Holiday hours 2016/2017

Summer snowmanA warm seasons greetings to all our library borrowers and visitors with best wishes for a happy holiday season. Here are the opening hours across all our libraries from Saturday 24 December 2016 to Wednesday 4 January 2017. Click on the table for a larger view or follow this link. Please note all our libraries will be closed the statutory public holidays from 25-27 December and also 1-3 January. Brooklyn, Khandallah and Wadestown libraries will also be closed 24 and 31 December. Our libraries resume regular opening hours on Wednesday 4 January. 1617holidayhours-small Of course our eLibrary isn’t going on holiday: we have eBooks, eMagazines & eAudio to keep you entertained, along with daily newspapers & eMagazines in PressReader. Happy holidays everyone!

Twelve storytimes of Christmas

Come one, come all! Jump on your sleigh and slide down to your local library to get into the festive spirit at one of our special family Christmas Storytimes. These free events are lots of fun with games and activities, carols and festive stories. We would love to see you in your best Christmas costume, or cozy pyjamas.

Island Bay Library: 8 Dec, 6.30pm

Karori Library: 8 Dec, 6.30pm

Brooklyn Library: 12 Dec, 6.30pm

Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: 12 Dec, 6.30pm

Wellington Central Library: 14 Dec, 6.30pm

Wadestown Library: 15 Dec, 6.30pm

Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library: 15 Dec, 6.30pm

Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library: 15 Dec, 6.30pm

Johnsonville Library: 16 Dec, 6.30pm

Newtown Library: 16 Dec, 6.30pm

Miramar Library: 19 Dec, 6.30pm

Khandallah Library: 22 Dec, 6.30pm

Deck the halls! We look forward to seeing you there. (No need to book; just turn up)



Library book bike in the Santa parade

9633939On Sunday 13 December 2-3pm Santa Claus will ride into town for the Wellington City Council’s Capital Christmas Santa Parade. Starting on Lambton Quay and ending on Manners Street, onlookers will be treated to a Christmas spectacular with around 1000 entertainers participating in this year’s parade.

The Wellington City Libraries book bike will be pedalling its way through the city, along with a dance troop all the way from Beijing, the Minions, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Mr & Mrs Potato Head, Peter Rabbit, Spot the Dog and Santa! Our library elves will give away free books and balloons before and after the parade.

When Santa’s visit to Wellington is over, parade-goers can head up to Cuba Street to check out the street’s festive makeover and enjoy a gathering of street performers.

The Central Library is open 1:00-4:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Make sure you come in and grab more bargains for Christmas gifts at the book sale.


Christmas & New Year holiday hours for 2015

Summer snowmanWe will be closed for a few days break over Christmas & the New Year so here are our opening hours across all our branches for the 2015/2016 holiday season (from 24 December-4 January). Click on the table for a larger view or follow this link. Please note we will be closed for four days from 25-28 December and also 1-4 January. Our libraries resume regular opening hours on Tuesday 5 January.


Let your library sort out your Christmas presents

Christmas is getting closer and closer and you may still be wondering what present to get for family or friends. If you want to purchase affordable and useful gifts, look no further than your local libraries!

Calendar 2015Library 2016 Calendars
This collectable and unique calendar contains vintage photos of the libraries in Wellington for the past 175 years. It’s definitely a good choice of gift for your friends and families.

Concession cards
Treat your friends and family to DVDs, CDs, magazines, best sellers and reserves by giving them library concession cards. These are a convenient way to pay for your items. In fact, why not buy one for yourself? Full details on the features are here.

Library CDs
The Whispers in the Wind CD, a collection of 10 children’s stories by Wellington authors, is on sale at your local library for $9.50. Hear Wellington authors; Joy Cowley, Janice Marriott, Fleur Beale and more read their own stories for 5-12 year-olds – it’s a real treat.
Plus for the younger set – jam-packed with 33 traditional rhymes and songs, the Baby Rock & Rhyme CD is $12. Suitable for 0-4 years, it’s a perfect stocking filler.

WCLBagsHand bag 2015 resizeLibrary Bags
Searching for a good-sized bag to carry all your Christmas presents? Then consider our library bags, still a steal at $3,  – and our children’s bags are perfect at $5 each for the togs and towel if the big day happens to turn out warm. Our new library bags are designed to fit CDs, DVDS and other small gifts, for sale at the library for $2.50.

A Christmas message

johnstears-blogsizeHello and season’s greetings!

2014 has been a busy year here at Wellington City Libraries and Community Spaces.  We began the year with our Book Bike out around the waterfront with giveaways and library information for both residents and visitors. It also took story times out to the beach at Oriental Bay.

2014 ended with a very successful ‘Cans for Fines’ promotion. Around 4000 cans were donated during the fortnight and these have been distributed to food banks around the city and will go towards making someone’s Christmas that little bit better.

In between we added around 100,000 new items to our collection while our customers have borrowed just under 3 million items and visited us nearly 5 million times either on-line or in person. We moved further down the track towards confirmation of a new library for Johnsonville. Our Community Centres and Halls have also been busy with a full programme of activities.

I want to thank you for your continuing support over the last year and wish you all a very safe and happy festive season. I look forward to welcoming you back to our libraries and community spaces in 2015.

John Stears
Libraries and Community Spaces Manager
Wellington City Council


Christmas in the trenches – some very special greetings

Syndetics book cover In 2008, Sarah Ell collated a selection of New Zealand Christmas images, including Christmas cards, Christmas day dinner menus, photographs, advertisements and poster art, from the Alexander Turnbull Library. The result of this collection is the beautiful book A New Zealand Christmas : three centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library. Featuring beautiful images and informative captions about Christmas in New Zealand throughout the years, it also features photographs, Christmas cards and other printed images from World War One at Christmas time. This beautiful edition is an interesting and indulgent read any time, but particularly at this time of the year! Place your reserve here.

When Great Britain first declared war against Germany in 1914, New Zealand did not have its own army. Training camps were urgently set up in Featherston in Wairarapa, at Narrow Neck in Auckland and Awapuni near Palmerston North. The main camp was established at Trentham in Upper Hutt.

The Maymorn camp was built as an overflow camp 7km away from Trentham. It was the home of the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the New Zealand rifle brigade, then the 11th Infantry Reinforcements, until the camp was closed in 1916.

This image shows the tables set up for Christmas dinner at Maymorn camp on 25 December 1915.

Tables set for Christmas dinner, Maymorn camp, Wairarapa. Allen, S T :Photographs of the Tauranga Bridge and Maymorn Camp. Ref: 1/2-112210-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

After arriving at Anzac Cove to find scores of Australian dead and wounded scattering the beach, the Anzac soldiers were instructed to create a network of dug-outs to provide some shelter from the Turkish barrage. The men lived in these dug-outs in filthy conditions with inadequate food and water, as well as frequent outbreaks of dysentery and other diseases.

This photo, showing two soldiers in a dug-out in Gallipolli, was taken not long before the Allied withdrawal from the ill-fated peninsula on December 20. This brought an end to the horrific eight months suffered by the New Zealand, Australian and other Allied troops who landed at what later became known as Anzac cove on April 25, 1915.

Christmas celebrations in dug-out, Gallipoli. Martin, W W :World War One albums of Mr Laurie C Mackie. Ref: PA1-o-308-22-3. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

After withdrawing from Turkey, New Zealand troops were redeployed to France. Germany had invaded France and Belgium, and the British planned to attack the Germans in the Somme region, to relieve pressure on the French. The Battle of the Somme began in June 1916, followed by a second push in mid-September, which involved New Zealand troops. By Christmas 1916, around 1.2 million men on both sides had been killed or wounded.

This Christmas card was sent home to New Zealand from war-torn France.

Sparr, fl 1916. Sparr, fl 1916 :Compliments of the season from France, 1916-17. Onward. N.Z. Quo fas et gloria ducunt. [Postcard. 1916]. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1916-08. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

This Christmas menu is from the Sergeants’ Mess at the New Zealand Army Service Corps number 6 camp at Sling, near Bulford on the Salisbury Plain in England. It was dedicated to the memory of Gallipolli and the newly minted ‘Anzac Day’. The menu shows the men ate well through the day, from bacon, liver and chips for breakfast through a full roast dinner of turkey, beef and chicken to leftover roast, mince pies, jam tarts and beer for supper.


[Sling Camp (England)] :Remember ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25th April, 1915. Christmas 1916, New Year 1917 / [Cover on menu / list of members].. [Sling Camp (England)] :Remember ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25th April, 1915. Christmas 1916, New Year 1917 / [Sergeants’ Mess, New Zealand Army Service Corps and Details, No 6 Camp, Sling, Bulford, Salisbury Plain, England. [Menu / list of members]. Bennett Bros, Military Printers, Salisbury [1916].. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1916-02-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

This Christmas card from 1916 reflects a sense of imperial and national pride, following New Zealand’s rush to support Mother England against the German aggressors. It was printed for Mr and Mrs Hardie of Wanganui and bears a poem on the cover.

[Greeting card]. A right loyal greeting. “Land of our birth, we pledge to thee, Head heart & hand, in the years to be”. Xmas 1916 … from Mr & Mrs A. St.N. Hardie. Wanganui, N.Z.. Various artists :[Box of assorted Christmas cards. 1860s-1919]. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-1916-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

By Christmas 1917, New Zealand troops were still at war in Europe and New Zealand headquarters was at Chateau Segard in Belgium. This photo shows the New Zealand divisional commander, Major-General Andrew Hamilton Russell, carving a turkey for officers.

New Zealand Commander carves the turkey on Christmas Day, Chateau Segard, 1917. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013034-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

At the time of this Christmas card’s release in 1917, New Zealand had been at war for three years. This card clearly depicts the sense of distance felt by those in New Zealand that had loved ones fighting overseas, with the imagery of hands clasped across the distance between New Zealand and “somewhere in France”.

Frank Duncan and Company. Postcard. Christmas greetings. Hands across the sea. NZ Postcard published by Frank Duncan & Co., High St., Auckland. [1917]. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1917-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

This card was posted to New Zealand from France in 1918, clearly expressing the sender’s desire to return home with the poem on the front: “God gave all men all earth to love / But since our hearts are small / Ordained for each one spot should be / Beloved over all. / Gorse behind the windy town, pollen o’ the pine / Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the Ratas twine / Ferns above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain / ‘Tis where Pohutukawas bloom we long to be again”.

The drawing of the damaged windmill on the front of the card is thought to depict a windmill at Courcelles in northern France, which withstood repeated shelling and became a landmark for New Zealand troops fighting in the area.

To Pater, with all good wishes from Bob. Somewhere in France, 4/11/18. “God gave all men all earth to love … ” [Map of New Zealand, by Johns]. 1918.. Cheerio from France. Christmas 1918. A “Diggers'” landmark / Johns. [Card].. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1918-03-inside. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand troops were easily identified from other colonial troops by their hat – their distinctive headwear, which became known as a lemon-squeezer, is said to have been developed in 1911 by Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who felt that the fore-and-aft dented hats worn by his troop collected water too readily. He redesigned the hat so that water ran off more easily. Malone’s Wellington regiment adopted this style of hat and was more widely distributed from mid 1916 to other troops. They became a highly visible way to distinguish New Zealand soldiers from other colonial troops.

These cards both show New Zealand soldiers in lemon-squeezers – the first dates from 1917 shows a Kiwi soldier resting on a milestone which is engraved with ‘France to New Zealand, 13,000 miles’ The second is from 1918 and was designed by solider and artist Lieutenant George Patrick Hanna.

Bell, William Frederick, 1895-1920. Bell, William Frederick, 1896-1920 :Aotearoa. [Greetings card. 1917].. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1917-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Perry, Murray (Mrs), fl 1975. ‘With every wish that’s brightest & best’ / G P Hanna. N.Z. Division, France. Xmas 1918.. [Ephemera relating to World War I. 1918. Folder 1]. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1918-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

If you’d like to find out more about cards and postcards sent home to New Zealand during World War One, we also recommend this book:

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand and the First World War : 1914-1919 / Damien Fenton ; with Caroline Lord, Gavin McLean and Tim Shoebridge.
“The full story of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War” (Publisher information)

All images and accompanying information sourced from Sarah Ell’s A New Zealand Christmas: Three Centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library.

28th Māori Battalion Christmas 1943

In honour of the festive season, I thought I would share with you some images and clips of Māori Battalion Christmases past from the National Library & Māori Battalion websites (along with a book if these photos inspire a culinary experience!).

Two men from the Maori Battalion digging up a hangi of pork and potatoes for Christmas Dinner at the Maori Training Depot, Maadi. Shows three soldiers pushing dirt aside with spades, while others look on. Photograph taken on 25 Dec 1943, by George Robert Bull.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Uncovering the Christmas hangi at the Maori Training Depot, Maadi Camp, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04877-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion taking food from an uncovered hangi used to cook Christmas dinner at Maadi Camp in Egypt, during World War II. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion with uncovered hangi at Maadi Camp on Christmas Day, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04882-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion eating potatoes after opening the hangi used to cook Christmas dinner at the Maori Training Depot in Maadi, Egypt. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull. Far right; Dave McClutchie.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion eating hangi-cooked potatoes on Christmas Day, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04878-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Looking along one of the tables well laden with Christmas dinner at the Maori Training Depot in Maadi Camp, Egypt. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull.

Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Looking along one of the tables laden with Christmas Dinner at the Maori Training Depot, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04887-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

If these images inspire you to make your own Christmas hangi, check out our collection. We have many books that will help you out.

Hangi / Wena Harawira.
“The cooking of a hangi meal on a marae is explained, with full colour photographs of an actual hangi and its preparation. The history of the hangi is explained, ingredients identified, and a step-by-step timetable given. A recipe for potato bread is also included.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKai time : tasty modern Māori food / Peter Peeti.
“Drawing from the abundant fare that the New Zealand land and sea have to offer, charismatic Maori chef and television personality Peter Peeti shares his culinary knowledge and favourite recipes in this wonderful book. Based on the popular show on Maori TV, Kai Time on the Road (now in its sixth season), Peeti reveals not just a flair for cooking but also his passion for hunting, fishing and procuring ingredients direct from the source. Including such delectable dishes as: Eel and Whitebait Omelette; Venison with Blackberry Jus, Kumara and Potato Rosti and Pikopiko; and Roast Garlic and Thyme Prawns on Coconut Jasmine Rice, Peeti redefines Maori cuisine by blending traditional Maori ingredients and practices with the many modern culinary styles of New Zealand. The end result is overflowing with melt-in-the-mouth flavour and all recipes are remarkably easy to create. The best way to cook up a feed, according to Peeti, is directly after the fishing or hunting trip, on a makeshift stove on the beach or in the bush as the sun starts to go down ¿ the food simply couldn¿t be fresher or tastier or the surroundings more inspiring.” (Syndetics summary)

And finally… I highly recommend you listen to this song clip, on the 28th Māori Battalion website. Recorded in North Africa in 1942, it is a recording of ‘Silent Night’, sung by wounded soldiers of the 28th Maori Battalion at the No 2 New Zealand General Hospital. The Māori version is sung by Ngati Toa nurse Wiki Katene.  Moving and truly beautiful, it is well worth a listen.

Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas to you all.

A pukeko in a ponga tree! New Zealand Christmas picture books

There are some amazing Christmas picture books around, but one thing you really notice looking at many, is how cold they make you feel! The stories they tell are often those of a Northern Hemisphere Christmas.

I remember reading wonderful, chilly Christmas books as a child — like Shirley Hughes’ Lucy and Tom’s Christmas — and not being confused by this at all (I think the thing I appreciated most about Lucy and Tom’s Christmas were the amazing illustrations — Shirley Hughes! — of all the presents they made for their family), but around this time of year, it’s always nice to pull out and enjoy Christmas books that are set in New Zealand, written by New Zealand authors, and written specifically with a New Zealand audience in mind — featuring beaches and barbecues and complete with sweltering, overdressed Santas. So, here goes with a list!

Syndetics book coverA pukeko in a ponga tree (the twelve days of Christmas) / adapted by Kingi M. Ihaka ; illustrated by Dick Frizzell.
“A New Zealand adaptation of the traditional Christmas song, featuring such gifts as four huhu grubs, seven eels a swimming, and a pukeko in a ponga tree” (Library Catalogue)

We say: On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a pukeko in a ponga tree! This is such an iconic title, with great illustrations to enjoy with your child!

Syndetics book coverA kiwi night before Christmas / Yvonne Morrison ; Deborah Hinde.
“A retelling of Moore’s Christmas poem, with a New Zealand twist.”

We say: This one is also available with sturdier, board pages to share with younger children.

Syndetics book coverThe Christmas caravan / Jennifer Beck ; [illustrations by] Robyn Belton.
“Children’s Christmas story about a boy called Simon who decides to decorate the caravan he and mother share and enter it in a competition for the best decorated home. The other residents of the caravan park contribute by tidying the grounds and recycling rubbish into useful adornments. Text illustrated by Robyn Belton who also illustrated, author, Jennifer Beck’s award-winning, ‘The Bantam and the Soldier’.” (Syndetics summary)

We say: Short-listed for the NZ Post Book Awards in 2003, and we think you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

Syndetics book coverA Kiwi jingle bells / Yvonne Morrison ; Deborah Hinde.
“A New Zealand version of Jingle bells describing a summer Christmas holiday at the beach” (Library Catalogue)

We say: Lots of fun to sing along with!

Syndetics book coverA Kiwi Christmas carol / words by Chris Gurney ; pictures by Philip Webb.
“The story of Dickens’ A Christmas carol retold with a New Zealand twist.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe elves and the cloakmaker / words by Chris Gurney ; pictures by John Bennett.
“A Kiwi retelling of the traditional story of The elves and the shoemaker. In this case the cloakmaker Kahu and his wife are weaving cloaks and fall asleep and the Patupaiarehe come in the night to finish them off.”

Syndetics book coverAll I want for Christmas is my two front teeth / [words and music by] Don Gardner ; illustrated by Katz Cowley.
“Poor Monkey’s two front teeth are missing! The Tooth Detective is on the case, but maybe Santa can help. Will Monkey get his special Christmas wish?”–Back cover.

We say: From the author of The Wonky Donkey — need we say more?

Syndetics book coverGrandma McGarvey’s Christmas / story by Jenny Hessell ; illustrated by Trevor Pye.
“Grandma McGarvey sets up camp in the caravan park on Christmas Eve, but she hears Santa can’t make it this year – he’s sick in bed. Usually Grandma McGarvey would step in, but this year she’s got her own Christmas party to run. She goes back to her caravan, changes into her dressing gown and sleeping cap and gets ready for her Christmas Eve feast. But the flames from the Christmas Pudding scare the dog, who hides up a tree! While rescuing the dog she stumbles upon the families of the camping ground, who are having a party outdoors. Dressed as she is in her red dressing gown and cap, the children mistake her for Santa! So Grandma and the dog decide to stay and join the party” (Publisher description)

Can you think of more? We’d love to add titles we’ve missed in, so comment and let us know!


Hanukkah | Festivus | Christmas | New Year

Hanukkah – Saturday 8th December – Sunday 16th December

microsoft clip artHanukkah/Chanukah/Chanukkah/Chanuka/Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday.

Want to know more:

Festivus – Sunday 23rd December

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  • Festivus is a secular holiday seen on Seinfeld.
  • The name “Festivus” has now begun to be used as a general term for any type of December party not related to religious holidays. It has been referred to as “Festivus for the rest of us,” and described as “another way” to celebrate the holiday season without participating in pressure and commercialism.
  • To celebrate one puts out an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole,” and takes part in the “Airing of Grievances” (consists of lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year), “Feats of Strength” (a wrestling match and tradition states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned), and “Festivus Miracles.” (the labelling of easily explainable events as miracles).
  • For more information: and

Christmas – Tuesday 25th December

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  • Explore Christmas and find interesting facts, stories and recipes on Wellington City Libraries’ Kids Catalog Web.

Other useful links in our collection to help you celebrate:

New Years Eve – Monday 31st December

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For fabulous food and beverage ideas: