Join the City Nature Challenge!

Wellington is teeming with wildlife, from mountains to the sea. Celebrate it with the City Nature Challenge!

Started in 2016, the City Nature Challenge has two parts: the first is observational, with participants setting out into the wilds–and back gardens–of Wellington to document as many plants and animals as they can via the iNaturalist app. Part two begins directly afterwards, and is based around identification.

Keen to be involved? It’s easy: just download the iNaturalist app and join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group! Part one begins on 30 April and runs until 3 May. And if you need help with the iNaturalist app, you can visit our drop-in session at Wadestown Library on Saturday, 1 May.

Several librarians have been kind enough to put together blogs about their own City Nature Challenge experiences. Check out Leif Hōne’s excellent blog below!


Leif Hōne

Kia ora e hoa mā!!

Joining me today is the iNaturalist app which brings about awareness of the Council’s Nature in the City programme. This programme is desgined to draw in rangatahi and interested parties, in identifying and documenting the city’s wildlife so that we can use this data captured to better understand the challenges being faced and how we can meet those challenges. It’s all about your part that you’ll play by participating.

Before embarking on this challenge, I want to predict what I think I will see out there in the wilds haha. I live near Tui and other birds, so I am guessing I will be able to spot a lot of harakeke bushes (flax), perfect for doing raranga – if they’re big enough, and if Hineiwaiwa allows.

I also think I will see lots of introduced species of tree and shrub that may overtake our native collections. This is unfortunately a common reality across Aotearoa, but I am hoping my prediction for the area I’m located in will be wrong. I will need to climb Mt. Ahumairangi and scope it out! Lesh go!

Get out there yourselves and enjoy identifying native and non-native species of plant life, and having fun! Learning is ka pai.


Related Resources

Wildlife of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob
“Wildlife of New Zealand includes not merely the flagship species but a unique assembly of fascinating plants and animals that have evolved amid habitats ranging from alpine peaks, open scrub and subtropical forest to wetlands, rocky or sandy shores and the open Pacific. Well researched and informative captions from Matt Turner make this not only a stunning photographic collection, but also a very useful reference.” (Catalogue)

Māori and the environment : kaitiaki
“The New Zealand environment has been allowed to deteriorate, but it is not too late to undo the damage. This book advocates the adoption of the kaupapa of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) to preserve what is left and to restore the lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and foreshore of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

Wild encounters : a Forest & Bird guide to discovering New Zealand’s unique wildlife.
“Wild Encounters is your complete guide to more than twenty of the best nature experiences New Zealand has to offer. Each entry contains maps, travel details and what to see and do, all accompanied by beautiful photographs.” (Catalogue)

Spring beauty buzz – latest fashion and beauty books

This month we have a bumper crop of beauty books, just in time for the new season! Learn how to make your own products at home and get tips on how to achieve timeless elegance and beauty the French way. Our latest fashion selections include some sensational prints from Orla Kiely and a look at the effect of fashion on nature. All on the New Books shelves now!

Syndetics book coverA life in pattern / Orla Kiely.
“Orla Kiely has opened her archives to explore a life dedicated to print. From her earliest and most iconic pattern, Stem, to the evolution of her print design encompassing the worlds of fashion, homewares and beyond, Orla shares the full range of patterns and designs that she has produced since establishing her brand in 1995. This is a celebration of Orla’s entire body of work — of colour, of print and of a handbag loved by women all over the world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Fashion Show : History, Theory and Practice
“Take up your all-access pass to one of the most dynamic areas of the international fashion industry. Lavishly illustrated and packed with industry insights, The Fashion Show is the must-have guide to showing off a collection. Future fashion designers, fashion marketers, fashion managers, fashion PRs – and creative practitioners looking to learn more about this fascinating part of the industry, you are cordially invited to join Gill Stark in the front row of The Fashion Show.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFresh & pure : organically crafted beauty balms & cleansers / Jules Aron.
“Tired of wondering exactly what went into her beauty products, holistic health and wellness coach Jules Aron decided to make her own. In Fresh & Pure, Aron explains how to use fruit, flowers, herbs, and minerals to craft healthy beauty products that promote radiant skin, strong nails, and shiny hair. With this helpful guide, readers will be able to pamper themselves from head to toe with aromatic, forward-thinking potions like charcoal soap, strawberry rose facial mist, pineapple sunflower body scrub, and aloe and avocado hair conditioner.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashioned from nature / edited by Edwina Ehrman.
“Fashion has always sought to celebrate nature – in spite of this reverence for the natural world, fashion seems destined to harm it. With essays spanning the 17th century to the present day, Fashioned from Nature examines our dependence on the natural world. Considering the effects of land clearance, insecticides and water consumption not to mention washing after every wear at 140F and the answer may not be as clear cut as it first appears. No fashion choice will ever be without impact, but this book will stimulate debate and empower readers to question their role as consumers.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhole beauty : daily rituals and natural recipes for lifelong beauty and wellness / Shiva Rose ; photographs by Ngoc Minh Ngo.
Whole Beauty is a practical, inspiring, stunningly beautiful guide to following a whole beauty practice at home. Here is the recipe for Rose’s iconic rose hip facial serum, as well as 40 other recipes for masks and exfoliants, hair-care products and detoxes, and even DIY deodorant and toothpaste. She explains Ayurvedic practices, such as dry brushing and oil pulling, and home-cleansing rituals, such as smudging with burning sage; shares a dozen tonics, including Celestial Nog and Summer Lover; and offers an entire chapter on the use of essential oils, both on the body and in the home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgeless beauty : the secrets to French elegance / Clémence von Mueffling with Karen Moline.
“Discover the best-kept beauty secrets from three generations of editors and experts at Vogue Paris. Clémence Von Mueffling draws on her family’s wisdom and passion to show how you can achieve effortless French beauty at any age. Filled with tips, intimate anecdotes and expert interviews, Ageless Beauty is sure to become every woman’s definitive beauty guide.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgeless beauty the French way : secrets from three generations of French beauty editors / Clémence von Mueffling with Karen Moline.
“From three generations of French beauty experts, Ageless Beauty the French Way is the ultimate book of tips, products, practices and French beauty secrets in ten categories such as Hair, Skin, Makeup, Sleep, and Perfume. Weaving wisdom from all three women with insiders tips from top beauty experts, Clémence shares both timeless and age-specific information in three categories– Jeunesse (15-35), Plénitude (35-55), and Maturité (55+)–creating a wonderful guide that any woman can cherish throughout her life, and pass down to her daughter through the years.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

What the soul feels: 10 new Photography books

They say, that photography, like art, it is less what the eye sees and more what the soul feels, and we couldn’t agree more. So whether your soul feels the mists of the mountains, the droplets of water from a dog shaking his coat, vintage cameras, cityscapes, fashion, selfies or satellite imagery, we’ve got you covered! Check out these 10 new photography books from our collection.

Syndetics book coverPawtraits / Ken Drake.
Pawtraits is a stunning photographic collection capturing man’s best friends at their most adorable, playful, mischievous and downright lovable selves. Each shot is an artwork, a beautiful, personal ‘tail’ of the love between a dog and their human, captured in Zoo Studio’s signature style.  Animal lovers & photographic art connoisseurs alike will fall in love with this book. A portion of the sales of Pawtraits will be donated to the RSPCA.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotographs from the edge : a master photographer’s insights on capturing an extraordinary world / Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard
“Legendary nature photographer Art Wolfe presents an intimate, behind-the-scenes guide to the experiences, decisions, and methods that helped him capture images from some of the most exciting locations across the globe. From endangered species to cultural celebrations to natural wonders, Wolfe brings each subject to life through his stunning photography and the stories he shares in this one-of-a-kind photo safari.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI love my selfie / essay by Ilan Stavans ; auto-portraits by ADÁL.
“What explains our current obsession with selfies? In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie’s historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. He sees selfies as tools people use to disguise or present themselves as spontaneous and casual. Provocative and engaging, this book will change the way readers think about this unavoidable phenomenon of twenty-first-century life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagnum photobook : the Catalogue Raisonné / texts by Fred Ritchin & Carole Naggar.
“Including unpublished behind-the scenes material, together with ephemera from the photographers’ archives about the making of their books. With an introduction by Fred Ritchin and texts by Carole Naggar, this book explores the evolution of the photobook, as well as the important role that Magnum has played in the history of documentary photography.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAging gracefully : portraits of people over 100 / Karsten Thormaehlen.
“A beautiful and fascinating exploration of what it is like to be over 100 years old, Aging Gracefully invites readers to look into the face of a century of life experience with portraits of centenarians captured by the compassionate, minimalist lens of photographer Karsten Thormaehlen. The striking photographs are accompanied by short bios of the centenarians, featuring quotes and wisdom on love, food, humor, and living with grace.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn reading / Steve McCurry ; foreword by Paul Theroux.
“Young or old, rich or poor, people everywhere read. This homage to the beauty and seductiveness of reading brings together a collection of photographs taken by Steve McCurry over four decades of travel and is introduced by award-winning writer, Paul Theroux. McCurry’s mesmerizing images of the universal human act of reading are an acknowledgement and tribute to the overwhelming power of the written word.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarth from space / by Yann Arthus-Bertrand ; translated from the French by Nicholas Elliott ; GoodPlanet Foundation.
“With more than 150 breathtaking satellite photographs, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, an aerial photographer and environmental activist, discusses the impact of deforestation, urban sprawl, ocean pollution, and more. Earth from Space ‘s compelling selection of satellite images raises important questions about our future, while showcasing the planet’s beauty, leaving no doubt that it is something crucial to protect.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverErik Madigan Heck : old future / texts by Justine Picardie and Susan Bright.
“In contemporary fashion photography, Erik Madigan Heck is something of an anomaly – a very successful anomaly who steers his own path. His work is elegant and unashamedly beautiful, exploring the intersections of fashion, painting and classical portraiture. Working with natural light and combining in-camera effects with digital post-production, he produces evocative and seductive images that are both timeless and futuristic.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetro photo : an obsession : a personal selection of vintage cameras and the photographs they take / David Ellwand.
“From the pinhole to the Pentax, Retro Photo: An Obsession is a visual journey through the history of photography, highlighting some of the iconic cameras of the analog era. At once an accessible guide to vintage cameras, a highly personal take on photographic history, and a celebration of classic design, here is a book that takes the fear out of old-style photography and puts the fun back in.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York serenade / Ciro Frank Schiappa, photographs ; Michele Primi, texts.
New York Serenade is homage to the city of New York. The project consists of fifty pictures that share stories we believe are relevant to describe the continuous changing of the historical sites, the urban landscape, and the different forms of art that the city itself produced over the years. Our aim is to write a story about history, art, music, and New York City, and create a journey through this tradition, around historical places that are holding memories of the past while the future is written somewhere else.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Conservation Week 1-8 November 2015: Healthy Nature, Healthy People

Take part in Conservation Week 2015 by bringing your children to the pre-school story time at your local library, and getting into nature to refresh your body and mind. Also enjoy the gifts of nature with the books about wildlife photography, small footprint houses, and outdoor activities for kids.

Syndetics book coverStanding my ground : a voice for nature conservation / Alan F. Mark
“For more than five decades, Alan Mark has been a voice for conservation in New Zealand. From his call in the 1960s for the establishment of tussock-grassland reserves in the South Island high country to his involvement in the 2011-13 campaign to save the Denniston Plateau from mining, he has been a passionate and effective advocate for the preservation of areas of ecological importance. As well as providing an important record of New Zealand’s conservation battles and documenting the life of an outstanding New Zealander, Standing My Ground is an inspiring reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild coast : a celebration of the places where land meets sea / Marianne Taylor.
“This book is a celebration of the wildlife and landscapes of Britain’s most vital wildlife habitats – those that make up our coastline. Sheer limestone crags resound with the voices of thousands of bickering seabirds; endless acres of estuarine mud are packed with squirming invertebrates that sustain thousands of wading birds. In between are the dazzling chalk outcrops of the south coast with glorious floral communities on the clifftop meadows, shingle beaches where terns and plovers hide their eggs among the stones, and dune systems bound together with marram grass and supporting a unique and fragile ecosystem. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs and authoritative text, this book is a celebration of the wilder aspects of the UK’s coasts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMother and child : wildlife photography / Reg Grundy ; preface by Douglas Kirkland ; foreword by Guy Cooper ; epilogue by Joy Chambers-Grundy.
“Reg Grundy is one of the key figures in the history of television, known in his native Australia and around the world for his successes as a producer and entrepreneur. Culled from more than four decades of archived photographs, Mother and Child is a breathtaking collection of photographs on the most universal of topics the enduring bond between mothers and their children, shared by all living beings. These evocative photographs take us from the red soil of the Arabian Peninsula to snowy, polar-bear inhabited corners of the arctic, offering glimpses of maternal relationships across boundaries of nation and species.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSustainable : houses with small footprints / Avi Friedman.
“Have we passed a tipping point beyond which we can no longer reverse a course of action that was charted several decades ago? Sustainable: Houses with Small Footprints argues that we can indeed detach our dwellings from a dependence on many external systems and resources and adopt other building practices. What is known as living off the grid is possible, and Sustainable presents forty-five houses that demonstrate how architects have implemented sustainable design concepts around the world. The variety and ingenuity of the projects featured here make Sustainable a uniquely coherent and authoritative volume on sustainable residential design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPristine seas : journeys to the ocean’s last wild places / Enric Sala ; foreword by Leonardo DiCaprio.
“There are places in the ocean virtually untouched by man. They offer a fascinating glimpse into our past and an inspiring vision for the future. They are the last Pristine Seas, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala takes readers on an unforgettable journey to 10 of these astounding locations. From the shark-rich waters surrounding Coco Island, Costa Rica, to the iceberg-studded sea off Franz Josef Land, Russia, this incredible photographic collection showcases the thriving marine ecosystems that Sala is working to protect.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalk Trash: Moving Toward a Zero-waste World (Orca Footprints) [hardback]
“Humans have always generated garbage, whether it’s a chewed-on bone or a broken cell phone. Our landfills are overflowing, but with some creative thinking, stuff we once threw away can become a collection of valuable resources just waiting to be harvested. Trash Talk digs deep into the history of garbage, from Minoan trash pits to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and uncovers some of the many innovative ways people all over the world are dealing with waste.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to raise a wild child : the art and science of falling in love with nature / Scott D. Sampson.
“American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors–90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat illness, and boost academic scores. Most critical of all, abundant time in nature seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. Yet teachers, parents, and other caregivers lack a basic understanding of how to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. How to Raise a Wild Child offers a timely and engaging antidote, showing how kids’ connection to nature changes as they mature.” (Publisher’s description)

Sustainable seas : managing the marine environment / Lucy Brake and Raewyn Peart.
“Demystifies a complex and overlapping legislative framework by clearly describing how decisions affecting the marine environment are made and by whom… an invaluable resource for all those who have an interest in New Zealand’s marine environment including members of the fishing, aquaculture, shipping and mining sectors, iwi and hapu, tourism operators, marine developers, recreational users, conservationists, catchment and marine managers, scientists and students.” (Syndetics summary)