The Māori New Year is now upon us – and although the rain is pouring and the tornadoes are twisting and turning, there is still a time for rest after the harvesting of the crops, physical or otherwise; a time for reflecting on our tūpuna who have passed on; a time to reflect on the effects of Covid-19; and a time to rejoice in precious taonga – be they whānau or otherwise, or just plan for a better life ahead.
There are many tohu, or signs, that mark the coming of the new year. Māori of the West Coast of New Zealand aren’t able to view the rising of Matariki, low down on the eastern horizon at this time of the year. So we, in Taranaki and Wellington, turn to Puanga (Rigel, of Orion’s constellation), to mark the Māori New Year. But it is to Matariki that most people look, and although Matariki is a cluster of many stars, we commonly talk about it in terms of the worldwide star story of the Seven Sisters.
Even today, more is being learnt about Matariki. Recently, Dr. Rangi Mātāmua rediscovered a manuscript of his tupuna’s which added two extra stars, Pōhutukawa and Hiwaiterangi, to the kāhui whetū– making up a cluster of nine stars of Matariki. You can learn more about Dr. Mātāmua’s work here. If you’re looking for more information, you can also start with Qiane Matata-Sipu’s Spinoff piece from last year, which has wonderful background on ngā whetū, as well as the kaupapa of the new year around the motu.
Our eLibrary collection includes a wide range of resources about Matariki, Te Ao Māori and the history of Aotearoa. To celebrate Matariki, we have collated a list of these titles, called “He Matatiki: Matariki Reads from Te Ao Māori”. Make sure to have a look through all the treasures in this kete! You can also find more information about Te Ao Māori, whakapapa research and the history of Te Whanganui a Tara in the Māori Resources section of our website.
Throughout these school holidays, we are presenting a range of Matariki activities for tamariki and whānau, as part of our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival. These range from crafting to storytimes, and include activities in both Te Reo Māori and English. You can learn more about our #purapurawhetu programme here. Check our calendar for all the events.
Nō reira, nau mai haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Come along and celebrate Matariki with Wellington City Libraries!
Me mihi ka tika mātou ki a Ann, i tuku āwhina i ēnei mahi. Thanks and mihi to Ann for her help in putting together these resources!
“We are excited to announce our Wellington City Libraries customers can begin reserving fiction books online from the Central Library collection through our new Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC),” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.
“Once items are reserved through the catalogue they will be delivered to the library branch the customer has chosen. This should take between one to three working days. Our teams will continue to help people find items and place reserves for them where they need it.”
“People can reserve titles from the fiction collection for adult readers at catalogue.wcl.govt.nz. We will add the young adults and children’s fiction over the coming weeks, followed by the non-fiction titles. After that, we’ll work through the reference collections and how we can make these accessible. We’ll keep customers updated as more parts of the collection become available.”
“It’s been mammoth job to find a space with the right climatic conditions and strength to house the more than 350,000 items which remained at the Central Library after taking out the 60,000 items that are available at our three interim CBD libraries. While we opened two of the interim branches last year – Arapaki Manners Library and He Matapihi Library – our plans to open the third library and the CDC in May were delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown. So we are excited the collection is now accessible, and we are opening Te Awe Library at 9:30am, Tuesday 14 July. We’d very much like to thank our customers for their patience and support over the past fifteen months.”
How library customers can reserve items:
In the New Catalogue (catalogue.wcl.govt.nz), look for items held at the “Off-site Storage” location, and select Place Reserve as you do for other items:
The Collection and Distribution Centre in Johnsonville and the library teams based there, manage the distribution of the thousands of new and current library items which are borrowed from, or returned to our 14 library branches every day. The Centre is closed to the public.
Wellington City Council is pleased to announce the third and largest interim library in the CBD, Te Awe Library (meaning White Feathers), will open to the public from 9.30am, Tuesday 14 July.
“We are delighted to announce we are opening Te Awe Library with a dawn ceremony this coming Tuesday,” says Mayor Andy Foster. “Te Awe Library is the largest of the three, interim CBD libraries we designed for people to use while decisions on the Central Library service are made, and subsequent physical works undertaken.
“Everyone will find something to enjoy in our new oasis in the city among the more than 20,000 items including fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, CD and vinyl, as well as the many popular events and programmes our libraries are known for. It will also bring additional life to this part of the Golden Mile.”
Community Well-Being portfolio lead Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says Te Awe Library is going to be great for children and young people.
“There is a large space, dedicated for them to read, play, and take part in popular programmes and events like Baby Rock and Rhyme, Storytimes, and Lego Sundays. Baby Rock and Rhyme is a Wellington institution loved by babies and parents alike. I know families have been really missing it, many will breathe a sigh of relief with its return to the central city,” says Councillor Fitzsimons.
The team of specialist librarians have carefully selected the more than 20,000 items in the collection to reflect the interests of customers and added new or related themes to help further exploration, says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.
“People will find plenty of seating and quiet zones to study, read, or for groups to gather and chill. There are also spaces and meeting rooms where we’ll run a range of events for everyone, such as movie nights.
“Music lovers and aficionados will enjoy a strong CD and vinyl collection, including many hard to find or stream albums, plus most of New Zealand’s Flying Nun releases. Our music specialists have highlighted seminal or must-hear albums from around the world using new, blue ‘Essential listening’ stickers.
“We all know how important good coffee is for Wellingtonians, so we’re also excited to have Corey and the Collective Café team as neighbours, which will open beside the library on Wednesday 15 July. Everyone will be able to enjoy a hot drink, including Peoples’ coffee, or choose something tasty from their range of organic, free-range food while reading a magazine or finding the latest books.”
After the opening ceremony, Te Awe Library will welcome the public from 9.30am, Tuesday 14 July. This branch’s normal opening hours will run from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am – 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
We will swap the central city weekend hours from Arapaki Manners Library to our larger Te Awe Library. So from Monday 13 July, Arapaki Manners Library will be open between 8am – 7pm, Monday to Friday and closed on weekends.
Te Awe Library can be accessed via either 29 Brandon Street or Panama Street next to the Collective Café.
There are return slots at both entrances, and the one in Panama Street is open after-hours.
I once facilitated a book group every month on a Friday afternoon at the wonderfully diverse Newtown library involving 8 book-loving, library users. We would discuss the ideas, plots, characters, sense of place and theme of each book like this would be our last, usually over coffee, tea and scones.
Now, that sense of communal engagement can continue on a larger scale with our first collection of always available digital Book Club titles through the eBook and audio-book reading app Libby.
We have hundreds of titles to choose from across adult fiction, Aotearoa, nonfiction, kids and teen audiences for discovery by book groups, for community reads, and fiery or friendly discussion. Expect thought-provoking reads across genres like mystery, science fiction, classic literature, poetry and award-winning fiction but also best-selling popular biographies, science and business nonfiction.
Here’s a quick selectors pick of 10 of some of the always available titles ready to read now:
For even more options try our carefully chosen selection of over 370 classic novels by Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens – an entire pantheon of always available literary classics.
For more information on how to get started with the Libby app, go to our eLibrary page or contact us here for further helpful assistance.
Many Wellingtonians will be familiar with Herbert Gardens, a striking mid-century modernist apartment building located at 186 The Terrace, next to the top end of Boulcott Street leading to the motorway on-ramp. It was designed by the architectural firm of Biggs, Power and Clark in the early 1960s and built between 1963 and 1965.
One can only imagine the impact the building had when it opened; at the time of construction the Terrace was still dotted from end to end with wooden colonial villas and only two modern office buildings (Shell House and Massey House) had been completed. This was also an era when the inner-city population was in rapid decline as people moved out to the suburbs, shops were closed on weekends, ‘six o’clock closing’ was still in force and Wellington’s first and only so-called ‘supermarket’ was little more than a medium-sized grocery store on Willis Street. With that in mind, the development firm of Winchester Developments Ltd took on a degree of risk in believing that there would be enough people interested in European-style apartment living at a time when inner-city culture and atmosphere was anything but ‘vibrant’. The name the developers decided to give to their venture commemorated the former owners of the large house which once existed on the site and (as the name suggests) their well-known and much-loved garden.
Dr William E Herbert was born in central Otago in 1872. He studied at both Otago University and the famous medical school at Edinburgh University before settling in Wellington where he established a small private practice as well as working at Wellington Hospital. After a visit to the United States where he was impressed with what he saw as a much more efficient way of delivering health care, he formed a business partnership with Dr Henry Hardwick-Smith and in 1912 they established what was then Wellington’s first ‘modern’ private hospital in Bowen Street. Though the hospital buildings were demolished in the early 1970s for the construction of the Treasury headquarters, the original name of the institution continues to live on after Bowen Hospital became a charitable trust and relocated to Crofton Downs. It was during the 1920s that William and his wife Florence moved into the large mansion at 186 The Terrace which had been owned by her parents, her father being the wealthy businessman and hotelier, Hamilton Gilmer. Likely built in the 1880s, it was located at the front of a one-acre section with the back of the land parcel dropping down into a natural valley where the Kumutoto river flowed and which later became known as Herbert Gully. They set about landscaping and planting the section behind the houseand transforming it into what was regarded as one of the finest private gardens in inner-Wellington. The Herberts had long been involved with charity and philanthropic causes, raising large sums of money to build Wellington’s children’s hospital and to purchase some of NZ’s first radiotherapy machines used for treating cancer, so it followed that they would use and showcase their garden for charitable purposes.
In early 1934, The Social Review reported such an event; a garden party raising funds for Wellington Free Kindergarten. Highlights included a fashion show featuring new work by the local clothing designer Mary Garden, a performance by a dance group and a display of “relaxation exercises demonstrated in a reclining position”. Though her husband died unexpectedly in 1933, ‘Florrie’ Herbert remained living in the house, outliving her husband by almost 30 years until her death in 1961. Soon after the mansion was demolished and planning and construction of the apartment building began.
Photos from this period in the late 1960s show the original gardens still existing and though they were in a state of disrepair, they would have provided a quiet outdoor area for the apartment building’s early residents. However, it was to be a short-lived peace; almost exactly the same time as the building was completed, the final route of the Wellington Urban Motorway was confirmed. Most of what remained of the gardens were compulsorily acquired by the National Roads Board and in the mid 1970s they were dug out to create the section of the motorway which leads to the northern portal of the Terrace Tunnel. However, now clad in regenerating native bush, a small section of the original garden remains for residents of the apartments to enjoy to this day.
Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau! This July, we are celebrating Matariki with Purapura Whetū, a special festival of events, crafts, storytelling, and reflection for whānau and tamariki all over our city.
As well as all the programmes listed below, each of our libraries will have special crafting stations set up where you can make your very own star to add to our city-wide purapura whetū; a pattern, or web of stars.
Why do we celebrate Matariki? The star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) reappears in the dawn sky about Aotearoa in late May or early June. The new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Customarily, this was a time to remember the deceased of the past year and to plan for the new year. Today, Matariki has been revived as a celebration of people, culture, language, spirituality, and history. It is a time for whānau and friends to come together to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the year ahead. When you add your star to our purapura whetū, we invite you to send a message to someone you love, or reflect on the year that has just passed.
Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! As well as the Purapura Whetū craft activity happening at every branch, there are many other fabulous events to look out for celebrating Matariki during the school holidays:
Kōhunga Kōrero o Matariki
Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Pakiwaitara i roto i te reo Māori. E 30 meneti pakiwaitara, rotarota, waiata hoki i roto i te reo Māori nō ngā kōhungahunga me ō rātou mātua kaitiaki. Join us for these special Matariki storytimes in te reo Māori! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.
Friday 10 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
Friday 17 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
Making Matariki Stars
Join us for this special Matariki craft session! Make your very own Matariki star using one of our designs, or let your creative juices flow and create your own! Then, we will add your star to our purapura whetū — our pattern of stars — for everyone to enjoy and admire.
Monday 13 July, 11.00am at Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
Matariki By Torchlight
Head down to the library at twilight for this special evening of Matariki and Aotearoa-themed stories and songs under the starlight (or clouds!). Bring your own torch and come along in your PJs ready for some heart-warming bedtime stories and songs.
Monday 13 July, 6.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā
Matariki Music Makers: Making Taonga Whakatangitangi
Come along and celebrate Matariki by crafting music makers inspired by the porotiti, and making Matariki stars. You can take your creations home, or display them at our libraries during our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival.
Friday 10 July, 2.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā
Matariki Online Storytimes
Whakarongo mai, tamariki mā, pākeke mā! Celebrate Matariki wherever you are with our Matariki online storytimes. He korero paki i te reo Māori ēnei; these stories are in te reo Māori. The stories will be streaming live on our Wellington City Libraries Facebook page, and will remain up for your enjoyment throughout the holidays!
Saturday 4 July, 7.30pm — online!
Sunday 5 July, 7.30pm — online!
Monday 6 July, 7.30pm — online!
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local whare pukapuka, or library, with Matariki-themed stories and waiata with our librarians. Then, why not try your hand at making Matariki stars at our crafting stations? There will be a range of activities available for your whānau.
Tuesday 7 July, 10.30am at Khandallah Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tarikākā
Wednesday 8 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
Wednesday 15 July, 10.30am at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
String Bean Puppets: Once in a Full Moon
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local library with Anna Bailey and her string bean puppets! Anna’s puppets will be helping her perform the magical tale “Once in a Full Moon.” One evening, a lonely kiwi looks up in the sky and sees something remarkable… can kiwis fly after all?
Monday 13 July, 2.00pm at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
Tuesday 14 July, 11.00am at He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
Wednesday 15 July, 2.00pm at Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
Friday 17 July, 2.00pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i tēnēi wā tino hirahira! So come on down to your library to celebrate this special time!
As International Pride Month draws to a close and the weather outside gets a little colder, there’s no better time to snuggle up, sip a warm beverage, and enjoy some excellent queer cinema from around the world.
Your WCL membership provides access to streaming video services, which host a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You can find out more about how to access these online video options on our eLibrary page.
In the first edition of our #WinterWarmers Queer Film Fest, our staff collated some of our favourite documentaries. Now, in part two, we share our picks of the finest fictional features from around the world. Part one, our selection of documentaries , is right here.
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Length: 143 Minutes
Directors: Robin Campillo
Winner of over 20 international film awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, BPM is the remarkable new film from Robin Campillo (They Came Back, Eastern Boys). In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.-Kanopy
Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian. The project is not without drama as Cheryl’s singular focus causes friction between her and her friend Tamara (Valarie Walker) and as she begins to see parallels between Fae’s problematic relationship with a white director and her own budding romance with white Diana (fellow filmmaker Guinevere Turner).-Kanopy
Length: 110 Minutes
Director: Sophie Hyde
Directed by Sophie Hyde (Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure), the Australian filmmaker who won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, 52 Tuesdays is centered on the relationship between James (Del Herbert-Jane), a mother undergoing gender transition, and their precocious teenage daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). Looking forward to starting their gender transition but wary of how the process might affect their daughter, James asks Billie to move in with her father Tom (played by Beau Travis Williams). To make up for the abrupt separation, mother and daughter make a commitment to meet every Tuesday afternoon, no matter what. As the year progresses, James and Billie watch each other change in ways that sometimes threaten their once-unshakable relationship. As both individuals explore deep personal issues and struggle to remain connected, a complex tale of human desire and ultimately, physical and psychological transformation, emerges.-Beamafilm
Length: 93 Minutes
Director: Kar-Wai Wong
Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship. After all, Po-Wing is not ready to settle down. Yiu-Fai now works in a Chinese restaurant and meets the youthful Chang from Taiwan. Yiu-Fai’s life takes on a new spin, while Po-Wing’s life shatters continually in contrast.-Beamafilm
Maryam Keshavarz’s lusty, dreamy take on the passionate teenagers behind the hijabs. Risking jail and worse are the sassy, privileged Atafeh and the beautiful, orphaned Shireen. They’re under constant, unnerving surveillance, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 30. Nevertheless, within their mansion walls and without, beneath graffiti and undulating at intoxicating house parties, the two girls begin to fall in love with each other, as Atafeh’s handsome, albeit creepy older brother Mehran gazes on… Filmed underground in Beirut, with layers that permit both pleasure and protest.-Beamafilm
Based on Brent Hartinger’s best-selling critically acclaimed novel, Geography Club is a smart, fast, and funny account of contemporary teenagers as they discover their own sexual identities, dreams, and values. While finding the truth too hard to hide, they all decide to form the Geography Club thinking nobody else would ever want to join. However, their secrets may soon be discovered and they could have to face the choice of revealing who they really are. -Kanopy
Books for learning English are now available to borrow from our CBD branch, Arapaki on Manners Street. The collection supports the learning needs of people of all ages who are learning to read and write, and people who are learning English as a secondary language. The collection provides materials which can be used in addition to English courses and as an aid to self-study.
The types of books available include: graded readers, dictionaries, grammar and vocabulary courses, business English material, academic English material and books on the New Zealand lifestyle for new immigrants. We also have supplementary material for English Language courses, such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), and OET (Occupational English Test).
Our collection is divided into three levels, indicated by a coloured dot on the book’s cover or spine. Level One books are for beginners and they have a yellow dot. Level Two books are for intermediate learners and they have a blue dot. Level Three books are for advanced learners who are at the exam level, and they have a purple dot.
As well as Arapaki, many of our other branches also hold Learning English collections. You can find the collections at: Johnsonville, Karori, Kilbirnie, Miramar, Newtown, and Tawa branches. We also have a free online database for library members called Road to IELTS. It is is an online preparation and practice resource for IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, with general and academic modules.
As the world becomes increasingly galvinised by the Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racist movements we must remember that New Zealand is not immune to racism. Our history of colonisation and immigration has given us our own struggles that need to be understood and overcome. The books listed below offer a starting point for understanding racial politics in New Zealand from a Māori perspective.
Hīkoi: forty years of Māori protest / Harris, Aroha Hīkoi provides an overview of the contemporary Māori protest movement, a summary of the rationale behind the actions, and photographs of protests, marches, and the mahi behind the scenes. Results of protest are also discussed including the Waitangi Tribunal; Māori becoming an official language; Māori-medium education; and Māori television.
What is decolonisation and why do we need it in New Zealand? This book discusses why it is needed if we are going to build a country that is fair and equal for all who live here, as well as what it could look and feel like.
Ka whawhai tonu mātou: Struggle without end / Walker, Ranginui
A revised edition of this best-selling history of New Zealand from a Māori perspective. Dr Walker discusses the fact that Māori have been involved in an endless struggle for justice, equality and self-determination for the last two centuries. A challenging must-read for all New Zealanders.
Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples / Smith, Linda Tuhiwai
This is a revised and updated edition of a landmark work. It explores how imperialism and research interact and how this has had an impact on ‘knowledge’ and ‘tradition’. Social justice and concepts such as ‘discovery’ and ‘claiming’ are discussed and it is argued that it is necessary to decolonise research methods in order to reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.
Journey towards justice / Workman, Kim
Kim Workman is a central figure in the ongoing discussion of justice and prison policy in New Zealand. This is a powerful first-hand account of struggle, spirituality and questions of cultural identity as well as the state and social forces that have helped shape contemporary New Zealand.
Bridget Williams Books The NZ History Collection
Provides online access to over thirty years of award-winning history and biography publishing from Bridget Williams Books – includes over 90 New Zealand history titles. You will need your library card and pin number to access these full-text scholarly works.
Old Asian, new Asian / Ng, K. Emma
Did you know that a 2010 Human Rights Commission report found that Asian people reported higher levels of discrimination than any other minority in New Zealand? This anecdotal account is based on Ng’s personal experience as a second-generation young Chinese-New Zealand woman and explores the persistence of racism against Asians in New Zealand.
Under the Covid-19 Alert Level 1 all Wellington City Libraries branches will return to normal opening hours from Monday 15 June, while continuing with additional cleaning and providing QR codes for people to track where they’ve been.
“It’s been great to see people coming back to our branches over the past few weeks, and we’ve really appreciated everyone for their patience in following the sign-in and physical distancing rules,” says Laurinda Thomas, Manager Libraries and Community Spaces.
“We will continue to provide regular cleaning of shared resources, such as children’s toys, and keep our QR codes up so people can continue to keep track of where they’ve been”
“Our teams loved entertaining Wellingtonians by delivering our Storytime, Bedtime stories, and Baby Rock and Rhyme programmes live through Facebook, and we were delighted with how well received they were.
“Now we’re back in the branches, our Storytime and Baby Rock and Rhyme programmes will be gradually restarting. But we’ll continue to help Wellington kids get off to sleep by reading Bedtime stories on Facebook.”
To see the branch opening hours and which programmes are available, and where, please visit the opening hours and event calendar pages.