Today is Race Relations Day and the theme this year could not be more apt for Christchurch in 2014:
I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.
Our city, as we all know, is undergoing many changes post-earthquakes. For me one of the most exciting ones has been the influx of people from all over the world who have come to help in the rebuild. Together we are growing a new Christchurch, a city of not only new buildings but also and especially of new relationships.
The library reflects this harmonious coming together of cultures: we have growing collections of resources for new settlers, including books and magazines in a number of world languages. And our staff is similarly multicultural and multilingual.
So what better way to celebrate this Race Relations Day than to share this year’s theme in some of the languages that we collectively speak?
Te ranga tahi
Together we grow
Fakalataha auloa a tautolu
Ensemble, nous grandissons
Zusammen wachsen wir
एक साथ हम आगे बढ़ें
Magkasama tayong uusbong at yayabong
Ons groei tesame
با هم رشد می کنیم
A tatou fa’atasi e tupu
우리 함께 가요
Samen groeien we
Can you guess what all the languages we speak are? Please comment with “together we grow” in your language if it isn’t included in the list.
The Women’s Art Environment, CSA Gallery, Christchurch : women in the tepee space. 
In 1977 the Women’s Artists Group organized the Women’s Art Environment at the Canterbury Society of Arts. The artists exhibiting included Joanna Paul and Allie Eagle. “The event was conceived as an opportunity for women to come together in one place to discover their particular identity as women, in a situation where their expression would be uninhibited by men. The exhibition was opened exclusively to women for the first five days … The objects which remained on display after this were evidence of the deeply felt need of the participants to search for the sources of their identities as women ” — The Press, 11 June 1977, p. 22
Beth El Synagogue, Christchurch 
The Jewish Synagogue is shown decorated on May 30, 1906 for the Season of First Fruits or Feast of Pentecost; also the anniversary of the Revelations of the Decalogue.
Couple the season of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) with the post-earthquake blues and it’s no surprise that many of us here in Christchurch are feeling low and that, as the days get shorter, our tempers do too!
A list of links in our Internet Gateway to reputable information about depression and to agencies which can assist
Contact details in CINCH of local support groups and counselling services, as well as of clubs, community organisations and continuing education providers – as John Kirwan reminds us on the TV ads, the company of others is great to help us find a way through
For the month of June, Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga, in conjunction with Language Line, is also offering free earthquake counselling for people who speak English as a second language. Face to face counselling is available with the assistance of interpreters over the phone.
Language Line provides interpreting in 41 languages, so pass the message on and encourage any of your friends, neighbours and colleagues who may be new to New Zealand and feeling somewhat isolated, to take advantage of this opportunity and engage in some pag-uusap, conversación or good old-fashioned talking. (Apologies for the language-butchering; it’s all Google Translate’s fault!)
This year Mother Nature has unfortunately put a stop to those events such as the Lantern Festival and Culture Galore which celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community. However now more than ever it’s important to remember the many cultures which call New Zealand home, and support each other.
If your neighbours or colleagues are new to Christchurch or have difficulty understanding English, you can help them get the information they need.
Language Line is a telephone interpreting service available on request in 41 languages. Over 70 agencies use Language Line, including the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Labour, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Christchurch City Council.
Access Internet Radio gives access to a range of audio clips to assist migrant communities receive quake-related information. The clips have been translated and voiced by volunteer broadcasters from community radio stations around the country.
And for an inspiring look at the way in which Asian communities have been helping Christchurch in the recovery effort, Asia Downunder had a nice segment on its programme of 20 March, which you can watch at TVNZ Ondemand.
Amidst the shaking and rolling, and the blur of anxiety that has coloured this last week, it’s hard to remember that life goes on. However, for over 2500 Christchurch residents and for millions of people throughout the world, today marks the beginning of one of the most important holidays of the year – Eid ul-Fitr. Eid ul-Fitr celebrates the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan, during which Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. Hence the name Eid ul-Fitr, which means the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.
If you would like to know more about this holiday and about Islam in general, try some of the following links in our catalogue:
In 1961, when I was six years old, my parents took me to Auckland. My sisters were leaving on an overseas trip on a cruise ship and we were going to see them off. Taking the term “overseas” literally I was desperately disappointed when we got off the ferry in Wellington to find that everyone still spoke English and looked just the same.
The next day we took the tram to the zoo and I was thrilled to see an Indian woman join us wearing a wonderful sari in beautiful colours. I immediately expressed my excitement by pointing at her and saying “look Mummy” in a nice loud voice. I then stared at her in great fascination until we reached our destination, restrained from going to grill her about India only by my mother’s puzzling annoyance and my new friend’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for my admiration. The tribulations of being part of a small ethnic minority must be many!
Fortunately this scenario is unlikely to be repeated in contemporary Christchurch. The bland days of 1950s and early 60s culture has given way to a much more pluralistic society and a vibrancy much contributed to by a wide variety of cultures. Today I have the pleasure of mixing with people from all sorts of cultures every day. These days we celebrate our multicultural society with festivals like Culture Galore and the Lantern Festival.
Festivals like these also give us the chance to enjoy music and dance from all sorts of ethnic traditions. Along with our increasing awareness of ethnic diversity has come an interest in World Music. It is a genre with an increasingly wide audience and festivals like WOMAD have an enthusiastic following.
If you’re interested in finding out about it try the World Music The Rough Guides, on CD and in book form. They are excellent guides to get you oriented. The National Geographic has a great website where you can browse videos of music from different regions to get an idea of what you like.
Once you’re started the library has a great collection of world and folk music, both on CD and streamed free online and these can give you a chance to expand your musical horizons for very little investment. Try searching for World Music or Folk Music on our catalogue, or have a look at Music Online in our premium databases.