Musician Interview: Paul and Jiji, Dark Divinity

Dark Divinity album covers

Have a listen to our interview with guitarists Paul Stewart and Jiji Aligno from Wellington melodic death metal band, Dark Divinity

The band formed in 2018 and have been blasting away in the local metal scene since, going through lineup changes, opening for several international legends pre-pandemic, and releasing an EP Messianic in 2020. This interview finds them on the cusp of self-releasing their debut full length album on CD, vinyl and digital, Unholy Rapture (released today, 22 September).

Paul and Jiji discuss writing and demoing music in the modern age, influences on their playing and songwriting, juggling multiple musical projects, the full DIY approach, and international acts returning to Aotearoa.

Borrow related items from Wellington City Libraries:

Messianic / Dark Divinity

The blueprint for Unholy Rapture, 5 tracks of blackened melodic death metal. While it features a slightly different lineup to the new album, this is the band’s first full release, locking in the combination of extreme metal blasting with an assault of tremolo picked riffs. The occasional touch of harmonised lead guitar gives just enough melody to balance out the rest of the grim atmosphere.

Annihilation Cult / Scorn of Creation

Straddling the line between the oldschool and modern camps of death metal, Annihilation Cult features a huge amount of forearm-cramping riffs over virtuosic drumming and Jiji contributing guitar heroics, divebombs and hyperspeed licks for the dedicated shredheads – one of those albums that makes you feel the need to practice afterwards.

Unearthing / Into Orbit

Paul and drummer Ian layer it up with live-constructed loops of post-metal bass and guitar, building textures and layers at a higher pace than the post- tag would normally indicate. Once they’ve got their atmosphere laid out and melodies caught in your head, they lock in on some huge doom riffs at the higher tempo until it’s knocked over and they start building the next one.

‘Wednesday To Come’ director Erina Daniels in interview

Recently opened in Wellington’s Circa theatre is a new version of the fabulous Aotearoa / New Zealand classic play Wednesday to come, written by Renée.

A tableau from the play - a depression-era family scene. All images used with the kind permission of Circa Theatre.
A tableau from the play – a depression-era family scene. All images used with the kind permission of Circa Theatre.

A woman in depression era clothing stands outside a house with her hand to her head, a full clothesline of washing to her left

The play  is an intimate family drama charting the effects of the 1930s’ Depression on a working-class New Zealand family. It is set  against a backdrop of workers’ strikes and rising costs of living and deals with these issues whilst retaining a rich vein of earthy humour. Many of the subjects and themes it explores still have a strong contemporary resonance today.

This beloved New Zealand play was first performed in 1984 and the production features a cast of both fresh faces and household names. Director Erina Daniels leads a powerhouse team of Māori creatives to tell a story written by a wahine Māori, but which has historically been told through the lens of a Pākeha family. A lens which this staging changes a little.

Renée,  the creator of this iconic work, has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and centre working-class people and feature women in leading roles. As well, she has published (so far) nine fiction works, including  most recently The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Renée’s amazing life is also documented in detail in her recently updated autobiography These Two Hands.

For more information about Wednesday to come, check out the Circa website.

Listen to the interview

Director Erina DanielsWhen Wednesday to come  Director Erina Daniels agreed to be interviewed about the play and its staging, we jumped at the chance.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Erina for taking time out of her busy schedule and for such a fabulous, fascinating and informative interview.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the full interview, as well as find a wide selection of Renée’s books available to borrow, below:

Wednesday to come : trilogy / Renée
“‘Wednesday to come’ (a play for 6 women and 2 men) shows the effect of the Great Depression on four generations of women from the same family. In ‘Pass it on’ (a play for 3 women and 3 men) the teenager Jeannie from ‘Wednesday to come’ is now a young woman in her 30s dealing with the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. The final play in the trilogy goes back in time to life in Victorian Dunedin: ‘Jeannie once’ (a play for 6 women and 3 men) looks at this world through the eyes of Jeannie’s great-grandmother, Granna in ‘Wednesday to come’. The themes of engagement in social issues and support for the underdog are common to all three plays.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty – who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home – has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered – her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too: the man in the balaclava who attacks her when she starts to investigate, and break-ins at the local theatre where Ruby is playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery of Betty’s death she starts to find answers to questions about herself that she hadn’t dared ask before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

These two hands : a memoir / Renée
“Renee Paule lives in Otaki and teaches her Your Life, Your Story and her Poem a Week workshops there. This is just one version of her life, her story, told in patches, like a quilt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kissing shadows / Renée
“Do we ever really know or understand the motives of the ones we love? When Vivvie Caird is faced by the sight of her beautiful, strong-willed mother lying limp and speechless in a hospital bed, she feels empowered to begin unlocking the mystery that is her fathers legacy. Vivvies nave undertaking soon finds a parallel in her mothers own account of what happened when her husband left home one day, never to return. A family, and a court must confront a devastating event that occurred in the midst of the hard times of last century. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The skeleton woman : a romance / Renée
“A baby on the doorstep, a skeleton woman biding time before the truth comes out. Rose Anthony’s life has just become much more complicated. Renee’s latest novel carries the reader on an entertaining roller coaster ride of mystery and intrigue. A rich tapestry of a tale guaranteed to keep the reader hooked from start to finish.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Poet Interview: Sudha Rao

Photographer credit: Ebony Lamb

Sudha Rao is a Wellington based poet and dancer, originally from South India. She recently released her debut poetry collection, On elephant’s shoulders, published through The Cuba Press.

We were lucky enough to get to catch-up with Rao about her new book, her writing process and living the life of a mouse. You can watch the interview below, and then reserve a copy of her book through our online catalogue. Rao’s writing can also be found in Ko Aotearoa tātou, we are New Zealand : an anthology, More of us, and Meowing. Part 1, The Meow Gurrrls’ little book of poetry. We’ve also including a list of some of the many writers Rao mentions during this interview, which you can find below.

Thank-you to Sudha Rao for taking the time to chat with us and for providing such insightful answers to our questions. We’d also like to thank The Cuba Press for hosting us in their lovely office.

Super model minority / Tse, Chris
“From making boys cry with the power of poetry to hitting back against microaggressions and sucker punches, these irreverent and tender poems dive headfirst into race and sexuality”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Body politic / Cresswell, M. M
“Fifty years after she arrived in New Zealand from Los Angeles, Mary Cresswell’s focus is unchanged. As a poet with a scientist’s concern for detail she is still drawn to nature and what humanity has done with it. Seascapes are rocky and forbidding, landscapes are arid and treeless, and drones keep an eye on us. The few surviving animals-one frog and two birds-speculate on ‘extinction’ even as it is happening to them, just as the poet describes the strange paradox of the pandemic that on one hand threatens humanity and on the other allows the planet to breathe again. Mary uses wordplay, satire and absurdity to tell her story, and puts the body politic centre stage as the cause of and agent for repairing the mess we are in.” (Catalogue)

House & contents / O’Brien, Gregory
“Our mother’s clouds and insects fly to embrace your clouds and insects. Her architecture, roads, bridges and infrastructure rush to greet yours. Her molecules on their upward trajectory entwine with yours, the colour of her eyes, hair and skin. Her language, with its past participles, figures of speech, the sounds and tremors which are its flesh and bones these words go out to greet your words and to greet you – these words which will never leave her. House & Contents is a moving meditation on earthquakes and uncertainties, parents and hats, through Gregory O’Brien’s remarkable poetry and paintings.”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Lost and somewhere else / Bornholdt, Jenny
“In Lost and Somewhere Else, Jenny Bornholdt finds many places to stand: at home, in memories of places and people, and in the Ernst Plischke-designed Henderson House in Alexandra, Central Otago, in which she lived while writing these poems. This graceful, witty and unsettling book is Bornholdt at her very best: her language at once bold and subtle, and even her smallest insights profound.” (Catalogue)

Tender machines / Neale, Emma
“In this follow-up to the award-winning The Truth Garden, Emma Neale explores the state of the human condition in the second decade of the 21st century, when a post-humanist future looms large and our machines seem to know more than we do. In poems that are engaged, compelling, witty and moving, she looks at how we navigate a true line through the psychological, environmental, social and economic anxieties of our times.”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Selected poems / Manhire, Bill
“This generous selection of Bill Manhire’s poems moves from playful early pieces like “On Originality” and “How to Take off Your Clothes at the Picnic” to major works of recent years such as “Hotel Emergencies”–a powerful response to contemporary atrocities–and “Erebus Voices”–written to be read by Sir Edmund Hillary at the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Erebus tragedy. The poems featured in this definitive collection of New Zealand’s most important poet are deceptively simple, often funny, and always revelatory of his own and his country’s history.” (Catalogue)

Collected poetry and prose / Stevens, Wallace
“”Undoubtedly, the single finest collection of Wallace Stevens ever produced.” — Library Journal Wallace Stevens’s unique voice combined meditative speculation and what he called “the essential gaudiness of poetry” in a body of work of astonishing profusion and exuberance, poems that have remained an inspiration and influence for generations of poets and readers. Now, for the first time, the works of America’s supreme poet of the imagination are collected in one authoritative Library of America volume.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities / Chen, Chen
“In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family — the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes — all from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives. Holding all accountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one’s own path in identity, life, and love. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. To be a season of laughter when my father says his coworker is like that, he can tell because the guy wears pink socks, see, you don’t, so you can’t, you can’t be one of them. To be the one my parents raised me to be. A season from the stormiest planet. A very good feeling with a man. Every feeling, in pink shoes. Every step, hot pink.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Bordering on miraculous: New poetry collections

It’s an exciting time to be reading poetry, but don’t just take our word for it; people are saying it’s “the year of poetry”. It seems like a great time to remind everyone that we have a decent poetry collection, featuring many bestselling titles from both Aotearoa and overseas.

Below, you’ll find a selection of new additions to our collection, a lot of which are already in hot demand! Some highlights include; essa may ranapiri’s Echidna (which we are huge fans of, we shared an interview with ranapiri recently), Ocean Vuong’s Time is a mother (from the author who brought us the heart breaking/building novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous) and Night School by Michael Steven (Winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2021). You can reserve all of these items via our online catalogue. 

This is also a great time to mention our new YouTube playlist – Poet Interviews. Check out our most recent interview with writer Khadro Mohamed below. If you are a local poet with a book coming out soon, let us know! We’d love to chat with you! 

Anomalia / Chung, Cadence
“Populated with strange specimens, cicada husks and glittering gems, these poems explore the love and cruelty of human nature. Chung is in conversation with her literary ancestors, from Sappho to Byron, bringing their work into the world of sparkly eyeshadow and McDonald’s bathrooms”–Gatefold cover.” (Catalogue)

Night school / Steven, Michael
“Winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2021, poet Michael Steven’s Night School explores the gap between fathers and sons, the effects of toxic masculinity, how power corrupts and corrodes, and whether weed, art and aroha can save us in a godless world.” (Catalogue)

We’re all made of lightning / Mohamed, Khadro
“Khadro Mohamed expertly navigates the experience of being a Muslim women in Aotearoa, bringing us along on her journey of selfhood. Shifting between Aotearoa, Egypt and Somalia, we get a glimpse into her worlds, which are rich and full of life. Mohamed has a sense of wonder for the world around her, exploring nature, food, family and identity. This book is a love letter to her homeland, her whakapapa, and herself.” (Catalogue)

Echidna, or The many adventures of Hinenākahirua as she tries to find her place in a colonised world : including throught is the story of Māui-Pōtiki & Prometheus / Ranapiri, Essa May
“Echidna is a dangerous animal; she pokes holes in men just to remind them what kind of monster she is wakes up every single morning and chooses violence cos what choice does she really have? essa may ranapiri’s second poetry collection follows the story of Echidna, their own interpretation of the Greek Mother of Monsters, as she tries to figure out life and identity living in a colonised world. “–Publisher’s information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Time is a mother / Vuong, Ocean
“Ocean Vuong’s second collection of poetry looks inward, on the aftershocks of his mother’s death, and the struggle – and rewards – of staying present in the world. Time Is a Mother moves outward and onward, in concert with the themes of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, as Vuong continues, through his work, his profound exploration of personal trauma, of what it means to be the product of an American war in America, and how to circle these fragmented tragedies to find not a restoration, but the epicenter of the break”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Bordering on miraculous / Edmeades, Lynley
“A frame of clouds a slice of sky a window full of doubt-soaked borders. Here we are listening to the hypernated sound of clouds and it is miraculous”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

The acts of oblivion / Batchelor, Paul
“The ‘Acts of Oblivion’ were a series of seventeenth-century laws enacted by both Parliamentarian and Royalist factions. Whatever their ends — pardoning revolutionary deeds, or expunging revolutionary speech from the record — they forced the people to forget. Against such injunctions, Paul Batchelor’s poems rebel. This long-awaited second collection, The Acts of Oblivion, listens in on some of England’s lost futures, such as those offered by radical but sidelined figures in the English Civil War, or by the deliberately destroyed mining communities of North East England, remembered here with bitter, illuminating force. The book also collects the acclaimed individual poems ‘Brother Coal’ and ‘A Form of Words’, alongside visions of the underworld as imagined by Homer, Lucian, Lucan, Ovid, and Dante.” (Catalogue)

The difference is spreading : fifty contemporary poets on fifty poems
“Since its inception in 2012, the online introduction to modern poetry known as ModPo has engaged tens of thousands of readers, listeners, teachers, and poets with its focus on a modern and contemporary American tradition that runs from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson up to some of today’s freshest and most experimental written and spoken verse.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine (it’s not) : poems / Alam, Taz
“A raw, honest and heartfelt poetry collection from Taz Alam – for the tough times, the great times, and everything in between.” (Catalogue)

How to burn a woman / Askew, Claire
“Claire Askew’s electrifying second collection is an investigation of power: the power of oppressive systems and their hold over those within them; the power of resilience; the power of the human heart. It licks flame across the imagination, and rewrites narratives of human desire.” (Catalogue)


Extremely online: New books about our digital lives

Whether we like it or not, the digital world is becoming harder to avoid. With this, there are a lot of important conversations to have around how living an online life impacts us mentally, what happens once we share our personal information with the internet and how we can determine whether what we read online is trustworthy.

The below booklist delves into some of these questions; including an exploration of online communities, how we might reimagine data access for a better world and a discussion about artificial intelligence.

Should you believe Wikipedia? : online communities and the construction of knowledge / Bruckman, Amy
“As we interact online we are creating new kinds of knowledge and community. How are these communities formed? How do we know whether to trust them as sources of information? In other words, Should we believe Wikipedia? This book explores what community is, what knowledge is, how the internet facilitates new kinds of community, and how knowledge is shaped through online collaboration and conversation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be a woman online : surviving abuse and harassment, and how to fight back / Jankowicz, Nina
“When Nina Jankowicz’s first book on online disinformation was profiled in The New Yorker last year, she expected attention but not an avalanche of abuse and harassment, predominantly from men, online. All women in politics, journalism and academia now face untold levels of harassment and abuse in online spaces[…] Nina also uses on her own experiences to provide a step-by-step plan for dealing with harassment, abuse, doxing and disinformation in online spaces. The result is a must-read for researchers, journalists and all women with a profile in the online space”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Access rules : freeing data from big tech for a better future / Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor
“Information is power, and the time is now for digital liberation. Access Rules mounts a strong and hopeful argument for how informational tools at present in the hands of a few could instead become empowering machines for everyone. By forcing data-hoarding companies to open access to their data, we can reinvigorate both our economy and our society. Authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Thomas Ramge contend that if we disrupt monopoly power and create a level playing field, digital innovations can emerge to benefit us all.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Behind the cloud : a theory of the private without secrecy / Seele, Peter
“Our thoughts are free – but they are no longer secret. Today, our data is automatically stored and analyzed by algorithms behind the cloud – where we no longer have control over our data. Our most private and secret information is entrusted to the internet and permanently collected, stacked and linked to our digital twins. With and without our consent. “Privacy is dead”, as Mark Zuckerberg put it. How could it come to this? And, if everyone knows everything: what is still private today, and are there any personal secrets at all when the “gods” behind the cloud know us better than our friends and family?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Machines like us : toward AI with common sense / Brachman, Ronald J.
“The authors of Machines Like Us explore what it would take to endow computers with the kind of common sense that humans depend on every day–critically needed for AI systems to be successful in the world and to become trustworthy”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Stolen focus : why you can’t pay attention–and how to think deeply again / Hari, Johann
“Our ability to pay attention is collapsing. From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections comes a groundbreaking examination of why this is happening-and how to get our attention back. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding it much harder to focus than he used to. He found that a life of constantly switching from device to device, from tab to tab, is diminishing and depressing. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions-even abandoning his phone for three months-but in the long-term, nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention and to study their scientific findings-and learned that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Author interview: Carole Brungar

Levin-based author Carole Brungar is returning to Vietnam for the final instalment of her Nam series of books. The series has already won numerous prizes and accolades; among them the American  California Dreamin’ Award, The Beverly Hills Book Awards in the military fiction category, a gold medal in the Independent Publishers Awards and a Military Writers Society of America silver award. As well as being a best-selling author of numerous novels, Carole also works as a school librarian.

In Carole’s latest book The Return, the story series comes full circle and moves to the present day. The once abandoned Vietnam war child orphan Jackie Coles is now, on the surface, a shining success story but she finds out that something crucial to her life is missing. The Return is a love story, a story about family and friends and, at its heart, an emotional journey of self-discovery. Whilst set in contemporary New Zealand, The Return still has (like all the other titles in the series) the continuing historical context of the Vietnam War at its core. Carole says of The Return – “it ties up all the loose ends and gave a feel-good closure to the series, whilst also being able to read as a stand-alone”.

And when Carole agreed to be interviewed about The Return and the Nam series, we jumped at the chance. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Carole for taking time out of her busy schedule to do this fascinating and informative interview.

For more information about The Return and Carole’s other novels, check out her website.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the full interview, as well as find a selection of Carole Brungar’s  books available to borrow, below.


The Nam Shadow : a novel / Brungar, Carole
“To carefree, naive, young soldier Terry Edwards, life’s an adventure. But how easy is it to cope with the extreme fear and intense emotions that come with the war in Vietnam, when you know life balances on the accuracy of a bullet in meeting its target? Sometimes, taking chances is the only way to stay alive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The Nam legacy : a novel / Brungar, Carole
“The Nam Legacy is an epic love story set during the 60’s and 70’s. When the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane drove parents crazy, teenagers found sexual freedom and peace slogans covered placards. When the Vietnam War abducted the nation’s young men and sent them to fight in New Zealand’s most controversial campaign.After eighteen months in Vietnam, New Zealand soldier Jack Coles thought killing others to stay alive would be the hardest thing he would ever have to live with. He was wrong. Although the nightmare of what he saw and did haunt him constantly, what tortures him the most, is what he has left behind. ‘Not everyone who lost his life in Vietnam died there, not everyone who came home from Vietnam ever left there.’The Nam Legacy is Jack’s story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Author interview: Cristina Sanders

Bestselling author of Jerningham, Cristina Sanders has a new historical fiction novel just out called Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant.

When a three masted sailing ship hits the cliffs of the Auckland Islands in 1866, only fourteen men and one woman survive . They struggle to live on this remote, freezing island and initially view the woman as a burden they could do without.

Cristina Sanders photo copyright Anna Ward

The novel is a vivid imagining of the story behind the enduring mystery of this early New Zealand shipwreck; a tale full of intrigue, mystery and gold. The story is based on historical fact, there have been numerous unsuccessful expeditions to find the wreck site location of the General Grant.

We were thrilled when Christina took time out from her very busy schedule to discuss Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to her. For more information visit  Cuba press.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. It was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of Cristina Sanders work that is available to borrow, below.


Mrs Jewell and the wreck of the General Grant. / Sanders, Cristina

” When a three masted sailing ship hits the cliffs of the Auckland Islands in 1866 only fourteen men and one woman survives . They struggle to survive on this remote, exposed, and freezing island and initially view the woman as a burden they could do without .” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Jerningham / Sanders, Cristina
“Edward Jerningham Wakefield was the wild-child of the Wakefield family that set up the New Zealand Company to bring the first settlers to this country. His story is told through the eyes of bookkeeper Arthur Lugg, who is tasked by Colonel William Wakefield to keep tabs on his brilliant but unstable nephew. As trouble brews between settlers, government, missionaries and Māori over land and souls and rights, Jerningham is at the heart of it, blurring the line between friendship and exploitation and spinning the hapless Lugg in his wake. Alive with historical detail, Jerningham tells a vivid story of Wellington’s colonial beginnings and of a charismatic young man’s rise and inevitable fall.” (Catalogue)

Poet Interview: Khadro Mohamed

Khadro Mohamed is a writer and poet residing on the shores of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Her poetry collection, We’re All Made of Lightning, is an incredible debut book and a rich exploration of nature, food, family and identity. This book is “a love letter to her homeland, her whakapapa, and herself” -quoted from We Are Babies.

Khadro was kind enough to drop into Te Awe library to chat about her new book, her writing process and how we can only hope to cook as well as our mum. You can check out the interview, and the books mentioned, below! Thank-you to Khadro and also We Are Babies for letting us feature a poem from this collection.

We’re all made of lightning / Mohamed, Khadro
“Khadro Mohamed expertly navigates the experience of being a Muslim women in Aotearoa, bringing us along on her journey of selfhood. Shifting between Aotearoa, Egypt and Somalia, we get a glimpse into her worlds, which are rich and full of life. Mohamed has a sense of wonder for the world around her, exploring nature, food, family and identity. This book is a love letter to her homeland, her whakapapa, and herself.” (Catalogue)

Homie : poems / Smith, Danez
“Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family–blood and chosen–arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Don’t call us dead : poems / Smith, Danez
“Smith’s unflinching poetry addresses race, class, sexuality, faith, social justice, mortality, and the challenges of living HIV positive at the intersection of black and queer identity. The collection opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved on earth. “Dear White America,” which Smith performed at the 2014 Rustbelt Midwest Region Poetry Slam, has as strong an impact on the page as it did on the spoken word stage. Smith’s courage and hope amidst the struggle for unity in America will humble and uplift you.” (Catalogue)

Small hands / Arshi, Mona
“Mona Arshi’s debut collection, ‘Small hands’, introduces a brilliant and compelling new voice. At the centre of the book is the slow detonation of grief after her brother’s death, but her work focuses on the whole variety of human experience: pleasure, hardship, tradition, energised by language which is in turn both tender and risky. Often startling as well as lyrical, Arshi’s poems resist fixity; there is a gentle poignancy at work here which haunts many of the poems. This is humane poetry. Arshi’s is a daring, moving and original voice. – Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)



Artist interview: Lisa Reihana

All images are used with permission and are copyrighted.

Lisa Reihana CNZM (Ngati Hine, Ngai Tūteauru, Ngāi Tūpoto, Ngā Puhi) was born in 1964 and grew up in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa is one of Aotearoa’s leading artists: a multi-disciplinary visionary whose practice spans a multitude of mediums including photography, film, costume, sculpture, body adornment, and text. Her work has significantly influenced the development of contemporary art and contemporary Māori art in Aotearoa New Zealand and continues to do so to this day.

Lisa’s practice amongst many things “explores the desire to re-examine colonial history and represent countless counter histories and memories. And draw out inspiration from life worlds of communities in the present. And often contain a strong story telling content.”

Her work and practice has gathered a host of awards and accolades, including being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (she was already a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to art) in this year’s  Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours list,  being an Arts Laureate, and a recipient of the Te Tohu Toi Ke Te Waka Toi Maori Arts Innovation Award from Creative New Zealand.

Lisa has a prodigious output and has exhibited in just about every major gallery in Aotearoa New Zealand, not to mention numerous worldwide. In 2017 she represented Aotearoa New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale with the sublime In Pursuit of Venus [infected] (2015-17).

We were thrilled when we were asked to interview Lisa about her latest exhibition Nomads of the Sea, which is on at Porirua’s PATAKA Art + Museum until Sunday 3 July 2022, as well as many other aspects  of her remarkable career.

In Nomads of the Sea Lisa uses large-scale, immersive installations and weaves together numerous threads – from museums, archives, and historical accounts to Māori narratives and Māori belief systems. It features four significant works selected from her vast body of work from the last 15 years.

Find more information about Nomads of the Sea at PATAKA Art + Museum here.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of books that feature Lisa Reihana and her work that is available to borrow, below.

We would like to mihi to Lisa for giving us her time and such a fabulous interview.

In pursuit of Venus / Reihana, Lisa
“To accompany the exhibition of the new multi-media work by artist Lisa Reihana in Pursuit of Venus (infected) at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki”-.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Lisa Reihana: emissaries / Reihana, Lisa
“Catalogue to accompany the exhibition ‘Emissaries’ by artist Lisa Reihana, New Zealand’s official entry in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



Digital marae / Reihana, Lisa
“This richly illustrated, modestly sized casebound book is devoted to Digital Marae; a major ongoing photographic and video project by one of New Zealand’s foremost artists Lisa Reihana. Edited by Govett-Brewster Director and curator Rhana Devenport, contributors are leading Maori architectural historian Deidre Brown; Melbourne-based curator and writer Victoria Lynn and cultural theorist and sociologist Nikos Papastergiadis; and Te Papa curator Megan Tamati-Quennell. Additionally, an extended interview with Reihana by Devenport reveals the complex layers of influence that inform this ambitious and significant work.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Taiāwhio II : contemporary Mäori artists : 18 new conversations
“Taiäwhio: Conversations with Contemporary Mäori artists, profiles a fresh range of contemporary Mäori artists. Each profile contains pages of information and quotes from the artists so readers can learn, in the artists’ own words, about their influences and inspirations, work methods and practice, while numerous full-colour photographs accompany each chapter, depicting the artists at work and showing the range of their work and the environment in which they create it. Short biographies are given for each artist profiled and a general introduction by Huhana Smith provides context for the interviews and background information about contemporary Mäori art. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pasifika styles : artists inside the museum
“In May 2006 some fifteen artists from New Zealand took over the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge (UK) as part of Pasifika Styles, a groundbreaking experiment in the display of Pacific Art. Installing their works in cases next to taonga or treasures collected on the voyages of Cook and Vancouver, the artists flung open the stores of the museum to bring more of the museum’s unparalleled Oceanic collections to light.. This book describes Pasifika Styles, from the perspectives of artists, museum professionals and scholars involved in this pioneering project.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Artists on art : how they see, think and create / Black, Holly
“Through a carefully curated selection of quotations, images and interviews, Artists on Art reveals what matters most to the masters. You’ll discover how the giants of the different artistic genres developed their distinctive visual styles, the core ideas that underpin their practice and, most importantly, what art means to you.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Womankind : New Zealand women making a difference / Thomson, Margie
“Profiles and portraits celebrating the successes and diversity of New Zealand women across many spheres – politics, arts, science, community development, business innovation and health. These leaders share their views on what it’s like to be a woman in New Zealand today- the contributions they are most proud of, challenges they have faced and still face, dreams they have and goals for the role of New Zealand women. The range of women covers diverse fields, ages and ethnic backgrounds .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find our full range of resources featuring Lisa’s work here.

100 years of Ulysses: His Excellency Mr Peter Ryan in conversation

“Everybody knows now that Ulysses is the greatest novel of the century”

Anthony Burgess

The novel Ulysses by James Joyce is regarded as one of the great classic modernists works of the 20th century. It is often cited as one of the greatest works of literature ever and has even been described in some circles as the greatest work of fiction ever. It was published 100 years ago on the 2nd of February, which was also the date of Joyce’s fortieth birthday.

Ulysses is set over the course of one day  the 16th of June  in Dublin in 1904 and the book follows the encounters and interactions of Leopold Bloom. The 16th of June is now widely celebrated in Joyce circles across the world and called Bloomsday.  Ulysses is loaded with detail and rich characterisation and uses allusions, parodies, and puns galore and, as it progresses, imitates the styles of English literature at different periods. Throughout the novel Joyce draws parallels between the events in the book and Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey – indeed it is named after the poems hero protagonist Ulysses (Odysseus).

The book has had a checkered past – banned in many countries over claims of obscenity, due to the explicit nature of some passages. And there have been controversies as to which version of the text constitutes the definitive work.

To tie in with this global celebration we have teamed up with the Embassy of Ireland in New Zealand / Aotearoa to do a very special interview with His Excellency Mr Peter Ryan, Ambassador of Ireland to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga  who talks about his passion for Ulysses and James Joyce, and highlights just a few of the 100th anniversary celebration events to be held here and around the world. You can listen to that interview below, or visit Wellington City Libraries’ Mixcloud collection here.

To celebrate this very special occasion, we have three copies of Joyce’s masterpiece, kindly donated by the Embassy of Ireland in New Zealand Aotearoa, to give away on Bloomsday – Thursday this week! To win a copy, snap a photo of a book by an Irish author that you have seen in our libraries and tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #wclbloomsday. The first three entries we receive on the day (Thursday 16 June) will win a copy of the book many have described as the greatest ever written. Too easy! This competition is open to Wellington residents and is only running on Thursday 16 June.

Ulysses / Joyce, James
“Following the events of one single day in Dublin, the 16th June 1904, and what happens to the characters Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly, Ulysses is a monument to the human condition. It has survived censorship, controversy and legal action, and even been deemed blasphemous, but remains an undisputed modernist classic: ceaselessly inventive, garrulous, funny, sorrowful, vulgar, lyrical and ultimately redemptive. It confirms Joyce’s belief that literature ‘is the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man’. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Ulysses, James Joyce (ebook)
“James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is said to be one of the most important works in Modernist literature. It details Leopold Bloom’s passage through Dublin on an ordinary day: June 16, 1904. Causing controversy, obscenity trials and heated debates, Ulysses is a pioneering work that brims with puns, parodies, allusions, stream-of-consciousness writing and clever structuring. Modern Library ranked it as number one on its list of the twentieth century’s 100 greatest English-language novels and Martin Amis called it one of the greatest novels ever written”. (Overdrive description)

Ulysses / Joyce, James
“Presents a recording of the novel which describes the adventures and exploits of Leopold Bloom as he wanders through Dublin on a single day, June 16, 1904. Set within the context of Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce uses stream of consciousness as a literary device to illuminate the internal thoughts of Bloom, his wife, Molly, and other assorted characters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Ulysses / Kenner, Hugh
“With characteristic flair, Kenner explores the ways Joyce teaches us to read his novel as Joyce taught himself to write it: moving from the simple to the complex, from the familiar to the strange and new, from the norms of the nineteenth-century novel to the open forms of modernism.” (Catalogue)


Breach of all size : small stories on Ulysses, love and Venice
“This book bridges two anniversaries. Ulysses by James Joyce was published in 1922. Venice was founded in 421. The title Breach of All Size is Joyce’s pun on Venice landmark Bridge of Sighs but could as easily describe his sprawling modernist classic, which clocks in at 265,222 words. To celebrate both anniversaries, 36 Aotearoa writers were asked to write love stories set in Venice and inspired by words from Ulysses, but to steer the opposite course and keep them short. How short? 421 words, of course.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The James Joyce BBC Radio Collection, James Joyce (Audiobook)
Three BBC radio productions of major works by James Joyce Ulysses :In this full-cast dramatisation of Joyce’s epic modernist novel, the stories of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom combine as they meander through Dublin in the course of one day, 16 June 1904. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: An abridged reading of James Joyce’s autobiographical masterpiece portraying the adolescence of Stephen Dedalus, who must question the culture and religion of his native land before he can break free to become an artist. Dubliners This abridged collection of fifteen naturalistic tales depicts an array of characters from childhood, through adolescence, to maturity. Stories of love, loss, friendship, marriage, politics and family combine to create a unified world and a celebration of a city. and James Joyce – A Biography Gordon Bowker’s comprehensive study explores Joyce’s years spent in exile in Europe, and examines how his life shaped his genius.
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Author interview: Anthony Lapwood

Anthony Lapwood photo used with the kind permission of Te Herenga Waka University Press and copyrighted by Ebony Lamb.

Anthony Lapwood’s (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Whakaue and Pākehā) fabulous collection of short stories Home Theatre has just been released. Home Theatre is a collection of dreamlike, interlinked short stories set in a Wellington apartment building that was formerly a radio factory. They are loosely connected by a recurring, time travelling, character that features in several of the stories. Whilst there is definitely a magical realist feeling to some aspects of the stories, there are also elements of social realism and social commentary, for example apartments in the stories are damp or suffer from ant invasions. The tales in the collection range in time, from the early 20th to modern times. Most of the stories are also strongly driven by both plot and character. A sense of community, or lack of it, also features in several stories. It all makes for a thoroughly compelling and enthralling read. The collection has already received glowing critical responses from the likes of Radio New Zealand.

We were thrilled when Anthony  took time out from his very busy schedule to discuss Home Theatre, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to him. For more information visit  Te Herenga Waka University Press.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. It was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of Anthony Lapwood’s work that is available to borrow, below.

Home Theatre / Lapwood, Anthony
Home Theatre is a collection of dreamlike, interlinked short stories set in a Wellington apartment building that was formerly a radio factory.”

Middle distance : long stories of Aotearoa New Zealand
“The stories in Middle Distance travel from the empty expanses of the southern ocean to the fall of a once great house, from the wharekai of a marae to the wasteland of Middle America. Longer than a traditional short story and shorter than a novella, the long story is a form that both compresses and sprawls, expands and contracts, and which allows us to inhabit a world in one sitting.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction and fantasy, V3
“When borders closed last year, Kiwi science fiction and fantasy took readers on flights of imagination through space and time. This anthology contains a selection of the best short science fiction and fantasy stories published by Aotearoa New Zealand writers in 2020.” (Catalogue)



Poet interview: essa may ranapiri

Echidna is a dangerous animal; she pokes holes in men just to

remind them what kind of monster she is wakes up every single

morning and chooses violence cos what choice does she really have?

essa may ranapiri

Layered meanings that weave three strands of tradition together; Māori esoteric knowledge, Christianity and Greek mythology, into a queerer whole. This is what’s at the heart of essa may ranapiri’s ((Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga, Te Arawa, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Pukeko, Ngāti Takatāpui, Na Guinnich, Highgate) second collection of poetry, Echidna. The poems in the Echidna follow their very own interpretation of the myth of Echidna, the Greek mother of monsters, now living in a colonised world with other deities such as Prometheus and Māui. The collection is also very much in conversation with the works and ideas of many other writers such as Keri Hulme, Milton, Hinemoana Baker, Joshua Whitehead and R.S. Thomas, to name but a few.

The poems contained within are unapologetic and raw; embracing gender fluid and non-binary people, building on its own world out of a community of queer and Māori/Pasifika writing whilst also, carefully, placing itself in a whakapapa of takatāpui storytelling.

We are thrilled that ranapiri took time out from their very busy schedule to talk to us about Echidna and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to them. For more information, visit Te Herenga Waka University Press.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. It was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of essa may ranapiri’s work that is available to borrow, below.



Echidna / ranapiri, essa may
“The poems in the Echidna follow their very own interpretation of the myth of Echidna the Greek mother of monsters. Now living in a colonised world with other deities such as Prometheus and Māui . The collection are also very much in conversation with the works and ideas of many other writers such as Keri Hulme, Milton,  Hinemoana Baker, Joshua Whitehead  and R.S. Thomas to name but a few.”

Ransack / ranapiri, essa may

” Poems that address the difficulty of assembling and understanding a fractured, unwieldy self through an inherited language – a language whose assumptions and expectations ultimately make it inadequate for such a task. These poems seek richer, less hierarchical sets of words to describe ways of being.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


Poetry New Zealand yearbook. 2022
“Poetry New Zealand, this country’s longest-running poetry magazine, showcases new writing from New Zealand and overseas. This issue features 151 poems by 131 poets, including David Eggleton, Janet Newman, Therese Lloyd, essa may ranapiri, Victor Billot, Amber Esau, Elizabeth Morton, Vaughan Rapatahana, Jordan Hamel and Vana Manasiadis. It also includes the winning entries in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook student poetry competition, essays and reviews of 38 new poetry books.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook. 2020
“Each year Poetry New Zealand, this country’s longest-running poetry magazine, rounds up new poetry, reviews and essays, making it the ideal way to catch up with the latest poetry from both established and emerging New Zealand poets. Issue #54 features 130 new poems (including by this year’s featured poet, rising star essa may ranapiri, and C.K. Stead, Elizabeth Smither, Kevin Ireland, Chris Tse, Gregory Kan, Fardowsa Mohammed and Tracey Slaughter); essays (including a graphic essay by Sarah Laing); and reviews of new poetry collections. Poems by the winners of both the Poetry New Zealand Award and the Poetry New Zealand Schools Award are among the line-up.” (Catalogue)

Author interview: Jordan Hamel

Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in the USA in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of the climate change poetry anthology No Other Place to Stand (Auckland University Press). He was a 2021 Michael King Writer-in-Residence and placed third in the 2021 Sargeson Prize judged by Patricia Grace. He has had poetry, essays and stories published in The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Newsroom, Sport, NZ Poetry Shelf, Landfall, Turbine | Kapohau and elsewhere.

Hamel’s debut collection, Everyone is everyone except you has just been published by Dead Bird Books and is an excellent, deeply intelligent and entertaining collection. We were lucky enough to have Hamel drop by to talk about his new book, New Zealand poetry, Briscoes and much more. Check out our delightful interview with him below!

Reserve Hamel’s book, as well the other collections mentioned in this interview, via the booklist below!

Everyone is everyone except you / Hamel, Jordan

National anthem / Hassan, Mohamed
“National anthem is a menagerie of exiled memories. A meditation on the beauty and madness of migration, nationalism and the enduring search for home.” (Catalogue)

Conventional weapons / Slaughter, Tracey
“Conventional Weapons is lyrical and dirty, sexy and dark – it is cul-de-sac life, viewed through a grimy ranch slider. These poems closely observe the beauty and depravity of human nature, revealing lives that are hard-bitten and sometimes tragic, but in Tracey Slaughter’s hands they become radiant.” (Catalogue)

Head girl / Sadgrove, Freya Daly
“‘The first time I read Freya’s work I thought . . . uh oh. And then I thought, you have got to be kidding me. And then I thought, God fucking dammit. And then I walked around the house shaking my head thinking . . . OK – alright. And then – finally – I thought, well well well – like a smug policeman. Listen – she’s just the best. I’m going to say this so seriously. She is, unfortunately, the absolute best. Trying to write a clever blurb for her feels like an insult to how right and true and deadly this collection is. God, she’s just so good. She’s the best. She kills me always, every time, and forever.’ –Hera Lindsay Bird” (Catalogue)

Author interview: Murdoch Stephens in conversation

Photo copyright Ehsen Hazaveh.

Acclaimed novelist  Murdoch Stephens has just released his latest novel, Down from Upland.

Down from Upland is a Wellington-based domestic novel about two millennials, Jacqui and Scott, and their teenage son. As the plot progresses, they  deal with some of  the issues that might occupy some Wellingtonian middle-class minds, like how to raise a teenager and how to operate in an open marriage, as well as how to navigate the perceived complexities of being a public servant or, indeed,  what is deemed acceptable behaviour in modern day Wellington. Down from Upland is a wonderful satirical tale of modern life set in a modern-day Wellington; the book is biting  in places, often wryly funny with many layers of meaning woven in.

Murdoch Stephens has written many books many such as On the conditions and possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her Young Lover under the pseudonym of  Richard Meros.

As well as writing, Murdoch also wears many other hats. He is one of the founding editors behind Lawrence and Gibson publishing house, and in 2013 he launched the Doing Our Bit advocacy campaign, which eventually led to the New Zealand’s  government doubling its refugee quota to 1500 places. When not writing fabulous books about our lives and times he is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies at the University of Auckland, having previously lectured at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand.

We are thrilled that Murdoch  took time out from his very busy schedule to talk to us about Down from Upland, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to him. For more information visit

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the interview below. You will also be able to place a reserve for Down from Upland, which is due into the library soon.

Please note that issues of a sexual nature are discussed in this interview.


Doing our bit : the campaign to double the refugee quota / Stephens, Murdoch
“In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Inspired by his time living in Aleppo, Syria, over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. Doing Our Bit is an insider’s account of political campaigning in New Zealand.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


Rat king landlord / Stephens, Murdoch
“Colossal rats invade from the town belt. Your rent is going up but everyone is calling it a summer of love. Cryptic posters appear around Wellington inciting people to join an evening of mayhem. Until now the rats have contented themselves with scraps. But as summer heats up and the cost of living skyrockets, we can no longer ignore that our friends are seeking their own rung on the property ladder.”–Publisher’s website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

$30 meat pack : the complete written correspondence between Richard Meros and Creative New Zealand. volume two. / Meros
“$30 Meat Pack is the second volume of correspondence between Richard Meros and Creative New Zealand, following on from Beggars and Choosers which Scoop Review of Books called a ‘devilishly clever work of satire’. Volume two sees a right wing government champion art for the sake of the nation, restructuring Creative New Zealand and reorienting artists away from glum navel gazing and towards a bright future of belt-tightening. Featuring applications such as Baby Boomer Funeral, Hugo’s there! Mr Chavez what are we to do about our right wing government? and Dating Westerners: tips for the new rich from the developing world.” (Catalogue)

Zebulon : a cautionary tale / Meros
“Youth, it has to be said, are wholly incautious in action and in thought. They spit polemic in the same manner as their quieter elders hock chewing tobacco and betel nut loogies. But when adolescent beliefs fade, how do the no-longer younger deal with the stains of their pubescence? Through this keening recollection of his sunflower youth, Richard Meros provides his own answer to this perennial question.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Beggars & choosers volume 1. / Meros
“The trials and tribulations of the professional arts applicant make up Moers’ latest novella. With the usual comic aplomb, Meros and a range of Creative New Zealand characters exchange application forms, supporting documents and budgets aplenty.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



On the conditions and possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her young lover / Meros
” A wicked and sharply humorous political satire about the New Zealand government and the prime minister of the time Helen Clark. First published in 2005 with a new edition released in 2008, by the pseudonymous author Richard Meros, and an adapted play of the same name was later written by Arthur Meek and Geoff Pinfield ” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


New Computer Books for Professional Development

Read these recently arrived books for upskilling your career in computer programming, website design and information technology. Allied to these titles, head to LinkedIn Learning, our eLibrary database for professional development tutorials, including programming languages, mobile platform development, help desk training, Internet Of Things, data analysis, cloud development, and much more.

Learn Enough Javascript to Be Dangerous : A Tutorial Introduction to Programming With Javascript / Hartl, Michael
“JavaScript is a big language for website development, you can just learn how to use it efficiently to solve real problems. Contents include: creating new objects with both properties and methods; writing tests and improving code with test-driven development (TDD) Developing and using self-contained, modular NPM software packages; adding interactivity with event listeners, dynamic HTML forms, and DOM manipulation.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fluent Python : Clear, Concise, and Effective Programming / Ramalho, Luciano
“The author guides you through Python’s core language features teaches you how to make your code effective. Contents include: Data structures: Sequences, dicts, sets, Unicode, and data classes; Functions as objects: First-class functions, related design patterns, and type hints in function declarations; Object-oriented idioms: Composition, inheritance, mixins, interfaces, operator overloading, static typing and protocols.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

C# 10.0 all-in-one for dummies / Mueller, John
“Ready to become a C# super-coder? With 6 minibooks inside, you can walk through writing your first console application in C#, learn how to code for Windows and the web, master Visual Studio, bring object-oriented programming into focus, use the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and design incredible software with the sharpest language on the block. This version is full of examples and code snippets so you can see C# in action. — adapted from summary on book.” (Catalogue)

The self-taught programmer / Althoff, Cory
“Cory Althoff is a self-taught programmer who land a job as a software engineer II at eBay. But once he got there, he was overwhelmed by the amount of things he needed to learn. His journey learning to program was the inspiration for this book.  Althoff  covers coding and the rest of the things you need to know to program professionally that classes and books don’t teach you. The Self-taught Programmer is a roadmap, a guide to take you from writing your first Python program to passing your first technical interview.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Principles of web design / Miller, Brian D.
“Author Brian D. Miller is a sought-after expert in developing product and digital branding strategies for emerging startups and Fortune 500 organizations. In Principles of Web Design, he will teach the reader the tricks of the trade and everything one should know about web design through easy, step-by-step guides and with full-color illustrations.”–” (Catalogue)



Author interview: Christine Leunens

When Christine Leunens’s latest novel In Amber’s Wake was released recently, it shot to the top of the bestselling charts and was buoyed by a raft of rave reviews. The narrative, an astute and powerful study of personal relationships, is set in the 1980’s and is interwoven with dramatic New Zealand historical events: including the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the Springbok Tour and the mass anti-nuclear movement of the time. It’s a page turning story, a display of deep insights into the way in which the human psyche operates.

Christine’s most recent previous novel, Caging Skies, was adapted into the multi-award winning black comedy film JoJo Rabbit directed by Taika Waititi. In Amber’s Wake has already been optioned for movie adaptation by the team that brought us the movie Thelma and Louise, so when the chance to interview Christine Leunens arose we jumped at it.  You can view this specially created interview below.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Alexandre de Maupeou ,who did the filming and editing. We’d also like to thank Nick Young from The Greenpeace Photo Library and New Zealand National Libraries Archives for permission to use the copyrighted images used in the film. A huge thanks to Christine Leunens herself for her valuable time and this insightful and thoughtful interview.

In Amber’s wake / Leunens, Christine
“Set in New Zealand during the fast-changing, tumultuous 1980s era of the anti-nuclear movement, Springbok rugby tour protests, and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, this romantic drama is as unpredictable as it is powerful and heartfelt. Ethan Grieg, a film student, is in love with his close friend Amber Deering, an environmental activist, who lives at her family’s seemingly picture-perfect stud farm. Amber loves Ethan dearly, but not in the way that Ethan longs for. Instead, the man Amber chooses is widower Stuart Reeds, a charming, refined British investor almost two generations older than her. As a Korean war veteran, Stuart is mentally prepared for the long, subtle war that begins between his young rival and himself for Amber’s heart. When secrets become exposed and nothing is as it seems, each will be cornered into committing acts they could have never predicted. This powerful, gripping story leaves in its wake lingering themes on the complex nature of love, social fabric, international politics, and fundamental notions of right and wrong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Caging skies / Leunens, Christine
“An avid member of the Hitler Youth in 1940s Vienna, Johannes Betzler discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa behind a false wall in their home. His initial horror turns to interest–then love and obsession. After his parents disappear, Johannes is the only one aware of Elsa’s existence in the house and the only one responsible for her survival. By turns disturbing and blackly comic, haunting and cleverly satirical, Christine Leunens’s captivating and masterful novel–sold in 16 countries and the basis for a major forthcoming film by Taika Waititi ( Thor: Ragnorak, What We Do in the Shadows)–examines this world of truth and lies, laying bare the darkest corners of the human soul.”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Jojo Rabbit
“A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creativity, belonging and empathy: New personal development books

Build up your empathy muscle, read about the power of connecting with others and learn how to break away from routine and become the person you want to be — have a browse of recent additions to our personal development books!

Inspired : understanding creativity : a journey through art, science, and the soul / Richtel, Matt
“From the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science reporter acclaimed for “bring[ing] scientific concepts to life” (Bill Gates), a pathbreaking new investigation into the mysteries of human creativity.” (Publisher)

A sense of belonging : how to find your place in a fractured world / Liang, Holan
“A sense of belonging – being liked, understood, accepted for who we are – is vital for our mental health. Whether it is fitting in at school, struggling to connect with colleagues in a new job, or just feeling out of place in our own family, we all, at various stages in our lives, find ourselves questioning our identity. For Dr Holan Liang, one of the UK’s foremost psychiatrists, this crisis of identity cuts right to the heart of the modern epidemic of anxiety and depression. In this ground-breaking book, she draws on her own experience as an immigrant to the UK, and on 20 years of caring for patients suffering from a range of mental health conditions, from depression and anxiety to ADHD and anorexia, to explore a radical new perspective on mental health.” (Catalogue)

Tell me more about that : solving the empathy crisis one conversation at a time / Volpe, Rob
“Empathy is in short supply these days–and it’s hurting us. But all is not lost. Just as physical workouts strengthen your body, there are ways to build up your empathy as well. In Tell Me More About That, brand strategist and thought leader Rob Volpe draws on his years conducting thousands of in-home interviews with everyday people to illustrate the 5 Steps to Empathy–the actions you can take to build a strong and reflexive empathy muscle”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Future you / Valintine, Frances
“What does it take to go from imagining a different life to creating one? Entrepreneur and educator Frances Valintine has spent her life trying to untangle why some people don’t embrace change even when they know their future depends on it. Future You shares insights from Frances’s own extraordinary career to show how breaking away from expectation and routine is integral to living a full and successful life. Frances inspires and empowers readers to make bold self-discoveries: to take risks, step off the conveyor belt, open your heart to chance, overcome self-doubt, foster generosity, pass less judgement, think originally, and lead with possibility. Your brain has an incredible power to get you to where you want to be. Your role is to let your brain know the destination, and to be brave enough to begin your future now.” (Catalogue)

12 notes : on life and creativity / Jones, Quincy
“Wisdom and musings on creativity and life from one of the world’s most beloved musicians, producers, and mentors, Quincy Jones’ 12 Notes is a self-development guide that will affirm that creativity is a calling that can and should be answered, no matter your age or experience. … Weaving his story throughout, Jones lets readers in on his own creative process, as well as the importance of letting honesty, hard work, and good relationships drive your career.” (Catalogue)

Unexpected art and concrete canvases

A couple cover images from this featured booklist on a cityscape background

It’s never the object I make that has been of interest, but how it taps into the things that flow through a place and change a place. It’s a window into the processes that make that place what it is. – Andy Goldsmith, via The Scotsman

We love it when a piece of art is truly jaw-dropping. These creative and unexpected ideas include a luminous moon resting on water, sculpture that can be repurposed for sheep farming, artwork on concrete, postal art and more. Read on!

Unexpected art : serendipitous installations, site-specific works, and surprising interventions / Spring, Jenny Moussa
“Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks – site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures, and ground-breaking interventions in public spaces – that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place. Unexpected Art showcases the wonderfully experimental work of more than 50 innovative artists from around the world in galleries of their most astonishing artworks.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Enclosure / Goldsworthy, Andy
“In the early 1990s Andy Goldsworthy was invited to propose a project for Cumbria, where the beautiful landscape has been moulded by sheep-farming. He reconstructed a swathe of sheepfolds containing artworks, with the intention that the folds would still be accessible to sheep. This book also contains: graceful serpentines of frozen wool reach up from a rock in a gorge; lengths of wall are painstakingly edged with bright white lines of wool or frozen snow. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Concrete canvas : how street art is changing the way our cities look / Bofkin, Lee
“Concrete Canvas does just that; investigating the media the artists work with, the canvases they work on, the themes that arise through their work, and the way their art redefines the spaces in which it is set. Concrete Canvas is filled with stunning photos of works, including Ron English, Phlegm, Daim and more. It examines how the curation of public space is affecting our cities and moving art into the future. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Global model village : the international street art of Slinkachu. / Slinkachu
“A tiny mother and child bustle through a dusty township in Cape Town, or a miniature informant whispers in a telephone booth in Beijing. Thumb-size riot police climb the Acropolis in Athens. These little dramas somehow express the melancholy and magic of  life in the big city amongst millions of others. ” (Adapted from

Mail me art : going postal with the world’s best illustrators and designers / Di Lieto, Darren
“Showcases the 200 best illustrations from the Mail Me Art project, a popular online designer challenge to create a piece of art on the outside of an envelope or package and send it through the mail. You’ll enjoy the variety of unique art produced by artists around the world and will be inspired by the challenge of shipping art through the mail.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Scratching the surface : art and content in contemporary wood / Hosaluk, Michael
“From 1940, studio wood has been about design of elegant form and balance. The best of these designs are perfection; they may never be surpassed. This book showcases exceptional examples of surface design and narrative content in the studio wood movement. It is the fifth title in GUILD Publishing’s craft showcase series, and features works by more than 40 acclaimed artists in vibrant full-colour photographs.” (Adapted from

Art & textiles : fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present
“Thread, weave, network, and pattern are simultaneously foundation, result, and inspiration and spill over into the areas painting, sculpture, installation, and media art. This opulently designed volume presents both an artistic and an intercultural dialogue, comparing works by Gustav Klimt, Edgar Degas, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, Chiharu Shiota, and Sergei Jensen. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Bring sunshine to the grey sky

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how we juggle working or studying from home, meeting with friends, and many other aspects of our lives, adding stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for fresh ideas to rebalance, the library has a wealth of resources to support your well-being.

Steady : a guide to better mental health through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic / Johal, S. S.
“How do you deal with uncertainty and anxiety when your world is upended by the coronavirus pandemic? Dr Sarb Johal, an expert in emergency management and disaster psychology wrote this book for anyone wanting to strengthen their capacity to ride the possible coming waves of Covid-19 as well as life’s general stress – with more calm, ease and a sense of groundedness. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Type R : transformative resilience for thriving in a turbulent world / Marston, Ama
“Forget Type As and Bs. The future lies with Type Rs– the individuals, leaders, businesses, families and communities that turn challenges into opportunity in times of upheaval, crisis and change. .. The authors look at the mindset, skills and strategies of Type Rs who are finding ways to turn some of the most challenging of circumstances into opportunity– …They share inspiring stories that highlight the complexity of the times we live in — unprecedented world events, environmental crises and businesses facing increasing global competition as well the individual and collective triumphs of Type Rs coping with these as well as the stress of daily life, unstable careers, and the challenges and disruptions that will inevitably rattle our lives at some point”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Chasing the sun : how the science of sunlight shapes our bodies and minds / Geddes, Linda
“For most of mankind’s history, the sun has dictated our daily patterns of eating, sleeping and activity. The sun has also shaped human culture and biology. Bursting with original and cutting edge research, this book tells the story of our history with the sun, and explores what it means to lose our connection with it. This book asks us to rethink the significance of the sun in our lives and to exploit our relationship to improve our health, sleep and efficiency.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

8 keys to mental health through exercise / Hibbert, Christina G.
“Inspiring strategies from a wellness expert for keeping fit, relieving stress, and strengthening emotional well-being. Part 1. Understand — Key 1: Heal your mind and body with exercise — Key 2: Improve your self-esteem with exercise — Key 3: Exercise with your family — Part 2. Prepare — Key 4: Get motivated — Key 5: Change how you think about exercise — Key 6: Overcome roadblocks — Part 3. Exercise for life — Key 7: Get fitt; physically and mentally — Key 8: Implement your vision and flourish.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Resilience : the science of mastering life’s greatest challenges / Southwick, Steven M.
This identifies ways to weather and bounce back from stress. Incorporating scientific research and dozens of interviews, it provides a practical guide to building emotional, mental and physical resilience. It provides a roadmap for overcoming the adversities we all face at some point in our lives. (drawn from the publisher’s notes)

Psycho-logical : why mental health goes wrong – and how to make sense of It / Burnett, Dean
“An expertly written, extremely accessible primer on mental health from the bestselling author of The Idiot Brain. Why are mental health conditions so widespread? What is it about modern life that has such an impact on our mental health? The author answer these questions and more. This book is an expertly written and extremely accessible primer on how and why these problems arise, and what we can do to tackle them.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Anxiety : expert advice from a neurotic shrink who’s lived with it all his life / Cross, Mark
“Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross helps many of his patients who are sufferers of anxiety, Mark too has suffered from it all his life. In this book he demystifies anxiety in his trademark warm and friendly style. For sufferers, their families and friends, the book explores: types of anxiety; causes and common triggers; and treatments. Mark also shares his own experiences as well as stories from other sufferers who have not only survived but thrived.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The NZ government has also put together a list of tools and contacts to follow up and support your well-being.

Dr Rangi Matamua in conversation about Māori astronomy and star lore

Photo used with the kind permission of ‘The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Secretariat’; all rights reserved.

Dr Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe) is one of Aotearoa’s top science communicators, a professor at the University of Waikato and an expert in the fields of Māori astronomy and star lore, as well as Māori language development, research and revitalisation. Not only is he an expert in these fields but he loves to talk about them and travels extensively throughout the country giving public lectures about Matariki and Māori astronomy.

Dr Matamua received the Prime Minister’s Science Prize and won the 2020 Callaghan Medal, as well as being awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition that his work “has revolutionised understandings of Māori astronomy, and in particular Matariki”.

Dr Matamua has been critical of the way Western scientific astronomy  belittles or ignores traditional Māori knowledge. One of his future plans to address this imbalance is to create a Māori observatory, based on a traditional observatory but also using modern technology and knowledge. He is also the author of several excellent books on these subjects.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM and was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft.

We are thrilled that Dr Matamua took time out from his very busy schedule to talk to us about his new book, his career, and loads of other fascinating scientific topics, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to him. For more information visit

Dr Matamua’s books are available to borrow from the library; see details below.

Matariki : te whetū tapu o te tau / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? This book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and celebrated in our modern society.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Matariki : the star of the year / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. These include: What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? There has been a resurgence of interest in and celebration of Matariki, and this book provides accessible information about its meaning and significance, how to locate Matariki and when, traditional customs and knowledge regarding Matariki and current-day practices”( Adapted from Catalogue)

Ngā kete mātauranga : Māori scholars at the research interface
“In this beautiful and transformative book, 24 Maori academics share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their work. Their perspectives provide insight for all New Zealanders into how mātauranga is positively influencing the Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector. It is a shameful fact, says co-editor Jacinta Ruru in her introduction to Ngā Kete Mātauranga, that in 2020, only about 5 percent of academic staff at universities in Aotearoa New Zealand are Māori. Tertiary institutions have for the most part been hostile places for Indigenous students and staff, and this book is an important call for action. ‘It is well past time that our country seriously commits to decolonising the tertiary workforce, curriculum and research agenda,’ writes Professor Ruru.” (Adapted from Catalogue)