Celebrate Matariki!

Matariki 2012

In Pipiri/June each year, the star cluster Matariki (Pleiades) appears in our dawn skies.

The Maori New Year begins with the sighting of the first new moon after the first appearance of Matariki. This year it occurs on 21 Pipiri/June.

Traditionally Matariki marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the planting season. Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place we live in, and giving respect to the land we live on.

Festivities differ from iwi to iwi but for most New Zealanders, Matariki is a time of remembrance, hospitality and new beginnings.

Matariki is a time for inward reflection and renewal. It is a time to consider the year ahead and make plans to improve our lives and enhance our communities. It is a chance to come together and share knowledge and skills.

There are a number of exciting events and activities happening at our libraries and around the city to celebrate Matariki.

Check out:

From the library’s collection:

New Zealand International Arts Festival – Germaine Greer

The New Zealand International Arts Festival is currently on here in Wellington with many famous writers speaking at the events.

Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, and Shakespeare’s Wife, and more, is speaking at three of these events.

The events are Town Hall Talks: Germaine Greer on the 12th of March, Germaine Greer: Shakespeare’s Wife with Linda Hardy on the 13th of March, and Where Were You in ’72? with Marilyn Waring and Sandra Coney on 14th of March.

Wellington City Libraries has many interesting books by Germaine Greer you may wish to read or reserve.

The obstacle race : the fortunes of women painters and their work / by Germaine Greer.
“If men and women are equally capable of genius, why have there been no female artists of the stature of Leonardo, Titian or Poussin? In seeking to answer this question, Germaine Greer introduces us to major but underestimated figures in the history of Western painting–Angelica Kauffmann, Natalia Goncharova, Suzanne Valadon, Berthe Morisot, Kathe Kollwitz–and produces a brilliantly incisive and richly illustrated study. She explains the obstacles as both external and surmountable and internal and insurmountable in the race for achievement.” – (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShakespeare’s wife / Germaine Greer.Shakespeare’s Wife
“In 1979, noted feminist Greer wrote The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work, which helped save several women artists from obscurity. Now she turns her attention to another shadowy figure, Ann Hathaway. Greer wants to rescue Hathaway from the frantic fantasising of the bardolators, who would have us believe that Shakespeare left Stratford for London in order to escape an unhappy marriage. Maybe, and since the cupboard is so bare of facts, Greer can do no more than speculate herself. But her speculation is based on careful sifting through every shard of contextual evidence archives, records, registers, and literary works not just as it relates to the Shakespeares and the Hathaways but also as it relates to their place and time. What we get is a portrait of life in Stratford circa 1600 on almost every level and in every aspect the practice of medicine, the brewing of ale, birth, marriage, and burial. Although Ann herself remains in the shadows, Greer provides an intriguing analysis that helps us understand more about the person Ann might have been. Reader interest probably will be based more on the author’s name than on the subject.” – (Booklist Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beautiful boy / Germaine Greer.
“The beauty of male imagery as an object of female desire has been repressed, argues feminist writer Greer in this work of art history. She includes some 200 images from Western art in her exploration of the shifting meanings and presentations of masculinity.” – (Book News summary).

Syndetics book coverThe female eunuch / Germaine Greer.
“A worldwide bestseller, translated into over twelve languages, THE FEMALE EUNUCH is a landmark in the history of the women’s movement. Drawing liberally from history, literature and popular culture, past and present, Germaine Greer’s searing examination of women’s oppression is at once an important social commentary and a passionately argued masterpiece of polemic. Probably the most famous, most widely read book on feminism ever.” – (Summary from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverWhitefella jump up : the shortest way to nationhood / Germaine Greer.
“Essay exploring the interdependence of black and white Australia to suggest that embracing Aboriginality is the only way Australia can fully imagine itself as a nation. Argues that Australia needs to enter the Aboriginal web of dreams. Includes correspondence by Tim Duncan, Evan Thornley, John Quiggen, Graham Jones, Gideon Haigh and Tim Flannery. Author is Professor of English and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick. Her previous titles include ‘The Female Eunuch’ and ‘The Whole Woman’.” – (Syndetics summary)

The Change : women, ageing and the menopause.
“Challenges the medical, religious and social myths surrounding menopause. The author argues that acceptance and understanding of this critical life stage will lead to serenity and female empowerment. By the Australian-born author of TThe Female Eunuch’, it includes an index and a bibliography.” – (Syndetics summary)

Daddy, we hardly knew you / by Germaine Greer.
“Driven to know if the father who returned from World War II a cold and vacant man had loved her once, feminist Greer ( The Female Eunuch, LJ 4/15/71) follows a trail of false leads and outright lies to know the truth about the man who called himself Reg Greer. To the dismay of her sharp-tongued, eccentric mother, but to the pleasure of herself and her siblings, she finds someone who, concealing his origins in poverty and illegitimacy, rises to middle-class security on the strength of his own wit and resourcefulness. Some of the writing is marred by Greer’s fascination with the minutiae of herself, but the search and its results are intriguing.” – (Library Journal Summary)

The whole woman / Germaine Greer.
“Germaine Greer proclaims that the time has come to get angry again! Modern feminism has become the victim of unenlightened complacency, and what started out in the Sixties as a movement for liberation has become one that has sought and settled for equality. With fiery rhetoric, authoritative insight, outrageous humour and broad-ranging debate, Greer shows that, although women have indeed come a very long way in the last thirty years, the notion of our having it all has disguised the persistent discrimination and exploitation that continues to exist for women in the basic areas of health, sex, politics, economics and marketing. Erudite, eccentric, provocative and invigorating, Germaine Greer once again sets the agenda for the future of feminism. Here is all the polemical power that sold over a million copies of The Female Eunuch and kept its author at the heart of controversy ever since. The Whole Woman was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller for five weeks when it was first published in 1999, and was hailed by the critics as a ‘polemical bomb’ (Guardian) and as required reading for thinking adults everywhere.” – (Global Books Summary)

Slip-shod sibyls : recognition, rejection and the woman poet / Germaine Greer.
“The term “slip-shod sibyls”, adapted from a gibe of Alexander Pope, encapsulates the common contempt for the half-educated women who dared to expose themselves in the pre-1900 literary market-place. In this collection, Germaine Greer argues that the problem is not that such women were ignored but that, when most women were unable to express themselves in written form at all, and only a tiny minority dared to write in metre, the female poet was given undue attention, flattered and exploited only to be rejected and humiliated in her own lifetime and forgotten by posterity. She argues that what has come down to us is largely unworthy of inclusion in the canon. In many cases, the texts are inauthentic and cannot be relied upon to represent women’s work or women’s sensibility. As much of the poetry is intensely derivative, it cannot be evaluated by readers unfamiliar with the poets’ models. This study examines the life and work of an extraordinary group of women – from the myth of Sappho to the dishonesty of Katherine Philips, the enduring mysteries of Aphra Behn and the tragic tale of Letitia Landon, forced to masquerade as “The Child of Song”.” – (Amazon.com summary).

Other books that Wellington City Libraries have by Germaine Greer:

Sex and destiny : the politics of human fertility / Germaine Greer.

The madwoman’s underclothes : essays and occasional writings, 1968-85 / Germaine Greer.

Knit-in at Kilbirnie Library

knit in 3It was a rather wet day last Saturday which was just perfect for our first knit in.  We had a nice friendly bunch of people that gathered to knit, chat, check out our knitting books and drink cups of tea.  We had a few international knitters and it was interesting to see although people knit all over the world there are different techniques. The Knit-in ran from 11am-3pm and we had knitters between the ages of 6-86 from beginners to experts.

Thanks to all the knitters who came along and if you missed out don’t dispair we will be holding another knit in on Saturday 22nd July from 11am-3pm.

knit in web

knit in email2

NZ Music Month @ Wellington City Libraries

It’s May! So once again it’s New Zealand Music Month. What’s the Library doing this year to celebrate & profile Wellington musicians?  Well…

This May, Wellington libraries will turn into temporary concert venues – showcasing young local talent. Up-and-coming young artists will perform afternoon gigs at Wellington Central Library and at the Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie), Newtown, Johnsonville and Karori branch libraries. These free events will take place Monday 16 to Friday 20 May.

– Kilbirnie on Monday 16 from 4 to 5pm
– Newtown on Tuesday 17 from 4 to 5pm
– Johnsonville on Wednesday 18 from 4 to 5pm
– Karori on Thursday 19 from 4 to 5pm
– Central on Friday 20 from 4 to 5pm

There will also be evening performances at ZEAL and The Jimmy Bar at the St James Theatre.

Wellington City Council is organising these live performances in partnership with Play It Strange, a trust established in 2003 to encourage young New Zealanders to develop interests and skills in songwriting and musical performance.

Other Music Month events include a series of Music Workshops.

On Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May Toi Poneke Arts Centre will hold free workshops for independent musicians. The workshop on Monday is for musicians who want to break into the Australian market and will be full of hits and tips for people who have already crossed the Tasman.

This is followed on Tuesday with the launch of the Instrumental’s Musician’s Publicity Toolkit – with a live performance from Mara TK. The toolkit is a musician’s essential guide to self-publicity and online marketing.

A full list of events, times and venues in Wellington for New Zealand Music Month can be found on the Toi Poneke Arts Centre’s Facebook page

wellington city council events poster


Teen only night this Friday


Karori Library will be open this Friday night just for high school students or those aged 13-18* (with some library staff to pass around the free pizza and lollies).

There will be free internet and gaming available : Guitar Hero, Kinect and Wii – and since it’s the last day of term to there will be some live music too.  Further details are available on the Teen Blog!

*bring your YA card or your school ID.

A visit to the Island Bay Dutch coffee morning

The sign outside says : Kom d’r in! koffie en stroopwafels!

Dutch seniors have been meeting on Wednesday mornings at the Island Bay Community Centre for many years, the coffee is good and although there were no stroopwafels *, plenty of other Dutch delicacies were on offer.

When I asked what the coffee was like when they first arrived in Wellington in the 1950’s the answer was unanimously: “There was none!”

How things have changed now in Wellington, apparently there are more coffee places to go to per head of the population than in New York!

A big thank you to the Dutch coffee group for letting us eavesdrop on their recent session talking about their memories and customs. Check out this videoclip!

* a stroopwafel is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked batter with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. They were first made in Gouda in the Netherlands, in 1784. Large versions are sold in the streets as a snack.

We have the recently published Suzy’s: a coffee house history, by Susette Goldsmith which describes the local cafe mentioned in the video clip. Hope to you see at one or all of our “put the kettle on” events, all welcome!

Meet Kate Spencer, author of Being Daisy

Kate Spencer Car Image croppedListen to Kate Spencer, author of Being Daisy, talk about her life and how she came to find her one love – writing.
Born in the South West of England, Kate attended Teacher Training College where she majored in French. She started writing in the seventies while raising three young children. Since her first published letter to Woman’s Weekly, she has been writing widely, as well as acting and directing. Arriving in New Zealand in 1996, Kate now lives and works on the Kapiti Coast as a freelance writer.
All Roads Lead to Rome is the title of her talk and covers books she has written awaiting publication, and the writing process involved in Being Daisy.
Kate will be at the Ruth Gotlieb Library, Kilbirnie, on Thursday 7th April at 6.30pm

Want to know more about parkour?

This March Wellington City Libraries is holding four free seminars for teens designed to make surviving the urban jungle that is life in Wellington that much easier.

First session starts today!  Come along from 4-5pm at  Central Library and get fit for free with Recreation Wellington and NZ Parkour. Find out about the free and five dollar deals in town and learn how to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Full details on the Teen Blog

Put the kettle on: coffee and tea drinking traditions from around the world

putthekettleonLearn about different traditions and share your own!

  • Experience Gongfu Cha – Chinese tea ceremony at Johnsonville library: Wednesday 23 March (11am)
  • High tea – English tea tradition at Kilbirnie library: Thursday 24 March (10.15am)
  • Masala tea – Indian tea tradition at Karori Library: Thursday 24 March (7pm) and Tawa Library: Thursday 31 March, (7pm)
  • Fair Trade coffee growers’ traditions at Newtown library: Friday 1 April (6pm)
  • Oromia – Ethiopian coffee ceremony at Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: Tuesday 5 April (11am)

Further details can be found on the Wellington City Libraries’ event calendar


A big thank you to the Dutch coffee group for letting us eavesdrop on their recent session talking about their memories and customs. Check out this videoclip!

Link to blog with more info

“Beyond the Dark Journey” launch – meet the authors

book coverCome along and meet some of the authors of the new book  Beyond the Dark Journey. In this book eight young people, all former refugees, share their stories not just about their journey here but also their experiences of settling into Aotearoa New Zealand. A special and extra feature is the addition of poems composed by the same writers. This book is dedicated to the courage of all refugees who live in New Zealand – for their suffering and displacement from their homeland.

After the reading, there will be copies available to borrow from our library collection, and order forms if you want to purchase your own copy ($25).

This event is proudly hosted by Wellington Refugees as Survivors and Wellington City Libraries.  All welcome!

Where: Central Library
When: Wednesday 16 March 6-7pm

Author talk: Influences

Join three of New Zealand’s finest writers, Fiona Farrell, Kate De Goldi and Emily Perkins, and hear them talk about the writers and books that have inspired and influenced them, while discussing their own work. It should be a fascinating session.

When: 6.00 pm, Wednesday, 28th July 2010

Where: City Gallery Wellington – Civic Square

Tickets are now available from Wellington Central Library.  Ticket price is $15  ($12 for Book Council Members).

For more information, please call (04) 801 4068.  Ticket purchases must be made  in person, no reserves.  Payments accepted are cash, cheque or eft-pos.

fiona farrellkate de goldiemily perkins

Make a Sock Hero!

Sock HeroesWe invite everyone to join us in supporting Leadership Week – established by The Sir Peter Blake Trust to inspire, celebrate and develop leadership for all New Zealanders.

Sir Peter’s lucky red socks became an iconic symbol during the 1995 America’s Cup campaign.  On Friday 2 July everyone is encouraged to wear their red socks for national Red Socks Day in support of Sir Peter’s memory and the work of the Trust developed in his name.  Continuing with the idea of socks, we are inviting you to make your own Sock Hero – a fun creature made out of socks that we can display during Leadership Week (Friday 25 June – Friday 2 July).

Anyone can make a Sock Hero and it’s a great activity for kids in particular.  All you need are some socks, a few craft items like buttons and thread, and your imagination.  If you would like some further ideas check out books in our craft section such as Stupid Sock Creatures or Make Your Own Misfits.

Use this form to tell us in few words something you imagine about your Hero.  It could be an everyday act of heroism, an environmental crusade, or simply what you think is important about being a good leader.

Drop your Hero and form into any branch library by 21 June and we will display it at Central Library during Leadership Week.  The first 100 people to enter a Sock Hero will receive a badge like this one from The Sir Peter Blake Trust!

Sir Peter Blake Trust pin

Is your compost a load of old rot?

The recent composting seminars held at Newtown and Central libraries were a big hit with many of our customers! The seminars looked at the micro-organism style of composting known as Bokashi in New Zealand. The speakers gave a great presentation on the science behind Bokashi, and how to use it at home for getting rid of unwanted food scraps.

For more information, click the images below to  check out the slides from the seminars! Please note these files are quite big, at over 2MB each.

bokashi presentation effective microorganisms presentation

An Evening with Crime Fiction Writers

Murder They Wrote is an event for crime fiction fans to meet three of New Zealand’s most prominent crime fiction writers.  They are

Paul Cleave, author of four crime novels – the latest being Blood Men,
Neil Cross, television writer and author of eight novels, Captured being the most recently published and;
Vanda Symon whose third crime novel is titled Containment.

This event will be held at Café L’Affare, College Street, Wellington at 6 p.m. on Thursday 27th May.

Tickets are $16 ($14 for NZ Book Council members) and can be purchased at the Information Desk, Central Library. Be in quick – attendance is limited.

More information is available at the Book Council website