The discussion in the news at the moment about parental leave reminds me of all the issues you are bombarded with in the early months of your child’s life. Money worries and trying to make decisions about returning to work fight it out with what nappies to use, when to wean and how to get enough sleep. It all becomes a mass of gooey milky confusion.
The library does of course have a multitude of books and magazines to pounce upon and devour as you desperately try to find your way through the parenting mine field. I do however wish the library website had been around in those early days when I was desperate for information.
There are some fabulous links. I especially like Everybody – parenting. This site has everything you could possibly need, support groups, heaps of health information, parenting tips and recipes.
Another interesting site is Babyweb NZ which is run by a mum, midwife and child birth educator and includes links to Baby friendly locations in New Zealand, equipment hire, shopping and child birth education. The links in this guide are many and varied from local community groups to larger government based organisations such as Working for Families. It’s a one stop shop for parents and anyone else who needs information on parenting in New Zealand.
TV3 on a Thursday finds me glued to the box awaiting Kevin McCloud, and his Grand Designs. I never miss it. Mr McCloud’s dulcet tones mixed with a hints of sarcasm and a good doses of scepticism keep me riveted as I watch impossibly adventurous houses being built or renovated by their often eccentric owners. There is something about architecture and everything we invest in a new building that is akin to a great soap opera. The drama, love, failure and thwarted dreams is compelling.
Perhaps this is why as Christchurch people we are so interested in the buildings we are losing as well as what lies ahead. Our homes and our public structures represent what we stand for, what we publicly want to show the world about our taste, our dreams and what we represent as individuals and as a city.
The library website has some great guides outlining the architecture of Christchurch as well as overseas. One of my favourite links is to Christchurch modern. This is a blog that has done a tremendous job collecting images and information about houses that have been built within a modernist tradition, many of which have been lost during the earthquakes. I hadn’t realised that Christchurch had quite such style in this respect. It is also worth checking out the Flickr link to Hum-dingers of the grid city.
A popular holiday destination for New Zealanders over the coming weeks will be those beautiful and unspoiled natural havens – our national parks.
We have many far-sighted individuals to thank for the opportunity to visit these stunning pockets of wilderness. The first was a Tūwharetoa chief called Horonuku Te Heuheu. Concerned that an argument over ownership would lead to the splitting up of the central North Island volcanoes area, he gave the land to the Crown for a national park. In this way he preserved both the land and its tapu. It became Tongariro National Park in 1894.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the government’s early desire for national parks had less to do with preservation than with lucre. They were run mainly as tourist and recreational areas in the hope of making the country money via tourism – and with no regard for the native flora and fauna. Indeed various individuals introduced such great “improvements” as heather, lupins and deer to them, with official blessings.
Bad behaviour wasn’t confined to those little episodes either. According to Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Arthur’s Pass National Park came into being as a result of the scandalous predations of visitors delivered there from Christchurch on excursion trains in the 1920s. They stripped the plants of flowers, cut down trees and generally despoiled the place. However, by this time there were more conservationists around and both they and the locals lobbied until it became a park in 1926.
Thank goodness for the wisdom of those like Horonuku Te Heuheu and enthusiasts like Harry Ell and his ilk.
I remember as a kid being dreadfully ashamed that my mother bought second-hand clothes. She loved nothing better than a good scramble through other peoples discarded goods and would pounce gleefully on a “perfectly good skirt” that someone, “obviously well-off” had chucked, and would bring it home triumphantly. When I became a hard-up student I began to appreciate her eye for a bargain, and so my love affair with everything second-hand began.
Time passes and so do trends. Secondhand is now referred to as ‘Retro’ or ‘Vintage’. We no longer slink into secondhand shops under the cover of darkness, and celebrities proudly proclaim that the beaded Dior dress they are wearing is indeed – Vintage.
The Library of course, being at the forefront of all new trends, has a multitude of books on all things vintage, retro and recycled.