Te ranga tahi, together we grow

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.

Race Relations Day 2014 PosterOur 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
  • いっしょに成長しよう
  • Juntos crecemos
  • Fakalataha auloa a tautolu
  • Ensemble, nous grandissons
  • 我们一起成长
  • Zusammen wachsen wir
  • एक साथ हम आगे बढ़ें
  • Magkasama tayong uusbong at yayabong
  • Ons groei tesame
  • با هم رشد می کنیم
  • Insieme cresciamo
  • 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.

Happy Race Relations Day!

Sali Mahomet: Picturing Canterbury

Sali Mahomet making icecream in his ‘dairy’ behind his house at 69 Caledonia Road, St Albans
[ca. 1910]

Christchurch people, 1952: Picturing Canterbury

Spectators during the ceremony marking the running of the last New Brighton tram
[18 Oct. 1952]

Some of the crowds who greeted the last tram travelling from Cathedral Square to New Brighton are pictured. Thousands of people filled Seaview Road almost from the bridge to the seafront.

Ngaio Marsh directs Hamlet: Picturing Canterbury

Hamlet, produced by the University of Canterbury Drama Society and performed at the Civic Theatre
[11 July 1958]

The Women’s Art Environment: Picturing Canterbury

The Women’s Art Environment, CSA Gallery, Christchurch : women in the tepee space. [1977]
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: Picturing Canterbury

Beth El Synagogue, Christchurch [1906]
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.

All the leaves are brown … SAD is in the air

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!

The library has many resources which can help:

  • Books on depression and how to treat it Cover
  • A  smorgasbord of resources on self-help techniques, including a number of freely-downloadable OverDrive audiobooks and e-books
  • 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

Earthquake counselling

Don’t forget also that free counselling continues to be available for those affected by the earthquakes. The key number to call is 0800-777 846. More contacts are available from the Webhealth Canterbury, CERA and Ministry of Social Development websites.

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!)

Race Relations Day: People in harmony

Today is Race Relations Day.Poster

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.

Here are some useful resources:

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.

Happy Eid!

Sali Mahomet making icecream in his 'dairy' behind his house at 69 Caledonia Road, St Albans

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:

and in our Internet Gateway:

CINCH has information about Muslim community groups and organisations in Christchurch.  And for an insight in the life of one of Christchurch’s earliest Muslim residents, read about Sali Mahomet (aka “Ice-cream Charlie”) in our Heritage pages.

Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid) to those of you who are celebrating!

Cultural cringe

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.