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

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“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

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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

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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.

This Friday: Kanohi ki te Kanohi with Ray Ahipene-Mercer

Wellington City Libraries is proud to present a very special event: our first Kanohi ki te Kanohi with environmental campaigner, politician and musician Ray Ahipene-Mercer.

Bookings essential.

Book your spot here

What? Kanohi ki te Kanohi with Ray Ahipene-Mercer

When? Friday, 6 August, 12:30-1pm

Where? He Matapihi Library on Molesworth Street

Photo of Ray Ahipene-Mercer
Image thanks to Upper Hutt City Library.

Ray Ahipene-Mercer is one of Aotearoa’s leading environmentalists, spearheading campaigns to clean up Wellington’s water as well as helping to establish the region’s first artificial nesting area for kororā little penguins.

He has been a Wellington City Councillor and was twice chair of the Wellington District Māori Council, submitting a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal addressing the pollution of traditional fishing grounds. (For more on Ray–including his celebrated music career–check out his bio.)

This Friday (6 August), between 12:30-1pm, you can talk to Ray as part of our first Kanohi ki te Kanohi at He Matapihi Library on Molesworth Street. Kanohi ki te Kanohi is a special series, with just five spots available at each event. Participants can listen to the speaker’s story and ask questions in a personal, smaller scale setting, in the spirit of movements such as the Human Library. Book your spot!

Matariki 2021 at your libraries!

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau!

From 2 – 10 July, Wellington City Libraries is celebrating Matariki with a range of events, crafts, storytelling sessions, and experiences for whānau and tamariki all over our city. Don’t forget to also check out the Wellington City Council website to find out about the huge range of exciting activities taking place outside our libraries during Matariki.

Continue reading “Matariki 2021 at your libraries!”

COVID-19 Update : Libraries at Level 1

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COVID-19 logoWellington will move to COVID Alert Level 1 from 11:59pm, 29 June 2021.

We ask everyone to continue recording your visits to our branches using the QR codes.

With libraries returning to Level 1 tomorrow, our events and programmes for kids, teens and families resume. Please check the Libraries’ event calendar for details of what’s on.

If you have any questions please contact Wellington City Libraries by calling 04 801 4040 during office hours or email

Read more about our libraries at Level 1

COVID-19 Update: Libraries at Level 2

covid19 logo

COVID-19 logoWellington has moved to COVID Alert Level 2 until 11.59pm, Tuesday 29 June 2021.

Library branches remain open their usual opening hours. To ensure everyone has time and space to use the library when they visit:

    • Please check in when you arrive – and stay at least 1m apart from other visitors and staff
    • We are limiting the number of visitors to meet social distancing requirements, so please follow guidance from our staff
    • Please keep visits to under 30 mins while we’re limiting the number of visitors too
    • All programmes and events are cancelled, including access to The Hive Makerspace.

Library customers can continue to access a huge range of online resources at This includes eBooks, newspapers, magazines, movies, and online courses.

Returning items on loan
You can return borrowed items to your local branch as normal.

If you have any questions please contact Wellington City Libraries by calling 04 801 4040 during office hours or email

Read more about our libraries at Level 2

The 80s called and they’ve given their magazine back

Wellington City Magazine on Recollect

Wellington City Libraries is bringing the past back to the future with the popular 1980s Wellington City Magazine now accessible online.

Not only will it showcase the big hair, shoulder pads and jazzercize of the era in the capital, but also the cool cats, clubs and cafes, and feature articles and columns from many still well-known contributors.

Wellington City Magazine on Recollect

Wellington City Magazine offers a fascinating insight into Wellington’s culture in the mid-1980s during a time of considerable societal and economic change, says Wellington City Libraries Local Historian Gabor Toth.

“Its first edition was printed at the very end of Robert Muldoon’s final term as the National Government’s Prime Minister in 1984, and came to an end after 27 issues following the share market crash in 1987.

“Published by Henry Newrick, the magazine had an enormous variety of feature articles and regular columns. Its advertising content reflected a boom in the local economy as financial regulatory controls were dropped, the share market rose to new heights and a new generation of high-earning workers, investors and entrepreneurs opened their wallets. The magazine was also highly innovative in its graphic design, page layout and high-quality photograph reproduction.

“The first five issues were called Wellington Cosmo to reflect the fact that Wellington was seen as being a particularly ‘cosmopolitan’ city, a legal threat to change the title as it violated the international Cosmopolitan Magazine trademark, and a failed appeal and injunction, saw it change its title to Wellington City Magazine.

“The magazine had three editors; Lloyd Jones, John Saker and Malcolm McSporran and attracted many talented writers and journalists who often had significant literary, academic or business backgrounds – including David Burton, Ian Wedde, Simon Morris, Lorraine Mexted, Tony Simpson and Bill Gosden.

“The magazine also took on causes, and was one of the first outlets to raise the profile of the St James Theatre when it was threatened with demolition.”

This was a labour of love for Gabor, hand scanning every page and photoshopping the gutter out of the double page spreads, says Manager of Libraries & Community Spaces, Laurinda Thomas.

“Everyone, young and old, is going to get a kick out of these magazines – it’s like a time machine, and everyone can just go online and get transported there.

“So many of the restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas, galleries have been replaced with new ones, but some things that haven’t changed are the political, arts and cultural scene – and the Green Parrot!”

Go to and click on the ‘Collections’ button to see all 27 issues, and keep an eye on Wellington City Council and Libraries social media channels for some 1980s nostalgia to coincide with the launch.

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:

Learn to sketch and stitch: new craft books

There are lots of projects to entice in our picks this month – from beautiful blue and white embroidery, to pottery and Star Wars craft ideas that would make wonderful gifts or jealously guarded possessions. Have a browse and enjoy!

Knitting the galaxy : the official Star Wars knitting pattern book / Gray, Tanis
“The ultimate guide to creating stunning projects inspired by Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Rey, and a whole host of droids, ships, and aliens from a galaxy far, far away. It includes patterns for toys, apparel, and home decor inspired by your favorite movie moments, characters (both human and alien), droids, ships, and more.” (Catalogue)

Pottery : 20 mindful makes to reconnect head, heart & hands / Davidson, Lucy
“Learn how to create simple, modern makes — all without the need for a wheel or kiln. Featuring basic techniques and simple clay recipes, Lucy Davidson provides ideas for making and decorating 20 playful pottery pieces with clear step-by-step instructions and life-affirming mindful quotes, accompanied by clean photography and contemporary illustrations. From plant hanger pots to tealight holders, festive decorations to serving dishes — there’s plenty to enhance your home and your wellbeing.” (Catalogue)

Empowered embroidery / Frazer, Amy L
“Learn to sketch and stitch strong, recognizable women from all walks of life. Featuring sketching and illustration instructions, basic stitches, embroidery techniques, and projects with portraits of famous women, this book is a must-have tool for hands-on artists and crafters.” (Catalogue)

Texture / Knight, Erika
“Join fiber artist Erika Knight as she takes you on a personal journey through the urban and natural environments that have inspired her designs.” (Catalogue)

Block by block crochet : quilt-inspired patchwork blocks to mix and match / Morgan, Leonie
“With 49 fabulous blocks to make this all-skill-level book will be adored equally by yarn lovers who are interested in pattern and by quilters who are drawn to yarn. Using patchwork as her inspiration, this is a brand new, specially designed crochet block collection from the wonderfully talented Leonie Morgan.” (Catalogue)

Blue & white embroidery : elegant projects using classic motifs and colors / Yazawa, Kozue
“Simple stitches, elegant and quirky motifs and a classic colour scheme combine to create 30 fun embroidery projects for all skill levels! Calming blues from a day at the beach, the soft white tones of clouds and seashells – we never tire of pairing shades of blue with white. In this book, author Kozue Yazawa draws inspiration from the natural world and her own surroundings, using an array of classic nautical motifs to evoke a sense of elegance and nostalgia.” (Catalogue)

And for something a little different — the history of a needlework masterpiece:

The story of the Bayeux tapestry : unraveling the Norman conquest / Musgrove, David
“Political intrigue and treachery, heroism and brutal violence, victory and defeat – all this is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, an epic account of one of the pivotal episodes in English history embroidered on a strip of linen. […] Many mysteries and questions still surround this unique embroidery and not all is as it might appear at first glance. Who made it, when, why, where and what for? David Musgrove and Michael Lewis skilfully lead us through the full story of the Tapestry.” (Catalogue)

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)