Celebrate Race Relations Day, support our Assyrian community

race relations day 2015New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth and we are also one of the most peaceful: it’s up to everyday New Zealanders to ensure this is a legacy we leave for future generations. Race Relations Day reminds us all of the crucial role positive race relations and human rights play in our communities and lives.

Every 21st March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination marks the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 black South African citizens – including 10 children – were shot to death by their own Police for protesting against racial apartheid laws. In New Zealand, communities across the country host hundreds of events on and around the 21st of March to mark Race Relations Day.

bellbirdThis year’s Race Relations Day theme “Big Change Starts Small” was created by a Vietnamese Kiwi who had lived in Auckland for less than a year when he won last year’s Race Unity Speech Competition.

“Secondary school student Thai An Vo’s winning speech captures the spirit of positive race relations and human rights: Big Change Starts Small,” says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Positive race relations don’t just live in a document at the United Nations, they must live in our communities, suburbs and lives.”

This year’s te reo Maori theme is the proverb “Itiiti Rearea, Kahika Teitei, Ka Taea” – “The smallest bellbird is able to climb to the heights of the tallest Kahika tree.”

“New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth and yet we are also one of the most peaceful nations on the planet. This is something I’m grateful for and proud of but it’s also something we can’t take for granted,” said Dame Susan.

Escalator Press, a new Wellington publisher, and Wellington Libraries are presenting a special event for Race Relations Day,
Hear Kate Carty speak about her compelling new novel Run Thomas Run, set in Iraq and England.

Meet Sarjon Warde and other Assyrians, and hear about thie exceptional history, their current situation in Iraq, and their vibrant Wellington Community.

6.30-7.30pm, Thursday 26 March
Ruth Gotlieb Library, Kilbirnie.

This is a free event, all welcome!

Syndetics book coverRun Thomas run / Kate Carty.
“A wedding, a poem, a shortcut home – what happens next will shake Thomas Odishu, wife Esther and children Ramina and George to the core. For this is Iraq in 1991 and there are no such things as coincidences. Informants are everywhere and once you’ve had a run-in with Saddam’s regime, your only chance of survival is escape. But no matter how hard you run, the past is always there, right behind you. Set in Iraq and England over three decades, Run Thomas Run is the gripping story of a father’s contorted love, a daughter’s coming of age, guilt, redemption and a child’s promise made forty years earlier that should never have been kept.” (Syndetics summary)

We have some beautiful books in our collection about the Assyrian language, history and art. Have a look at these:

Syndetics book coverThe church of the East : an illustrated history of Assyrian Christianity / Christoph Baumer.
“Christoph Baumer is one of the very few Westerners to have visited many of the most important Assyrian sites, and has written the only comprehensive history of the “Nestorian” (or Apostolic Assyrian) Church, which now fights for survival in its country of origin, Iraq. He traces its apostolic beginnings to the present day, and discusses the Church’s theology, christology and uniquely vigorous spirituality. He analyzes the Church’s turbulent relationship with other Christian chuches and itsdialogue with neighboring world religions such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism. Richly illustrated with maps and over 150 full-color photographs, the book will be essential reading for those interested in a fascinating but neglected Christian community which has profoundly shaped the history of civilization in both East and West.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAssyrian palace sculptures / Paul Collins ; with photography by Lisa Baylis and Sandra Marshall.
“Between the ninth and seventh centuries BC the small kingdom of Assyria in northern Iraq expanded through conquest to dominate the region from Egypt to Iran. The power of the Assyrian kings was reflected in the creation of a series of magnificent palaces in which the walls of principal rooms and courtyards were lined with huge panels of alabaster carved with images of the monarch as priest, victorious warrior and hunter. Together, the sculptures constitute some of the most impressive and eloquent witnesses of the ancient Middle East. This book serves as a superb visual introduction to what are undoubtedly some of the greatest works of art from the ancient world, showcasing a series of specially taken photographs of the British Museum’s unrivalled collection of Assyrian sculptures.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom Nineveh to New York : the strange story of the Assyrian reliefs in the Metropolitan Museum and the hidden masterpiece at Canford School / John Malcolm Russell, with contributions by Judith McKenzie and Stephanie Dalley
“The story of Sir Austen Henry Layard’s rediscovery of ancient Assyria and its fabled capital, Nineveh, is one of the great tales of the 19th century. No less remarkable is the story of the collection, dispersal and then re-acquisition in the 20th century of the world’s greatest Assyrian collection ever to be in private hands.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA history of the ancient Near East, c. 3000-323 BC / Marc van de Mieroop.
“This book presents a clear, concise history of the extraordinarily multicultural civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Beginning with the emergence of writing around 3000 BC, the narrative ranges from the origins of the first cities in Mesopotamia, through the growth of the Babylonian and Hittite kingdoms, to the Assyrian and Persian empires. It ends with the transformation of the Ancient Near East by the conquests of Alexander the Great. A straightforward and concise narrative of the complex history of the ancient Near East. Addresses political, social, and cultural developments. Contains in-depth discussion of key texts and sources, including the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Includes a selection of Near Eastern texts in translation. Accompanied by plentiful maps and illustrations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginner’s Assyrian / D.G. Lyon.
“This book includes a detailed outline of Assyrian grammar, transliterated texts, an extensive glossary and a comprehensive list of alphabets. Aramaic is also known as Assyrian and knowledge of it is a must for any serious scholar of the bible. The instruction guide is designed for those intere4sted in learning to read the language.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIntroductory Assyrian grammar / Samuel A.B. Mercer.
A passport to an important language of the ancient world, this grammar presents an introduction to Assyrian, a linguistic relative of Hebrew that derives from the northern group of Semitic languages. The Assyro-Babylonian language emerged as long ago as 3000 b.c., and remained in use until the first century before the Christian era, after which it disappeared until the nineteenth century. A wealth of archeological work since then has uncovered thousands of examples of the language, and with this concise treatment, students of archeology, anthropology, and world history study the language’s complexities. Both simple and well supplied with exercises, the text divides grammar and syntax into chapter-by-chapter lessons.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

New Zealand is the first country in the world to observe the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Auschwitz liberation day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an international memorial day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand invites you to join them at the Holocaust Memorial at Makara Cemetery for a commemoration ceremony on Tuesday 27  January at 1pm.  You are also invited to the “Auschwitz to Aotearoa” exhibition at Bowen House from 27 January to 20 February which  is open to the public from Wednesdays to Fridays from 12-3pm. Come and see this compelling exhibition about 9 Jewish women who survived incarceration in Auschwitz.

Syndetics book coverSuch good girls : the journey of the Holocaust’s hidden child survivors / R.D. Rosen.
“Rosen reconstructs the experiences of three childhood survivors of the Holocaust. As Jewish children, Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, Flora Hogman, and Carla Lessing spent their early years in hiding in Poland, France, and Holland, respectively. Although their individual stories are unique, each spent significant years of her youth living in fear. Inevitably, the trauma that defined their hidden years informed their adult years, including their career choices in the helping professions. As adults, these women all experienced an ever-increasing need to confront their fears and anxieties by connecting with others who spent the war as hidden children. Recognizing that children who survived by hiding lacked an organized support group, each of these woman was instrumental in establishing networks and conferences for their unique peer group. By focusing on an often-overlooked group of survivors, Rosen has made a significant contribution to the Holocaust record.–Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2014 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe commandant of Lubizec : a novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard / Patrick Hicks.
“Readers who have not read extensively about the Holocaust may be surprised, and perhaps puzzled, to learn at this novel’s end that the Nazi death camp in Poland described in agonizing and moving detail is fictional. For those able to put aside the question of why poet (This London) and debut novelist Hicks made the choice not to describe an actual death camp, his tale will serve as a solid depiction of historical horrors. The eponymous commandant, Hans-Peter Guth, is believably painted with the schizophrenic personality required for a good family man who plays with his children before heading off to work as an architect of genocide. Hicks goes to gruesome lengths to show that those living near such extermination centers knew what was going on, graphically depicting how the windows of surrounding houses were stained by human fat. His methodical style, which mimics an actual history book, down to the inclusion of footnotes, presents the Nazis’ logical approach to mass murder via the accumulation of small but damning details. No one will mistake this for Night or Schindler’s List, but it’s nonetheless a grim eye-opener. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe holocaust sites of Europe : an historical guide
“With this one-volume work, Winstone (independent scholar) offers a very important addition to reference collections holding materials on the Holocaust and European Jewish history. For both researchers and laypeople, this is an unprecedented, comprehensive guide to places of interest including camps, massacre sites, cities and ghettos, euthanasia centers, and museums and memorials in all of the major Holocaust sites in Europe–from Belgium, Belarus, and Greece to Serbia and Ukraine. The work also includes information on Sinti and Roma sites, along with a detailed and authoritative “suggested reading” section of leading historical studies. Beyond the narrative of genocide that typifies reference works on this subject matter, this volume’s historical context, provided for each country and region, is both impressive and extremely well researched. This work will be very valuable for all researchers and travelers interested in learning more about this chapter in world history. Its maps and illustrations are informative and well selected in terms of geography and historical significance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. L. Lampert California State University–NorthridgeCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” (CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverMeasure of a man : from Auschwitz survivor to presidents’ tailor : a memoir / Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall.
“He’s been called ‘America’s greatest living tailor’ and ‘the most interesting man in the world.’ Now, for the first time, Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield tells his incredible life story. Taken from his Czechoslovakian home at age fifteen and transported to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz with his family, Greenfield came face to face with ‘Angel of Death’ Dr. Joseph Mengele and was divided forever from his [family] … He learned how to sew; and when he began wearing the shirt under his prisoner uniform, he learned that clothes possess great power and could even help save his life [and led ultimately to his] founding America’s premier custom suit company”– Provided by publisher.


Learning English

Kia ora and happy new year to you all!

What’s new in the Learning English collection? Heaps! Here are some examples from beginners to IELTS!

Syndetics book coverPicture this! : learning English through pictures. 1 / Tim Harris, Allan Rowe.
“”Picture This!: Learning English Through Pictures,” by Tim Harris, and illustrated by Allan Rowe, is a two-level multiskills course that enables beginning students to master the core language needed for effective communication in English. Eight distinctively illustrated chapters that use engaging, original art provide everything a teacher needs to introduce key vocabulary and systematically present new grammar structures. A colorful cast of characters personalizes the themes presented in each chapter, and makes learning more enjoyable. The program’s integrated skills approach includes a strong writing component, with activities designed to promote the rapid development of listening, speaking, and reading skills.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEasy English step-by-step for ESL learners / Danielle Pelletier.
“You’ve come to the right place for learning English quickly and easily! This book is based on the idea that the quickest route to learning this subject is building a solid foundation in the basics. The first steps introduce you to the everyday expressions of the English language, allowing you to communicate in a variety of everyday situations almost immediately.” (Back Cover)

Syndetics book coverHarry’s holiday / Antoinette Moses.
“The graded readers series of original fiction, adapted fiction and factbooks especially written for teenagers. Harry doesn’t live a typical teenage life. His dad works away from home and his mother needs a lot of help, so he can’t see his friends after school or at weekends. Then Harry sees a competition – a chance for his family to take a break. But the competition changes Harry’s life more than he could ever expect.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverSpeaking / Rhona Snelling.
“This book gives you everything you need to improve your pre-intermediate speaking skills for the IELTS speaking test. Comes with complete IELTS speaking practice test, answer keys, glossary, audio scripts and audio CD provided.” (Back Cover)

Our Learning English collection is available at Central, Johnsonville, Karori, Miramar, Kilbirnie and Newtown libraries. The collection at Central library has moved to the first floor next to the foreign language books.

Author talk: meet Adrienne Jansen

ada-author-talkOn Thursday 20 March, starting at 6pm at the Central Library, we will have a special celebration for Race Relations Day! Meet Adrienne Jansen and Samson Sahele – these two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. Well-known musican Sam Manzanza will start this event with his amazing drumming!

I have introduced you to Samson a few days ago, now meet Adrienne!

Adrienne is a writer, editor and teacher. She is a fourth generation New Zealander and lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua. She loves the physical beauty of the area and is a very strong Porirua supporter enjoying its diversity.
Adrienne Jansen writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has lived and worked among immigrants in New Zealand for many years, and her writing draws strongly on that experience. She wrote the text for The Crescent Moon: Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand, with photography by Ans Westra. Her latest novel The Score is about messy lives, shaky pasts and even shakier futures. Adrienne founded the Whitireia Polytechnic Creative Writing Programme, and was its coordinator until 1999. She now teaches fiction and editing on the programme, and has written several of its online courses. She is part of the writing team at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum, and does some freelance work.

But there is so much more!  Have a look here on the Book Council website.

I asked Adrienne about her hobbies and favourite movies and authors. One thing we both enjoy is a love of Moroccan food. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she has been working with Abdel El Adraoui from the Marrakech Cafe on his new cookbook Abdel’s Favourites from the Marrakech Café. You may remember Adbel from my post on our Communities Stories and Traditions page.

One favourite film of Adrienne is the French comedy The Intouchables. Our library catalogue has this summary: “An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust, and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicapped millionaire and his street-smart ex-con caretaker, The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.”

Favourite author: it changes depending on what Adrienne is reading, but she is a great fan of Australian writer Tim Winton. Especially his novel Syndetics book coverCloudstreet :  “[this novel] concerns the everyday lives of two country families who move to the city. ‘It pulses with a sense of wonder and shines with the clear light of truth’ – P Robert Drewe.” (Syndetics summary)

I am very excited about this author talk on Thursday, hope you can make it! A great opportunity to meet very different writers, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions. Remember this is a free event at the Central Library, starting at 6pm.

Author Talk – Samson Sahele


Celebrate Race Relations Day and meet Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen! These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together.  This is a FREE event – no need to book and will be held at Central Library in Victoria Street Thursday March 20 from 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will launch the event with his amazing drumming skills!

Samson cropIn this post I would like to introduce you to Samson. Samson was a journalist in Ehtiopia when he had to flee for his life. His journey as a political refugee took him through four African countries before spending two and half years in South Africa. He arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2000.
I first met Samson back in 2007 at Newtown library when his community were looking for a place to celebrate their very special Ethiopian Millenium! I invited them to have this event at the library and organise a display about their ancient culture! We even had a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony, best coffee ever!
Samson works at Refugee Trauma Recovery. which is a non-governmental organisation offering confidential and free services to former refugees and their families in Wellington. They provide specialist mental health services for those who have experienced trauma and torture, and deliver capacity building for their families and community. More information about this organisation.

etiopian millennium 020aSamson is the driving force behind creative writing workshops for young refugees, and the resulting publications, Earthless Trees, Beyond the Dark Journey and Walking with a Fragile Heart. Dame Fiona Kidman has been a supporter of all three books including attending writing workshops with the young authors. Samson also published a poetry collection Journey with My Shadow. Dame Fiona Kidman writes in the preface, “This book represents Samson’s own journey, from the beloved and beautiful Ethiopia of his childhood to Aotearoa, New Zealand. It is a journey, in one sense, from lightness and enchantment, to a safe, but perhaps, by contrast, more grey land. In between, there is an account of intolerable darkness and should be compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to learn how war has destroyed some parts of the African continent.” Dame Kidman concludes with: “As New Zealand, Aotearoa becomes increasingly multi-cultural, it would be well for us to learn more of these flights, taken in fear and with regret from beloved homelands. In order to offer a land that welcomes people from other cultures, we need to understand better that which has gone before. Journey with my Shadow offers this oppurtunity. I highly recommend Samson’s book.”

I asked Samson what he likes doing in his spare time and no surprises there. He likes supporting the community, reading, and listening to music, especially Ethiopian music and Reggae. Also enjoys walking and following our global current affairs.

Do join us on the 20 March at Central library celebrating Race Relations Day, this will be a very interesting session, we are looking forward to seeing you there!
Next post I will introduce you to Adrienne Jansen.

Race Relations Day Author Talk

rrd2014 posterRace Relations Day, 21 March, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world. Wellington City Libraries is a proud participant in the Diversity in Action Programme facilitated by the Human Rights Commission. The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme is a community initiative. It began in 2004, in response to the outrage at the desecration of Jewish community gravesites in Wellington. The programme has been active in promoting and encouraging positive race relations.

The 2014 theme in New Zealand is “I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.” This year’s poster features portraits from six of New Zealand’s top illustrators (clockwise from top left): Max Thompson, Rebecca Kereopa, Rebecca Terborg, Angus Gomes, Donna Cross and Henrietta Harris.

stacked-nz-diversity-logo-webThis year we are celebrating Race Relations Day with a free author talk – in conversation with Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen. These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. This is a free event and will be held at the Wellington Central Library, Thursday 20 March 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will play the drum at the beginning of this session calling you all to attend! Pencil this in your diary now! Next post I will tell you more about the authors.

slider for authortalk

New learning English books!

It’s a new year, and there are lots of new books to help you with English!

There is something for everyone, from beginners to more advanced. Here are a few examples:

Syndetics book coverJourney through Arabia / Andy Hopkins.
More than two thousand years ago, traders brought spices and incense by camel caravan across deserts and mountains from the south of Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. This is the story of that journey, and of the rich and beautiful cities on the way.

This is a Penguin Active Reading book, elementary level with 600 headwords and is supported by an interactive CD-ROM which contains additional activities and the complete audio recording. (from book cover)

Syndetics book coverSkills for effective writing. 1, [Student's book].    
Students are better writers when they master discrete writing skills.
* Clear and easy-to-understand presentation of each writing skill.
* Extensive practice so that students can truly master each important aspect of writing.
* Skill quizzes to give teachers a snapshot of students’ understanding.
* Stimulating academic themes to keep students engaged.
(from book cover)

Syndetics book coverWork on your grammar. Elementary A1.
This is a new practice book that will help you to improve your spoken and written English. Work through the exercises and see the difference good grammar can make to your success in Englsih. This books is suitable for self-study and classroom use. It has an answer key so you can check your progress. (from book cover)

Are you new to Wellington? Have you heard of Newcomers Network? The Wellington Newcomers Network (WNN) was initiated at the end of 2013 at the request of Wellington City Council in conjunction with the Multi Cultural Services Centre. Its aim is to support relatively new arrivals in Wellington in building up contacts and friends and to provide them with an opportunity to savour some of the social activities that Wellington has to offer with others in order to enhance their lives and feel settled quickly in their new home town. For more information visit them on Facebook!
They have some great social events organised!

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, 27 January, is the international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. It is also the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenhau was liberated.

In Wellington, the annual commemoration is today at 2pm at the Holocaust Memorial, Makara Cemetery, Karori. The theme this year is:
Passing on Holocaust remembrance from one generation to the next

Many stories have been told and written about the horrors of the Holocaust. Stories about the victims, survivors, and also stories about people who risked their lives to help those in need.  There are also still many unknown stories, it is important that these stories are told and passed on to the next generation. One of those stories was about Jane Haining. Last month I was invited to a book launch at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Webb Street. The author Lynley Smith introduced her book From Matron to Martyr.

Syndetics book coverFrom matron to martyr.
“Lynley shared the moving story of her relative, Jane Haining, a Scottish missionary sent to Budapest, Hungary before the war, to be the matron of a girls’ orphanage. She refused to abandon her Jewish charges and ended up in Auschwitz, where she died.
After finding a tenuous family connection to the mysterious and captivating Jane Haining, Lynley Smith crafted Jane’s fictionalized diary, a biography of a faithful servant and Scottish missionary who died at the hands of Nazis in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II. From Matron to Martyr is an inspirational and bittersweet book. ” (courtesy of the author)

Have  you visited the Holocaust Centre in Webb Street? The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand aims to collect and record the stories of Holocaust survivors who fled from Hitler’s Europe, came to New Zealand and made new lives here. Their stories are available for education and research purposes.

The project is supported by volunteers committed to telling the stories of those who suffered and those who were cruelly murdered, in ways that will inspire following generations, both Jewish and of other faiths, to combat intolerance wherever it occurs and respect the dignity of the lives of every man, woman and child.

New learning English books!

Our Learning English collection has something for everyone! Books to help you with grammar, reading comprehension, writing, speaking and listening, dictionaries, fiction and non-fiction. We also host a group of students every Wednesday morning at Newtown library. They choose their books carefully and then have the opportunity to read aloud with some of our librarians.

I have noticed that a lot of the students prefer reading stories about well known people such as Pele, Mother Theresa and Michael Jackson.

Syndetics book coverNelson Mandela / Rowena Akinyemi.
One of the most popular books is about a very special person who was born in 1918. This child was given the name Rolihlahla, which means ‘troublemaker’ in the Xhosa language. At the age of seven, Rolihlahla went to school, the only one of his brothers and sisters to do so. And it was on his first day at school that his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the English name of Nelson, the name which later became world famous! If you want to know more about his life, his tireless struggle for human rights, the happiness and sadness of family life this is an excellent read. For advanced readers of English, this book comes with an audio CD. It also has a glossary and before and after reading activities to help you understand the story.

Students often use dictionaries to help them with their studies. Did you know we have dictionaries in many community languages? They can be issued for 3 weeks. Here are some examples from our extensive collection!

Syndetics book coverBurmese-English English-Burmese dictionary / by Nance Cunningham, Aung Soe Min.
A practical dictionary for English speakers, including pronunciation and writing guide, chart of Burmese letters, and sections in Burmese script and and Burmese sound.

Syndetics book coverEnglish-Somali, Somali-English dictionary = Ingirisi Soomaali, Soomaali Ingirisi qaamuus / Maxamud Jaamac Qoorsheel.

Syndetics book coverOxford essential Arabic dictionary : English-Arabic, Arabic-English.
“This essential resource offers up-to-date coverage of the day-to-day vocabulary of English and Arabic, with more than 16,000 words, phrases, and translations.” (Syndetics summary

World Refugee Day – 20 June

Every year on June 20 the world honours the courage, resilience and strength of refugees. Global attention is focused on this day not only on the plight of refugees and causes of their exile, but also on their determination and contribution they make to their host communities.

What is happening in Wellington?

NZ Red Cross is once again holding the annual World Refugee Day Football Match and Cultural Fair at Newtown Park on Sunday, 23 June. The day will start at 11:00 AM and will include:

  • Football matches
  • Cultural performances
  • Ethnic food
  • And much more!

Imagine losing everything simply because of your race, ethnicity or beliefs. If you would like to know how you can help a family who has lost everything to start again, visit Refugee Services‘ website to find out more.

The following books have been written by refugee youth living in the Wellington region, and include short stories and poems. Journey with my Shadow is a collection of poetry by Samson Sahele, who is also the driving force behind the youth writing workshops.

Syndetics book coverEarthless trees : short stories by young refugees in New Zealand / [edited by Pauline Frances].
“This collection of short stories is dedicated to the courage of all refugees who live in New Zealand, for their suffering and displacement from their homeland. Created during a series of writing workshops for young refugees, these vibrant stories provide an insight into the lives of new New Zealanders – individuals and families who came to New Zealand seeking security and freedom. From an escape through mountains on an overloaded truck, to living through an explosion in urban Kabul, these stories touch on universal themes of survival, family and home.” (adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond the dark journey : short stories and poems by young refugees in New Zealand / [edited by Pauline Frances].
“Beyond the dark journey is the eagerly anticipated follow up to Earthless Trees which was published in late 2008 and had record sales for a publication of its kind. Over 1,500 copies sold. Dame Fiona Kidman had this to say within the Preface she wrote for Earthless Trees: ‘Above all, these are well written, accessible stories set in a modern contemporary world’.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWalking with a fragile heart
(This is a new book, still on order, but click the link above to place a reserve)
“Refugee Trauma Recovery recently celebrated the completion of a third book written by young people from refugee backgrounds with a book launch. Walking with a Fragile Heart is a collection of short stories and poems written by seven young people from Malawi, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Burma and Ethiopia. The completion of the book followed a 20 week writing course that gave the young writers an opportunity to write about their life experiences as refugees” (Human Rights Commission website)

You can also listen to an interview on National Radio with two of the young people whose work is in this collection.

Syndetics book coverJourney with my shadow : a collection of poetry / Samson Sahele.
“Journey with my shadow is a collecton of poetry that exposes the reality of Africa: the human rights violations, the killings and abuses, and the harassment by dictators” (Library catalogue summary)

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