, no strings attached!
Takahē is a New Zealand literary magazine published in Christchurch and has been on the scene since 1989. Its core repertoire consists of short stories, poetry and art by New Zealand writers and artists, and often extends to essays, interviews and book reviews. The magazine is a good starting point for emerging literary talents and offers a place for their first public appearance along with established writers.
Takahē is published twice a year in a print form (in April and December) and as an online issue in August.
One of the prevailing themes of April 2016’s issue is motherhood, or the biological and relational obstacles preventing motherhood. Lucy-Jane Walsh (These Things Happen) brings a fresh insight into a life of a young woman who cannot have a child but forms an unusual friendship with someone else’s (at the same time it cleverly captures the nuances of the craziness and obsessiveness of modern parenthood). Suvi Mahonen in Little White Crescent dives into details of medical checks and scans of a pregnant future mother, while much more darker side of deficient pregnancy comes to life in Meagan France’s Grace.
The other topic that floats up to the surface is – of course – love, or various forms of love and its cousins (David Hill’s On Special, Melanie Dixon’s The Cottage, Sarah Penwarden’s Mirror Ball, Rupa Maitra’s Eve).
The second topic that recurs is writing (The Celtic Gift by Juliana Feaver and Kate Mahoney’s Flight from New York).
As far as the dating goes, I would definitely revisit Nathan Bennett’s Washed Up (only Birdling’s Flat can inspire such weird yet beautiful story about the relationship you don’t come across very often), Melanie Dixon’s The Cottage (with a witty perspective on a rather sad ending of a romantic weekend), Michael Botur’s This is God’s House (complex and unusual relationship narrated in dynamic slang and persvasive style) and Bev Wood’s Ode to Gallipoli (lyrical meditation on peace with an elusive narrator).
What can offer a better shelter to love than poetry? In this issue it comes hand in hand with its ancient partner – death. Under the mindful study of surrounding the pain of passing reveals itself (The Hospice Room by Robert McLean, Rachel Smith’s Light and Shade) and so does singularity of existence through proximity of death (Sarah Penwarden’s poems). How presence and absence are both immanent to love is evoked by Julie Barry in You are now not. Iain Britton’s verses from Calling go further and transcend into cyclical time: binding with ancestors in order to stand, singing in order to weave people together, emerge past and present.
Love can be destructive as well. Venus fails to pursue her artistic calling because she makes the same mistake again – i.e. falls in love (Jenny Powell’s Marlene Dietrich in Gore for the Gold Guitar Awards). The answer to her problem is hiding in sea snails – as Kirstie McKinnon points out they will teach us about letting go.
More existential orientated poems will explain why it is always good to keep your passport on you – or begin at the end (Frieda Paz in Road, map, direction, begin), otherwise you might end up stuck on the bridge – like a subject in Julie Barry’s Preposition of place. Liang Yujing offers a new metaphor for life – heavy school bags on young pupils and big black mouth of a primary school devouring them. Can we escape? No, as Mary Cresswell proves in her poems, adequately pairing themes of artistic and existential crisis (or blocks) with old troubadour’s poetry forms. But as Julie Barry points out in her Grapefruit, the weight of humanity is too much for one and only branch we live on anyway. And this is not all, I am leaving other joyful jewels for yourself to discover!
Takahē regularly offers essays on art and latest book reviews. April’s issue will be of a special interest to Christchurch readers, as it brings to focus Lisa Walker’s revolutionary jewellery (written by curator Felicity Milburn), which can also be seen as an exhibition in Christchurch Art Gallery – Te Puna o Waiwhetu until the 2nd April 2017.
Being a wonderful relic means I still thrive every Saturday morning when I browse through the good old printed paper while sipping the first morning coffee. These days, I am paring this ritual with an early evening one which includes wine and Takahē. Both combinations are perfect and correspond well to each other. I urge you to try them both.
Library and Learning Centre holiday programmes and activities
Our libraries and learning centres offer a variety of accessible, safe and affordable activities for children during their school holidays. Programmes and activities are aimed at children between the ages of five and 15 years:
Grab the family and get into some free Christmas entertainment at Re:START. Bring a cushion and head down – the outdoor screening begins at 6:30pm and in addition there’s late night shopping hours until 9pm and extended food options, with some of the city’s best food trucks on hand. The new Re:START Play:ZONE will also be available!
Photo taken John Abernethy with colour-slide film and printed from a Kodak transparency. The former Avon Cinema is on the left and the Clarendon Hotel, where the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stayed, on the right on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace.
Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008. The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.
Amazing art and architecture ahoy! FESTA is on this weekend. But FESTA is not just about eyeboggling installations. Emma Johnson of FESTA and Freerange Press has some hot tips for people who are into books and ideas.
Saturday 22 October 2pm to 4pm at In Situ Photo Project, just outside of Scorpio Books, 120 Hereford Street
Freerange Press brings you Talking Books. Instead of borrowing a book from the library, why not select a passionate expert and pick their brains? You get a twenty-minute, one-on-one conversation with a human talking book. Emailinfo@projectfreerange.com to book your conversation. Sessions are at: 2pm, 2.20pm, 2.40pm, 3pm, 3.20pm and 3.40pm.
Sunday 23 October 1pm to 4pm at Space Academy, 371 St Asaph Street
Freerange Press is running a symposium called The Bureaucratic Love Session (1-4pm, Sunday 23 October) at Space Academy, 371 St Asaph Street. Different voices come together to instigate and nurture a dialogue around the means and ends of institutions, asking the questions: Do institutions matter? And if so, how can we take better care of them? How can we help improve existing institutions in Christchurch, globally and in our own lives?
Sunday 23 October 4pm to 6pm at Space Academy, 371 St Asaph Street
This series of speakers is followed by the launch of Freerange Vol. 11: Institutional Love, which explores and advocates for a more nuanced and caring approach to institutions – fitting in with this year’s FESTA theme of making the most of the means we already have available to us.
Molly Van Hart// Project manager at Life in Vacant Spaces and fan girl of succulents// on making space
Hannah Watkinson// Photographer and curator// in situ
Lindsay Chan// Geospatial Extraordinaire// on the many murals of Christchurch
Summer Hess//Writer and Project Manager// the antidote is community
Do you wish to extend your appetite beyond your usual Indian takeaway order? Perhaps you are intrigued by the rhythmic dance moves which so often feature in Bollywood movies? Or maybe you need to learn some basic Hindi for a friend’s wedding in Mumbai? This week marks the celebration of Diwali. Here at Christchurch City Libraries we have many resources on offer to help you learn more about this auspicious occasion and displays and crafts on at libraries.
Diwali or dīpāvali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs with the rising of the new moon at the end of the month, Ashvin. However, in a country as diverse as India, where people from many different faiths live side by side, the festival is not limited to one particular faith for it represents the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of wisdom over ignorance. Throughout cities and villages the darkness will be symbolically turned back. Clay lamps (diya) will be lit in homes and shops, fireworks will be released into the sky and the streets will be filled with music.
As a result of the Indian diaspora, the festival is now celebrated worldwide. The first Indians to settle in Christchurch arrived in the 1850s with Sir John Cracroft Wilson (though it is possible that Indians working on whaling ships may have visited the region at an earlier date). Although the number of migrants started to grow in the first half of the twentieth century, Diwali celebrations in Christchurch initially remained limited to small community and family events.
In recent years the Indian Social and Cultural Club (ISCC) has been responsible for bringing Diwali to the wider Christchurch community with their Diwali – Indian Festival of Lights event. The first public celebration was held in 2010 at Victoria Square. Since then the festival has been held at Horncastle Arena. Sponsored by Singapore Airlines, it has grown in size and variety. This year’s event is on Saturday 22 October, from 3 to 9pm.
For many, a highlight of the Christchurch event are the dance performances. Various local groups, from university student dance clubs to dance companies, whose performances range from traditional to Bollywood fusion, take part. Many of these groups spend months preparing their routines for the event.
Another draw card is the variety of food available. Tired of tikka masala? Then try street stall food such as pav bhaji and aloo chaat. Sweets are also an important part of Diwali. Make an effort to track down gulab jamun (dumplings soaked in a sugary rose water syrup), or barfi (sweetened milk mixed with pistachios and left to set).
While at the festival you will hear many different languages being spoken. In fact, there are 122 major languages and 1599 minor languages to be found in India. However, Christchurch City Libraries can prepare you for this challenge. All Christchurch City Libraries users are free to use Mango Languages to learn a range of Indian languages including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.