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)

Lunchtime talk: CERT NZ on Internet security and your business

Come along to this presentation by CERT NZ on cyber security! Find out how to identify and keep your businesses safe from ransomware, phishing and other common threats.

This talk is aimed at the business community, but content will also be of interest to individuals — all welcome!

Click through for more details!

Continue reading “Lunchtime talk: CERT NZ on Internet security and your business”

Visiting the library under Orange settings

As of Thursday 14 April 2022, all libraries in the Wellington City Libraries’ network remain open under Orange settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, with masks required.

To keep everyone safe please:

  • wear a mask unless you have an exemption
  • follow any guidance from our staff or signs
  • stay home if you’re unwell, or someone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19
  • be kind – library staff are doing their best to offer our full range of services and facilities

At Orange, programming can be run, and we have resumed events and programmes from Tuesday 7 June 2022.

From time to time, we may have to postpone or cancel events if there are staff shortages and we will give as much notice as possible if this happens.

Check the Event Calendar and our social media for any updates.
If you’re unwell, please stay home until you’ve recovered.

Event calendar

The Hive Makerspace at Johnsonville Library in Waitohi has re-opened for visits. They are also accepting Laser cutter and 3D Printing jobs over email. More details on our Makerspace page.

The Hive Makerspace

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

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

COVID faqs

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

Email us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz

Events and opening hours from Tues 7 June

hand showing update sign

hand showing update sign

Kia ora koutou! We are so excited to let you know that this week, from Tuesday 7 June, we’re extending our hours and many of our programmes and events are resuming.

Our “new” normal hours are a bit different from our pre-COVID opening hours — read on to find out more!

You might be aware that since last year, we’ve been running shorter hours across most of our libraries to manage the demands of COVID. This has been especially important during Omicron, as so many of our staff have been unwell with COVID, or have had to isolate as household contacts.

In the last month we’ve been gradually returning to normal staffing levels, and we’re now ready to extend hours at some branches from today, Tuesday 7 June.

Our “new” normal hours are a bit different from our pre-COVID opening hours. We hope you’ll have a chance to check your favourite branches and find new times to visit and borrow!

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)

Children’s Programmes Returning at Orange!

decorative graphic showing two cute whale and crocodile charactes

decorative graphic showing two cute whale and crocodile charactesKia ora koutou! We are so excited to let you know that next week, from the 7th of June, some of our popular children’s programmes are returning to our libraries! It’s been some time since we have been able to run these events in a consistent way for you all, so we thought we’d lay out the current schedule for you below. We can’t wait to see you there!

With COVID -19 still in the community, please remember that all of these days and times are subject to staff availability, and we may need to change them from time to time. The library’s event calendar will always have the right days and times!

Continue reading “Children’s Programmes Returning at Orange!”

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 www.lawrenceandgibson.co.nz

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)


Launching City Voice: News you can use

One of Wellington’s most significant independent media outlets of the 1990s has been fully digitised and is now available to view on Wellington City Recollect.

City Voice Collection on Recollect

For just over eight years City Voice dominated Wellington’s alternative media scene. More than twenty years after its last issue was printed, the library’s archived collection of the weekly newspaper has been fully digitised and is available to view and search on our heritage platform Wellington City Recollect.

Andy Foster as a young city councillor on the cover of the oldest copy held in the collection

City Voice was founded by its editor Simon Collins and the journalist Jeremy Rose. They were soon joined by journalists Nick Bollinger, Mark Cubey & Rachel Woodley, the photographer David Gurr, the artist Chris Healey as well as a core of advertising, administration and distribution staff. The newspaper soon became the regular outlet for dozens of reviewers, columnists and journalism students and began the concept of a ‘paper within a paper’ where several pages would be regularly handed over to local communities who until then had few opportunities to have their voices heard.

Beginning at a time when access to the internet was still largely confined to universities and government institutions, City Voice distilled the talents of many local writers in a single publication before such output became diluted across a multitude of different online forums and websites.  It also provided a mouthpiece for a new generation of activists before the introduction of social media as well as holding the city council and local body politicians to account. Operating out of offices in Cuba Mall, it was owned by the Te Aro Publishing Cooperative Ltd with shares being held by around 160 people who had invested a total of $165,000 as core capital but the newspaper principally operated on its advertising revenue in an era before the widespread growth of the online advertising absorbed much of this income stream.

‘Humourbeasts’ Jermain Clement and Taika Waititi (aka Taika Cohen) appear on the cover of a 1999 issue

Every Thursday a new edition would hit the streets with 21,000 copies being delivered free to every letterbox in the CBD & the inner-suburbs and another 7000 copies available to be picked up in cafes or from newsstands scattered throughout the city. It soon became the go-to place to find out what was happening in the arts and theatre scene with extensive listings and reviews published every week.

However, it was with its news coverage that City Voice had its biggest impact. It avoided the crime, violence and scandal stories that often dominated main-stream media and instead covered local stories where it felt that the public could make a difference with issues such as the planned development of the waterfront or the inner-city motorway bypass. Controversial neo-liberal reforms which had become common within central-government in the early 1990s were starting to have an impact at a local level with various proposals to introduce user charges for social & community services and the paper helped galvanise opposition to many of these. City Voice became a democratic alternative to commercial media where the perceived need to ‘sell’ news was turning people (particularly youth) away from consuming it.

Later to become a city councillor, Laurie Foon states her views on the proposed ‘bypass’ through Te Aro in 1998

The newspaper became a ‘hot-house’ for young journalism students, many of whom went on to have notable careers in the media and communications industries. Volunteers gained experience in the field, assisting staff writers to research and write stories as well as helping out with page layouts and sub-editing. Regular columns provided an alternative take on main-stream staples such as car, fashion and restaurant reviews, the emphasis being on what most Wellingtonians actually consumed rather than expensive aspirational products and services which were often well beyond what many people could afford. Graphic design was also an important part of the newspaper and improvements in computer & printing technology over its eight-year run can be seen in the manner in which its ‘look’ developed.  Advertising ‘reps’ worked hard to constantly sell space in the paper to bring in the revenue required to pay staff and to keep the presses rolling. However, roles were not siloed and someone employed to sell advertising was welcome to try their hand at writing reviews while a journalist who had written an investigative article was just as likely to be helping with page layouts as print deadlines approached. 

Illustrating how some issues never change, this cover from 2000 details the concern of the city potentially losing ownership of its water assets.

However, despite its editorial success and impact, advertising revenue never fully met its costs, eventually resulting in capital reserves being drained. Investigative articles became too narrowly focussed on a small range of subjects and the arrival of the internet also started to have an impact following the launch of several local ISPs which drew readers away from print media as they discovered new online sources of news and information. In late 2000 the board of directors, aware of the personal liability they would be subject to if accused of ‘reckless trading’, decided to wind up the cooperative. After a brief hiatus, a new company was formed called City Voice Media Ltd which raised new capital and continued to publish the newspaper with a new look. However, it soon became apparent that the newspaper was no longer financially sustainable and its final issue was printed on 5th July 2001.  

City Voice on Recollect

Some of the information in this blog has come from the article “City Voice, an alternative to the corporate model” by Simon Collins & Jeremy Rose, published in Pacific Journalism Review, Vol.  10, No. 2 (2004).

Update on email notifications

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Unfortunately, over the past week there was an outage of our email notifications, which meant they failed to send. While this issue is now resolved, this means that if you have reserves available, or items coming due (or overdue) you won’t have been alerted by email.hand showing update sign

If you have active loans or reserves, please check your library card via the online catalogue or via our WCL Mini app, to see their current status.

We apologise if you were affected by this issue. If you would like to contact library staff about your account, please visit your local branch library, or email us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz 

Join the phenomena – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko is a ‘powerful story about resilience and compassion’ – Barack Obama.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has become a cultural phenomenon over the last few years, gaining legions of fans and spawning a smash hit television series. Now, thanks to Libby, we are excited to offer this unlimited access to the eBook and audiobook for a limited time!

On its release in 2017, Pachinko gained rave reviews from the likes of from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Reviewers have compared the book to the works of writers like Charles Dickens or John Galsworthy, thanks in part to its epic historical sweep and its emotional resonance.

The plot revolves around four generations of a Korean immigrant family who, after being exiled from Korea, forge a new life in their adopted homeland of Japan. Set between the years of 1910 and 1989, the novel covers a huge sweep of time when the vagrancies of history often played a pivotal role to the fates of all concerned. At the heart of the books, you’ll find an exploration of human relationships and the ups and downs of a family. Many themes are explored in an expressive and emotional style; amongst them themes of discrimination, family and cultural identity,  faith  and exclusion.

The book has been shortlisted for a whole plethora of prizes, including being a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction 2017. Since its release, it has sold over one million copies.

Now is your chance to grab an electronic copy of the book to see what the phenomenon is all about! Simply login to Overdrive or Libby with your library card to access a copy. Join the Pachinko phenomena and read now!

Overdrive cover Pachinko, Min Jin Lee (eBook)
“Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Pachinko,’Min Jin Lee (Audiobook)
“Yeongdo, Korea – 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child: their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then, Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)