Books at the Climate Crossroads event: recording available now

The climate crisis seeps into almost everything now – that cicada thrum of environmental shift.

Ingrid Horrocks

On a very rainy Tuesday afternoon in May, Te Awe Library was lucky enough to host Ingrid Horrocks, Turi Park, Tim Park and Rebecca Priestley for Books at the Climate Crossroads: Ngā Uruora and Where We Swim.

This fantastic panel event combined literature, science, the climate emergency, history and more as the panellists discussed these two ground-breaking New Zealand titles, as well as their own personal and familial experiences.

If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry–we recorded it for you! Click on the links below to view or listen to the talk via YouTube or MixCloud. And for more info, check out our previous blog about this event.

Watch the talk here:

Listen to the talk here:

Books at the Climate Crossroads – lunchtime event, Tuesday 11 May

Join us for our Books at the Climate Crossroads lunchtime event at Te Awe Library on Tuesday 11 May — “personal stories at the crossroads of history and the climate crisis”.

Ingrid Horrocks, Turi Park, Tim Park and MC Rebecca Priestley (Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica) will be discussing the ecologies, histories and personal journeys that weave their way through two ground-breaking New Zealand books — Geoff Parks’ Ngā Uruora and Ingrid Horrocks’ Where We Swim.

Facebook event page

Event details

When? Tuesday 11 May, 12:30 -1:20pm

Where? Te Awe Library (29B Brandon Street)

What? Books at the Climate Crossroads

Meet the panel

Our panel are…

Ingrid Horrocks

Where we swim, by Ingrid Horrocks

Dr Ingrid Horrocks is a writer whose work spans poetry, travel, environment and community. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University.

Where We Swim is her account of setting out to chronicle a solo swimming journey, only to switch streams to a different kind of swimming altogether — one which led her to more deeply examine relationships, our ecological crisis, and responsibilities to collective care. Where We Swim ranges from solitary swims in polluted lakes and rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand, to swims in pools in Medellín, Phoenix and the Peruvian Amazon, and has been called “beautiful, surprising, mysterious, deep and reflective”.

Turi Park and Tim Park, sons of Geoff Park

The late Geoff Park, author of the ground-breaking work, Ngā Uruora, is represented on our panel by his sons Turi and Tim Park.

Ngā Uruora, by Geoff Park“First published in 1995, Ngā Uruora took the study of New Zealand’s natural environment in radical new directions.”

“Part ecology, part history, part personal odyssey, Ngā Uruora offers a fresh perspective on our landscapes and our relationships with them. Geoff Park’s research focuses on New Zealand’s fertile coastal plains, country of rich opportunity for both Māori and European inhabitants, but country whose natural character has vanished from the experience of New Zealanders today.”

Description from VUP

Turi Park designed the powerful cover image for his late father’s book Ngā Uruora. He is a brand strategist, creative director and contemporary painter, with works held in both public and private collections. His paintings have been described as “large, layered and allusive”, exploring “the darkened fringes of our remaining forests.”

Tim Park is Manager at Ōtari-Wiltons Bush and an Environment Partnership Manager. He has an extensive background in ecological restoration and environmental programmes and has been involved in the Dune Restoration Trust, the Wellington Natural Heritage Trust and the National Wetland Trust of New Zealand.

Listen to Geoff on Radio NZ:

Ngā Uruora – The Groves of Life documentary on RNZ

Dr Rebecca Priestley

Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, by Rebecca Priestley

Dr Rebecca Priestley was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Science in Society at Victoria University. Her 2019 work Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica has been called “an utterly engrossing, surprisingly relatable memoir combining science, awe, anxiety, family life — and the spectre of climate-change devastation”:

“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. In 2011 Priestley visits the wide white continent for the first time, on a trip that coincides with the centenary of Robert Falcon Scott’s fateful trek to the South Pole. Writing against the backdrop of Trump’s America, extreme weather events, and scientists’ projections for Earth’s climate, she grapples with the truths we need to tell ourselves as we stand on a tightrope between hope for the planet, and catastrophic change.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We’re really looking forward to an excellent panel discussion — all welcome and we’d love to see you there!

Join the City Nature Challenge!

Wellington is teeming with wildlife, from mountains to the sea. Celebrate it with the City Nature Challenge!

Started in 2016, the City Nature Challenge has two parts: the first is observational, with participants setting out into the wilds–and back gardens–of Wellington to document as many plants and animals as they can via the iNaturalist app. Part two begins directly afterwards, and is based around identification.

Keen to be involved? It’s easy: just download the iNaturalist app and join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group! Part one begins on 30 April and runs until 3 May. And if you need help with the iNaturalist app, you can visit our drop-in session at Wadestown Library on Saturday, 1 May.

Several librarians have been kind enough to put together blogs about their own City Nature Challenge experiences. Check out Leif Hōne’s excellent blog below!

Leif Hōne

Kia ora e hoa mā!!

Joining me today is the iNaturalist app which brings about awareness of the Council’s Nature in the City programme. This programme is desgined to draw in rangatahi and interested parties, in identifying and documenting the city’s wildlife so that we can use this data captured to better understand the challenges being faced and how we can meet those challenges. It’s all about your part that you’ll play by participating.

Before embarking on this challenge, I want to predict what I think I will see out there in the wilds haha. I live near Tui and other birds, so I am guessing I will be able to spot a lot of harakeke bushes (flax), perfect for doing raranga – if they’re big enough, and if Hineiwaiwa allows.

I also think I will see lots of introduced species of tree and shrub that may overtake our native collections. This is unfortunately a common reality across Aotearoa, but I am hoping my prediction for the area I’m located in will be wrong. I will need to climb Mt. Ahumairangi and scope it out! Lesh go!

Get out there yourselves and enjoy identifying native and non-native species of plant life, and having fun! Learning is ka pai.

Related Resources

Wildlife of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob
“Wildlife of New Zealand includes not merely the flagship species but a unique assembly of fascinating plants and animals that have evolved amid habitats ranging from alpine peaks, open scrub and subtropical forest to wetlands, rocky or sandy shores and the open Pacific. Well researched and informative captions from Matt Turner make this not only a stunning photographic collection, but also a very useful reference.” (Catalogue)

Māori and the environment : kaitiaki
“The New Zealand environment has been allowed to deteriorate, but it is not too late to undo the damage. This book advocates the adoption of the kaupapa of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) to preserve what is left and to restore the lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and foreshore of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

Wild encounters : a Forest & Bird guide to discovering New Zealand’s unique wildlife.
“Wild Encounters is your complete guide to more than twenty of the best nature experiences New Zealand has to offer. Each entry contains maps, travel details and what to see and do, all accompanied by beautiful photographs.” (Catalogue)

Vogue and the First World War

The article begins with the headline “The New Declaration of Independence”. Over the following page it goes on to examine shifting global power dynamics, explaining that “the spirit that made it impossible for the thirteen American colonies to remain vassals of Great Britain, makes it equally impossible that our nearly fifty states rest under the perpetual threat involved in Prussian militarism and imperial Pan-Germanism.” This article isn’t from the New York Times; it won’t be found in Papers Past. Instead it comes from one of Wellington City Libraries’ most interesting online resources: the Vogue Archive.

Vogue’s coverage of the First World War is significant for several reasons: for starters its variety. Just a brief search of the Archive using the keyword “War” between 1917 and 1918 brings up articles addressing everything from practical fashion advice (“Dressing on a War Income”) and the role of women in relief work (“The Woman’s Share of War”) to the importance of Liberty Loans (“If We Would Win This War”) and changes in mourning practices (“The Mode in Mourning”).

“An astonishing number of smart and individual mourning costumes are to be seen in New York at present.”

While the Archive doesn’t have any articles addressing New Zealand war experiences, it does give a unique insight into the experiences of women–especially those of the upper classes–in the U.S., U.K. and France. Articles often describe families who, up until 1914, had spent their lives moving between New York, London, Paris and Munich. As “As Seen By Him” notes, “Countless Americans are as much at home in Austria and Belgium as they are at home in America”. The same article directly addresses this assumed middle and upper class readership, noting that “however much we sympathise with our foreign friends, we have our own people to consider first, and we cannot let the working classes which depend on us, suffer because we are in mourning.”

“Peril is near you. Disaster is in the air. You must flee–flee.”

But perhaps the most surprising finds in the Vogue Archive are the in-depth articles that show why the magazine is arguably the birthplace of New Journalism. One such article appears in the August 1, 1916 edition under the title “Following the Fortune Tellers of War”, and tells the story of the rise of fortune tellers in wartime Paris.

While the author, initialled as A.S., is critical of these clairvoyants and card readers, she visits no less than ten of them, with each one describing wild futures that end in the death of husbands, the birth of twins, sea voyages and the disappearance of friends. While the claims sound outrageous to a modern reader–and, it turns out, A.S.–they were probably an accurate description of many people’s lives (and futures) in Paris at the time.

To begin your own discovery of the Vogue Archive, go to Wellington City Libraries’ eLibrary and search under “V” in the A-Z of Resources (the Vogue Archive can also be found in the Art and Design topic). You’ll need your library card number and your PIN, then you’re ready to search. Alternatively, click here to go straight to the Vogue Archive.

Te Anamata o Te Tiriti me Tākuta Carwyn Jones: 29 o Paengawhāwhā i Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe

He aha? Te Tiriti: ki hea ināianei?
Āhea? Rāpare 29 o Paengawhāwhā, 12:30-1:20pm
Ki hea? Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe (29B Tiriti o Brandon)

I runga anō i ngā tohutohu a Māmari Stephens i roto i tana tuhinga “He rangi tā Matawhāiti, he rangi tā Matawhānui”, kāore e tawhiti atu te whakanuitanga 200 tau o waitohutanga o Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Engari ka pēhea ianei te āhua o Aotearoa hei ngā 20 tau e tū mai nei? Ā, ka whakawā pēhea nei ngā tumu kōrero i te tau 2040 i ngā whanaketanga o ngā tekau tau ruarua ka hipa?

Ko tētahi tangata e taea ana pea e ia te whakautu i ēnei pātai ko Tākuta Carwyn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu). He Ahorangi Tāpiri a Tākuta Jones i Te Kauhanganui Tātai Ture i Te Whare Wānanga o Te Herenga Waka, ā, ko ia hoki te kaituhi o New Treaty, New Tradition – Reconciling New Zealand and Māori Law and co-editor of Indigenous Peoples and the State: International Perspectives on the Treaty of Watangi. Ko ia hoki te perēhitini-ngātahi o Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, me te ētita-ngātahi o te Māori Law Review me AlterNative – an International Journal of Indigenous Peoples.

E whai wāhi ana hoki a Tākuta Jones ki tētahi atu kaupapa whakahirahira. E rua marama ki muri ka hono atu ia ki te ohu Adaptive Governance me te Policy i te BioHeritage Challenge, Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho, hei kaihautū-ngātahi me Tākuta Maria Bargh. He tūranga whakahirahira tēnei: ki te whakatau me pēhea e taea ai e ngā panonitanga ki te kāwanatanga me te ture i Aotearoa te āwhina ki te whakaora i te taiao o te motu – i mua o te hokinga kore ki muri.

Ki te rapu i ētahi atu kōrero, pānuitia tā mātou uiui ki a Tākuta Carwyn Jones i raro!

E kōrero ana te pae tukutuku a te Adaptive Governance me te Policy (AGP) mō tētahi mataaho āheinga e whakaratoa ana e te whanaketanga o tētahi Rautaki Koiora ā-motu, tae atu hoki ki te WAI 262.  Ka taea e koe te whakamārama i te hiranga nui o WAI 262 me te Rautaki Koiora?

E whakarato ana te Rautaki Koiora i tētahi anga whakahaere matua mō te whanake i ngā mahere koiora ā-takiwā, ā-rohe hoki puta noa i ngā tau 30 e tū mai nei i Aotearoa.  E whakarato ana hoki i tētahi moemoeā whaitake me te whakarite i tētahi māramatanga whānui o te wāhi hei whāinga mā tātou hei iwi, ki te tiaki me te hiki i te koioratanga.

Ko te pūrongo WAI 262, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei, me te urutau a te kāwanatanga whānui e whanake mai ana, e whakatau haere ana hoki i ēnei momo take (me ētahi atu), me te arotahi atu ki te whakaurunga a te Māori me te tūranga o te mātauranga Māori.  Ka whakauru hāngai tonu te Rautaki Koiora me Wai 262 ki ngā pātai o te kāwanatanga taiao me te kaupapa here e pā ana ki te tuku ihotanga koiora o Aotearoa.

Me pēhea a Te Mana o te Taiao – te Rautaki Koiora o Aotearoa e whai whakaaro ai ki te pūrongo WAI 262 a Te Rōpū Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi?

Ko tētahi o ngā āhuatanga matua o te pūrongo WAI 262 ko te miramira i ngā hapori Māori tae atu ki ngā iwi, hapū me ngā whānau, me tā rātou mahi ki te whakatakoto i ō rātou wawata mō te whakahaere i te hononga a te tangata ki te taiao, me te whai i ngā tikanga pūataata e haepapa ai ngā kāwanatanga ā-rohe, kāwanatanga matua hoki ki te whakauru atu ki aua wawata.  E āta mohimohi ana te pūrongo ki te kī ko tā te whāinga ā-Tiriti me rapu ki te whakamana i ngā hapori Māori i te tuatahi ki te whakatau take ka pāpā atu ki ō rātou taonga (tae atu ki ngā āhuatanga o te taiao), ā, i ngā wāhi e hiahiatia ana ētahi tauira whakahoa, me whakauru te Māori ki ngā whakataunga take, kaua ko te tū hei kaitohutohu anake i te kaiwhakatau.  Ko tētahi o ngā putanga whaikī o Te Mana o te Taiao, ko te whakatinanatanga e ngā hoa Tiriti, whānau, hapū me ngā iwi ngā tūranga matua hei kaitiaki.

Ko tētahi atu mahi o nāianei a te AGP ko te whanake-ngātahi i ngā tikanga ā-ture e “whai reo ai te taiao”.  He aha ētahi whai wāhitanga?

Ko ētahi o ngā momo tauira ka whai wāhi pea i konei ko ngā mea pēnei i te whakamana i te whakatangata ā-ture ake o ngā āhuatanga horanuku, pērā i tērā i kitea ake mō Te Urewera (he papa ā-motu i mua) me Te Awa Tupua ( ko te awa o Whanganui i mua).

He whai tikanga nui te whakaaro o ngā tauira kāwanatanga rerekē.  He tauira āu e hoahoa-ngātahitia ana e koe i tēnei wā, ā, kua whakamātauria?

He whānui tonu ngā āhuatanga e whai wāhi atu ana ki ngā tauira kāwanatanga rerekē.  E tūhuratia ana e mātou ngā whakaaro mai i Te Ao Māori mō te whakarite i ngā hononga ki te tangata, ina koa, a te tangata ki te taiao.  E whai ana mātou ki te arotake i ētahi o ngā tauira o nāianei mō te kāwanatanga-ngātahi kua whanaketia mā te tukanga whakatau take Tiriti me ētahi atu horopaki, ā, kua whakaritea e mātou tētahi pūrongo o ngā taputapu pūtea kua hoahoatia hei tautoko i te koioratanga me te whakapoapoa i ētahi tauira rerekē o te kāwanatanga.

He aha ō matapae mō te whakatinanatanga o ēnei tauira kāwanatanga i te anamata?

Me āta aro te whakatinanatanga ki te horopaki ā-takiwā, te taiao ā-takiwā, me ngā hononga ā-takiwā.  Ko tētahi āhuatanga ka whaitake nui pea i roto i te whakatinanatanga ko te whakamana i ngā hapori ā-takiwā ki te whakatinana i tā rātou tūranga hei kaitiaki.

I a tātou e titiro ana ki ētahi tauira kāwanatanga rerekē me ngā tikanga ā-ture mō Aotearoa, tērā anō ētahi tauira o tāwāhi e pīata mai ana, e whai take ana?

Ehara i te mea kei Aotearoa anake ēnei take, nō reira he nui ngā mahi puta noa i te ao e whakauru atu ana ki tēnei tūmomo wāhi ōrite.  I Aotearoa nei, kua waia tātou ki te whakapūnga o ngā whakaritenga mana tūmatawhānui, engari i ngā pūnaha kotahitanga  pēnei i Amerika, Kanata, ā, tae atu pea ki Ahitereiria, e hāneanea ana ki a rātou te whakaaro o ngā ao rerekē o te mana whakahare me te horahora i ngā whakataunga take.  Nā tēnei ka hua mai pea ētahi wāhi mō ngā tauira kanorau, kāwanatanga ā-takiwā hoki.

Ki ōu whakaako ka pēhea te whai o ēnei tauira me ēnei kaupapa here i ngā raru nui pēnei i te urutā KOWHEORI-19 o te wā nei?

Ka urutau pai pea ki te kanorau o ngā matea ka hua mai i tēnei momo raru nui.  I te mea hoki ki te whakamanahia ngā hapori ā-takiwā, ka whai rātou i ngā mahi e hāngai ana ki ō rātou āhuatanga ake, te tiaki i ngā tāngata – arā i kitea tēnei i ngā wāhi arowhai ā-hapori i whakaritea e ētahi rōpū Māori, ā-iwi hoki, ā, i whakahaeretia i te wā e taumaha ana te urutā i Aotearoa.

The Future of Te Tiriti with Dr Carwyn Jones: 29 April at Te Awe Library

What? Te Tiriti: Where to Now?
When? Thursday 29 April, 12:30-1:20pm
Where? Te Awe Library (29B Brandon Street)

As Māmari Stephens points out in her essay “He rangi tā Matawhāiti, he rangi tā Matawhānui”, the 200th anniversary of the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi isn’t far off. But what will Aotearoa look like 20 years from now? And how will historians in 2040 judge the developments of the past few decades?

One person who may be able to answer these questions is Dr Carwyn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu). Dr Jones is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at Victoria University and the author of New Treaty, New Tradition – Reconciling New Zealand and Māori Law and co-editor of Indigenous Peoples and the State: International Perspectives on the Treaty of Watangi. He’s also co-president of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa – The Māori Law Society and co-Editor of the Māori Law Review and AlterNative – an International Journal of Indigenous Peoples.

Dr Jones is involved in another significant project as well. Just over two months ago he joined the Adaptive Governance and Policy team at the BioHeritage Challenge, Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho as co-lead with Dr Maria Bargh. The role is a significant one: to work out how changes to governance and law in New Zealand can help save the country’s environment – before it’s too late.

To find out more, read our interview with Dr Carwyn Jones below!

The Adaptive Governance and Policy (AGP) website mentions a window of opportunity provided by the development of the national Biodiversity Strategy, as well as WAI 262. Could you explain the importance of WAI 262 and the Biodiversity Strategy?

The Biodiversity Strategy provides a key organising framework for developing local and regional biodiversity plans across the next 30 years in Aotearoa. It provides an important vision and ensures that there is a common understanding of where we as a country need to get to in order to protect and enhance biodiversity.

The WAI 262 report, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei, and the whole of government response that is developing, also addresses similar kinds of issues (amongst many others), with a particular focus on Māori participation and the role of mātauranga Māori. The Biodiversity Strategy and WAI 262 both engage directly with questions of environmental governance and policy relating to New Zealand biological heritage.

How could Te Mana o te Taiao – Aotearoa NZ Biodiversity Strategy take the Waitangi Tribunal’s WAI 262 report into account?

One of the central features of the WAI 262 report is the emphasis on Māori communities, including iwi, hapū, and whanau, being able to proactively set out their aspirations for managing the relationship between people and the environment and having transparent mechanisms to ensure that central and local government are accountable for engaging with those aspirations. The report is careful to note that a Tiriti-consistent approach should first seek to empower Māori communities to make decisions that affect their taonga (including aspects of the natural environment) and that where partnership models are required, these must involve Māori participation in decision-making, not merely acting in an advisory capacity to the decision-maker. One of the stated outcomes of Te Mana o te Taiao is that Treaty partners, whānau, hapū, and iwi are exercising their full roles as kaitiaki.

Another current AGP activity is the co-development of legal mechanisms that “give voice to nature”. What would this include?

Some of the kinds of models that might be included here could be things like the recognition of legal personality of landscape features as we have seen with Te Urewera (formerly a national park) and Te Awa Tupua (formerly the Whanganui river).

The idea of alternative governance models is also really interesting. Are there any you’re co-designing at the moment, and have they been scenario tested yet?

There are a whole range of things that contribute to alternative governance models. We’re exploring ideas from Te Ao Māori about organising relationships between people and, particularly, between people and the environment. We’re aiming to evaluate some of the existing models of co-governance that have been developed through the Treaty settlement process and other contexts, and we commissioned a report on financial instruments that are designed to support biodiversity and incentivise different modes of governance.

How do you see these governance models being implemented in the future?

The implementation needs to be sensitive to local context, the local environment, and local relationships. One aspect that is likely to be important in implementation is to empower local communities to exercise their role as kaitiaki.

When looking at different governance models and legal mechanisms for Aotearoa, are there overseas examples that have stood out as potentially useful?

Of course, these issues are not unique to Aotearoa and so there is a lot of work going on around the world that is engaging in this same kind of space. New Zealand tends to have quite a centralised understanding of the organisation of public power, whereas in federal systems such as the USA, Canada, and to some extent even Australia, there is more comfort with the idea of different spheres of authority and diffuse decision-making. That can sometimes create space for diverse and localised governance models.

How do you think these models and policies would approach crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic?

Likely to respond well to the diversity of need that this kind of crisis creates. Generally, if local communities are empowered, they will take steps, appropriate to their local circumstances, to keep people safe – as we saw with some of the community checkpoints that a number of Māori and iwi-based groups established and managed through the height of the pandemic in Aotearoa.

Pride Festival : Queer Experience and Expression event 5.30pm today

Come along to Te Awe Library on the 25th of March to hear from a variety of local queer and takatāpui artists about their experiences through their unique form of artistic expression. Celebrate the LGBTQI+ perspective that comes through in all varieties of expression.

Facebook event link for Queer Experience and Expression

Event Details

What? Queer Experience and Expression

When? Thursday, 25 March at 5:30pm

Where? Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street

About the panellists

For more information, check out the panellist bios below — assembled by the fantastic team at Te Awe Library!

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere (she/her) is of Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau a Kai, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. She is an artist, LGBTQ+ activist, scholar and Green Party MP. Elizabeth’s mahi exemplifies her as mana wāhine, using her leadership to hold space for marginalised groups in Aotearoa.

Elizabeth has been a facilitator of community-based activist work for over 40 years, engaging with kaupapa Māori, Te Tiriti and rainbow issues. She has also amplified this activity internationally, including at the United Nations in Geneva. She is now a representative of parliament as part of the proudest rainbow caucus in the world.

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, MP, Parliament Profile

The mahi of Elizabeth is legendary, producing major work in mental health and takatāpui identity. Her research intersects the experience of those in both Māori and rainbow communities, focusing on mana tūpuna, mana wāhine and mana takatāpui. This work interrogates the colonial assault on traditional Māori configurations of sexuality and how the continued control of sexuality is a form of persevering colonisation.

Elizabeth shows us that the marginalisation of sexuality is a Te Tiriti issue, an issue of colonial practices, and with her vibrant style, that you can challenge human rights issues with both power and flair.

If you would like to experience the fierce Elizabeth herself, she will be speaking at ‘Queer Experience and Expression’. See you there!

Profile by Hannah

Sam Orchard

Te Awe Library has the exciting opportunity to host Sam Orchard (he/him) at a Wellington Pride Festival speaker event!

Sam Orchard's website

Sam is a queer transgender man who writes comics and illustrations that celebrate difference. He has worked on many major national campaigns that have challenged barriers to inclusion for a variety of communities, including We Are Beneficiaries and Out Loud Aotearoa. He is the author of Rooster Tails that has been running for over 10 years; and Family Portraits, a comic series that amplifies the stories of intersectional identities within Aotearoa’s rainbow communities. These works are informative, reach deeply into the personal and are fun to read.

Sam’s mahi exemplifies the power of communication to enable change. The We Are Beneficiaries campaign brought the experience of marginalised people into the mainstream and took it to the top, being submitted to Parliament. The major impact of this campaign was cultural, with the key device being the social media presence of Sam’s illustrations. These illustrations used storytelling to communicate diverse and overlooked experiences within the welfare system and amplified the demand for compassionate treatment of all welfare recipients. This campaign is an example of how Sam’s work uses art and narrative as a resource for making complex ideas accessible and inclusive, representing the experiences outside of the mainstream.

This speaker embodies that the personal is political so if you want to hear more, Sam will be at our ‘Queer Expression and Experience’ talk at Te Awe Library!

Profile by Hannah

Olga Lapin

Olga Lapin (she/her) is a Wellington-based artist and musician speaking at ‘Queer Expression and Experience’. Under her @asunder.sweet name she creates dark collage art, expressing how she overcomes pain through strength and willpower. She also designs album covers, band tees, and gig posters for other musicians.

Olga releases solo music as Bodyache. Bodyache is a long-time catharsis project for her mental health, exploring trauma and identity. This month she released a collection of remixes, live set recordings, and harsh noise songs called The Flesh Remixed. This project is a return to her 2018 EP: Vehement Suffering.

She is part of two bands: Marrowspawn and Coerced. They’re a grindcore band and a skramz band respectively. Both are playing at Valhalla for CubaDupa!

You can hear Olga discuss queer expression and experience with our other speakers at Te Awe Library on Thursday the 25th of March. This event is part of our Pride Week event series.

Profile by Emerson

Pride Festival 2021: Queer History of Te Whanganui-a-Tara at Te Awe Library

EVENT: Queer History of Te Whanganui-a-Tara
TIME: Thursday, 18 March at 5:30pm
LOCATION: Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street

Join us this Thursday at Te Awe Library for an evening of sharing Wellington’s queer and takatāpui oral history!

We’ll be hearing kōrero from historians Will Hansen and Roger Swanson, both involved in LAGANZ, as well as Kay’la Rian representing Tīwhanawhana, celebrating the organisation’s 20th anniversary. Activist and counsellor Mani Mitchell and MC Georgia Mackay will also be involved.

For more info, check out the panellist bios below–assembled by the fantastic team at Te Awe Library!

Will Hansen

We’re very happy to welcome Will Hansen (he/him) to speak at ‘Queer History’.

Will is a freelance historian and PhD student researching the histories of Aotearoa’s trans communities. He’s passionate about archiving and sharing queer history towards queer liberation and intergenerational solidarity. He’s also a former co-worker of ours!

In addition to his research, Will is a trustee of Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa, Lesbian and Gay Archives New Zealand (LAGANZ). He recently worked on two incredible projects: ‘The Archive is Alive: Exploring Aotearoa NZ’s Queer History’ and ‘Trans Past, Trans Present: Making Trans Histories’.

‘The Archive is Alive’ is an on-going collaboration between LAGANZ and Wellington Zinefest. Launched in 2020, the group collectively develops zines exploring Wellington’s local queer history and the importance of accessing queer archives for people today.

Will coordinated Te Papa’s Trans Past, Trans Present project in 2019. Te Papa asked trans people across generations to share stories about their cherished objects. The storytellers subverted typical narratives about trans experiences, highlighting the importance of trans people establishing and sharing their own histories.

You can hear Will discuss queer history with our other speakers at Te Awe Library on Thursday the 18th of March. This event is part of our Pride Festival event series.

By Emerson

Kay’la Riarn

Kay’la is a tautoko of Tīwhanawhana, a takatāpui community group in Wellington. Apart from supporting Tīwhanawhana for 15 years, she has been involved in organising community events, hui, and liaising with LGBTQI+ groups.

Kay’la joins us from the cascade of events Tīwhanawhana is involved in over Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington Pride Festival 2021. This includes participation in He Tangata, Wellington Pride’s first official opening gala, and a celebration of the community’s 20th anniversary at Thistle Hall on Monday 15th March 2021.

Kay’la was born in New Plymouth but has lived in Wellington essentially since birth. She’s a strong trans advocate, associated with the NZ Aids Foundation and in general the LGBT community. Kay’la has worked within the sex worker industry and does work with Wellington City Council Housing to run events and promote community wellbeing. She has also worked with Carmen Rupe, including organising her book launch in Auckland and Wellington, as well as assisting with the catering for her 70th on the waterfront.

Through her participation in podcasts and documentaries about the queer history of Wellington, Kay’la has added to the oral history of our city. RNZ’s podcast “He Kākano Ahau: Decolonising Gender and Sexuality” focuses on what it means to be Urban Māori, and specially explores Kay’la’s trans perspective.

Come along on Thursday to hear the queer tales of your town, from 5.30-7.00pm.

By Dusty

Mani Mitchell

As part of our Pride celebrations, we are excited to have Mani Mitchell (they/them/Mx) on board for Te Awe Library’s ‘Queer History’ talk.

Mani is non-binary and was the first person in Aotearoa to come out as an intersex person. They have a background in media, emergency management and education.

Mani has been a queer activist over the last three decades. They continue to do a lot of mahi in their advocacy and in their role as a counsellor specialising in intersex, identity, gender, sexuality, queer, trans and difference issues. They have worked with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, among other government agencies, to advocate for awareness and improved policies around intersex issues. Mani has also advocated for PTSD awareness, with a particular focus on mental health issues that impact youth and the rainbow community.

In 1997, Mani established Intersex Awareness New Zealand, an organisation that facilitates peer support and advocates nationally for intersex people in Aotearoa. Among the other work and advocacy they do, Mani is currently a member of the New Zealand Counsellors Association’s regional ethics team as well as a representative of the Intersex Steering Committee for Oceania.

By Petra

Roger Swanson

Te Awe welcomes Roger Swanson (he/him) to our ‘Queer History’ presentation.

Roger has been involved with Lesbian and Gay Archives New Zealand (LAGANZ) for three decades and will be discussing their dedication to the collection and preservation of our queer history and making it accessible to our wider community.

A proud Wellingtonian, Roger has lived here for most of his life and after years of activism—such as campaigning for the Homosexual Law Reform and for Civil Union—continues his dedication to the queer community through work as Secretary of the LAGANZ board of trustees. Roger’s involvement with LAGANZ is an extension on his librarian work; he has worked at the Parliamentary Library and National Library, and although he is now retired, he continues to support the queer community through this important mahi as a trustee. Roger joined the board of LAGANZ in the 90s and has a wealth of knowledge about the organisation we’re all sure to learn a lot from.

Please join us to honour Roger’s legendary career as well as our other speakers at Te Awe Library.

By Zane

Georgia Mackay

Georgia Mackay (she/her) joins us as the fabulous MC for Te Awe Library event “Queer History”.

Georgia is a Scot who has made Wellington her home. She’s lived a few lives, having worked in libraries, and as an archaeologist and museum professional, and a fashion researcher. Georgia currently works at Wellington City Council Archives as an archive access specialist.

Georgia stumbled into the world of fashion academia and has made a passion project of talking about fashion, subculture, gender and shoes. She has just completed her PhD specialising in possibly the most interesting topic ever: Doc Martens! Her research explores the special relationship women have with the brand, engaging with feminist theory, pop culture, subculture expression and the social life of clothing. Her research communicates the importance of fashion as political engagement and self-expression.

This extensive repertoire shows Georgia’s confidence with processes of historical preservation and the social value of material culture. This combination of passions will be a fantastic place to start for guiding our speakers at the ‘Queer History’ talk on Thursday.

By Hannah

Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One

Kia kaha, kia kotahi ra. As-salaam alaikum.

March 15 marks two years since the Ōtautahi Christchurch mosque attacks, with a national remembrance service, Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One held in Christchurch over the weekend.

Over the past two years, the librarians at Ngā Kete Wānanga-o-Ōtautahi have also compiled a significant collection of related resources, including documentaries, books and podcasts telling the survivors’ stories, as well as those of New Zealand’s Muslim community. There are works from broadcasting student Asha Abdi and Al-Noor mosque’s Women’s Coordinator Jumayah Jones as well as a record of tributes and exhibitions. The full resource list can be viewed here.

Pantograph Punch has also put together “Amplifying Muslim Voices: A Reading List” with a collection of powerful pieces of writing relating to topics including mourning and grief, confronting white supremacy and historical context. Included are works from authors such as Saziah Bashir, Pakeeza Rasheed and Faisal Halabi.

Love and solidarity from everyone here at Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui | Wellington City Libraries.

Select Reading List:

(Thanks to Ngā Kete Wānanga-o-Ōtautahi | Christchurch City Libraries)

Husna’s story : my wife, the Christchurch massacre & my journey to forgiveness / Ahmed, Farid
“Husna Ahmed was a victim of the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack on 15 March 2019. She was shot while looking for her husband, who was in a wheelchair.” (Catalogue)

Whoever you are / Fox, Mem
“A celebration of diverse childhoods, and the essential things that make us all the same. Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different from each other. But inside, they are all alike.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are all equal / Crumble, P.
“No matter who you are, where you come from, where you live, what you look like, who you love, whether you are small or tall, whether you walk or run, this book celebrates the richness in our differences and the joy that: we are all equal. No matter who you are, where you come from, where you live, what you look like, who you love, whether you are small or tall, whether you walk or run, this book celebrates the richness in our differences and the joy that… we are all equal.” (Catalogue)

Along came a different / McLaughlin, Tom
“Reds love being red. Yellows love being yellow. And Blues love being blue. The problem is that they just don’t like each other. But one day, along comes a different colour who likes Reds, Yellows and Blues, and suddenly everything starts to change. Maybe being different doesn ‘t mean you can ‘t be friends…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

There’s room for everyone / Taymourian, Anahita
“If there’s room in the world for all the birds in the sky, why do humans always fight for space? A child grows and discovers the world. As he lies awake at night, he sees there’s enough room in the sky for all the stars and the moon. When he visits the ocean, he sees there is enough room for all the fish. As he grows up, he doesn’t understand why people fight for space. Surely there will always be room for everyone?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Islam : a short history / Armstrong, Karen
“One of the world’s foremost commentators on religious affairs on the history (and destiny) of the world’s most misunderstood religion. Karen Armstrong’s elegant and concise book traces how Islam grew from the other religions of the book, Judaism and Christianity; introduces us to the character of Muhammed; and demonstrates that for much of its history, the religion has been a force for enlightenment that promoted liberties for women and allowed the arts and sciences to flourish.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Understanding Islam / Radley, Gail
Understanding Islam covers the history of Islam and explores how the religion has evolved and expanded. Readers learn about worship practices, women’s roles, and the world contributions Muslims have made. This title also discusses the discrimination Muslims have faced in the West, and explores controversies surrounding terrorism. Features include a glossary, references, websites, source notes, and an index.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Islam / Wilkinson, Philip
“Fully updated, this edition encourages kids to explore the world’s fastest-growing religion and how its culture and history have shaped the Islamic world. Full color.” (Catalogue)

Whakangungu Kaipōkai Tuarangi i Ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara

I mōhio rānei koe ko te tau 2021 e tohu ana i te 50 tau mai i te taunga o Apollo 14 ki te Marama?  Ko Apollo 14 te haerenga angitu tuatoru ki te marama, ā, i rongo hoki i te taumaha o te noho hei haerenga tuatahi i muri mai o te haerenga wairuatoa a Apollo 13 (tā Tom Hanks). Ahakoa i poua tēnei haerenga i runga i tētahi raupapatanga whakamātautau, i mōhiotia kētia mō te haerenga i tākaro hahau pōro ā-marama ngā kaipōkai tuarangi!

Rima tekau tau i muri mai i a Apollo 14, kua tata anō te tangata ki te hoki anō ki te Marama, inārā e takatū ana a NASA ki te haere ā te 2024 hei wāhanga o ngā whakaritenga o te haere ki Mars.  Ā, ahakoa kua tōmuri rawa pea ki te whakarite tūranga mōu i runga i te rerenga 2024, ehara i te mea e kore e piki te hiahia mō ngā kaipōkai tuarangi i muri nei!  Engari ehara i te mahi ngāwari te whakangungu kaipōkai tuarangi: ko te nuinga o ngā kaitono angitu e whiwhi ana i te tohu Paerua i tētahi kaupapa STEM, ā, kua tautōhito mō te whakatere torohaki.  Me tutuki hoki i a koe te whakamātautau ā-tinana.

E hiahia tonu ana koe ki te tū hei kaipōkai tuarangi?  Mēnā ae, kua tae mai koe ki te wāhi tōtika!  Mā tēnei rangitaki koe e ārahi ki ngā mea e hiahia ana kia tīmata i a koe tō mahi tuarangi–mā ngā rauemi e wātea ana mā tō mematanga ki ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara!
Read this post in English


Ko te huarahi tuatahi hei whai pea māhau hei kaipōkai tuarangi ko te whiwhi tohu Paerua i tētahi o ngā kaupapa STEM: pūhanga, pūtaiao koiora, pūtaiao ōkiko, pūtaiao rorohiko, te pāngarau rānei.  Engari ko tēhea hei whiringa?  Kei raro nei ētahi akoranga whakatakinga ki ngā take e kitea whānuitia ana i ēnei kaupapa–i ahu katoa mai i te LinkedIn Learning a ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

PŪHANGA: Karetao Hiko me te Pūmanawa UiPath

PŪTAIAO ROROHIKO: Hanga Papatono me te JavaScript

PĀNGARAU: Ariā whakauho me te Mathematica 11

Engineering fundamentals : an introduction to engineering / Moaveni, Saeed
“Mā Engineering fundamentals e āwhina i ngā kaipānui ki te whakapakari i ngā pūkenga whakaoti rapanga me tētahi tūāpapa totoka o ngā mātāpono whakapū e hiahiatia ana kia tū hei kaipūhanga tātari, aro ki ngā taipitopito, ā, hei kaipūhanga auaha hoki.  E whakaohooho ana i ngā ākonga mai i ngā kaupapa pūhanga maha, mā tēnei tuhinga e akiaki i ngā ākonga ki te tū hei kaipūhanga me te whakarite i tētahi tūāpapa totoka o ngā mātāpono whakapū me ngā ture ōkiko.” (Urutautia mai i te Rārangi)


Kua tau tō mahi STEM?  Koia koia!  Ko te huarahi ināianei kia whiria hei kaipōkai tuarangi ko te rapu wheakotanga whakatere torohaki!  E tautuhi ana a NASA kia nui atu i te 1000 hāora tō wā rererangi, nō reira kia wawe tonu te tīmata.
Ahakoa e kore e taea tētahi raihanga urungi rererangi mā ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara (ā, taihoa ake nei!), he akoranga whakangungu mō te whakatere i ngā waka raumamao e wātea ana mā te LinkedIn Learning.  Kei roto i tēnei ngā take pēnei i te mātauranga o te rere, tae noa ki te mātai i ngā tohu huarere!

URUNGI RAUMAMAO: Takatū mō te tiwhikete

No man’s land / Sullivan, Kevin
“I runga i te rerenga ririte o QF72 mai i Singapore ki Perth i te 7 o Whiringa-ā-nuku 2008, i korapa ngā rorohiko rere matua, ko te otinga ka tūpou whakararo te rerengai, te ihu i te tuatahi, ki te Moana o Īnia – e rua ngā wā.  E rere manakore ana te Airbus A330 e waha ana i te 315 pāhihi me te tiramahi, me ngā tōpana tōrara e tōkiri ana i ngā tāngata e ngā mea katoa kīhai i herea ki roto i te tuanui o te rererangi.  Nā ngā pūkenga me te mauritau o tautōhito US Navy Top Gun Kevin Sullivan, kāpene o te rerenga kōtua, i taea e ia te whakahaere anō i te rererangi.” (Urutautia mai i te Rārangi)


Ana mā tō tohu Paeroa me tō wā rerenga i raro i tō tātua, e pai ana tō tirohanga mō tētahi tūranga i te puni kaipōkai!  Engari kotahi anō te mea hei whakaarotanga: te whakapakari tinana!  Tuia ki te tirohanga kounga, pēhanga toto horopū me te tāroaroa i waenga i te 157cm me te 190cm, me whakahaeretia ētahi raupapa whakamātautautanga.  Kua eke ki te wā ki te whakatikatika mā ēnei aratohu mai i a Gale Health and Wellness.

RONGOĀ TUARANGI: Whakataki Whānui me te Hāereere me te Kai Tōtika

PŪTAIAO AROTINI: “Ngā Whakamātautau me ngā Whakatīwheta o te Kura Tuarangi”

WHAKANGUNGU: Whakapapakaritanga kaipōkai e 20 mineti

MatchFit : the complete manual to get your body and brain fit for work and fit for life / May, Andrew
“Ko tēnei pukapuka whakaohooho te tōpūtanga o ngā wheako rua tekau tau a Andrew May hei kaiaka toa, hei kaiwhakapakari hoki mō ētahi o ngā kaiaka toa o te ao; te mātai i te tinana me te roro; e mahi ana i te taha o ngā tūmomo apataki maha pēnei i ngā kaiaka toa; me te wheako mataora.” (Urutautia mai i te Rārangi)


Kua tata rā koe ki te eke hei kaipōkai tuarangi: he āhuatanga iti noa hei whai.  He nui ngā wā e kauhau ana ngā kaipōkai ki ngā marae, nō reira me whai pūkenga anō mō te kauhau tūmatawhānui.  Tae atu ki te reo Rūhia?  Me ako hoki koe i tērā (māna kua tū kē koe hei kaipōkai Rūhia).  Kaua e māharahara: Kei ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara te whakautu, e taea ai e koe te oranga pai o te oranga kaipōkai–haere rā!

NGĀ REO O MANGO : Te Ako Rūhia


Speak easy : the essential guide to speaking in public / Eyre, Maggie
“Neke atu i te 30 tau te tautōhito o Maggie Eyre hei kaiwhakangungu pāpaoho, mātanga whakawhiti kōrero, kaiwhakaata hoki.  I roto i a Speak Easy, ka kawea e ia te kaipānui i runga i te tukanga katoa o te kauhau tūmatawhānui, me ngā ūpoko e kapi ai ngā mea katoa mai i te reo o te tinana, te mana o te reo tae rā anō ki te whakahaere i te hunga whakarongo me te whakahaere hoki i te hunga pāpaoho.  He pukapuka whaitake, whaimana hoki, e hāngai ana mō ngā tāngata e whakarite ana mō tētahi whakaaturanga pakihi, tētahi kauhau rānei i muri o te hākari.” (Urutautia mai i te Rārangi)

Astronaut Training at Wellington City Libraries

Did you know that 2021 marks 50 years since Apollo 14 touched down on the Moon? Apollo 14 was the third successful lunar journey and faced the added pressure of being the first trip after the unsuccessful Apollo 13 (the one with Tom Hanks). While the mission was based around a series of experiments, it is mostly known as the trip where astronauts played lunar golf!

50 years after Apollo 14, humanity is almost ready to return to the Moon, with NASA planning on making the trip in 2024 as part of wider preparations for visiting Mars. And while it may be too late to book yourself a place on the 2024 flight, that doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be an increased demand for astronauts in the future! Astronaut training isn’t easy, though: most successful applicants have a Masters degree in a STEM field and extensive experience flying jets. You also need to pass the physical.

Still want to be an astronaut? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This blog will guide you through everything you need to get started in your space-based career–with resources available via your Wellington City Libraries membership!
Read this post in Te Reo


The first path you could take to becoming an astronaut is to earn yourself a Masters degree in one of the following STEM fields: engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. But which one to choose? Below are introductory courses to topics commonly found in these fields–all sourced from Wellington City Libraries’ LinkedIn Learning.

ENGINEERING: Robotics and UiPath Software

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Programming and JavaScript

MATHEMATICS: Core concepts and Mathematica 11

Engineering fundamentals : an introduction to engineering / Moaveni, Saeed
Engineering Fundamentals helps readers develop the strong problem-solving skills and solid foundation in fundamental principles they will need to become analytical, detail-oriented, and creative engineers. Motivating students from all engineering disciplines, this text encourages students to become engineers and prepares them with a solid foundation in fundamental principles and physical laws.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Got your STEM career all sorted? Nicely done! The next step on the road to astronaut selection is to get yourself some experience flying jets! NASA specifies that you need at least 1000 hours flying time, so best get started as soon as you can.

While you can’t get a pilot license directly through Wellington City Libraries (yet!), there is a training course for remote flying available via LinkedIn Learning. This includes everything from the physics of flight to how to read the weather!

REMOTE PILOTING: Certification Prep

No man’s land / Sullivan, Kevin
“On routine flight QF72 from Singapore to Perth on 7 October 2008, the primary flight computers went rogue, causing the plane to pitch down, nose first, towards the Indian Ocean – twice. The Airbus A330 carrying 315 passengers and crew was out of control, with violent negative G forces propelling anyone and anything untethered through the cabin roof. It took the skill and discipline of veteran US Navy Top Gun Kevin Sullivan, captain of the ill-fated flight, to wrestle the plane back under control.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


With your Masters degree and flight time under your belt, you’re looking good for a spot at astronaut camp! But there’s just one more thing to consider: physical conditioning! As well as requiring excellent vision, reliable blood pressure and a height of between 157cm and 190cm, you’re going to need to go through a series of other tests. Time to start prepping with these guides from Gale Health and Wellness.

SPACE MEDICINE: General Introduction and Travel and Nutrition

POPULAR SCIENCE: “The Trials and Torments of Space School”

TRAINING: 20 Minute Astronaut Workout

MatchFit : the complete manual to get your body and brain fit for work and fit for life / May, Andrew
“This inspiring book is the culmination of Andrew May’s twenty years of experience as an elite athlete and fitness trainer for some of the world’s best athletes; studying the body and the brain; working with a variety of clients including elite athletes; and life experience.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


You’re so close to becoming an astronaut: there are just a few more little things. Astronauts find themselves talking to a lot of crowds, so public speaking skills are a must. Oh, and Russian? You’re going to have to learn that too (unless you’re already a cosmonaut). Don’t worry: Wellington City Libraries has got you covered, so you can live your best astronaut life–bon voyage!

MANGO LANGUAGES: Learning Russian


Speak easy : the essential guide to speaking in public / Eyre, Maggie
“Maggie Eyre has over 30 years’ experience as a media trainer, communications consultant and performer. In Speak Easy, she takes the reader through the complete public speaking process, with chapters covering everything from body language and voice control to managing your audience and handling the media. Practical and authoritative, this is the ideal book for anyone facing a business presentation or an after-dinner speech.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

VR at Te Awe: Thursday, 4 February!

Ready to test your light saber skills? Brave enough to spend a night in a horror-filled bedroom? Or maybe you’d prefer to create a fantastic virtual sculpture? Then pop into Te Awe Library on Thursday 4 February for our VR afternoon!

Facebook event for VR at Te Awe

We’ll have a range of games and experiences, including Beat Saber, Face Your Fears, Tilt Brush and more! We’ll also have a range of cutting-edge technologies for you to tinker with and our makerspace expert on hand for those in-depth questions. No booking required – just drop in on the day to have a go!

VR at Te Awe — Facebook Event


What: VR at Te Awe
Where: Te Awe Library, 29B Brandon Street (just off Lambton Quay)
When: Thursday, 4 February (12pm – 4pm)

VR Games Available

Beat Saber

Tilt Brush is not only a VR rhythm game, it’s also one of the most popular VR titles ever created. Described as the closest thing you’ll ever get to a Jedi rave, Beat Saber even has it’s own global leaderboard!

Face Your Fears

There are several mini games within Face Your Fears, but the scariest by far are a series of picture books that you read in a haunted bedroom–summoning all kinds of childhood nightmares. If you’re not convinced, just check out the reactions in the video below!

Tilt Brush

Some VR games have fairly short life expectancies, especially once the initial wonder has worn off. Tilt Brush is the opposite of this kind of game. The more time you spend in this dark, never-ending art studio, the more wonderous creations you’ll come up with–we promise!

A True Alternative History of 2020: Part Two

This post is Part Two of our True Alternative History of 2020 series. To read Part One in English, click here. To read Part One in Te Reo, click here.

The past twelve months have seen some of the most significant social, political, medical and environmental changes in a generation. Some of these changes have been traumatic; some have been important; some have been pretty scary.

However, the topics in this blog are a bit different. A True Alternative History of 2020 draws attention to the lesser known happenings of the past year–the forgotten or overlooked events that disappeared from view. From alien hunters to YouTube stars (and some dinosaurs, of course!), there’s something for everyone. Enjoy!


If you want to be a professional alien hunter when you grow up, you could do a lot worse than working in NASA’s astrobiology unit–especially since they’ve just set off to Mars to look for signs of ancient life! The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will reach the red planet in February 2021.

The case for Mars : the plan to settle the red planet and why we must / Zubrin, Robert
The Case for Mars explains step-by-step how we can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars. The Case for Mars is not a vision for the far future. It explains step-by-step how we can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars within ten years; actually produce fuel and oxygen on the planet’s surface; how we can build bases and settlements; and how we can one day “terraform” Mars and pave the way for sustainable life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The Isle of Wight used to be known as a popular holiday hotspot, but now it’s known for something even better–the dinosaur Vectaerovenator inopinatus! (The name means “unexpected air-filled hunter”!)

Dinosaurs : a field guide / Paul, Gregory S
“This lavishly-illustrated volume is the first authoritative dinosaur book in the style of a field guide. It covers the true dinosaurs – the Tetrapoda – the great Mesozoic animals which gave rise to today’s living dinosaurs, the birds. Incorporating the new discoveries and research that are radically transforming what we know about dinosaurs, this book is distinguished both by its scientific accuracy and the quality and quantity of its illustrations.” (Catalogue)


Not to be upstaged by the Isle of Wight, just a month later Mexico City uncovered the skeletons of 200 mammoths while excavating a site for an airport. (Beating the old mammoth skeleton record by 139!)

How to clone a mammoth : the science of de-extinction / Shapiro, Beth Alison
“Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. Beth Shapiro walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary science that is being used–today–to resurrect the past.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


In October a structure taller than the Empire State Building was discovered near the Great Barrier Reef! The mysterious reef tower was stumbled upon by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, whose previous finds have included giant living underwater spirals and many, many new species!

Blowfish’s oceanopedia : 291 extraordinary things you didn’t know about the sea / Hird, Tom
“The seas of our planet cover more than 70 per cent of the Earth, yet we know less about the ocean depths than the surface of the moon. Join marine biologist and fish-fanatic Tom “the Blowfish” Hird as he lifts the lid on a treasure chest of fascinating facts, to reveal just what we do know about what lurks beneath the waves.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)


As you no doubt know, November 2020 saw some truly world-changing events take place. But among them all, one stands out: of course we’re talking about “Baby Shark” becoming the most popular video on YouTube, with over 7.6 billion views! For the mysterious origins of the song, check out this Slate podcast.

Social media / Macpherson, Mary
“Is our identity more of a composite than we realise? We often think of ourselves as formed from our core values or our DNA, but in Social Media, Mary Macpherson explores identity as a creation of the interactions we have with others: friends, family and the wider world, and the evolving role technology now plays in this. A playful and provocative collection that drills into our social and media selves using elements from short stories and film scripts.” (Catalogue)


Somewhat surprisingly, on 31 December, just after 11:59pm, the year 2020 came to an end. Just like that! And so 2021 is upon us, and who knows what it has in store? More mammoth carcasses? Aliens? All of the above?! We will find out…

The future Earth : a radical vision for what’s possible in the age of warming / Holthaus, Eric
“The first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. The basics of climate science are easy. We know it is entirely human-caused. Which means its solutions will be similarly human-led. In The Future Earth, leading climate change advocate and weather-related journalist Eric Holthaus offers a radical vision of our future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A True Alternative History of 2020: Part One

It’s December, and that means end-of-year book lists! But as you’ve probably realised, 2020 isn’t an easy year to summarise: there’s been COVID-19 and multiple lockdowns; the growth of Black Lives Matter and #GiveNothingToRacism; political and environmental challenges across the world; and much, much more.

Over the next few weeks we’ll have posts on a range of these topics, but first, something a little different. This blog draws attention to the lesser known happenings of 2020, the forgotten or overlooked events that disappeared from view. From Neanderthals to mysterious planets, naming disputes to volcanic eruptions, there’s something for everyone. And keep an eye out for Part Two, coming soon!

Read this post in Te Reo


17-year-old Wolf Cukier had an interesting start to his year when he discovered a rare circumbinary planet 1,300 light-years from Earth. A circumbinary planet is a planet that orbits two stars instead of the usual one–and they’re very difficult to spot. Well done, Wolf!

Our universe : an astronomer’s guide / Dunkley, Jo
“Jo Dunkley combines her expertise as an astrophysicist with her talents as a writer and teacher to present an elegant introduction to the structure, history, and enduring mysteries of the universe. Among the cutting-edge phenomena discussed are the accelerating expansion of the universe and the possibility that our universe is only one of many.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


On 29 Feburary, Luxembourg became the very first country to make all public transport free! If you still want to pay for your train trip you can (a first class ticket will set you back 660 Euros a year) but otherwise you can ride at no charge whatsoever.

I wouldn’t start from here : a misguided tour of the early 21st century / Mueller, Andrew
“Andrew Mueller doesn’t consider himself a “proper” journalist, and yet he’s travelled from Afghanistan to Abkhazia, from Belfast to Belgrade and from Tirana to Tripoli in search of a good story. I Wouldn’t Start From Here is his random history of the 21st century so far, and all its attendant absurdities, intermittent horrors and occasional glimmers of hope. It features gunfights, car chases and gaol cells (and Luxembourg!).” (Catalogue)


March was a busy month: among the happenings was North Macedonia joining NATO. North Macedonia is the 30th country to join, but its entry was held up for decades due to the Macedonia naming dispute. Long story short, Macedonia is now North Macedonia.

To the lake : a Balkan journey of war and peace / Kassabova, Kapka
“From the celebrated author of Border comes a portrait of an ancient but little-understood corner of Balkans, and a personal reckoning with the past.” (Catalogue)


At 9:58pm on 10 April, residents in Jakarta were woken by the distant sounds of an eruption. The culprit? Anak Krakatoa. “Please stop making that booming noise and go to bed, Anak Krakatau. It’s late and we’ve already got plenty of other things to worry about,” wrote one Twitter user.

Volcanoes : encounters through the ages / Pyle, D. M.
“Volcanoes have intrigued many people, who have left records of their encounters in letters, reports and diaries and through sketches and illustrations. This book tells the stories of volcanic eruptions around the world, using original illustrations and first-hand accounts to explore how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved through time.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


In May of this year, scientists discovered that 47,000 years ago, the latest fashion in jewellery was the teeth of cave bears. In fact cave bear tooth earrings were so popular they were later adopted by Neanderthals! (There were other important discoveries, but this was our favourite!)

The Neanderthals rediscovered : how modern science is rewriting their history / Papagianni, Dimitra
“For hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals evolved in Europe very much in parallel to the Homo sapiens line evolving in Africa, and, when both species made their first forays into Asia, the Neanderthals may even have had the upper hand. Here, Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Morse look at the Neanderthals through the full dramatic arc of their existence–from their evolution in Europe to their subsequent extinction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Almost 20 years after it was first released, June saw the end of the Segway personal transporter. Despite hopes that it would revolutionise the pedestrian world, life was never easy for the humble Segway, as a brief hunt through will quickly reveal.

Idea to invention : what you need to know to cash in on your inspiration / Nolan-Brown, Patricia
“You don’t have to be a mechanical genius to be an inventor. Anyone can invent – a parent wrestling with a baby sling, a coach frustrated with slick-soled running shoes, an office worker determined to keep the computer cords untangled. Inventing is simply finding clever solutions to everyday challenges.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

He Hītōria Pono Kē o te 2020: Wāhanga Tahi

Kua Hakihea, ā, kua eke ki te rārangi pukapuka mutunga tau!  Engari kua pūrangiaho pea, ehara a 2020 i te tau māmā ki te whakarāpopoto:  ko te KOWHEORI-19 me ngā rāhuitanga huhua tērā; te tiputanga o Black Lives Matter me te #GiveNothingToRacism; ngā wero tōrangapū me te taiao puta noa i te ao; me te huhua noa atu.

I ngā wiki ruarua e takatū ana ka whānui tonu ngā momo whakairinga i runga i ēnei take, engari i te tuatahi, he mea rerekē.  Ka mau te aro i tēnei whakairinga rangitaki ki ngā āhuatanga tē tino rangona i te tau 2020, ngā taiopenga i warewaretia, i nunumi atu rānei mai i te kitenga kanohi.  Mai i ngā Neanderthal ki ngā aorangi rehurehu, te whakaingoa tohe ki ngā hūnga ahi tipua, he āhuatanga mā te katoa.  Kia mataara mō te Wāhanga Tuarua, e whanga mai ana!

Read this post in English


I mīharo te tīmatanga tau o Wolf Cukier, 17 ōna tau, i te wā i tūhuratia e ia tētahi aorangi huriwhenua tāhūrua e 1,300 tau aho te tawhiti i Te Ao.  ko te aorangi huriwhenua tāhūrua, he aorangi e huri ana i ngā whetū e rua, kaua i te mea kotahi –ā, he tino uaua te kitea.  Koia kei a koe, Wolf!

Our universe: an astronomer’s guide / Dunkley, Jo
“E whakatōpū ana a Jo Dunkley i ōna pūkenga mātanga ao tukupū me ōna pūmanawa hei kaituhi, kaiako hoki, ki te whakaatu i tētahi whakatakinga tōrire ki te hanganga, te hītōria, me ngā rehurehu mauroa i te ao tukupū.  Tuia ki ngā matapakinga tītohu matakoi, ko te whakaterenga o te whānuitanga o te ao tukupū me te whakaaro ake ko tō tātou ao tukupū tētahi ao kotahi o te maha.” (i urutautia mai i te rārangi)


I te 29 o Huitanguru, ko Luxembourg te whenua tuatahi ki te whakatau kia utu kore ngā waka kawe tūmatanui!  Ki te hiahia tonu koe ki te utu ka taea (ka eke ki te 660 iuro i te tau te utu tīkiti kahurangi) engari ka taea e koe te hautū mo te kore utu.

I wouldn’t start from here / Mueller, Andrew
“Kāore a Andrew Mueller e whakaaro iho he kairīpoata “tūturu” ia, engari kua takahia e ia te whenua mai i Afghanistan ki Abkhazia, mai i Belfast ki Belgrade, ā, mai i Tirana ki Tripoli ki te rapu i tētahi kōrero pai.  Ko E kore au e tīmata i konei tana hītōria matapōkere o te rautau 21 i tēnei wā, me ōna tatūtanga heahea, ōna mōkinokino taratahi me tūmanakohanga tāmutumutu.  Kei roto ko ngā pakanga ā-pū, ngā whaiwhai motukā me ngā taiwhanga herehere (me Luxembourg!) hoki.” (Rārangi)


He marama ahunui a Poutūterangi: ko ētahi o ngā tatūtanga ko te piringa o Macedonia ki te Raki ki a NATO.  Ko Macedonia ki te Rai te whenua 30 kia piri atu, engari i takaroatia tana urunga mō te hia nei tau, nā te tohenga o te ingoa o Macedonia.  Hei whakarāpopoto ake, ko North Macedonia te ingoa o Macedonia ināianei.

To the lake: a Balkan journey of war and peace / Kassabova, Kapka
“Mai i te kaituhi rongonui o Border ka ahu mai tēnei whakaahuatanga o tētahi koko tawhito o ngā Balkan tē tino māramatia, ā, me tētahi tātai whaiaro o te wā o mua.” (Rārangi)


I te 9:58pm i te 10 o Paengawhāwhā, i whakaohotia ngā kainoho o Jakarta ki ngā oro tawhiti o tētahi pahūtanga.  Ko te aha rā?  Anak Krakatoa. “Whakamutua tō tangi haruru, e hoki ki te moe, Anak Krakatau.  Kua pō rawa, ā, he nui kē hoki ngā māharaharatanga,” te tuhi mai a tētahi apataki Tīhau.

Volcanoes: encounters through the ages / Pyle, D. M.
“He nui te hunga e noho kara i ngā puia, i waiho kōrero mai o ngā tatūtanga i roto i ngā reta, rīpoata, rātaka, ā, mā roto hoki i ngā waituhi me ngā tānga.  E kōrero ana tēnei pukapuka i ngā kōrero o ngā  hūnga puia puta noa i te ao,  mā te whakamahi i ngā tānga tūturu, me ngā kōrero tuatahi, ki te toro i te whanaketanga mai o ō tātou māramatanga ki ngā puia i roto i ngā tau.”  (I urutautia i te Rārangi)


I te Haratua o tēnei tau, i tūhuratia e ngā kaipūtaiao e 47,000 tau ki muri, ko te whakakai auaha o te wā ko ngā niho pea noho anga.  Tūturu ake nā te rorotu o ngā mau taringa niho pea, i hāpaitia hoki e ngā Neanderthal!  (Arā atu ngā tūhuratanga whaitake engari koinei te pea mai ki a mātou!)

The Neanderthals rediscovered: how modern science is rewriting their history / Papagianni, Dimitra
“Mō te hia rau mano tau, i kuneroa ake ngā Neanderthal i Ūropi, i te wā whakarara tonu o te kuneroatanga o te Homo Sapeian i Awherika, ā, nō te kōkiritanga tuatahi o ngā momo e rua ki roto o Āhia, ko te painga pea i taka ki ngā Neanderthal.  I konei, ka tirohia e Dimitra Papagianni rāua ko Michael A. Morse ngā Neanderthal te kopere oranga whānui –mai i te kukunetanga i Ūropi ki tō rātou korehāhātanga.” (I urutautia i te Rārangi)


Tata ki te 20 tau mai i tōna putanga tuatahi, Ko Pipiri te marama i mutu ai te waka kawe whaiaro a Segway.  Ahakoa te manako ka pāhorotia te ao hāeereere, ehara i te oranga māmā mā te Segway māhaki (ka huraina mā te tiro paku noa ki a!!)

Idea to invention : what you need to know to cash in on your inspiration / Nolan-Brown, Patricia
“Ehara i te mea me tohunga pūrere koe ki te tū hei kaihoahoa.  Ka taea e te katoa te hoahoa – he mātua e tohe ana ki te oko pēpi, he kaiako e pōnānā ana i ngā hū oma pararahi, he kaimahi tari e pūkeke ana kia kore ngā waea rorohiko e whīwhiwhi.  Ko te hoahoa he rapu i ngā whakataunga atamai ki ngā wero o ia rā.” (I urutautia i te Rārangi)

Visit our Central Library collection at Te Pātaka: One Night Only!

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

Looking for some special summertime reading? On the hunt for that perfect picture book? Or maybe you’re missing all those classic graphic novels?

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

  • Fiction
  • Large print
  • Graphic novels
  • Teen fiction and graphic novels
  • Children’s fiction and comics
  • Picture books

Spots are limited and visits are restricted to one hour, so bookings will be essentialreserve yourself a spot now (choose one of the four slots). We can’t wait to see you!


What? Te Pātaka Open Night
Date: 17 December
Time: 4pm-7pm (limited to one hour slots)
Location: Johnsonville (details on registration)

Book your spot

Heritage Talk: The History of the Wellington Urban Motorway

The main motorway trench being excavated through the former Bolton Street Cemetery, photographed in the late-afternoon during the summer of 1972. Image from Recollect

The relationship between a city and its motorways can be a complex one — and Wellington is no exception!

The same was true in 1965, when the imminent construction of the Wellington Urban Motorway was the defining issue of the local election. And for good reason: the motorway was — and still is — one of the largest and most complex works of infrastructure development in Wellington’s history, with hundreds of houses demolished and over 3600 graves disinterred from the Bolton Street Cemetery to make way for it.

The northern portal of the Terrace Tunnel under construction, 1975. Image from Recollect

Decades later, transport through Wellington is still a vitally important issue. But what can be learnt from this earlier attempt to ease congestion?

Join Wellington City Libraries’ Local and New Zealand History Specialist Gábor Tóth at 12pm on Thursday 29 October at Te Awe Library for a special talk on the history of the Wellington Urban Motorway project — including a powerful set of images taken at the time.

Heritage Talk on Facebook  

We look forward to seeing you there!

Election 2020: Voting with She-Ra!

Elections are amazing things, but they can also be a bit tricky to get your head around–especially in a year like this! Luckily, the Electoral Commission has put together a fantastic website that covers everything from enrolment and voting to referendums and results, so for this blog we thought we’d enlist the help of some special guests to guide us through the process. Introducing She-Ra and the Princesses of Power! (Warning: spoilers ahead!)


During the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, our heroes Adora, Glimmer and Bow spend much of their time travelling to different kingdoms to enlist Princesses in the struggle against the Horde empire. It’s not always easy to convince them (Princesses have their own worries, after all!), but by the end of Season One Perfuma, Mermista, Sea Hawk and even the skeptical Frosta have committed themselves to the Princess Alliance.

While members of the Electoral Commission may not be able to teleport or draw power from giant crystals, the work they do is not dissimilar: they travel Aotearoa — and the internet — helping in the struggle against non-enrolment (just like She-Ra travels the Whispering Woods fighting the Horde). And thankfully, they’ve made enrolling really easy: you can do it right now (or check if you’ve enrolled already) by clicking here, and learn the difference between the General Roll and Māori Roll here!

Need some help? We’ll have Electoral Commission advocates in our libraries at these times:

Thursday 1 October at Kilbirnie Library: 3–5pm
Saturday 3 October at Johnsonville Library: 11am-1pm
Thursday 8 October at Newtown Library: 10am–12pm
Saturday 10 October at Te Awe Library: 11am–1pm
Thursday 15 October at Karori Library: 3–5pm


In the episode “The Battle of Bright Moon”, the Kingdom of Bright Moon is threatened by a resurgent Horde army. She-Ra tries to hold the army at bay single-handedly, but despite her strength she’s unable to protect the castle or the Kingdom’s Moonstone. It’s only when reinforcements arrive that She-Ra discovers her true strength as part of a team and turns the army back.

Voting in an election is pretty much the same: while your individual vote might not be able to defeat a Horde tank, you can lend it to a candidate and party of your choice, giving them more strength to promote the ideas and causes they’re standing for.

Also important to note: you can vote on Election Day itself, or beforehand. Check out the Electoral Commission’s website for more–including info on the referendums!

Want to find your closest voting booth? Have a look on the map!

Election Night:

The evening of the election can be exciting, stressful and mysterious–and is usually all three of these things! You might want to watch the results come in by yourself, or be with friends and family (and lots of snacks!). The most important thing to remember is that the whole democratic process is kind of like the Princess Prom, in that it’s an event that everyone is invited to. Sure, maybe some of the guests want to sting you with their scorpion tails, or kidnap you, but that’s just how it goes.

There are quite a few places you can follow election results on the night, including TVNZ and Newshub as well as RNZ, The Spinoff, Stuff and more. And remember, the election is on Saturday, 17 October–not long to go!

The Great Kererū Count is here!

Of all the birds native to Aotearoa, there are none quite like the “gluttonous and glamorous” kererū. Famous for their drunken antics–as well as their appearance in numerous works of art–the kererū is a particularly popular bird, frequently gracing parks, forests and back gardens across the country.

However the life of a kererū is not all fame and fortune: they also play a vital role in New Zealand’s forests. Kererū are the only remaining species that can successfully disperse the seeds from some of our largest native trees, including tawa, taraire, pūriri and matai. Without kererū our forests would be in serious trouble.

Hence the importance of the Great Kererū Count! The Great Kererū Count is the largest citizen science project in the country, and has been running for the last four years. One of the great things about it is its simplicity: all you have to do is wait for the week of the count (this year it runs from 18-27 September), then count any kererū you see as part of timed surveys or chance encounters. From here you send your observations through to the people at Kererū Discovery and the Urban Wildlife Trust (options here) and you’re done!

Want more kererū fun in your life? Head along to the official Great Kererū Count website for a range of resources, and don’t forget to share and tag your kererū photos to go in to win some great prizes!

Related Resources:

Native birds of New Zealand / Hallett, David
Native Birds of New Zealand is a photographic book of New Zealand native birds that will appeal to the casual bird-watcher as well as the ornithologist. The photographs in this book have been taken by David Hallett, one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife photographers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Which New Zealand bird? : a simple step-by-step guide to the identification of New Zealand’s native & introduced birds / Crowe, Andrew
“This book covers 98 endemic, native, introduced, or migrant bird species from all of the main habitats in New Zealand. Nine identification habitats feature four similar-looking birds with simple tips for telling them apart. Each bird receives a code, from 1-100, indicating how easy the bird is to find. There are also distribution maps for each bird.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Zealand birds in pictures / Chen, Kimball
“From the barely-visible wings of the flightless kiwi to the immense wingspan of the wandering albatross, New Zealand’s fragile island ecosystem is home to a diverse array of spectacular birds. Delve into the fascinating world of our feathered friends with author and wildlife photographer Kimball Chen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Zealand bird calls / Moon, Lynnette
“Lynnette Moon gives 60 concise accounts of the country’s best-loved birds, covering their habitat, appearance and behaviour. A description of their calls, along with photographs from the magnificent collection of her late husband Geoff Moon completes an attractive, fact-filled and useful guide. 60 links to birds’ songs and calls, recorded in the wild by renowned wildlife sound recordist John Kendrick and prepared for this collection by Karen Baird of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand : a photographic guide / Scofield, R. Paul
“From the Kermadecs to Campbell Island, beloved endemics to passing vagrants, albatrosses and shearwaters to kiwi and kaka, Birds of New Zealand is the ultimate guide to this country’s extraordinary avian life. It is illustrated with almost 1000 new photographs and uses the latest information from birders and biologists to draw a definitive introduction to bird identification and behaviour.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birdstories : a history of the birds of New Zealand / Norman, Geoff
“A fascinating, in-depth account of New Zealand’s birds, which spans their discovery, their place in both Pākehā and Māori worlds, their survival and conservation, and the illustrations and art they have inspired. Geoff Norman covers a range of our bird families and individual species, and provides an up-to-date picture of how these birds are regarded by both Māori and Pākehā, the backstory of their discovery, and their current conservation status.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


New Zealand Geographic: NZ Geographic has been celebrating our people, places, wildlife and environment for two decades. Its archives hold more than 600 in-depth features about our country, natural history and culture.

Environmental Studies in Context: Environmental Studies In Context -The Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources focuses on the physical, social, and economic aspects of environmental issues.

Home with Ghosts: Scary Stories Online (Part One)

How do you tell a ghost story in the age of lockdown?

In a world of pandemics, it can be easy to think that ghost stories aren’t really needed. After all, isn’t reality scary enough? But it’s precisely this fear that ghost stories are designed for: as anthropology professor Tok Thompson explains, “ghost stories deal with a lot of issues — not just whether or not one believes in ghosts, but also questions of the past that haunt us, perhaps past injustices that haven’t been taken care of.”

They’re also remarkably adaptable, making the transition from oral storytelling to novels and periodicals, then to cinema, television and the internet. And in a world where so many people are physically isolated, ghost stories have the benefit of “bringing their listeners closer to each other” — even if it is via Zoom or YouTube.

That brings us to Home with Ghosts! Below you’ll find four fantastic ghost stories from a range of authors — each one designed to scare, disturb, puzzle or haunt. For more, follow Home with Ghosts: Scary Stories Online on Facebook, and stay tuned for the latest installment!

Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts

Book: Blood of the Sun
Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press

If the beautiful and haunting cover of Blood of the Sun looks familiar, there’s a reason: it’s the third book in the excellent Path of Ra series. Blood of the Sun is due to be released later in 2020, and re-joins Penny and Matiu Yee as they fight to hold back chaos across Auckland’s volcanic skyline. The series has been described as a blend of “near-future noir and horror” and will thrill and scare you in equal measure.

Authors Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts have several other titles available, including Murray’s Taine McKenna Adventures and Rabarts’ Children of Bane series. The pair have also worked together on several excellent anthologies, including At the Edge and Baby Teeth: Bite Sized Tales of Terror.

Hounds of the Underworld (Path of Ra Book One) / Rabarts, Dan
“On the verge of losing her laboratory, Pandora Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with 17 murder cases on the go, the inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu…” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Andi C. Buchanan

Book: From a Shadow Grave
Publisher: Paper Road Press

It’s been over 10 years since Andi C. Buchanan’s first short story was published in Antipodean SF, and since that time they’ve gone on to produce not only a powerful collection of short fiction (including “Girls Who Do Not Drown”) but also the novella From a Shadow Grave.

From a Shadow Grave begins with the 1931 murder of Phyllis Symons, branching out to describe three alternative scenarios for Phyllis’ life. It’s this emotional and structural bravery that led to Buchanan’s recent success at the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, where they received the award for Best Novella/Novelette!

From a shadow grave / Buchanan, A. C.
“Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site. Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life. Urban legend meets urban fantasy in this compelling alternate history by award-winning author Andi C. Buchanan.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Madison Hamill

Book: Specimen: Personal Essays
Publisher: Victoria University Press

Author and editor Madison Hamill’s debut collection Specimen was launched in March 2020, making it one of the first books to find itself released amid COVID-related lockdown. Despite this setback, Hamill’s work has been consistently popular at Wellington City Libraries–and no wonder: reviews of Specimen have described it as brave, precise and hilarious.

While Specimen is Hamill’s debut collection, her work can also be found at The Pantograph Punch, Scum, The Spinoff and more.

Specimen : personal essays / Hamill, Madison
“A father rollerblading to church in his ministerial robes, a university student in a leotard sprinting through fog, a trespass notice from Pak’nSave, a beautiful unborn goat in a jar … In scenarios ranging from the mundane to the surreal, Madison Hamill looks back at her younger selves with a sharp eye. Was she good or evil? Ignorant or enlightened? What parts of herself did she give up in order to forge ahead in school, church, work, and relationships, with a self that made sense to others?” (Catalogue)

Anna Kirtlan

Book: Ghost Bus: Tales from Wellington’s Dark Side
Publisher: Anna Kirtlan

You know that you’re onto something when your work is described as “a creepy love letter to Wellington”, and that’s just how Writers Plot summarised the spooky (and often hilarious) Ghost Bus: Tales from Wellington’s Dark Side. The title short story features not only the recent bus-pocalypse, but also the very real experience of riding on crowded public transport at the end of a long day.

Kirtlan’s previous work has also included Which Way is Starboard Again?, a book about learning to sail and overcoming anxiety and panic attacks in the midst of the South Pacific. Check it out below!

Which way is starboard again? : overcoming fears & facing challenges sailing the South Pacific / Kirtlan, Anna
“Many New Zealanders sail the South Pacific but not many do it with as little boating experience as uncoordinated, impractical, directionally challenged, desk-bound type Anna Kirtlan. Not only does she have to learn to sail, and navigate, from scratch, she also has to overcome recurrences of the anxiety and panic attacks that plagued her teen and early adult years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)