Interview with Rod Oram: Life after COP26

Image of a hand holding a small globe in front of a mountain landscape.

With economies stagnating, politics polarising, societies shattering and ecosystems suffering, I felt an urgent need to go walkabout last September. It was my best chance of making some sense of the news from around the world. Most crucially of all, the ominous signs of the onset of the Anthropocene… — Rod Oram, Three Cities

The New York Times declared 2020 “the year you finally read a book about climate change”. Two years on, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of titles addressing this vital topic–as well as ongoing interest in earlier works. One of our favourites here at Wellington City Libraries is Three Cities: Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene by Rod Oram. (Borrow a copy here or read it via our eLibrary.)

Rod Oram has been writing and speaking about climate change for the past fifteen years, and is renowned for his ability to explain complex ideas in clear, concise language. Luckily for us, he was also present at the recent UN Climate Conference (COP26) during the negotiations surrounding the Glasgow Climate Pact. How will the pact influence Aotearoa? How will it shape the rest of the world? We contacted Rod to find out…

Rod Oram:

If there’s a concerted effort to put the Glasgow Climate Pact into action, what key international developments should we see over the next twelve months?

Rod Oram: Momentum on climate action built rapidly in the past few years, accelerated in Glasgow, and will continue to gain speed, scale and impact in 2022 — although there will always be leaders and laggards among countries, sections of society and industries. Three big trends to watch for: countries increasing their climate pledges (their Nationally Determined Contributions); more action and ambition by farmers and food processors; greater civil society responses, ranging from more innovative climate solutions to more intense protests.

The New Zealand delegation to COP26 announced they would “show the world what meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate action looks like.” What could this mean for us in the near future?

Rod Oram: We have made big emission reduction commitments to the rest of the world…but we still lack policy responses to help deliver them. So, crucially next May, the government will release its Emissions Reduction Plan. This will lay out the government’s broad architecture for those inter-linked policies. To succeed, it has to be a roadmap for deep changes in structures, systems and behaviour in the economy and society. Then, civil society, business and other essential actors have to respond rapidly with their own ambitions and plans. That applies across all aspects of our lives from how we design and build our towns and cities, how we decarbonise all our transport (including aviation), how we use land for farming and other purposes, how we use resources, consume products and recycle/repurpose after, and how we restore our ecosystems to help solve the co-crises of climate breakdown and ecosystem degradation – solutions to one are often solutions to the other, and vice versa.

Stenbocki maja:

You mentioned that there was very little New Zealand business presence at COP26. What role could New Zealand businesses have in lasting climate action, and what would be the benefits of a larger business presence at COP27?

Rod Oram: Businesses create most of the goods and services we (individuals and society) want and/or need; they have the skills, capital, technologies, and knowledge required to do so; and they respond to the needs and desires of those customers. Thus they are crucial to devising and delivering better and new climate solutions. However, they also depend on us (customers, government, society at large) for their survival. So we all have a symbiotic relationship with each other. At COPs, businesses can contribute to many of the climate solutions; but crucially they also learn a lot from other businesses, governments and civil society. The greater the number of New Zealand businesses at COP27, the more New Zealand business in general will lift its climate commitments and performance…and the more government and civil society will benefit from that enhanced business capability.

How do you address the differences between governmental, business and activist approaches to climate action? There seemed to be tensions at COP26 with the final morning walkout of several hundred representatives?

Rod Oram: All three have crucial, distinctive and different roles to play on climate in general and at COPs particularly. The tensions and conflict between them are good and necessary when they are challenged constructively into more creative, more ambitious and more effective action. COP26 was positive, for example, on progress of indigenous, human, gender and justice issues on climate, and for some progress (but far from enough) on developed countries’ financial and other forms of help to developing countries. But at COP26 some civil society delegates were more frustrated than at recent COPs because seats for them in negotiating sessions were more limited than usual (or even absent). This seemed to be because of poor planning and Covid restrictions…rather than a deliberate policy by the UK (as hosts) and the UN to reduce the civil society presence in many meetings.

COP26 Global Day of Action:

One area that has had a lot of focus in New Zealand recently has been methane, specifically in relation to dairy farming. What are the possible outcomes here in terms of the Global Methane Pledge, Nestle’s policies, Groundswell protests, etc.?

Rod Oram: Globally, the initial focus of the Pledge is to reduce emissions from oil and gas production. But agriculture is a bigger source of human-induced methane emissions than oil and gas. So in due course there will be more focus / pressure on agriculture to reduce its emissions. A growing number of major multinational producers such as Nestle (dairy and other foods) and Unilever (diversified producer of personal care, food and other household consumer items) and retailers (e.g. the five largest UK supermarket chains) have ambitious, science-based targets for reducing methane and CO2 emissions. Most New Zealand farming and food business are lagging well behind…but they will come under increasing international pressure to catch up. To do so they will need to work far more effectively with those farmers who are finding change very hard or believe it is totally unnecessary. Groundswell seems to draw many of its members from such farmers.

Are there any potential climate actions/policies/technologies that you’d like to see more promotion of post-COP26? (Particularly ones that haven’t received as much focus as they deserve?).

Rod Oram: Our biggest climate tasks fall into two broad categories: built-environments; and farm environments. On both we’re failing to identify, let alone act on, big systemic solutions. On the first, that covers the way we design and build towns and cities and the transport systems for them (e.g. we need higher, far more attractive density, featuring much more natural materials (e.g. timber over concrete), much greater presence of nature for ecosystem services, food growing, recreation etc; and much more active and public transport and diversified transport options. On the second, we are largely ignoring regenerative agricultural practices that lower emissions and rebuild ecosystem health; and beneficial de-intensification and diversification of farming.

How are journalists adapting to covering the climate emergency, and what new challenges does this involve?

Rod Oram: Climate coverage is increasing. But challenges include: conveying the complexity and urgency of the climate crisis; empowering people so they are eager to act; encouraging beneficial behaviour change (e.g. in the choices we make); and showing people the big upsides from acting (and the grave consequences from not).

Discover more with our climate booklist:

Three cities : seeking hope in the Anthropocene / Oram, Rod
“Orthodox is obsolete; conventional is kaput. We thought we knew how we make economics, politics, technology and nature work for us. But increasingly, they are failing to run by the rules and systems we’ve honed over recent decades. Pioneers around the world are seeking new values, systems and technologies. Thus equipped we might achieve the unprecedented, speed, scale and complexity of change we need to meet the immense challenges of the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Saving us : a climate scientist’s case for hope and healing in a divided world / Hayhoe, Katharine
“Over the past fifteen years Hayhoe has found that the most important thing we can do to address climate change is talk about it-and she wants to teach you how. In Saving Us, Hayhoe argues that when it comes to changing hearts and minds, facts are only one part of the equation. We need to find shared values in order to connect our unique identities to collective action.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Under a white sky : the nature of the future / Kolbert, Elizabeth
“So pervasive are human impacts on the planet that it’s said we live in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. In Under a White Sky, Elizabeth Kolbert examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperilled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation. By turns inspiring, terrifying, and darkly comic, Under a White Sky is an utterly original examination of the challenges we face.” (Catalogue)

The rough guide to climate change / Henson, Robert
The Rough Guide to Climate Change is a complete, unbiased guide to one of the most pressing problems facing humanity. From the current situation and background science to the government sceptics and possible solutions, this book covers the whole subject. The guide also includes lifestyle advice and tips for consumers who want to make a difference in tomorrow’s climate, and comes complete with a glossary of websites for further information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How bad are bananas? : the carbon footprint of everything / Berners-Lee, Mike
“Ten years on from first publication, a new edition of this invaluable and entertaining guide that shows just what effect everything has on carbon emissions, from a Google search to a plastic bag, from a flight to a volcano. This new edition updates all the figures (from data centres to hosting a World Cup) and introduces many areas that have become a regular part of modern life – Twitter, the Cloud, Bitcoin, electric bikes and cars, even space tourism.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Net zero : how we can stop causing climate change / Helm, Dieter
“What can we really do about the climate emergency? The inconvenient truth is that we are causing the climate crisis with our carbon intensive lifestyles and that fixing – or even just slowing – it will affect all of us. But it can be done. In Net Zero, economist Dieter Helm addresses the action we all need to take to tackle the climate emergency: personal, local, national and global.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fathoms : the world in the whale / Giggs, Rebecca
“When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach, she began to wonder how the lives of whales might shed light on our seas. How do whales experience environmental change? Has our connection to these fabled animals been transformed by technology? What future awaits us, and them? And what does it mean to write about nature in the midst of an ecological crisis? In Fathoms, Giggs blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore these questions with clarity and hope.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Entangled life : how fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures / Sheldrake, Merlin
“Merlin Sheldrake’s revelatory introduction to this world will show us how fungi, and our relationships with them, are more astonishing than we could have imagined. Bringing to light science’s latest discoveries and ingeniously parsing the varieties and behaviours of the fungi themselves, he points us toward the fundamental questions about the nature of intelligence and identity this massively diverse, little understood kingdom provokes.” (Catalogue)

Islands of abandonment : life in the post-human landscape / Flyn, Cal
“This book explores the extraordinary places where humans no longer live – or survive in tiny, precarious numbers – to give us a possible glimpse of what happens when mankind’s impact on nature is forced to stop. From Tanzanian mountains to the volcanic Caribbean, the forbidden areas of France to the mining regions of Scotland, Flyn brings together some of the most desolate, eerie, ravaged and polluted areas in the world – and shows how, against all odds, they offer our best opportunities for environmental recovery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cinderblock and beyond: Non-Fiction in 2022

Cover image showing a few of our NZ Non-Fiction Picks

It’s January, so a lot of us are preparing to tackle our New Year’s reading resolutions! Our suggestion; build a book fort in the middle of your living room and disappear into it until early February (you’re allowed to emerge for meals and chats if you’d like, and the cat will need to be fed, but you can get vitamin D from pills or a UV lamp).

While you’re building your fort, be sure not to use any of the books below–they’re too good to disappear into load-bearing walls. These are the books you want to read, then read again, then force on other people. Some are new, others are from earlier in the year, but they all get the “Librarian Recommends” sticker. Best of luck in your book fort and your 2022 reading goals!

Aroha : Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet / Elder, Hinemoa
“Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia, e kore e whati. When we stand alone we are vulnerable but together we are unbreakable. Discover traditional Māori philosophy through 52 whakatauki – powerful life lessons, one for every week. Each one is retold by respected Māori psychiatrist Dr Hinemoa Elder to show how we can live a less stressful life, with more contentment and kindness for each other and the planet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Out Here : An Anthology of Takatapui and LGBTQIA+ Writers from Aotearoa New Zealand / Tse, Chris
“Aotearoa is a land of extraordinary queer writers, many of whom have contributed to our rich literary history. But you wouldn’t know it. Decades of erasure and homophobia have rendered some of our most powerful writing invisible. Out Here will change that. This landmark book brings together and celebrates queer New Zealand writers from across the gender and LGBTQIA+ spectrum.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A clear dawn : new Asian voices from Aotearoa New Zealand
“This landmark collection of poetry, fiction and essays by emerging writers is the first-ever anthology of Asian New Zealand creative writing. A Clear Dawn presents an extraordinary new wave of creative talent. With roots stretching from Indonesia to Japan, from China to the Philippines to the Indian subcontinent, the authors in this anthology range from high school students to retirees, from recent immigrants to writers whose families have lived in New Zealand for generations”–Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

The commercial hotel / Summers, John
The Commercial Hotel is a sharp-eyed, poignant yet often hilarious tour of Aotearoa: a place in which Arcoroc mugs and dog-eared political biographies are as much a part of the scenery as the hills we tramp through ill-equipped. We encounter Elvis impersonators, Norman Kirk balancing timber on his handlebars while cycling to his building site, and Summers’ grandmother: the only woman imprisoned in New Zealand for protesting World War Two.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reawakened : traditional navigators of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa / Evans, Jeff
“Ten navigators share the challenges and triumphs of traditional wayfinding based on the deep knowledge of legendary navigator Mau Piailug. They also discuss the significance of receiving the title of Pwo (master navigator). Their stories are intertwined with the renaissance of knowledge and traditions around open-ocean voyaging.” (Catalogue)

Wai Pasifika : indigenous ways in a changing climate / Young, David
“David Young focuses on the increasingly endangered resource of freshwater, and what so-called developed societies can learn from the Indigenous voices of the Pacific. Combining nineteenth century and Indigenous sources with a selection of modern studies and his own personal encounters, Young keeps a human face on the key issue of water.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Helen Kelly : her life / Macfie, Rebecca
“When Helen Kelly died on a Wellington spring night in October 2016, with her partner by her side and a bunch of peonies, the first of the season, by her bed, Aotearoa lost an extraordinary leader. Kelly was the first female head of the country’s trade union movement, but she was also much more–a visionary who believed that all workers, whether in a union or not, deserved to be given a fair go; a fighter from a deeply communist family; a strategist and orator who invoked strong loyalty; a woman who could stir fierce emotions.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hei taonga ma nga uri whakatipu : treasures for the rising generation : The Dominion Museum ethnological expeditions, 1919-1923 / Ngata, Wayne
“From 1919 to 1923, at Sir Apirana Ngata’s initiative, a team from the Dominion Museum travelled to tribal areas across Te Ika-a-Maui to record tikanga Māori that Ngata feared might be disappearing. This beautiful book tells the story of these expeditions, and the determination of early 20th century Māori leaders to pass on ancestral tikanga.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forgotten coast / Shaw, Richard
“Richard Shaw unpacks a family story he was never told: that his ancestors once farmed land in Taranaki which had been confiscated from its owners and sold to his great-grandfather, who had been with the Armed Constabulary when it invaded Parihaka on 5 November 1881. Honest, and intertwined with an examination of Shaw’s relationship with his father and of his family’s Catholicism, this book’s key focus is urgent: how Pākehā wrestle with, and own, the privilege of their colonial pasts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tranquillity and ruin / McLauchlan, Danyl
“Danyl McLauchlan wanted to get closer to the hidden truth of things. But it was starting to look like the hidden truth of things was that nothing was real, everything was suffering, and he didn’t really exist. In these essays Danyl explores ideas and paths that he hopes will make him freer and happier – or, at least, less trapped, less medicated and less depressed. Tranquillity and Ruin is a light-hearted contemplation of madness, uncertainty and doom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Uprising : walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand / Low, Nic
“Armed with Ngai Tahu’s ancient oral maps and modern satellite atlas, I crossed the Southern Alps more than a dozen times, trying to understand how our forebears saw the land. What did it mean to define your identity by sacred mountains, or actually see them as ancestors, turned to stone?” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Visiting the library under Orange settings

All libraries in the Wellington City Libraries’ network remain open under Orange settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, with COVID Vaccine Pass and contact tracing.

To keep everyone safe please:

  • wear a mask unless you have an exemption
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  • scan or sign in on arrival
  • follow any guidance from our staff or signs.

Please check our Libraries event calendar for when programming and events will resume – Event Calendar.

The Hive Makerspace at Johnsonville Library in Waitohi is open by appointment only – book your space at

All library members can continue to access a huge range of online resources via our eLibrary – this includes eBooks, magazines, movies, and online courses.

Answers to frequently asked questions about library services under Orange settings can be found on our COVID faqs.

COVID faqs

If you have any queries, please contact Wellington City Libraries by calling 04 801 4040 during office hours or email us at Alternatively, you can message us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Whiti te Rama–Shine a Light: White Ribbon Day

We stand together to prevent domestic and sexual violence across the globe.

White Ribbon Day is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women. This year, on Thursday 25 November, the violence prevention campaign in Aotearoa highlights diversity within relationships and whānau, including: different cultures, tangata whenua, multi-generational families, LGBTQI+, relationships between young people, elder abuse and high rates of abuse against disabled people.

Aotearoa’s White Ribbon campaign is “shining a light on violence prevention” by educating and promoting these four behaviours: healthy masculinities, respectful relationships, consent and call-in-culture. Read more about the campaign here:

Related books:

Blame changer: understanding domestic violence / O’Brien, Carmel T
Blame Changer by psychologist Carmel O’Brien provides straightforward answers to common questions and aims to debunk pervasive myths around “one of Australia’s greatest shames”–domestic violence. But Blame Changer is much more than the definitive rebuttal of some of society’s most damaging, ill-informed and pervasive attitudes about domestic violence. It sounds a clarion call for a change in the way we talk about women and the violence they experience.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Masculine empire : how men use violence to keep women in line / Adams, Peter J.
“This book provides a unique insight into the sense of superiority, the ‘masculine empire’, that underpins men’s sense of entitlement to being in charge in their homes. It explores ways in which men approach the intimate relationships, their allegiance to their like-minded mates, and the role of male friendships in maintaining positions of power and capturing women in oppressive situations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drawing power : women’s stories of sexual violence, harassment, and survival : a comics anthology
“More than 60 female comics creators share their personal experiences with sexual violence and harassment through new and original comics. Inspired by the global #MeToo Movement, Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival is a collection of original, nonfiction comics drawn by more than 60 female cartoonists from around the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A call to action : women, religion, violence, and power / Carter, Jimmy
“The world’s discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights: this is President Jimmy Carter’s call to action. President Carter was encouraged to write this book by a wide coalition of leaders of all faiths. His urgent report covers a system of discrimination that extends to every nation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fixed it : violence and the representation of women in the media / Gilmore, Jane
“Finally, we are starting to talk about the epidemic of gendered violence, but too often we are doing so in a way that can be harmful. Fixed It demonstrates the myths that we’re unconsciously sold about violence against women, and undercuts them in a clear and compelling way. This is a bold, powerful look at the stories we are told about gender and power, and a call to action for all of us to do better.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Other resources:

Women’s Refuge: 0800 REFUGE (733 843)

He Waka Tapu: 0800 HEYBRO (439 276) – HEYBRO is here to listen and offer support for men who feel they are going to harm a loved one or whānau member.

OutLine: Confidential, free, all-ages support line, rainbow specialist counselling and trans peer support.

The Scent of Empires: The Origins of Chanel No 5

How do you celebrate the 300th anniversary of a seemingly all-powerful dynasty that rules over the largest empire on earth? With perfume, of course! And not just any perfume will do–you need something unique, something revolutionary.

The perfume in question was Le Bouquet Préféré de l’Impératrice, developed just a few years before the end of the Russian Empire. But while the Romonovs would not survive the coming revolution, it was a different story for Le Bouquet: the scent would go on to form the basis of two of the world’s most well-known perfumes: Chanel No 5 and Red Moscow.

Want to know more about the smells of Imperial Russia? A good place to start is Fragrantica, with reviews of both Chanel No 5 and Red Moscow. But what if you want to take it further? What if you want to make a revolutionary scent of your own? Then check out our booklist below!

The scent of empires : Chanel no. 5 and red Moscow / Schlögel, Karl
“Can a smell bear the traces of history? What can we learn about the history of the twentieth century by examining the fate of perfumes? Piecing together the intertwined histories of these two famous perfumes, which shared a common origin, Schlögel tells a surprising story of power, intrigue and betrayal that offers an altogether unique perspective on the turbulent events and high politics of the twentieth century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perfume : a century of scents / Ostrom, Lizzie
“Signature scents and now-lost masterpieces; the visionaries who conceived them; the wild and wonderful campaigns that launched them; the women and men who wore them–every perfume has a tale to tell.” (Catalogue)

Perfume : the alchemy of scent / Ellena, Jean-Claude
“In this one-of-a-kind book, the master himself takes you through the doors of his laboratory and explains the process of creating precious fragrances, revealing the key methods and recipes involved in this mysterious alchemy. Perfume is a cutthroat, secretive multibillion dollar industry, and Ellena provides an insider’s tour, guiding us from initial inspiration through the mixing of essences and synthetic elements, to the deluxe packaging and marketing in elegant boutiques worldwide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Homemade perfume : create exquisite, naturally scented products to fill your life with botanical aromas / McCoy, Anya
“This unprecedented, comprehensive guide from renowned perfumer Anya McCoy is an inspiring resource for anyone interested in creating artisanal perfume. Discover simple step-by-step methods for making perfume without harsh chemicals. Jump right in, using local plants and common household ingredients. Soon you’ll be building your own scent collection and creating unforgettable gifts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cult perfumes : the world’s most exclusive perfumeries / Williams, Tessa
“Even in times of economic hardship, perfume is an affordable luxury, recognized for its ability to make us not only smell good but also feel great. No woman’s dressing table or bathroom cabinet is complete without at least one bottle. Cult Perfumes is the first book to explore the most exclusive boutique perfumeries producing some of the world’s most captivating scents.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Smell in eighteenth-century England: a social sense / Tullett, William
“In England from the 1670s to the 1820s a transformation took place in how smell and the senses were viewed. The role of smell in developing medical and scientific knowledge came under intense scrutiny, and the equation of smell with disease was actively questioned. Yet a new interest in smell’s emotive and idiosyncratic dimensions offered odour a new power in the sociable spaces of eighteenth-century England.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perfumes : the guide / Turin, Luca
“An authoritative, one-of-a-kind guide to perfume, from over 1200 reviews to a comprehensive FAQ section. Beautifully designed and elegantly illustrated.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shamans and Earthworms: New Non-Fiction

A brilliant, inventive and unsettling exploration of our glorious and broken nature. — David Haskell on Being a Human

There are lots of ways to try and understand animals, but not everyone has committed to the process as much as author Charles Foster. When writing his debut book Being a Beast, Foster spent time eating worms like a badger, hunting through bins like a fox and running like a deer. Five years later he’s back with his latest work: Being a Human.

Being a Human covers 40,000 years of history in an attempt to discover why “few of us have any idea what sort of creatures we are”. However, this isn’t a traditional search through artefacts and written records–instead, Foster teams up with his son Tom to live as a hunter-gatherer, exploring the physical (and mystical) world of the Upper Palaeolithic.

Reserve your copy of Being a Human below, or check out other great new titles on offer. For more, visit our New Materials page.

Being a human: adventures in forty thousand years of consciousness / Foster, Charles
“How did humans come to be who we are? Readers will experience the Upper Paleolithic era as a Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherer, living in the rural woods of England. For the Neolithic period, they learn about a Neolithic settlement. To explore the Enlightenment, Foster finds his world and himself bizarre and disembodied, and he rues the atrophy of our senses.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cultish : the language of fanaticism / Montell, Amanda
“What causes people to join–and more importantly, stay in–extreme groups? The answer, Montell believes, has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. She argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear–and are influenced by–every single day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The scent of empires: Chanel no. 5 and red Moscow / Schlögel, Karl
“Can a smell bear the traces of history? What can we learn about the history of the twentieth century by examining the fate of perfumes? Piecing together the intertwined histories of these two famous perfumes, which shared a common origin, Schlögel tells a surprising story of power, intrigue and betrayal that offers an altogether unique perspective on the turbulent events and high politics of the twentieth century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The whale in the living room: a wildlife documentary maker’s unique view of the sea / Ruthven, John
The Whale in the Living Room follows the thrilling adventures of BBC Blue Planet producer, John Ruthven, on a journey of discovery that helped the marine world flow into your living room via the TV. Through each stunning adventure John draws out important insights into what is presently known about how the sea, and our whole blue planet works.” (Catalogue)

Brainscapes: an atlas of your life on earth / Schwarzlose, Rebecca
“Your brain is a collection of maps. That is no metaphor: scrawled across your brain’s surfaces are actual schematic images of the sights, sounds, and actions that hold the key to your survival. Scientists first began uncovering these maps over a century ago, but we are only now beginning to unlock their secrets. The maps in our brain raise important questions about what is real, what is fair, and what is private.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The brainwashing of my dad : how the rise of the right-wing media changed a father and divided our nation, and how we can fight back / Senko, Jen
“Author Jen Senko’s father went from being a non-political, open-minded Democrat to a radical, angry, and intolerant right wing devotee. As politics began to take precedence over anything and everything, Jen was mystified at how these concepts began to insidiously seep into her father’s mood and mindset. How had this happened? When and why had this started?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Plenty: a memoir of food & family / Howard, Hannah
“Hannah Howard is at a pivotal moment in her life when she begins searching out her fellow food people–women who’ve carved a place for themselves in a punishing, male-dominated industry. But amid her travels, Hannah finds herself on a heart-wrenching path. Looking to her food heroes for solace, companionship, and inspiration, she discovers new ways to appreciate her body and nourish her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How dead languages work / George, Coulter H.
“What could Greek poets or Roman historians say in their own language that would be lost in translation? After all, different languages have different personalities, and this is especially clear with languages of the ancient and medieval world. This volume celebrates six such languages – Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, Old Irish, and Biblical Hebrew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wheel of Time: A Tourist’s Guide

Catalogue link: The Eye of the World

Introducing your new favourite holiday destination!

With its vast cities, towering mountains and rich tapestry of cultures, Randland (home to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series) is a holiday destination that has something for everyone!

Feeling intrepid? Why not take a hike in the Mountains of Mist, or learn martial arts with the Aiel? If history is more your thing, you can take a trip to the famous Whitebridge, or even the spires of Tar Valon. And if all this sounds like too much work, don’t worry–there’s always the rich culinary scene of Cairhien and the fireworks at Tanchico.

Don’t believe us? Check out our highlights below and see why this once volatile (some would say apocalyptic) region is quickly becoming a go-to destination for travel influencers. And with direct flights into Caemlyn, Illian and Tar Valon, access is surprisingly easy. We’ll see you there!


Described as “one of the most beautiful cities in the land”, Caemlyn is a destination on many people’s bucket lists. Chief among the city’s attractions is its architecture, especially the Ogier-built Inner City. Be prepared to take many, many pictures of glittering white towers and domes, as well as the majestic Royal Palace. Other opportunities for photos can be found at the underground aquifer and the Origan Gate.

What to see:

Royal Palace of Andor: Located at the very centre of Caemlyn, the Royal Palace is not currently open to the public (and, in fact, unauthorised attempts to gain access will almost certainly lead to a slow, agonising death). However, if you do manage to find your way inside, be sure to check out the golden paws on the Lion Throne!

Where to stay

The Queen’s Blessing: This gastro pub is a smart choice for anyone new to the city. Be sure to make use of its excellent library and private rooms, and don’t forget to have a chat to its innkeeper, Basel Gill. A word of warning: Caemlyn residents are highly political, so be wary of wearing the colours red or white unless you understand the specific associations.

What to buy:

Candle Street: If you’re looking for a trinket to take home to loved ones, be sure to stop off at the numerous ointment shops that line Candle Street in the New City. Once a less reputable part of Caemlyn, Candle Street is rapidly gentrifying, with quality flat whites available at most cafés.

Great Blight

To describe the Great Blight as dry and lifeless would be a generous–and not entirely accurate–description. In fact, the Great Blight is less of a region and more of an infection of the land beneath it–the geographical equivalent of an un-healing wound. This description alone should be enough to put off the majority of potential visitors, but for those determined dark tourists, read on.

What to see:

Shayol Ghul: Once a tropical paradise, Shayol Ghul is now a dark and corrupted mountain–and the centre of the Dark One’s power. Although most would struggle to see Shayol Ghul and survive, its heady peak is highly Instagram-able. To reach it, simply cross the Mountains of Dhoom and continue north-east.

Where to stay:

Camping: While accommodation is available in the vaguely-named–and highly dangerous–settlement known as the Town, tourists would be better to avoid this location at all costs. Instead, they will need to rely on camping equipment. (Note: campers should be on guard for strangling sticks, infected trees and jumara.)

Where to eat:

Provisions: There are no renowned restaurants in the Great Blight, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own provisions if deciding to visit. With fauna including Trollocs, Myrddraal and multi-legged bears, a tourist’s prime consideration should in fact be not getting eaten themselves.


Tel’aran’rhiod, also known as the World of Dreams and the Unseen World, has only recently opened up its borders to tourism, but already it has overtaken Illian to become this summer’s most fashionable destination. Be warned, though: Tel’aran’rhiod is no ordinary holiday spot. With its infinite web of realities and highly malleable geography, it can be easy to be overwhelmed, and novice travellers are highly encouraged to bring a guide.

What to see:

Your Imagination: One of the biggest drawcards of the World of Dreams is the ability to create whatever space, object or creature you want, simply by imagining it. While this allows for virtually unlimited options, there have been reports of inappropriate imaginings by some individuals.

How to get there:

Fall Asleep: Getting to Tel’aran’rhiod can be as simple as closing your eyes, and most people have brushed against it at least once in their life. However, for full access the help of Dreamwalker is usually required. (Please note: travel via dream-gates has been discontinued by accredited travel agents due to long term damage to individuals’ souls.)

Meet the locals:

Heroes of the Wheel: A select few visitors to Tel’aran’rhiod have encountered the so-called “Heroes of the Wheel”. While these individuals are known for their heroic actions in previous ages of history, it’s important to remember that this does not necessarily mean they want to talk to you. Avoid misunderstandings–and flesh wounds–by giving them a wide berth.

Wellington City Libraries’ mobile app is upgrading soon

Library members may be interested to know that we will be soon upgrading our Wellington City Libraries’ app to another platform. Our previous provider no longer supported their app, and we apologise to our members that using its features in the last few months has been frustrating. Thanks for your patience while we worked to restore a reliable service. 

We are very happy that the vendor, SOLUS, who provides apps to many New Zealand and Australian libraries has taken over providing us with this service, and we know this will provide many improvements.

We are hoping to roll out the new version of our library app to the Google Play Store and the Apple iOS Store very soon. If you currently have the app installed, you won’t have to do anything to take advantage of the new features other than update the  app.

Parihaka Day: Kōrero with Kura Moeahu

If you haven’t heard of Parihaka,
Be sure
Your grandchildren will
And their children after them

From “He waiata tēnei mō Parihaka” by J.C. Sturm.

5 November 1881. Tucked between Mt Taranaki and the sea is a settlement of almost three thousand people. For the past two decades it has been a centre of political, ethical and religious thought in Aotearoa, a site of tino rangatiratanga in the wake of warfare and confiscation. Electric lights have been installed; councils held; a campaign of non-violent resistance maintained over several years. The settlement is Parihaka.

But just before daybreak, colonial soldiers are sighted nearby–Armed Constabulary and mounted rifles. Local media are arrested in an attempt to mask what is about to happen. So begins the Day of Plunder, what has been called “one of the worst infringements of civil and human rights ever committed and witnessed in this country.”

140 years later, 5 November is remembered as Parihaka Day. Dawn ceremonies are held at sites across the motu, and there are increasing calls for official recognition. As part of this, we recently reached out to Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Inc. Tiamana | Chairman Kura Moeahu to discuss the importance of Parihaka, and its powerful role in the country’s past and future.

Armed constabulary awaiting orders to advance on Parihaka Pa. Collis, William Andrews, 1853-1920 :Negatives of Taranaki. Ref: 10×8-1081. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23081905

Parihaka Day is coming up on 5 November. What could people do to mark it this year?

Kura Moeahu: Waking up at 4am and sitting quietly outside reflecting on what took place that morning on 5 November 1881, hearing the bugle in the distance from Pungarehu signalling 2000 soldiers to advance onto Parihaka, a peaceful village. The first to meet them were the children singing, skipping rope and playing only to be shunned and physically assaulted by the soldiers, horses and the guns the soldiers carried. Secondly, reflect about the women who met the soldiers with food and water and like their children were physically abused and the food knocked out of their hands, and in days that followed raped as payment to the soldiers and had to carry the whakama (shame) for the rest of their lives and the intergenerational trauma that followed that still exists today. And thirdly think about the men who were encouraged to sit quietly on the marae, as the soldiers surrounded them, placed a cannon up on the hill aimed down at them. Sitting quietly listing to the words and inspiring delivery of both Te Whiti and Tohu commanding the men not to retaliate, reminding them that “should the bayonet be put to your neck smite not in return for surely, we will be obliterated…”. You ask what people could do, simply rise at 4am on 5 November and reflect on the ordeal and strong resilience to not retaliate in the face of adversity.

How would you like to see Parihaka discussed in the recently updated school curriculum?

Kura Moeahu: Parihaka is only one part of the total Māori suppressive behaviour of another culture on ones rangatiratanga and tuakiritanga. To gain a deeper understanding of Parihaka one must go back and understand the historical impact of colonial and imperialism protocols of a foreign system and infrastructure from its arrival, the impact of Christianity and legislation speedily passed to maximise for the benefit for white colonial privileges.

Parihaka has been recognised as a forerunner of international non-violent resistance. How did this global connection begin, and how has it continued to develop?

Kura Moeahu: It emanated out of the actions of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, whom Ghandi studied and saw how powerful passive resistance and a strong Māori economy was supporting the towns around Taranaki. It continues to be developed through stories, and waiata. Within the rich waiata held by whanau, hapū and iwi allows for deeper analysis and examination through wananga that generates thoughts and the creation of Matauranga Māori.

Parihaka Pa. Collis, William Andrews, 1853-1920 :Negatives of Taranaki. Ref: 1/1-011758-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22789285

What current and future role do you think Parihaka has in terms of addressing climate change?

Kura Moeahu: It is encapsulated in the saying “Honour and glory to God on high, peace on earth and goodwill to all men”. Honour and glory to God on high reminds us to reconnect with our spiritual side. Peace on earth is the section dedicated to looking after our environment and taking care of the work. Goodwill to all men reminds us to care for everyone including our enemies.

How do you see Parihaka developing over the next decade?

Kura Moeahu: Developing tourism, education, health and environmental strategies, create opportunities for the people of Parihaka to tell their stories through visits, virtual 4D experience, usage of technology.

The Virus and the Vaccines

Unidentified woman having a polio vaccination at Hotel Cecil, Thorndon, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/4125-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23259158

The Epidemic Arrives:

The first reports of the virus were in Auckland, with forty patients admitted to hospital at the start of November. By the end of the year cases had been discovered in Gisborne, Waikato and Taranaki, then Wellington six months later. Inter-island travel was restricted, but it didn’t help–the virus soon reached the South Island and overran the entire country.

Communities did what they could, closing beaches and pools. School was cancelled, replaced by nationwide correspondence classes via the radio. At the few public events that did go ahead, councils implemented social distancing rules–with a strict six feet between children at the Hamilton Christmas Parade.

While the above description may sound fairly recent, it in fact describes events in New Zealand between 1947 and 1949, when the country suffered one of its most significant outbreaks of infantile paralysis, what we now call polio.

The Eradication of Polio:

New Zealand had been experiencing polio epidemics–and the resulting lockdowns–for much of the twentieth century. For most of those who caught it, polio usually meant nothing more than a brief fever, but some suffered much more severe symptoms, including paraesthesia, paralysis–as well as life in an iron lung–and death.

By the early 1950s, demand for a vaccine was high. The virus that caused polio had first been isolated in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1931 that scientists discovered poliovirus had not one but three serotypes–vital knowledge for eventual vaccine production.

Three unidentified men holding a carton of Polio Vaccine, standing outside the Tasman Empire Airways Ltd office. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/1019-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23192343

The first batch of vaccines arrived in New Zealand in 1956. Transport was difficult–the vaccines needed to be kept cold, so they made the trip from Britain in specially refrigerated containers. The first Salk polio vaccine was given on 21 September 1956, followed by the oral Sabin vaccine in 1961. By 1963, over two million New Zealanders had been vaccinated.

How successful were the polio vaccines? In 1955-1956, there had been 1,485 cases of polio in New Zealand; by 1962 the number had dropped to 5. Worldwide rollout of the vaccines has been described as “one of the most remarkable, and swiftest, health achievements of the twentieth century.”


Paralysed with fear : the story of polio / Williams, Gareth
“The story of mankind’s struggle against polio is compelling, exciting and full of twists and pardoxes. One of the grand challenges of modern medicine, it was a battleground between good and bad science. Gareth Williams takes an original view of the journey to understanding and defeating polio. ” (Catalogue)

Polio : an American story / Oshinsky, David M.
“Here David Oshinsky tells the gripping story of the polio terror and of the intense effort to find a cure, from the March of Dimes to the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines–and beyond. Drawing on newly available papers of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and other key players, Oshinsky paints a suspenseful portrait of the race for the cure, weaving a dramatic tale centred on the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The health of nations: the campaign to end polio and eradicate epidemic diseases / Bartlett, Karen
“A world free of epidemic diseases might seem a utopian pipe-dream, but that brand new world is a lot closer than you might think. Bartlett give us a rare inside look at how both global organizations and local campaigns operate on the front lines in the war against contagious disease. She reveals how victory will have profound consequences for the balance of world power and will embolden scientists to make even more momentous breakthroughs.” (Catalogue)

Otiwhiti Station : the story of a hill country station and pioneering polio hospital
“The Duncan family have been farming Otiwhiti in the Turakina River valley since the 1880s. The backstory of the station is rich and fascinating, telling both the story of farming this unforgiving hill country and the remarkable family who have put their generosity and farm profits towards charitable projects, most notably the Duncan Hospital, which pioneered treatment for polio patients in the 1940s and 1950s.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Physicians, plagues, and progress : the history of western medicine from antiquity to antibiotics / Chapman, Allan
“Since the dawn of time, man has sought to improve his health and that of his neighbour. The human race, around the world, has been on a long and complex journey, seeking to find out how our bodies work, and what heals them. Embarking on a four-thousand-year odyssey, science historian Allan Chapman brings to life the origin and development of medicine and surgery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Vaccines : what everyone needs to know / Feemster, Kristen A
Vaccines: What Everyone Needs to Know® offers a scientifically grounded overview of the science, manufacture, and culture of vaccines in the United States and internationally. Aiming to offer an unbiased resource on this hotly debated subject, it provides accessible, authoritative overviews. Written by a leading authority in both infectious disease and vaccine education, this book offers a clear-eyed resource for parents or anyone with an interest in the use, efficacy, and controversy surrounding vaccines.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On immunity : an inoculation / Biss, Eula
“Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear: fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in children’s food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding the conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world.” (Catalogue)

The best Australian science writing 2011
“From the elemental forces that drive our expanding universe to the delicate hairs on the back of your neck, science offers talented writers the kind of scope that other subjects simply cant match. This dynamic genre of Australian writing has never, until now, been showcased in an anthology.” (Catalogue)

Medicine : the definitive illustrated history / Parker, Steve
“Follow the greatest stories of medicine and its breakthroughs, with incredible coverage of disease, drugs, treatment, and cures. Medicine covers the gory pitfalls and miraculous breakthroughs of medical history from trepanning, bloodletting, and body snatching to brand new developments in IVF and gene therapy with compelling stories and illustrations. Clear diagrams explain major diseases and trace the progression of medical treatment through the centuries.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Learn More:

Health and Wellness Resource Centre: “Consumer health resource providing authoritative information on a full range of health-related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative medical practices.”

ProQuest Research Library: “Access to a wide range of scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers on popular academic subjects. The database includes more than 6,600 titles–over 5,000 in full text–from 1971 forward.”

Science in Context: “Contextual information on many significant science topics and showcases scientific disciplines that relate to real-world issues.”

Cop26: The UN Climate Change Conference

In just under two weeks, 30,000 people from across the globe will descend on Glasgow for a meeting that’s been called “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control.” But what exactly is it?

What is Cop26?

Cop26 is the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, with 197 countries coming together to work out how to tackle the climate emergency. These meetings have been happening every year since 1995, with the most well known being the 2015 Cop21 in Paris, which resulted in the landmark Paris Agreement.

Why is the Paris Agreement important?

The key to the Paris Agreement is the commitment to keep global warming below an average of 2C, with efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5C. To reach this goal, each country has decided on its own target of greenhouse gas reduction, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Countries are required to update their NDCs every five years, which is one of the reasons this year’s conference is so significant.

What should I look out for?

The biggest questions at Cop26 will probably revolve around updated NDCs–how much more greenhouse gas reduction will countries commit to? However there are a lot of other vital areas of discussion, including international funding to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions.

The New Zealand delegation to Cop26 will have several areas of focus, but two to watch out for are the amplification of Pacific voices and also discussions around methane.

How do I find out more?

Cop26 will be covered by news outlets around the world, although the only New Zealand journalist going to the conference in person is business and climate reporter Rod Oram. The official Cop26 website is available here and the action can also be followed via Twitter.


This changes everything : capitalism vs. the climate / Klein, Naomi
“In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All we can save : truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis
“Women are on the front line of the climate-change battle, and are uniquely situated to be agents of change. Today, across the world, from boardrooms and policy positions to local communities, from science to activism, women everywhere are using their voices to take leadership and call for action on climate change. This anthology is a collection and celebration of these diverse voices, asking critical questions and providing invaluable insight and solutions.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drawdown : the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming
“In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here–some are well known; some you may have never heard of.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The uninhabitable Earth : life after warming / Wallace-Wells, David
“It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Doughnut economics : seven ways to think like a 21st century economist / Raworth, Kate
“Kate Raworth sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.” (Catalogue)

Braiding sweetgrass : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants / Kimmerer, Robin Wall
“As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The new climate war : the fight to take back our planet / Mann, Michael E.
“Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the tactics that we’ve been told can slow climate change. But most of these recommendations are a result of a multi-pronged marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame or greenwashing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Library Databases:

NZ 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.

Gale 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.

LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning is a video tutorial service providing access to over 12,000 instructional videos on many topics, including several aspects of the climate emergency.

World Menopause Day: 18 October

By Sarah Connor, founder of the grassroots project Menopause Over Martinis.

Every year, World Menopause Day is held on 18 October to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.

Despite menopause/te ruahinetanga being a natural, normal and inevitable stage of life, it’s a topic that isn’t often talked about – at home, work or in our community. I certainly didn’t grow up knowing what to expect.

In early 2019, I crash landed in perimenopause: the years before periods come to an end. At 46, I experienced a pile up of symptoms without knowing why. Not feeling like my usual happy-and-healthy self was a worrying, confusing and sometimes lonely experience.

I’ve since learned that people experience menopause differently just as they experience puberty or pregnancy differently. The hormonal changes during menopause can result in 30+ symptoms for one to ten years – cognitively, physically, and emotionally – most commonly from the age of 40.

Having the support of my partner, friends, family, colleagues and health professionals made a big difference. Accessing credible information via the many resources available in my local library was hugely useful: books written by medical practitioners and health professionals, and authors of personal essays too.


To celebrate World Menopause Day, our team has put together a sample of the resources, including a book list, to inform and support people going through menopause/te ruahinetanga.

For more books, visit the Book River on our Catalogue. You can also access menopause-related eBooks and eAudiobooks via Overdrive or the Libby app.

Overdrive cover Peppermint Magazine
Peppermint is a green fashion magazine, covering eco and ethical style with a fun, fresh, intelligent and positive spin. Included in the Spring 2021 issue is ‘Pause for Thought: Conversations about Menopause.'” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

What fresh hell is this? : perimenopause, menopause, other indignities, and you / Corinna, Heather
“Perimenopause and menopause experiences are as unique as all of us who move through them. With practical, clear information and support, inclusive of those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, people of colour, working class and others who have long been left out of the discussion, What Fresh Hell Is This? is the cooling pillow and empathetic best friend to help you through the fire.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The new hot : navigating the menopause with attitude and style / Mathews, Meg
“When Meg Mathews hit menopause she was shocked at the lack of awareness, understanding and support shown to women – and also found the information available far too dreary. After getting her symptoms under control she became determined to help other women avoid an experience like hers. The New Hot is her no-holds-barred guide to menopause designed to entertain and empower women in equal measure.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menopause manifesto : own your health with facts and feminism / Gunter, Jen
“Menopause is not a disease–it’s a planned change, like puberty. And just like puberty, we should be educated on what’s to come years in advance. Knowing what is happening, why, and what to do about it is both empowering and reassuring. Filled with practical, reassuring information, this essential guide will revolutionize how women experience menopause.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Your menopause bible / Phillips, Robin N
“‘The most authoritative and up-to-date sourcebook on menopause, created by a team of experts in gynaecology, psychology, sexuality, nutrition and exercise. Provides practical and reassuring advice on all aspects of menopause, from recognising and easing the symptoms of hormonal insufficiency to maintaining bone health and general well-being.’ — from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Flash count diary : a new story about the menopause / Steinke, Darcey
“By weaving together her personal story with philosophy, science, art, and literature, the author provides an exploration into aspects of menopause that have rarely been written about, including the changing gender landscape that reduced levels of hormones brings, the actualities of transforming desires, and the realities of prejudice against older women.” (Catalogue)

Hot flushes, cold science : the history of the modern menopause / Foxcroft, Louise
“A powerful, taboo-shattering history of the menopause, from wandering wombs to HRT.” (Catalogue)

The complete guide to the menopause : your toolkit to take control and achieve life-long health / Mukherjee, Annice
“Dr Annice Mukherjee went through the menopause at just 41 following a breast cancer diagnosis, and she is also a top UK hormone specialist with nearly 30 years of experience. In this book she combines her medical expertise and personal experience to develop an essential menopause toolkit offering balanced, practical and comprehensive advice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The M word : how to thrive in menopause / Mansberg, Ginni
“A practicing GP and mother who has just turned 50 herself, Dr Mansberg has written a solution-focused book for understanding, embracing and (even) enjoying this stage in a woman’s life. She outlines medical science, explaining what happens at a cellular level in the body once key hormones begin to diminish; she details symptoms and experience; then explores pros and cons of treatment options.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hormone repair manual : every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40 / Briden, Lara
“Lara Briden, author of the international bestseller Period Repair Manual, has more than 20 years’ experience in women’s health. Her fresh approach aims to overturn the stigma of perimenopause and menopause and show women that many symptoms are temporary and manageable, emotional challenges can present an opportunity to thrive and a focus on health during this period can bring benefits for years to come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Menopause : women tell their stories
“No one asks a woman: ‘How’s the menopause?’ Unlike pregnancy, it is a private, sometimes lonely time, and often distressing for a woman and her uncomprehending family. Debra Vinecombe has interviewed 20 women whose honesty, warmth and touches of humour take the reader into their homes, doctors’ rooms, and work places.” (Catalogue)

Other Resources:

OCD Awareness Week 2021

This week is International OCD Awareness Week. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that affects people of all ethnicities, genders, and age. About one in one hundred adults have OCD, so you most likely know somebody living with it, whether you realise it or not.

Despite how common this debilitating and frustrating disorder is, it remains incredibly misunderstood and misrepresented in media. When we misunderstand mental disorders, those suffering can feel isolated, so it is important to challenge stigma and educate ourselves for our friends and whānau.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined as having obsessive thoughts (obsessions) and performing deliberate repetitive actions (compulsions).

Obsessions are repetitive and anxiety-inducing thoughts, images or impulses that are hard to stop, while compulsions are actions or behaviours that you feel driven to repeat, even though you know they’re unnecessary or don’t make sense. For more on OCD symptoms, visit the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder page.

If you’re concerned you may have OCD, it is important to talk to your GP. The Mental Health Foundation also have a range of helplines–available here.

Continue reading “OCD Awareness Week 2021”

Packing up Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui (Wellington Central Library)

We are excited to have started carefully packing up Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui – Wellington Central Library. Behind the hoardings, the experienced Crown Relocations team has begun the eight-week process of moving the historic fittings into storage for the next four years. This involves carefully removing, labelling, itemising, and wrapping the fixtures following the guidance of our heritage expert. They will also upcycle or recycle standard office furniture, or library equipment that is not going into storage or being used elsewhere within Council.


They will work during the working week (Monday to Friday) and expect to finish by November, unless we experience a delay, such as an increase in Alert level.


The team at Crown Relocation are working to lessen any noise for the neighbouring residents and businesses as much as they can by using the basement to move items out of the library. So please be aware of trucks entering and leaving the basement entrance on Harris Street.

If you’re walking into Te Ngākau Civic Precinct from Victoria Street you’ll see a small hoarding has been put up next to Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui. Behind it is a temporary skip bin where any rubbish or broken equipment is being put. If you happen to be in the Precinct when the bin is being replaced, please follow the signage and instructions of the Crown Relocations staff to keep everyone safe.

What’s next?

Over the coming four years we’re strengthening and modernising Te Matapihi. This includes installing base isolators; expanding levels three and four; designing spaces for our Libraries, City Archives, Council Service Centre, and Capital E to bring back Wellington’s much-loved community living room in the CBD.

From October, we will share regular updates on how the design for Te Matapihi is progressing through our Wellington City Libraries and Council newsletters, social media and websites. So sign up or follow the latest news at

Council News and Information

Great Kererū Count: Finale!


The Great Kererū Count kicks off this Friday and runs until 26 September. Read on for more about how you can be involved!

Kererū: they’re the drunken, fame-hogging rock stars of the avian world–and we love them for it!

So what better way to celebrate kererū awesomeness than by joining in the final Great Kererū Count, one of Aotearoa’s most popular and successful citizen science projects. If you haven’t been involved in the Great Kererū Count before, don’t worry–the team at GKC have put together a FAQ to help you get started. And if you’re already a kererū counting expert, just grab your phone–and your mask–and prepare to count those kererū one last time!

Did you know that last year over 10,000 people were involved in the GKC, and they counted over 21,000 kererū. The kererū’s favourite tree to feed on is the kōwhai and over 60% of kererū sightings were in urban areas. If you want to know more, check out these fantastic interactive maps!

Bonus Citizen Science Resources:

Citizen science : how ordinary people are changing the face of discovery / Cooper, Caren B.
“Think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries? Think again. All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process. Working in cooperation with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation, and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Smitten by giraffe : my life as a citizen scientist / Dagg, Anne Innis
“When Anne Innis saw her first giraffe at the age of three, she was smitten. She knew she had to learn more about this marvellous animal. Twenty years later, now a trained zoologist, she set off alone to Africa to study the behaviour of giraffe in the wild. Years later, Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey would be driven by a similar devotion to study the behaviour of wild apes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The drama of conservation : the history of Pureora Forest, New Zealand
“This book offers a sweeping history of Pureora Forest Park, one of the most significant sites of natural and cultural history interest in New Zealand. The authors review the geological history of the volcanic zone, its flora and fauna, and the history of Maori and European utilization of forest resources.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ngā uruora = the groves of life : ecology & history in a New Zealand landscape / Park, Geoff
“First published in 1995, Ngā Uruora took the study of New Zealand’s natural environment in radical new directions. Geoff Park’s research focuses on New Zealand’s fertile coastal plains, country of rich opportunity for both Maori and European inhabitants, but a country whose natural character has vanished from the experience of New Zealanders today.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birdstories : a history of the birds of New Zealand / Norman, 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. Extensively illustrated with historic illustrations and contemporary artwork, this is a beautiful, comprehensive publication that will help New Zealanders realise what a taonga we have in our birds.” (Catalogue)

Ko Aotearoa tēnei : te taumata tuatahi : a report into claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity. / New Zealand.
“This report comes in the form of two steps: this first step tells the story – in abridged form – of Wai 262. The second step is Te Taumata Tuarua, in two volumes. The Wai 262 Claim on indigenous flora and fauna and Māori cultural and intellectual property rights covers issues around Māori science, legal, political, cultural and economic issues.” (Catalogue)

“It was as if the sun had come out”: pukapuka paki hou

Ngā kaiporotēhie mautohe ana ki te haerenga whutupōro o Āwherika ki te Tonga, Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Evening post (Niupepa. 1865-2002): Ngā whakaahua me ngā tānga tōraro o te niupepa o te Evening Post. Tohutoro: 35mm-01392-11a-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa. /records/22543224

“It was as if the sun had come out” — Nelson Mandela, i tana rongo kua whakakorehia te kēmu ka tū ki Kirikiriroa.

Read this post in English

I roto i ā mātou kōwhiringa o ngā whiwhinga pukapuka paki hou i tēnei marama, he pakimaero e pā ana ki tētahi o ngā taiopenga whakaweherua i te tangata, nui rawa i te hītori moroki o Aotearoa.

E whā tekau tau ki muri, i taiāwhiotia a Aotearoa e te tīma whutupōro o Āwherika ki te Tonga. Ko te hua o taua haerenga, me te kaupapa tōrangapū i Āwherika ki te Tonga i taua wā, ko te weheruatanga pāpori nui, nāna te porihanga o Aotearoa i haurua, i hika ai ngā mautohe mātinitini, ngā mahi mokorea a ngā pirihimana, me te torenga mai o tētahi whāruarua puta noa i te motu. I noho te Haerenga Springbok hei tautute ā-tōrangapū nui rawa i Aotearoa i te rautau 20. Ko te pūtake o te ripi i te porihanga, ko te mahi tonu o Āwherika ki te Tonga i raro i te pūnaha whakarihariha o te whakatāuke tangata, arā te apartheid, ā, mēnā ka whai pānga tēnei ki ngā kaupapa hākinakina.

He nui ngā kōrero kua tuhia mō te haerenga nei mai i ngā taha katoa o te tohe.

Ā, mēnā e hiahia ana koe i ētahi atu mōhiohio mō te hītori o te Haerenga, kua hono tahi Ngā Whare Pukapuka o Te Whanganui-a-Tara me Te Kano Kohinga Kupu o Pōneke i tēnei tau hei tohu i ngā taiopenga o te tau 1981 i te wā i hua mai.

E tīhau mataora ana te pūkete Twitter o Tweet the Tour i ngā āhuatanga i te wā i tatū ai.

I tēnei marama, i te kōwhiringa pukapuka paki hou, kei ā mātou a Hold the line: The Springbok tour of ‘81: a family, a love affair, a nation at war: a novel nā Kerry Harrison. He kōrero paki o tēnei wā hiranga nui, e hanga whakaari ana i ngā whakatete o te haerenga.

Tērā anō ētahi atu pukapuka tino rerekē o Aotearoa i ngā kōwhiringa o tēnei marama. Ko The Piano Girls he kōrero paki hou e tino mihia ana, nā Elizabeth Smither. Ā, ko The Only Living Lady Parachutist nā Catehrina Clarke, he pakimaero i poua i runga i te pono, e hāngai ana ki te ao o Lillian, he tuawahine whakahaere poihau hauwera toremutu ākina ā-mate, nāna te iwi i whakaohooho i Aotearoa me Ahitereiria i ngā tau o te 1890.

A darker reality / Perry, Anne
“E tohu ana ngā tīpuna o Elena ki te whakanui i tētahi huringatau mā te whakarite i tētahi pāti mīharo mā rātou ko ngā hoa mananui o tōna koroua. Engari ka mutu wawe, pouri hoki ngā whakariterite i te wā ka tukia tētahi o ngā manuhiri a Lila Worth, e te motukā i te huanui i waho. E whakapono ana a Elena, i whakamātau ana a Lila ki te whāki i tētahi kaupapa ki a ia i mua i tōna matenga, ā, nō te waeatanga mai o tana rangatira mahi i te kāinga, a MI6, i whakaū he tūtei o Piritana a Lila, kātahi ka hono atu a Elene ki tētahi atu tūtei ki te rapu he aha ngā mōhiohio waiwai e puritia ana e taua wahine rā.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Hard like water / Yan, Lianke
“Nō te hokinga o Gao Aijun ki tōna pā kāinga me te hīkaka i ngā mahi angitu i roto i a Tūmatauenga, ka kite ia i te wāhine ātaahua nei a Xia Hongmei e hīkoi kore hū ana i te taha o te rerewē i te ahiahi ruhi o te rā, ā, hinga tonu atu i te aroha. I a rāua e huna ana i tā rāua hononga i ō rāua makau ake, ka kuhu mārika rāua ki ngā taukumekume ki te whakaara i te pāhoro i tō rāua pā kāinga taiwhenua. Ka tatari rāua ki te kaikaiātara i tō rāua hononga, kia oti rā anō i a Aijun te kari i tētahi anapoka o te aroha, i waenga i ō rāua kāinga, otirā ka eke tō rāua pāhoro, aroha whiwhita hoki ki tōna taioreoretanga.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The hummingbird / Veronesi, Sandro
“Ko Marco Carrera ‘te hummingbird,’ he tangata āhua tipua nei e taea e ia te nohotū i te wā e neke haere tonu ana te ao. I a ia e urungi haere ana i ngā wero o te oranga – e whakaanga ana i te matenga o tōna tuahine, me te korenga o tōna tuakana; te tiaki i ōna mātua i te wā e tata ana ki te mate; e whakatipu ana i tana mokopuna i te wā kāore e tāea e tōna whaea ake, te tamāhine a Marco, te tiaki i a tana tamaiti ake; te whakatau i tana aroha mō Luisa, he wahine manganga – ka noho a Marco Carrera hei tohu mō te toa wairua whakaiti e rauroha ana i te nui o tō tātou oranga o ia rā” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The piano girls / Smither, Elizabeth
“Tokotoru tūāhine puorooro ka whakamānawa i tō rātou ia tau mā tētahi takinga piana, hei whakamaharatanga ki a ia. Ka whakataetae tētahi ki tētahi, ka whakangungu huna ki te kite ko wai te toa o rātou. I ētahi atu kōrero, ko te waiata, te kai, me ngā wharekai ngā ariā. Tērā tētahi wahine e pana ana i tētahi kaiwhakawai mā te tunu kai nui; Ka whakarite a Fire Lady i ngā kai tahu waiwaihā i tētahi wharekai. He poti e karangahia ana ko Min; He wehenga tokorua whakamamae i tētahi hōtēra hāneanea; he wahine taiohi e whakamaimoa ana ki ōna ū. Ka kapi i ngā kōrero te whānuitanga o ngā kaupapa mai i ngā rā i te kura me ngā whakangungu ori hīteki ki te taipakeketanga.”(He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The vixen : a novel / Prose, Francine
“1953. Kātahi anō a Simon Putnam kia whiwhi mahi i tētahi umanga whakaputa whakahirahira o New York, ā, kua whai i tana kaupapa mahi tuatahi: te whakatika i The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, he kaitīhae pari mōrihariha, i poua pea i runga i te whakawātanga paetata, whakamatenga hoki o Ethel rāua ko Julius Rosenberg. He mahi auaha e takune ana ki te whakapakari i ngā ahumoni o te umanga e hinga haere ana. He hoa i te tamarikitanga te māmā o Simon nō Ethel Rosenberg; ka tangihia te matenga o Ethel e ōna mātua. Ka tūtaki a Simon ki te kaituhi o The Vixen, i a Anya Partridge he wahine pokerenoa, whakakonuka hoki, e noho tau ana i tōna rūma kakara-opiuma nei, i tētahi whare wairangi hāneanea i Hudson River. Ka tau te māramatanga ki a Simon, e whakataruna ana te katoa, e pupuri kōrero muna ana, ā, ko ngā taiopenga māori e huna ana i tētahi tāhū weriweri.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Breathe : a novel / Oates, Joyce Carol
“I waenga i tētahi horanuku tino ātaahua engari he whanokē, i New Mexico, ka noho tūturu tētahi tokorua mārena o Cambridge, MA, i tētahi whare wānanga whakahirahira. Nō te pānga o te tāne i te mate porehu, i hē te tohu i te tuatahi, ka takahurihia ō rāua ao, ā, ka takatū rāua tahi i tētahi haerenga moepapa. I te toru tekau mā whitu tau, e aro ana a Michaela ki te whakaaro whakawehi o te pouarutanga – me te ngaronga o Gerard, otirā ko tōna tuakiri tērā i tino waihanga i tōna.” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Hold the line : the Springbok tour of ’81 : a family, a love affair, a nation at war : a novel / Harrison, Kerry
“Ko te tau 1981 te tau, ā, e takatū ana a Aotearoa ki te hautū i te kapa Springboks o Āwherika ki te Tonga, he whenua tāuke, mō tētahi haerenga ā-motu mō te whutupōro. E hia mano ngā kaiporotēhi i uru ki tētahi kaupapa mautohe tautoko nui, e tuki tahi ana ki tētah iwi pōrangi ki te tautoko i te whutupōro. Ahakoa te tipunga o te mautohe tūmatanui, e mārō tonu ana te kāwanatanga me te Ūniana Whutupōro ka haere tonu te haerenga. Ka hoki mai a Beth i Rānana. He kaitautoko tōna matua, he mōrehu o Te Pakanga Tuarua, o te whutupōro, ka huri tōna tungāne hei kaiporotēhi i ngā riri ā-tiriti. E ako ana ia i te ture, ā, ka tūtaki ki a Viktor, engari kāore ia i mōhio, he mema ia o rōpū rongowehi nei, te Police Red Squad. Ka ahatia tō rāua hononga tauaro i tētahi whenua e mōrearea nui ana te oranga o te nono a te tangata?” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

The only living lady parachutist / Clarke, Catherine
“Hei whakamātau i tōna manawanui, ka mōreareatia e te wahine manawa kai tūtae nei a Lillian tōna ake oranga, mō te rongotoa me te whairawa, mā te hekerangi i tētahi poihau hauwera i Ahitereiria me Aotearoa. Engari i te ao tauwhāinga o ngā tau 1890 o ngā tāngata tinihanga, ngā tāngata whakahīhī, me ngā tāngata totohe ā-whakaari nei, he māia anō ia ki te whakaanga i ngā kōrero pono o tōna onamata?” (He mea urutau i te Rārangi)

Ancestry Library – at home access extended till 31 December 2021

Ancestry Library is a research database for genealogists and family history enthusiasts that can help you trace your family history, with records from the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Normally only available in-person at our libraries, during the last year, with kind permission from the people at Ancestry and ProQuest, Wellington City Libraries’ cardholders have been able to access Ancestry from their own homes. This access was due to expire, but has now been extended until 31 December 2021.

Log in to Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library includes online access to historical births, deaths and marriages and electoral rolls, and you can follow all kinds of family history leads through scans of these documents and more.

Login to Ancestry Library with your library card details and get started tracing your family history today! You can also find more helpful links and advice on family history research on our Genealogy Topic Guide.

A word of warning — starting family research and the thrill of the hunt can be quite addictive, so be careful you don’t get lost chasing leads down too many rabbit holes!

Visiting the library in Alert Level 2

covid19 logo

covid19 logo

“Under Alert level 2 all of our libraries will be open from Thursday 9 September, with a few changes to keep everyone safe and able to use our spaces,” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“This includes slightly reduced hours, strongly encouraging everyone to follow the social distancing, use hand sanitiser and wear masks.”

“To help ensure everyone can use our services and find their latest reads, we are asking people to again limit their visit to 30 minutes and come on your own or in small groups, where possible. We have temporarily suspended our events and programmes, such as Baby Rock and Rhyme as well. Please check the website before you visit, as some hours may have changed temporarily.”

“Everyone was amazing in following the hygiene measures and being kind to one another under the previous Covid-19 restrictions, so we hope everyone will be back to our new normal soon.”

When visiting any of our libraries:

  • Wear a mask if you are 12 years and over – unless you hold an exemption from the Ministry of Health Covid-19 website.
  • Most customer facing staff will also be wearing masks unless they are not required to for safety reasons.
  • Scanning or signing in is a condition of entry for all Council facilities and venues. This applies to visitors, contractors and couriers entering our spaces.
  • Limit your visit to 30 mins so we can provide all visitors with 2 metres social distancing – please follow the signs and guidance of our staff.
  • Use EFTPOS or other contactless payments if you can. We will accept cash but prefer not to for hygiene reasons.

You can return items from 10am Wednesday 8 September if your local library has an after-hours slot.

All programmes and events are cancelled for this week, please check back on our blog on Monday for an update.

For more information, please check our COVID-19 FAQs.


All libraries are closed during COVID-19 Alert Level 3

covid19 logo

covid19 logoFollowing the move to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August, all Wellington City Libraries branches will remain closed.

While we are closed, library members can access a range of online resources in our eLibrary. This includes a huge range of online storytimes, eBooks, newspapers, movies, and online courses.

If you have items on loan, please keep them at home until our libraries reopen. Their due dates have been extended automatically until at least Tuesday 28 September.

All reserved items will be held until one week after libraries reopen, so you will have time to collect them.

If you’re not a member, you can join the library to access the online resources.

Join online

Answers to frequently asked questions about library services under COVID Alert Level 3 can be found on our COVID faqs

COVID faqs

If you have any queries, please contact Wellington City Libraries by calling 04 801 4040 during office hours or email us at Alternatively, you can message us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Email us at

All libraries are closed during COVID-19 Alert Level 4

covid19 logo

All Wellington City Libraries’ branches will be closed temporarily from 11:59pm, Tuesday 17 August under Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

While we are closed, library members can access a range of online resources in our eLibrary. This includes a huge range of online storytimes, eBooks, newspapers, movies, and online courses.

If you have items on loan, please keep them at home until our libraries reopen. Their due dates have been extended automatically until at least Tuesday 28 September

All reserved items will be held until one week after libraries reopen, so you will have time to collect them.

If you’re not a member, you can join the library to access the online resources at

Answers to frequently asked questions about library services under COVID Alert Level 4 can be found here:

If you have any queries, please contact Wellington City Libraries by calling 04 801 4040 during office hours or email Alternatively, you can message us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.