Beyond the Page: a literary festival for tamariki and their whānau

Mark the date: from 6-21 July, public libraries from around the Wellington region are excited to be bringing Beyond the Page – New Zealand’s largest children’s literary festival – to the young people of Wellington and their families. 2019 marks the third year that this multi-disciplinary arts festival will delight, engage and inspire audiences and participants in public libraries and community venues from Ōtaki to Island Bay, and everywhere in between.

Beyond the Page is a collaboration between Wellington City Libraries, Hutt City Libraries, Upper Hutt City Libraries, Kāpiti Coast District Libraries, and Porirua City Libraries. This year’s festival will comprise over 140 events, from author talks, workshops, and live interactive theatre to Lego, puppets, stories, music, dance, robots and more. It aims to reflect the ‘other’ side of libraries – the side that fizzes, that is creative, energetic, entrepreneurial, tech-driven, and adventurous – and it’s all totally free!

You can find the full programme of Beyond the Page events on the festival website or follow us on Facebook, but check out some of the highlights below for a taster of what’s on around the city!

On the 10th of July, experience the wonder of Matariki storytelling as you never have before – while riding on the historic Wellington Cable Car! Take a return trip on the cable car (departure times are 10.00, 10.20, 10.40, or 11.00am) and enjoy beautiful stories and waiata from our wonderful Beyond the Page librarians. Be sure to book your free tickets by getting in touch with the Beyond the Page team. Suitable for children aged 3+ with their caregivers.

Bea Lee-Smith from the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be taking you on a magical journey into the world of Hansel and Gretel. Through music and mime, children will learn simple ballet steps and positions. This interactive telling of an old favourite tale will be a great appetizer for you and your family in advance of the RNZB’s exciting new production of Hansel and Gretel later in the year. Suitable for pre-schoolers and primary school aged children.

Next up we have the amazing New Zealand author Donovan Bixley, who has had over 100 books published around the world. His show will have you laughing with amazement as you dive into a world of letters, words, and fuzzy doodles. Suitable for children aged 5+ with their caregivers.

Next up is the fabulously spellbinding storyteller Tanya Batt. Tanya describes herself as a “green-fingered witch, a word warbler and a story stitcher.” You can join Tanya in one of her imagined worlds as part of this year’s festival, with amazing costumes, live music, and tantalising tales to boot. Suitable for children aged 4+ with their caregivers.

You definitely shouldn’t miss Toro Pikopiko, New Zealand’s most established puppetry theatre company, in their performances of the world’s first Māori rock-art musical for puppets! This incredible show featuring over 80 hand-crafted puppets is bound to inspire and amaze, and is suitable for children of all ages with their caregivers.

There’s something on for everyone during Beyond the Page this July. We can’t wait to see you there!

Research your Ancestry in August

To celebrate Family History Month, Wellington City Libraries is holding ‘Ancestry in August’, a series of events for anyone interested in learning more about researching their family history.   There are events for those who are just starting out to research family history and also for those who may already have some research experience.

A Public Talk: Wellington Local History Resources
Friday 3rd August, 12:30pm -1:30pm

Come along to the Central Library ground floor and listen to our local history expert, Gábor Tóth, as he gives an overview of some of the lesser known sources available to research ancestors who may have lived in Wellington. This talk is free and you don’t need to book.

An introductory tour:  Genealogy Resources
Friday 10th August, 10:00am – 11:30am

Join Gábor for a tour of the family history resources available at the Central Library.

Learn about how to begin your family history research and the strengths and weaknesses of each resource. The talk will conclude with morning tea, when Gábor will demonstrate some of the online resources and talk about finds he has made. There is no charge for this event but numbers are limited and registration is required.
** UPDATE: This tour is now fully booked **

Preserve and research your family history
Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 22nd and Friday 31st
10:00am – 4:00pm

Register to reserve a librarian: for the final three weeks of ‘Ancestry in August’ we have some times that will be available for you to book in with a librarian to help you with family history research. During your appointment you can choose to:

  • Digitise some family documents and photos.
  • Get help with your family search.
  • Discuss your whakapapa research with the Māori Specialist, Ann Reweti.

There is no charge for these appointments but registration is required.
** UPDATE: these events are now fully booked **

It’s NZ Dance Week Question Time!

We are counting down to NZ Dance Week (5, 6, 7, 8… get it?) and are getting SO excited for what’s happening at Central Library that week, that librarians have been started tapping and jiving through the shelves! So in the lead up to Dancing Through The Pages we quizzed our upcoming performers about their favourite books and current reading habits!

In order of the week’s performances, we kicked things off with choreographer and Artistic Director of Java Dance Theatre Sacha Copland.

So Sacha, tell us what are you reading at the moment?
“I usually have a few books on the go at any one time. For fun I am reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.  For research for my next work I am reading The Brilliant History of Colour in Art by Victoria Finlay and Chocolate Nations, Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa by Orla Ryan. I am really interested in exploring colour more. There is too much monochrome! Also my next work is about chocolate so I have to research every aspect of it before I make it, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

What about your all-time favourite book character?
“This is tricky to answer! Maybe Aomame, a martial-arts instructor and physical therapist from Haruki Murakami’s IQ84. I also love Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.”

Next up we have contemporary dancer and choreographer Lucy Marinkovich along with saxophonist and composer Lucien Johnson who answered our questions with the same creative partnership that we will hear more about at ‘A Song & Dance’!

What are you two reading at the moment?
Lucien: “Talking to My Daughter about the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis
Lucy: “Bright Air Black by David Vann (in preparation for the NZ Festival show OrphEus: a dance opera).”

Do you two have a favourite dance book or magazine?
Lucien: “For me it’s a music book: Music is my Mistress by Duke Ellington.”
Lucy: “Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.”

Lucien, what about your favourite book to recommend?
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin or Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T Anderson.”

For the final act we asked the same round of quickfire questions to the man behind ‘The Story of LARK’ Louglan Prior, RNZB dancer, choreographer and filmmaker extraordinaire!

What are you reading at the moment?
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde.”

Your all-time favourite book character?
“Albus Dumbledore.”
(We can’t fault you there, #WCLLovesHarryPotter!!)

What about your favourite book to recommend?
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.”

And final question, do you have a favourite dance book or magazine?
David Hallberg’s autobiography – A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back and DANZ Magazine.”

Want to know more about Dancing Through the Pages and what’s happening for NZ Dance Week? Check out wcl.govt.nz/danceweek for all of the info, add the Facebook Event to your calendar and follow the hashtag #nzdw2018! We hope to see you there!

Pro-tip: don’t miss our most recent biographies booklist! We’ve hand-picked a selection of some of the prominent dancers in history, from Gene Kelly to Michael Jackson. We couldn’t resist making a list of our favourite dance movies as well, what better reason to relive Footloose is there! Take a look!

NZDW 2018