Sacred windows: Recent beliefs additions to the collection

Our selections this month offer a fresh take and plenty of food for thought as they tackle topics as varied as Chinese heroes and myths, teachings by ancient Indian women, the role of the Hindu temple in communities, and Tuvalu climate change implications for God-thoughts. It’s easy to reserve your title and have it delivered to your preferred branch for free.

Christianity in Oceania
As the title suggests, this is a survey of Christianity as applied in Oceania. Each chapter addresses individual countries with demographic information and essays by local writers. It charts patterns of growth and decline, explores major traditions, denominations and movements, and looks at current trends as well as themes such as migration, indigenous spirituality, worship or mission. Most treatments either deal with an individual country or take Oceania as a whole but this book’s strength is in its comprehensive collation of Oceanian countries.

Near-death experience in indigenous religions, by Gregory Shushan.
“In this book, Gregory Shushan explores the relationship between [near death experiences], shamanism, and beliefs about the afterlife in traditional indigenous societies in Africa, North America, and Oceania. Drawing on historical accounts of the earliest encounters with explorers, missionaries, and ethnologists, this study addresses questions such as: Do ideas about the afterlife commonly originate in NDEs? What role does culture play in how people experience and interpret NDEs? How can we account for cross-cultural similarities and differences between afterlife beliefs?”–cover.” (Catalogue)

Faithful disobedience : writings on church and state from a Chinese house church movement, by Wang Yi.
Underground movements of any kind develop unique local perspectives, both resilient and fragile. Key writings from the house church have been compiled, and translated for English speakers. Pastor Wang Yi and his church, Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, share their theological stance on the house church and its complicated relationship to the Chinese government. “This unique resource will be valuable to practical and political theologians as well as readers interested in international relations, political philosophy, history, and intercultural studies.”(publisher)

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He Timotimo : Free te reo Māori taster sessions starting 8 June

He Timotimo: free reo Māori lessons for beginners

Nau mai, haere mai to ‘He Timotimo’, Wellington City Libraries’ te reo Māori taster sessions!

We know it can be scary to start learning a new language and that te reo Māori classes fill up quickly in Wellington so we are pleased to announce that we have free, friendly classes Thursday evenings starting Thursday 8 June  at Te Awe Library that are available for bookings now.

Book online

These are introductory classes for beginners and will have a new topic each week as a taster, he timotimo, to get you started. The sessions will be fun and you will be supported as you learn the basics with our specially designed programme developed by Neavin Broughton and taught in association with Jordana Turahui.


Thursdays, 5:30-6:30pm, starting 8 June and running for six weeks


Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street in the CBD


These taster sessions are suitable for absolute beginners and we are now taking bookings. Each class will feature a new topic. Bookings will be essential for each date as numbers are limited. As each week is booked separately you don’t need to worry if you have to miss a week.

The classes are informal and you will not need textbooks or other materials, you might just want to bring a notebook and pen to take some notes.

How to Book?

Book online for each session. If you have any questions please Contact Us.

Sacred natures : Recent beliefs picks

There’s something for everyone in this edition of recent arrivals. Delve into an unorthodox look into the life of Leonard Cohen from a faith perspective, read about Big Panda and Tiny Dragon’s journey (based on Buddhist principles), consider reconnecting with the sacredness of nature to take our climate change response up another notch, explore Japanese myths underpinning manga or anime, and enjoy the richly researched history of the Jesuits and their influence.

Leonard Cohen : the mystical roots of genius, by Harry Freedman.
Freedman takes a new approach to Cohen’s contribution to our generation by focusing on Biblical and Torah references in his lyrics, which feature multiple allusions to Jewish and Christian traditions and texts, as well as Kabbalah and Zen. “He was as familiar with Christian traditions as he was Jewish. He is not concerned with confessional barriers, they simply impede access to the deep well of spiritual lore from which he draws. This is not a biography but a biographical narrative into the treatment of each song or theme…” (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Hope : a user’s manual, by Pastor MaryAnn McKibben Dana.
“How do we cultivate hope to face each day, even when our efforts don’t bear fruit?” She uses personal anecdotes, bible references and allusions to the plots of the films Superman and The Avengers to lay out a faith-centric vision of hope and offers practices to cultivate it. Filled with a diverse set of conversation partners, this book seeks to be honest about the world’s challenges (climate change, racism, etc.) without giving into despair. “Anger is the appropriate response to injustice, but anger needs the orientation of hope — which says the world could be better — in order to strive for justice. The book’s chapters are satisfyingly short, able to be read in any order, and include practical exercises.” (drawn from Library Journal).

Sacred nature : how we can recover our bond with the natural world, by Karen Armstrong.
“Karen Armstrong argues that if we want to avert environmental catastrophe, it is not enough to change our behaviour: we need to think and feel differently about the natural world — to rekindle our spiritual bond with nature. For most of human history, and in almost all the world’s cultures, nature was believed to be sacred, and our God or gods to be present everywhere in the natural world. When people in the West began to separate God and nature in modern times, it was not just a profound breach with thousands of years of accumulated wisdom: it also set in train the destruction of the natural world. Taking themes that have been central to the world’s religious traditions — from gratitude and compassion to sacrifice and non-violence — Armstrong offers practical steps to help us develop a new mindset to reconnect with nature and rekindle our sense of the sacred.”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

The Norse, by Morgan Daimler.
Provides an overview of the gods, history, and beliefs of Norse heathen mythology. The author notes that, “heathenry is a diverse spiritual movement” and religious rituals can be flexible. Although designed as an introduction, some of the background descriptions are encyclopedic, such as the Valkyries that transport dead warriors to Valhalla. This book is suitable for both beginners wanting a basic understanding and those wanting to delve deeper.

The God of the Way: a journey into the stories, people, and faith that changed the world forever, by Kathie Lee Gifford.
Rabbi Jason shares wisdom from his Jewish heritage and helps us read Scripture in the cultural context of biblical times. Pulling from the Torah and the New Testament, the authors analyse stories in the Bible and unpack what these passages reveal about how God works and what they can teach us for today.

The journey: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon, by James Norbury.
“..continues the adventures of two unlikely traveling companions as they embark on a path that brings them farther from home, and closer to each other and themselves. When Tiny Dragon feels unhappy, he confides in Big Panda, who leads his friend on a journey to heal his heart. They explore new lands, encounter extraordinary experiences, face demanding challenges, and, ultimately, find contentment. As Big Panda and Tiny Dragon trek further on their trail of acceptance, they learn that changes and challenges are a natural part of life and essential for growth”– Provided by the publisher.” Book One (Catalogue)

The Japanese myths: a guide to gods, heroes and spirits : with 90 illustrations, by Joshua Frydman.
“Modern fans of Japanese film, anime, manga, literature and popular music connect to the images of gods and monsters in the craggy peaks of the islands.” Yet few will understand the long history of Japanese mythology that underpins them. Frydman brings us a great illustrated guide which not only retells the stories, but explores how Japanese mythology has changed over time, with new gods, heroes, and spirits.

The Jesuits : a history, by Markus Friedrich.
Since Ignatius of Loyola in 1540, the Society of Jesus (“The Jesuits”) has been intimately involved in the development of the modern world. Jesuit order played a crucial role in the Counter Reformation, the establishment and spread of European empires, via missionary activity in east and south Asia, and South America, and are leaders in Catholic education and theology. In 2013 Jorge Bergoglio became the first Jesuit Pope, taking the name Pope Francis I. Drawing on his expertise as a (non-Catholic) historian, Friedrich situates the Jesuit order within the wider perspective of European history.

Te Pātaka Open Day Returns on Friday 16 December : stock up on your holiday reading

Our Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre houses Wellington Central Library’s collection, and for one day only you can visit, browse and borrow!

Photo of our Te Pataka warehouse team, waving hello

Looking for some special holiday reading? Want to delve into a topic more deeply? Or maybe you’re interested in finding the perfect gem?

We’ll be opening our Te Pātaka Collection Centre to the public for a pre-holiday exploration. You’ll be able to browse and borrow books from all parts of our off-site storage lending collection, including:

  • Fiction, including classic literature, mysteries, sci-fi
  • Non-fiction – small and large books on all your favourite topics
  • Biographies
  • Large print
  • World languages
  • Graphic novels
  • Teen fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels
  • Children’s fiction, non-fiction and comics
  • Picture books
  • Other collections such as scores, songbooks, car manuals, DVDs and CDs.

Books will be issued for 6 weeks. We can’t wait to see you!

Spots are limited and visits are restricted to one hour, so bookings will be essential — book your slot below!


What? Te Pātaka Open Day

Date: Friday 16th December 2022

Time: Five one hour slots available — 10-11am, 11am-12pm, 2-3pm, 3-4pm, 4-5pm

Location: Johnsonville (details on registration)

Book your spot now!

The Aotearoa Reference collection is now available

NZ collection sign

Our NZ reference collection can now be requested. These items can be identified in the catalogue as held at the Offsite NZ Collection. We regret the time taken to make this large collection available. Our preparations were interrupted more than once by factors outside our control. We are still working through the process to stock-check all the books that were brought out of the Central Library. As soon as books are checked they will be made available on our online catalogue. If you have a particular request which you can’t find in the catalogue, please let us know, and we will make this a priority.

Please use this email address to make your request and one of our team will retrieve it for you. Don’t forget to let us know your library card number and which branch you would like to view the book at. You will receive two emails, one confirming the request, and the second when the book has arrived at the branch. This is a free request service.

Most books will be available for you to consult for three weeks at the library branch. If you don’t need the books for three weeks, just let the staff in the branch library know and they will return the book for you.

If you need to renew the item for a further 3 weeks, make a request through the same email and the library team will check if there is another customer waiting.

Book a Librarian – Tonoa He Kaitiaki Pukapuka

woman holding smartphone

Have a burning question that the library could help with? A specialist enquiry or research question? Our specialist librarians are brimming with knowledge and itching to share it. Now you can book a librarian to help you with any tricky question.

woman holding smartphone

The topics we can cover include:

  • researching your family history or local heritage
  • learning more about our online resources including our eLibrary
  • children’s and young adult book recommendations or exploration of our youth education options
  • information for your small business
  • identifying that elusive movie or music track
  • locating Māori information or whakapapa
  • our world language collection or learning English resources
  • any general topics or books e.g. non-fiction

Submit your enquiry via this booking form to book in a session with one of our experienced librarians. One of our team will be in touch to confirm your booking and set up a line of communication.

We’d love to hear from you!