Whanau fun – celebrate Aranui at AFFIRM on 5 December

AFFIRM is a family festival organised by ACTIS. The local community sets out to celebrate and share its talents with the rest of Christchurch. AFFIRM14 takes place on Saturday 5 December 2015 at Wainoni Park from 9.30am to 4pm.

AFFIRM10 Flickr CCL-2011-12-03-AFFIRM December2011 DSC02813

There will be food stalls on site and more entertainment for the whole whanau:

Ki o Rahi, Giant Bouncy Slide, Water Rollers, 4’n’1 bungy, Info stalls, great giveaways, full days stage entertainment which includes: local schools, Jah Mana, The Byllie Jean Project plus many more. Featuring: T J Taotua and Donell Lewis.

Our Aranui Library is right by Wainoni Park, and is open on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. There will be a free giveaway book stand at AFFIRM, and there will be information available outside the library. We will also have 3D printing on show.

Aranui Library holiday activities
Aranui Library. January 2014. Flickr: 2014-ar.hols2

Go to the Aranui AFFIRM Facebook page to find out more and see photos from previous events.

Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival

Every two years, Te Matatini organises the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, where top kapa haka teams from New Zealand and Australia compete for the honour of being crowned the best of the best. From 4 to 8 March 2015, Te Matatini will be hosted by the Waitaha rohe at Hagley Park (North), Christchurch.


Te Matatini started in 1972 and is now the world’s largest celebration of Māori traditional performing arts, attracting over 30,000 performers, supporters and visitors.

Find out more about kapa haka.

More information

Over four days, audiences experience the best Māori performing arts in the world – from the harmonies of dynamic group singing to the graceful movements of women performing the poi and the ferocity of the male haka.

Te Matatini is a whānau friendly, smoke, alcohol and drug free event. It is an opportunity for all people, regardless of culture, background or age to come together, to share and celebrate.

While the main focus is kapa haka, Te Matatini also celebrates Māori culture and cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a range of retail and food stalls, art and craft exhibitions and other entertainment activities.

Festival competition

Day 1 – Pōwhiri by the Tangata Whenua.

All kapa haka performers, supporters, dignitaries and visitors are welcomed by the local hosts.

Days 2, 3 and 4 – Pool Rounds (Te Ihu, Te Haumi, Te Kei)

Kapa Haka teams are required to perform six disciplines within their performance piece – whakaeke (a choreographed entry), mōteatea (traditional chant), poi (light ball swung on the end of a rope), waiata-ā-ringa (action song), haka and whakawātea (exit). They must perfect every discipline in a polished 25 minute performance.

Each performance is judged against set criteria, by expert judges, appointed from around New Zealand.

Taonga (trophies) are awarded to the team with the highest score in the seven compulsory (aggregate) categories (the six discplines mentioned and the seventh category, Te Reo Māori – the use and clarity of the Maori language). Further taonga are awarded across non compulsory (non-aggregate) categories such as Kaitātaki Wahine (Best Female Leader), Kaitātaki Tāne (Best Male Leader) and Kākahu (Costume).

The top three teams with the highest combined marks in their competition pool will compete in the Competition Finals.

Day 5 – The Finals (Te Whakarae)

The finalists are judged anew to determine third, second and the new Toa Whakaihuwaka – overall winner of the competition.

The Venue – Pūtaringamotu

Te Matatini takes place in Hagley Park. It lies within the wakawaka of Pūtaraingamotu, the site of one of the many kāika (settlements) established in the maze of swamps, waterways and lagoons lying between Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Waimakariri River.

Pūtaringamotu means either the place of an echo or the severed ear. The latter is a metaphoric expression referring to ‘bush isolated from the rest’. This is in reference to the great fire that swept across Ngā Pākihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha (the Canterbury Plains) during the moa hunter period, leaving behind this bush remnant.

Local Māori also believed that at a certain place in the forest, those trained and skilled in the practice could hear the sound of people approaching on the trails through the surrounding swamp by putting an ear to the ground, hence the name ‘place of an echo.’

Te Matatini web series by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Te Matatini videos and livestream

Māori Television has videos of the haka groups performing at Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival being held at Pūtaringamotu, Christchurch.

Get some culture

Culture Galore 2010It’s time to immerse yourself in some culture at Culture Galore! Part of the Garden City Summer Times it’s held at Ray Blank Park, Maidstone Road, Ilam on Saturday 10 March 12 – 4pm. Come celebrate all the many cultures within our garden city. Enjoy performances of native dancing with beautiful costumes and savour the delicious flavours of exotic countries.

Christchurch City Libraries will have a stall as will other informative groups. So come along and say Hi!

It’s a great day out for the whole family with entertainment to keep kids happy.

And if you want more culture, think Library. If you read Chinese, we have resources in Chinese language and you can read 17 Chinese newspapers for free with your library card and PIN number through Press Display. Find out about our World Languages collection or search our BiblioCommons catalogue for items in other languages.

NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Festival comes to town

The winners of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards are announced next Wednesday at the awards ceremony in Auckland, but in the lead-up to this is the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Festival which runs from 10-19 May.  As part of this festival the finalist authors and illustrators travel around the country promoting their books and each region organises events that tie-in with the finalist books.

In Christchurch we are lucky enough to have a very dedicated group of organisers who have worked out some very cool events.  Parents and toddlers can go along to Madras Bookshop Cafe on Thursday from 10:30-11am to enjoy stories with Susan and the Storytram with Liz Weir is running on Tuesday 18 May for those lucky enough to get tickets.  On Saturday 15 May you can go along to Crazy Creatures with Creative Junk to listen to stories and make your own crazy creatures to take home.  Bookings are essential so give us a call if you’re interested.

Tonight (Tuesday 11 May), one of the Young Adult book finalists is speaking about her book Banquo’s Son.  If you are interested, come along to Fendalton Library from 7:30-9:00pm tonight.  This is a free event and no booking is required.

For more information, grab a brochure from your library today or check out our NZ Post Children’s Book Awards page on the Kids website.

Adventurous wanderings: the meaty matter of the contemporary novel

Writers on stageA literary map with a glossary would have been handy – that was how much ground was covered in the official opening session of the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week. I took more than 1000 words of keyboard shorthand notes while listening to Neil Cross, Gil Adamson, Kamila Shamsie and Audrey Niffenegger. Words like tropes and encultured flowed through my ears. None of the notes are much use, because as Neil Cross said: “It’s difficult to articulate without sounding like an arsehole”.

No-one fell into that category – quite the opposite. Kate de Goldi was super prepared and the conversation flowed easily. So what does the modern novel offer writers?

Gil Adamson said fun and the enjoyment of writing.  The Outlander, her first novel, was originally a poem spurred by an image of a young woman in black running as fast as she can. It became a ten-year process. “So it was a journey?,” chair Kate de Goldi asked. “No, it was a trial.” The fun came in writing the book sequentially, the discovery of the story along the way.

Neil Cross, who writes scripts and suspense thrillers, said the form changed depending on “who yelled at me on the phone last night”.

Scripts are constrained by the fact that you are spending other people’s money, he said, and the logistics of whether something can be filmed or not.

“In novel land, you can do whatever you like. I like to write so that reading becomes invisible. So people never have to get to the end of a sentence and go back and re-read.” He was still lost in Henry James, 25 years on.

Audrey Niffenegger said the novel was a “super practical” choice for what she was doing. The highest value was in originality – the form followed her creative need. Novels were also low cost and do-it-yourself. For Niffenegger novel school or writing classes were no use. Some of the audience winced.

Kamila Shamsie said the novel as a colonial form was not an issue, but the fact that she grew up reading novels in English about everywhere except where she grew up – Karachi – was. For her language was at the heart of the novel.

“I love plasticine words, anagrams, the sounds of words backwards. It’s a weirdness. You can extend it to your novels and pretend that there’s a reason for it.”

But genre was the casualty of the night – especially literary fiction. Audrey Niffenegger fired the first shot:

“Literary fiction is a genre called miscellaneous,” she said.

Neil Cross joined the attack:

“Literary fiction is fiction where if you don’t enjoy it, the author can say it’s your fault.”

Niffenegger again: “Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a bookstore arranged by grooviness? What if categories disappeared and you had to look at a different part of the bookstore? You might like it.”

Cross started nailing the lid on the coffin when he shared how he had tried to get publishers to visit real bookstores. They “almost detonated with terror”. Adamson didn’t like the literary label either, but wasn’t as harsh, saying that form was “a bit of a mosh pit”.

The discussion turned to place, and settings authors use. Cross wants readers to have a physical reaction to his books – just one more chapter before bed. To him all landscapes were psychological.

Nifennegger did “total immersion” cemetery research to help her graveyard setting be authentic and counterbalance the fantastical aspects of her novel. Shamsie got a sense of wild west freedom writing about the “extraordinary symphony” of Karachi in Cartography.

This was an unusual opening in that there were no readings – usually a staple at this kind of event. Yet somehow this made me more intrigued – I think I’ll read these authors with different eyes now I can see further through the forest of labels.

Overall it was an enthralling start, a brainful of adventurous wanderings. It was technical at times, but there was a singular clarity too: write the book you want to write.

Okay, breathe deeply …

As a person who writes for a living, going to the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival is a dream assignment for me. There’s the chance for lots of interviews, catching up with legends like Bookman Beattie, and all the fun of the events themselves, and writing, writing all the time.

However, I have a gnawing fear – a fear born of tired fingers trying to go too fast. You see, I often mis-type festival as “festical”. I don’t know what a festical is, but I hope I don’t get kicked there anytime soon. I try to take a deep breath before I type the word, slow down and avoid the howler… but you never know.

The other reason I’m taking a deep breath is the scope of this year’s event. It’s billed as: Politics. Fiction. Economics. Science. Current Affairs. Find out what an Earth is going on. There are some compelling sessions, with authors who write a broad range material – from detailed comment and analysis, to short stories and poetry.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Stefan Aust. He’s a former editor of Der Spiegel, who’s spent most of his working life covering the world of espionage and terrorism. His book, The Baader-Meinhof complex, has been hard to put down, and has recently been made into a movie.

New Yorker financial columnist and author James Surowiecki and Australian author Christos Tsiolkas also look like intersting fare, and Richard Dawkins will no doubt stir the grey matter up. Then there’s all the fantastic Kiwi writers …

What a line-up – this festival is going to be very memorable! Please send your comments and questions in as we go – we’d love to hear from you. And on that note, what’s your favourite howler typo?