I once facilitated a book group every month on a Friday afternoon at the wonderfully diverse Newtown library involving 8 book-loving, library users. We would discuss the ideas, plots, characters, sense of place and theme of each book like this would be our last, usually over coffee, tea and scones.
Now, that sense of communal engagement can continue on a larger scale with our first collection of always available digital Book Club titles through the eBook and audio-book reading app Libby.
We have hundreds of titles to choose from across adult fiction, Aotearoa, nonfiction, kids and teen audiences for discovery by book groups, for community reads, and fiery or friendly discussion. Expect thought-provoking reads across genres like mystery, science fiction, classic literature, poetry and award-winning fiction but also best-selling popular biographies, science and business nonfiction.
Here’s a quick selectors pick of 10 of some of the always available titles ready to read now:
For even more options try our carefully chosen selection of over 370 classic novels by Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens – an entire pantheon of always available literary classics.
For more information on how to get started with the Libby app, go to our eLibrary page or contact us here for further helpful assistance.
Each year during May it is always New Zealand Music Month, but 2020 is an unusual one due to the COVID-19. It is forcing artists to find new ways of working and connecting with audiences, and there are a surprising number of things still happening. Check out the NZ Music Month official website as well as our Wellington Music blog and facebook. To celebrate and support New Zealand music and artists, we have selected some fantastic films available on Beamfilm and Kanopy. They include the documentary about Martin Phillipps (The Chills) and two iconic New Zealand movies (An Angel at my Table and Dean Spanley) for which Don McGlashan (Blam Blam Blam, The Mutton Birds) did the soundtracks. Be calm, kind and enjoy the movies!
The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps
Length: 95 minutes
Directors: Julia Parnell and Rob Curry
Martin Phillipps came tantalizingly close to conquering the international musical world with his band The Chills, but instead fell into decades of debt and addiction in his hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. At 54, he’s been given a dire medical prognosis, forcing him to face his demons and realise his musical ambitions before it’s too late.
A contemporary story with a strong message, PA BOYS, follows a Wellington reggae band as they embark on a tour ‘down north’, from Wellington to Cape Reinga. Staring Fran Kora (from the band KORA) and Matariki Whatarau (Go Girls, The Almighty Johnsons), PA BOYS is a story about life, death and music. As the band tours, their travels expose Danny (Kora) and Tau (Whatarau) to a spiritual history that cannot be avoided and when unresolved events from their past must be confronted it’s Danny who holds the key.
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls” is the first time that the irrepressible Kiwi entertainment double act, Jools and Lynda Topp’s extraordinary personal story has been told. The film offers a revealing look into the lives of the World’s only comedic, country singing, dancing, and yodeling lesbian twin sisters. As well as rarely seen archive footage and home movies, the film features a series of special interviews with some of the Topp’s infamous comedy alter-egos including candid chats with the two Kens, Camp Mother and Camp Leader.
Born To Dance
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Tammy Davis
Champion hip hop dancer, Tu Kaea, has the chance to audition for K-Crew, the best hip hop crew in the country, but he has to go behind the backs of his home crew and his best friend Benjy. Things get even more complicated when he starts falling for Sasha, the girlfriend of K-Crew’s leader. When Tu’s old crew and new crew clash, he has to make a decision that will change his life forever.
An Angel At My Table
Length: 158 minutes
Directors: Jane Campion
Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame. Beautifully capturing the colour and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Length: 97 minutes
Directors: Toa Fraser
A dog may be man’s best friend but in Dean Spanley it is also the key to reconnecting Henslow Fisk and his ailing father, Horatio. After attending a lecture given by a visiting Swami on ‘The Transmigration of Souls’, the Fisks run into eccentric Dean Spanley. Soon, Henslow discovers the Dean may be more connected to the Fisks than they could ever have imagined!
After this time in lockdown and working from home, owners and employees of workplaces may be finding their resilience waning. Hopefully these Lynda.com courses below may offer some good guidance and help.
Supporting Your Well-Being during Times of Change and Uncertainty
In this learning path, you can gain immediately applicable skills to support your well-being during times of change and uncertainty. Twenty curated courses cover topics such as practicing mindfulness and meditation; managing anxiety, depression, and stress; calming your mind; and restoring your body.
Embracing unexpected change
This 15 minute course explains how you can harness the power of change for your benefit, how to put change in the proper context, create the right perspective and ultimately become more resilient.
Enhancing Resilience with Gemma Leigh Roberts
Being resilient will not only help you overcome challenges—it will help you thrive. Learn how to enhance your resilience with these tips. In this hour long course, Gemma Roberts shows how to create a proactive plan to build your resilience, maintain it in the face of challenges, and track your progress over time.
Developing Resilience and Grit
In the face of change and uncertainty, learn how to build your resilience and cultivate mental agility. Resilience and grit will help you to cope with change and create productive shifts in thinking and perseverance.
Building Resilience with Tatiana Kolovou
Learn how to bounce back from difficult situations, by building your “resiliency threshold,” with these training techniques. In this half hour course, she outlines five training techniques to prepare for difficult situations, and five strategies for reflecting on them afterward.
Our Kanopy and Beamafilm streaming platforms have a great selection of FREE content from Aotearoa and the Pacific. It’s always good to see our own cultures represented on the screen, so while we are still spending a lot of time at home grab the opportunity to watch some gems that have a Māori and Pasifika kaupapa!
This blog only highlights a small selection of films including emotional movies, documentaries, and a feel good gem about musicians and finding yourself. You will find more if you search ‘Māori’, ‘New Zealand’, or a specific Pasifika country within Kanopy or Beamafilm.
Go ahead and immerse yourself in the stories of Aotearoa and the Pacific!
The Orator is a beautiful and emotional movie that was written and directed by Samoan film-maker Tusi Tamasese and shot entirely in Samoan on location in Samoa itself. Saili’s story is one of love and challenges as he learns he must stand tall, despite his small stature, to become a hero. Highly recommended.
You can also watch Tamasese’s other feature film, One Thousand Ropes, on Kanopy.
Kuo Hina E Hiapo: The Mulberry is White and Ready for Harvest
Length: 28 minutes
Directors: Joseph Ostraff, Melinda Ostraff
Tapa cloth is a true artistic treasure of the Pacific. In Tonga it is called ngatu and this short documentary illustrates ngatu’s symbolic importance and collaborative production. Beautiful and fascinating!
Merata Mita was the first Māori woman to write and direct a dramatic movie when she brought out Mauri in 1988. Set on the East Coast, Mauri stars Anzac Wallace (Utu) and activist Eva Rickard. This is a landmark film from a landmark Māori film maker.
You can also watch Ngati on Kanopy, another ground-breaking film from a Māori film maker, this time Barry Barclay.
Eight female Māori directors give us eight connected stories, each taking place at the same moment in time during the tangi of a small boy called Waru. This is a very moving and challenging film with all eight stories subtly linked while following different female characters. All must come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward within their community.
A tangi is at the heart of Waru. If you want to learn about Māori protocols surrounding tangi, or other Māori topics, our Māori Information Resources page is an excellent place to start.
The Rain of the Children
Length: 102 minutes
Director: Vincent Ward
I love this film. Vincent Ward’s beautiful dramatic documentary explores the life of Tuhoe woman Puhi and her relationship to Rua Kenana and the community at Maungapohatu. Ward looks at the curse Puhi believed she lived under in an incredibly moving way, and the result is a jewel of a film.
You can also watch Vincent Ward’s first film about Puhi, In Spring One Plants Alone, on Kanopy.
Length: 107 minutes
Director: Toa Fraser
Woo hoo! Revenge and action abound in Toa Fraser’s movie starring James Rolleston and Lawrence Makoare. You gotta love the use of mau rākau – a traditional Māori martial art – and a script in te reo Māori!
My whānau love this heartfelt film about a musician and his reggae band on a road trip of music and self discovery. Francis Kora is wonderful as Danny who is unsettled, and then opened up to his culture, when Tau (Matariki Whatarau) joins the band. Music, landscape, laughs and love – beautiful and simple.
The band in The Pa Boys sets out from Wellington where Danny lives. If you love the music scene in Wellington you can learn more about it on our dedicated Wellington Music page.
If you are looking for some scares and chills to take your mind off the real world, then consider these five horror features on Beamafilm. From classic early black and white German cinema, to a Chinese epic, and an Australian contemporary film, there’s lots to sink your teeth into!
(Not a library member yet? No worries! Simply sign up here and then check out Beamafilm and Kanopy, our fantastic film streaming services.)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Length: 75 minutes
Director: Robert Wiene
As the Beamafilm synopsis describes: “Two men on a park bench discuss the story of Cesare, a sleep-walking circus performer under the control of the murderous Dr. Caligari. But all, of course, is not quite as it seems.” Often cited as the first true horror film, this is the quintessential example of 1920s German Expressionism in its use of symbolism, and symbolic acting. This black and white silent classic uses non-realistic sets, costume and makeup to portray the characters’ emotional states, exploring mental illness and madness.
Combined Search: Did you know that the script for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was based on the wartime experiences of writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer? Learn more about this fascinating film via our eLibrary Combined Search!
Nine years before Bela Lugosi’s legendary portrayal of Dracula, Max Schreck starred as the Dracula-inspired Count Orlok in the German Expressionist film Nosferatu. Although the filmmaker’s tried to avoid copyright infringement, it was close enough to the source material for Bram Stoker’s widow to sue and have the original prints destroyed. It is also known for the addition to the vampire mythos that sunlight is lethal to vampires. This 1922 black and white classic of silent cinema is a masterpiece of atmosphere, and its influence can still be seen in popular culture nearly 100 years later.
Overdrive: Nosferatu may be one of the first works to be influenced by Stoker’s Dracula, but it’s definitely not the only one! Explore Dracula, Dracula’s Guest, Anno Dracula and more via Overdrive and Libby.
Director Fritz Lang’s other classic film (the first being Metropolis, which is also available on Beamafilm), and his personal favourite, M deals with the unpleasant subject matter of a child killer in Germany 1931. The title “M” is short for mörder, the German word meaning murderer. Beautifully shot in black and white with sound, and once again part of the German Expressionist movement, this is regarded as one of Lang’s finest films, and one of the best German films ever made. It features one of Peter Lorre’s most famous roles before he fled Germany and went on to achieve international fame in Hollywood in films such as Casablanca.
Mango Languages: Did you know that director Fritz Lang made films in both Weimar Germany and also as part of the Hollywood system? Check out his German language productions (without the need of subtitles!) with a little help from Mango Languages.
Not strictly a horror film, although you will find it under that category on Beamafilm, this is also an action/mystery/historical film with horror and supernatural elements. Set in 689 A.D in China, Detective Dee is called back from exile to investigate a series of fiery deaths. Featuring lots of acrobatic fighting, lavish sets, and special effects, it was so popular it has since spawned two prequels. This will appeal to anyone who is a fan of Netflix’s Korean series, Kingdom.
Dragonsource: Did you know that our eLibrary includes Dragonsource, a database with hundreds of Chinese language magazines in both simplified and traditional Chinese?
This Australian contemporary film is about a solo mother struggling to raise her son on her own. One day she finds a disturbing storybook called “Mister Babadook”, only the story and the monster within seem to want to come out of the page. The title, Babadook is an anagram of ‘A bad book’. Debut director Jennifer Kent has created a powerful film that explores the monster that is depression and loneliness.
RBdigital: Want to know more about the latest horror films? Check out magazines such as Empire, Hollywood Reporter and Total Film via RBdigital!
Travelling introduces you to new places, new people and new cultures. However, as the world has gone into lockdown and travelling is at a standstill the only way to travel safely is vicariously through film. Thanks to the magic of film you can be transferred to somewhere outside of your bubble. Here are some films that incorporate travel and discovery that take you to France, Turkey, Spain, China, Australia and America. These films can be accessed on our wonderful streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy!
Length: 89 minutes
Directors: Agnès Varda and JR
This film is simply wonderful and is a real joy to watch. It follows the iconic film director Agnès Varda as she teams up with artist JR. They go to rural parts of France in a photobooth van and take photos of locals to print off on a massive scale to paste onto the side of buildings. They travel to small villages which is great to see as they go to places that you wouldn’t think to visit. Every local they meet is friendly and has a story to tell. It makes you appreciate the importance of listening and learning from people.
Agnès says, she wants “to meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” which I can relate to as I take photos of everything as a reminder. There is a joyful playfulness to this film but there is also melancholy as Agnès wonders “if everyone that she meets will be the last”. This film celebrates and embraces life as they both marvel and wonder at every aspect and it makes you realise you need to appreciate life.
Beamafilm: Find out more about the artist JR by watching Inside Out The Peoples Art Project.
CIA World Factbook: Find out facts about France with the CIA World Factbook! This provides data and information on different countries so you can find out about key demographics, government, economy and more.
Lynda.com: If you want to improve your photography skills then there are heaps of useful photography tutorials on Lynda.com.
This sweet and charming documentary transports you to Istanbul where there are an incredible number of stray cats roaming the streets which has been the case since the Ottoman Empire! One person in the documentary states that “without the cat Istanbul would lose a part of it’s soul” and throughout the film you can see how much of an impact the cats have on everyone. The people who take care of the cats show incredible displays of kindness, such as a café owner who donates all his tips to look after the cat who frequents his café. It’s amazing to see how cats can change and enhance people’s lives as one man states that the cats that he looks after helped him to recover from his nervous breakdown. I especially like how the camera shows you Istanbul from the cats’ point of view as they explore and wander through the city.
PressReader: Want to know more about cats? Then you should check out the magazine Modern Cat that is available for you to read on PressReader!
Mango Languages: Did you know that the title of the film Kedi is Turkish for cat? Learn some more Turkish words by heading to Mango Languages.
The Trip To Spain
Length: 108 minutes
Director: Michael Winterbottom
This is the third installment of The Trip as comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan play fictional versions of themselves and on this occasion, they take an adventure around Spain. Steve wants to follow in the footsteps of Laurie Lee and Cervantes and their route is heavily influenced by these writers. They drive around the country and this allows us to soak up the exquisite scenery, especially Malaga’s amazing coastline road. The impressions are non-stop as they compete to be the best Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Roger Moore in a variety of fancy restaurants. If you are familiar with The Trip and The Trip to Italy then you’ll know what to expect but I still enjoy spending time with these two as their often cutting exchanges and quick-witted banter is fun to watch.
OverDrive: If you’re looking for new recipes to try out at home during lockdown, then check out this awesome Spanish cookbook eBook.
OverDrive: Want to read As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee that inspired the trip? Well you’re in luck as it’s available as an eBook here.
OverDrive: The other book that was mentioned a lot in The Trip To Spain is Don Quixote and this can also be borrowed from our extensive eBook collection.
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Philippe Muyl
In fast-moving, business-focused Beijing two parents Chongyi and Qianying are busy trying to make a career and don’t have enough time for their child Renxing who is glued to her iPad. The parents both have work trips at the same time, so Qianying entrusts Renxing to be looked after by her grandfather, who has previously lost her whilst under his care. Renxing and her grandfather are off on their travels to visit his village along with his bird, a nightingale. At first Renxing acts up, but they soon bond after getting lost in a luscious bamboo forest. Rural China’s scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. This film is extremely cute and lovely and the grandfather and granddaughter are engaging characters who have a beautiful rapport as they learn much from each during their journey.
Dragonsource: Take a look at Dragonsource for Chinese language magazines in both simplified and traditional Chinese for online reading.
The Australian countryside is shot stunningly in this film that is all about the bond between man and his dog. A dog gets sold to a farmer, Tom, who is told that the dog is pure kelpie but is actually part dingo. By day, Dusty becomes a trusty and reliable sheep dog but at night he does like to terrorise the sheep when his natural dingo traits come out. This causes tension on the farm as some people want Dusty dead whilst Tom has grown incredibly fond of him. The film shows how much humans and dogs can be attached to each other due to friendship and gives an insight into life in the Australian countryside.
OverDrive eAudiobooks: Want to know how to make your dog happy? Then listen to Cesar Milan’s Guide to a Happy Dog here.
Length: 79 minutes
Director: Alex Simmons
This silly comedy follows David and Flula as they go on what would have been David’s honeymoon hike. David has been dumped by his fiancé so his incredibly happy and enthusiastic German friend Flula decides to join the hike to cheer him up. Flula is a character that you’ll either love or hate–I love his eccentricities, strange logic and how excitable he is. David provides narration of journal entries from American pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the comparison of Meriwether to Flula is a running joke. This is a sweet bromance film that is lots of fun. Their hike into the wilderness is incredibly shot and will make you yearn for an outdoor excursion which hopefully we can do again sometime soon!
OverDrive: This film is all about friendship and David and Flula are best friends in real life. If you want to carry on the theme of friendship with humour thrown in then take a look at these eBooks.
One of my favourite things to do on my Friday shift at the library is to pick through the DVDs before closing time and grab a film I’ve been meaning to see but have never had the time to check out before. While I can’t stroll through the aisles of Arapaki for the time being, exploring Kanopy and Beamafilm has been scratching that itch for me.
As someone who’s always learning more about the history of film-making and storytelling, I tend to gravitate toward strange, high-concept films and subjects; legacy directors who gained and spent multiple ‘blank checks’ over their careers to make their passion projects, festival films with off-kilter premises that become critical darlings, and weird thrillers that expand what kind of stories you can tell on a budget. These recommendations might not be what you would call ‘comfort viewing’, but I hope they can expand your film-viewing horizons as they have mine. Enjoy!
Swiss Army Man
Length: 98 mins
Directors: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
A critical darling at Sundance the year of its release, Swiss Army Man follows Hank (Paul Dano) as a man trying to get back to civilization with the aid of a talking, farting corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). It’s every bit as weird as it sounds, but Dano and Radcliffe’s performances buoy the film as the friendship blossoms between the two men and they help one another discover how to be human again, although it applies to one of them a bit more literally. The physical comedy is also a treat to watch, as Radcliffe forgoes the use of a dummy to do all of the corpse’s stiff, action-figure-like stunts himself. It’s a charming, bizarre, and surprisingly moving movie about how to come back from a period of self-isolation, make lasting connections with people, and rediscover how to live in the world again.
PressReader and RBdigital: If watching Hank and Manny’s trek through the California pines has you missing the joys of trekking the wilderness, both PressReader and RBdigital provide online access to hundreds of magazines including many on mountaineering, tramping, and more.
Overdrive: You’ll never have a better excuse to reread the series that gave Daniel Radcliffe his first big acting break; that’s why Overdrive has made the first Harry Potter book available for free in both ebook and audiobook form in multiple languages.
Length: 91 mins
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve is more associated with his recent expansive science-fiction films such as Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Dune adaptation, but there was a time where he worked on smaller thrillers, including the critically-beloved but little-seen film Enemy. Based off the novel The Double by José Saramago, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam Bell, a history professor who discovers an actor in a local film that appears to be his exact double. His actor doppelganger soon discovers Adam as well, as do each of the men’s wives. As their lives begin to intertwine, each one threatens to undo the existence of the other until the film crescendos into one of the freakiest endings to a movie I’ve ever seen.
Kanopy: Can’t get enough of Gyllenhaal? Kanopy also has his early hit Donnie Darko in both the theatrical and director’s cut.
Overdrive: Want to see what inspired Enemy? You can check out the works of Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer José Saramago on Overdrive.
Shin Godzilla (Shin Gojira)
Length: 120 mins
Director: Hideaki Anno
Taking a break from the reboot of his groundbreaking giant robot series Neon Genesis Evangelion, director Hideaki Anno revitalizes the Godzilla brand with Shin Godzilla, taking a more esoteric, body-horror approach to the classic kaiju (‘strange beast’). A huge hit in Japan and winner of seven Japanese Academy Prize awards, many Godzilla fans hold this as one of the best of the series. If you need to convince your housemates who aren’t as versed in genre films to check this out, the interesting twist to this iteration is that the human focus is on the government officials trying to react in real-time to Godzilla’s sudden appearance, rather than the military or a lone hero. What better film to watch now than one about a bureaucracy responding to a sudden evolving threat and using clever infrastructure solutions to mitigate harm and protect their citizens? These days, that’s a story I can get behind.
If you’ve seen and loved the Safdie brothers’ newest film Uncut Gems, it’s well worth your time to check out Good Time, their previous film from 2017. Robert Pattinson plays Constantine, a small-time crook who has to break his brother out of prison while avoiding the police and struggling to pay off a bail bondsman after a bank heist gone wrong. Flat-out from minute one, Constantine races the underbelly of New York City, churning through one unsuspecting ally after another in his desperate quest to reunite with the only family he has left. Robert Pattinson brings a raw and pitiable emotional depth to Constantine, and the Safdie brothers’ trademark use of first-time actors gives their version of New York a rough and lived-in feel.
Werner Herzog is a director I’ve always wanted to check out but was only familiar with from terrible impersonations and his surprisingly frequent cameos in primetime cartoons. Lo and Behold is a great contemporary introduction to one of cinema’s most celebrated directorial voices (and what a voice!), following Herzog’s attempt to examine the history of the Internet, from its humble origins in American university campuses to its future potential for self-awareness. Herzog tracks down original Internet Protocol engineer Robert Kahn, hacker Kevin Mitnick, and a community of people in rehab for ‘internet addiction’, among others, to examine the transformative power the Internet affords us a species, while also looking at its precarity as a construct and how our reliance on it can be socially damaging. As more and more of us have to rely on streaming, social media and web conferencing to get by, Herzog invites us to consider just how valuable the internet is to us.
Cast your mind back to 2010, the heyday of street artists who turned the world into their canvas with their bold and politically loaded art and began to find mainstream success in gallery shows. A typical biopic this is not; Exit Through the Gift Shop follows not Banksy himself, but his filmmaker friend turned disciple Thierry Guetta, who first becomes embroiled in the street art community as a documentarian before deciding to become a street artist himself. Complicating matters is the long-standing accusation that this film was made as a hoax, as Thierry’s rocketing to success as a street artist can come off to some as too staged and polished for a real-life subject, a claim that has been repeatedly denied by the film-makers. Regardless of its veracity, after rewatching this in lockdown, I’m never going to take the streets for granted again.
The BWB Texts Collection is one of the hidden gems in our online collections line-up that we LOVE and think more of you should know about.
Why? Well in a nutshell the collection brings together a diverse group of short and accessible eBooks on some of the biggest and most important issues facing New Zealand. Some of the topics covered include: the housing crisis, climate change, public health, child poverty and inequality. Dive in to discover stories, insights and analysis by some of New Zealand’s best writers and commentators.
The BWB Texts Collection is also easy to access and use. All you need is your Wellington City Libraries card and a device to read on — PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Ebooks have unlimited simultaneous users and are read in your web browser so there is no waiting or downloading – simply click on any title and read!
Some just released titles that you might like to check out are:
The Climate Dispossessed: Justice for the Pacific in Aotearoa? – by Teall Crossen
“The world is heating up beyond the capacity of some countries to cope. Entire populations of Pacific islands are threatened, jeopardising the sovereign rights of these countries and the security of the region. This book explores what a just response to the risk of climate change displacement in the Pacific could look like.” (from title description page)
The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World – by Mel Bunce
“A lack of knowledge about the world can be a very dangerous thing…Drawing upon the latest international research, Bunce provides a fresh analysis that goes beyond the usual anecdote and conjecture. Insightful and impassioned, this short book provides a much-needed assessment of the future for New Zealand journalism in a troubled world on issues of justice, tikanga, trade-offs, finance, futurism, adaptation, and more.” (from title description page)
Rebuilding the Kāinga: Lessons from Te Ao Hurihuri – by Jade Kake
“Rebuilding the Kāinga charts the recent resurgence of contemporary papakāinga on whenua Māori. Reframing Māori housing as a Treaty issue, Kake envisions a future where Māori are supported to build businesses and affordable homes on whānau, hapū or Treaty settlement lands. The implications of this approach, Kake writes, are transformative.” (from title description page)
#No Fly: Walking the Talk on Climate Change – by Shaun Hendy
“What happens when a leading New Zealand scientist (and frequent traveller) rules out flying for a year? From overnight buses to epic train journeys, Shaun Hendy’s experiences speak to our desire to do something – anything – in the face of growing climate anxiety. #NoFly confronts the hard questions of one person’s attempt ‘to adapt’. Was this initiative merely symbolic? Did it compromise his work, his life? And has it left him feeling more optimistic that we can, indeed, reach a low-emissions future?” (from title description page)
We’ve all seen them: photos of deserted highways stretching through the country, not a car or truck in sight. While this emptiness is a testament to the great work being done to stop COVID-19, it can be hard not to imagine a time when you can once again venture out and re-discover the rest of the country.
But now there’s no need to wait! Thanks to the magic of our eLibrary you can join us on a road trip across Aotearoa, from classic sites on State Highway One to secret spots known only to the wisest, most road-wily librarians. So grab your road atlas, double-check your internet connection and prepare for an epic (virtual) road trip. Read on to begin!
It may be the first day of your road trip north, but you can’t help having a quick look around the capital. So fire up your new electric car (click here for charging stations), grab your thermette and see what you can find!
Glamorous Histories: Did you know that the site of Wellington’s Central Library was once home to Carmen Rupe’s Balcony strip club–and the legendary Red Mole theatre troupe? Discover more via Wellington City Recollect.
A City of Film: Wellington was chosen as a UNESCO City of Film in 2019, but it’s not just blockbusters that give the city it’s cinematic reputation. The 2013 documentary Gardening With Soul won Best Documentary at the New Zealand Film Awards and is set in Island Bay–watch it now via Beamafilm.
Kapiti Coast (State Highway 1)
Okay, now it’s really time to go. Luckily the traffic out of Wellington isn’t too bad, and you get a smooth run past Pukerua Bay and all the way up the Kapiti Coast–nice one! Your first destination is Whanganui, but there’s plenty to see before then!
Range on the Right: The Tararua Range may look like an impenetrable wall of mountains and bush, but don’t be fooled–up to 150,000 people a year explore its slopes! For more info check out Wilderness, New Zealand’s most popular tramping magazine–and available at RBdigital.
Desirable Island: While adverts promoting Kapiti Island highlight its role as a bird sanctuary, the island has another, more strategic history–discover it via the Roadside Stories audio guides, accessible through Digital NZ and our eLibrary.
Well done, you’ve reached the first stop on your trip. Time for a quick coffee and a snack somewhere–raspberry and lime Fruju, anyone? You park by the river and watch it slide by. What’s waiting for you upstream?
Te Awa Tupua: The Whanganui River has its own legal identity, with all the rights, duties and liabilities of a person! Learn more via NZ Geographic (or explore He Whiritaunoka through the Waitangi Tribunal).
Moturoa: Did you know that in 1868 there were rumours of abandoning Whanganui after Riwha Titokowaru’s victory at the Battle of Moturoa? Find out more in James Belich’s I Shall Not Die–described as “a riveting piece of historical writing.”
Forgotten World Highway (State Highway 43)
You continue on around the coast, stopping for a Fanta and a bag of Fruit Bursts in Stratford before turning onto State Highway 43–aka the Forgotten World Highway. It doesn’t take long for things to get a bit bumpy, and the Fanta suddenly seems like a mistake. But never fear, Taupō isn’t far off!
Turning Green: If you’re feeling a bit car sick by now, distractions can help. And luckily BorrowBox has a range of fantastic audiobooks to help you out–including great local content!
Breakaways: 1989 was a tough year for a lot of New Zealand, not least the people of Whangamomona. So what did they do? Formed their own republic, of course! Past presidents have included Sir Murt Kennard and Billy Gumboot the Goat. Learn more about Billy’s reign thanks to the library’s combined search.
You made it to Taumarunui without being sick–an achievement! You celebrate with a suitably greasy lunch, then continue on to your destination of Taupō. Just enough time for a swim before dinner–congratulations!
Beauty and Fear: Whether you want to experience terror or awe while you’re in nature, Taupō has you covered. If you just want to read about terror or awe, then Pressreader has you sorted, too–with NZ Adventure Magazine.
New Boots: Have you read New Boots in New Zealand yet? It tells the story of Gillian Orrell’s quest to walk all of New Zealand’s Great Walks–including the Tongariro Northern Circuit! Have a read of it via Overdrive.