Mānawatia a Matariki!

“Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki
Mānawa maiea te ariki o te Rangi
Mānawa maiea te mātahi o te tau

Celebrate the rising of Matariki
Celebrate the rising of the lord of the sky
Celebrate the rising of the New Year

For the first time in Aotearoa, Matariki will officially be celebrated as a rā whakatā ā-ture (public holiday) on Friday 24 June 2022.

It is an opportunity for all people of Aotearoa to come together and reflect on the year that has passed, celebrate the present, and plan for the future.”(Mānawatia a Matariki)

In Aotearoa, the Matariki star cluster can be seen for most of the year, but in May the stars set below the horizon and during June or July each year, they rise again. The rising of Matariki marks the start of the Māori new year and is a time of remembrance, peace, and celebration. Traditionally nine stars were visible. These are named individually with each star signifying an important aspect of Te Ao Māori. Tohunga (skilled experts) would observe how the stars looked in the sky and make predictions on the coming year according to their appearance.

Celebrating Puanga

Many Māori in the west of New Zealand observe the rise of Puanga about two weeks earlier than Matariki. Puanga can be seen in the eastern sky and it signals the approach of dawn as if “the sun itself is pushing it from behind”. Puanga is celebrated by our Wellington mana whenua, Te Āti Awa as well as other Taranaki Iwi, Whanganui Iwi, Ngāpuhi, Rēkohu/Wharekauri and Moriori from the Chatham Islands. “Puanga kai rau” means Puanga of abundant food and gives credit to the fruits which Puanga brings.

The Matariki cluster is known throughout the world by many names including the Pleiades star cluster. In Greek ancient mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters. The sisters’ names were Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Maia, Merope, Sterope (or Asterope), and Taygete. Puanga is known by some other cultures as Rigel.


Te Iwa o Matariki (The Nine Stars of Matariki)

Matariki – signifies reflection, hope and our connection to the environment

Pōhutukawa – connects with those who have passed on

Waitī – ties to bodies of fresh water and the food within it

Waitā – ties to the ocean and the food within it

Waipuna-ā-rangi – associated with the rain

Tupuānuku – is for food that grows within the soil

Tupuārangi – is for food that grows up in the trees

Ururangi – is the star associated with the winds

Hiwa-i-te-rangi – the youngest, is the wishing star that also ties into our aspirations for the coming year


Matariki Connections

Competition for Ages 512

Matariki is a good time to reflect on our lives and the world around us, celebrate the present, and think about the future.

In this competition, discover and draw what one star connection means to you! Use the above descriptions to choose an aspect of life associated with a star, and then illsutrate what it means to you!

The competition runs from 21–30 June.

Find out about the star connections here, or on the entry form at libraries and community centres. You can enter online at wcl.govt.nz/matarikiconnections

Win some lovely pukapuka!




Hot off the press!

The Astromancer: The Rising of Matariki. / Ihimaera, Witi
“The Astromancer is looking for four new apprentices to learn about Matariki and the Maramataka calendar. She chooses three boys and an orphan girl, Aria, who will come only if she can bring her smelly dog. Aria, though, is bored by the lessons, and she doesn’t want to be told what to do. But these are dangerous times, and Ruatapu the Ravenous is about to threaten the safety of the whole tribe. Will Aria step up to save them? Also available in te reo Maori as Te Kokorangi.” (Catalogue)
Te Kokorangi: Te Aranga o Matariki. / Ihimaera, Witi
“E kimi ana a Te Kokorangi i etahi pia hou tokowha hei ako i nga korero o Matariki me te maramataka. Kowhiria ana etahi tama tokotoru, me tetahi kotiro, he pani, ko Aria te ingoa. Tohe ana a Aria kia haere ano ko tana kuri haunga i tona taha. Ka ahua hoha a Aria i nga akoranga, kaore hoki ia e pai kia tohutohungia ia. Engari kua noho morearea te iwi. Taihoa pea ratou ka tino raru i a Ruatapu Te Pukurua. Ae ranei ma Aria ano te iwi e whakaora?” (Catalogue)

Want to find out more to help you celebrate Matariki?

Mānawatia a Matariki

Matariki at Te Papa

Matariki ki Pōneke

Matariki | AnyQuestions 

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Matariki: Te Tau Hou Māori

Te Aka Māori Dictionary

Wellington City Libraries: Matariki

 

Ngā mihi o te tau hou Māori!

Celebrate Nowruz 2022 at the Library!

Nowruz Mobarak!  aidé shomā mobārak!

!عيد نو روز مبارک Bayramiz Mubarah! nowruzetoon peerooz!  !نوروز پيروز

Happy Nowruz! May your new year be victorious!

What is Nowruz?

Nowruz (also known as Nauryz, Navruz, or Nowrouz) is the Persian New Year, but you don’t have to be Persian to celebrate it! This year, Nowruz is taking place in New Zealand on Monday 21 March. More than 300 million people worldwide celebrate Nowruz, and have celebrated it for more than 3,000 years, from the Balkans to the Black Sea Basin, to the Middle East and elsewhere.

Nowruz means “new day” in Farsi (the language predominantly spoken in Iran), and it occurs on the first day of Spring. While it’s a secular holiday for most people, it remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Baháʼís, and some Muslims. The main countries that celebrate Nowruz are Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Nowruz “promotes the values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families,” the United Nations says. It’s a time of reconciliation and neighbourliness, “contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities.” We think this is something that we definitely need more of all over the world. Wellington City Libraries would like to wish you all “Nowruzetoon Peerooz — نوروز پيروز — May your new year be victorious!

From the Catalogue!

To help you and your family find out more about Nowruz, or about the people and cultures who celebrate it, we have put together this list of books to get you started:

Seven special somethings : a Nowruz story / Khorram, Adib
“Kian can’t wait for Persian New Year! His family has already made a haft-seen, and Kian’s baba and maman told him that all the things on it start with S and will bring them joy in the new year. Kian wonders if he could add just one more S, to make his family even happier. […] Can Kian find seven special somethings to make a new haft seen before his family arrives for their Nowruz celebration?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The big book of festivals / Bullock, Marita
“From tomato-throwing parties to graveside picnics, fire-walking ceremonies, crying baby competitions and the biggest bathing festival on Earth – this book introduces you to some of the world’s most incredible cultural and religious celebrations. Some festivals are outrageously fun and joyful, others are more serious. All of them bring people together to mark big events in life.So join us in this riotous explosion of colour as we feast, sing, cry and celebrate the diversity of festivals and traditions this wonderful world of ours has to offer!” (Catalogue)

Mā dārīm mīrīam shikār-i khirs = We’re going on a bear hunt / Rosen, Michael
Read this classic children’s tale, here told in Persian, the national language of Iran! You can find more children’s books in Persian on our catalogue here!

A treasury of Turkish folktales for children / Walker, Barbara K
“Thirty-four Turkish folk tales about jinns and giants, padishahs and peasants, and beloved heroes such as Keloglan the bald boy.” (Catalogue)

My Grandma and me / Javaherbin, Mina
“In a true tale of a young girl in Iran and her grandmother, this beautiful ode to family celebrates small moments of love that become lifelong memories.” (Catalogue)

Pea boy and other stories from Iran / Laird, Elizabeth
“A wonderful collection of traditional stories from Iran retold by an award-winning author who knows the country intimately.” (Catalogue)

Lunar New Year & Chinese New Year of the Tiger

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by many countries and communities, particularly throughout East Asia. The Chinese New Year is an annual 15-day festival in China, and in Chinese communities around the world, that begins with the new moon.

This blog post will focus on the Chinese New Year of 2022, which falls on February 1st (Tuesday) with a festival lasting until February 15th, about 15 days in total.

The Chinese New Year animal sign this year is the Tiger.
Image courtesy of chinesenewyear.net

Did you know? Tigers are the third of the Chinese zodiacs. According to legend, Tiger was confident that no one could compete with its speed and vigor for the celestial race that would decide the order of the zodiacs. However, when Tiger climbed out of the river, thinking it was first, it was informed that Rat placed first for its cunning and Ox placed second for its diligence. This left the king of the jungle having to settle for third place.

To learn more about the year of the tiger, click here and read: 

Image courtesy of syndeticsIn the year of the tiger.

This Chinese folk tale traces the cycles of village life through the rich community celebration of the Lion Dance performed during the Spring Festival. Chiu Wing and his neighbours eagerly await the festival each year. (Catalogue).

 


For more information on what events are on around Wellington, check out the Chinese New Year website.

With New Zealand moving to Red Settings, Asian Events Trust will be implementing its COVID-19 back-up plan. For more information, click here.

How can you celebrate?

  • Create decorations to help join in the festive spirit.
  • Chow down on festive treats.
  • Watch the fireworks and traditional dancing.
  • Spending time with loved ones.
  • Giving red envelopes to kids.

Did you know: The colour red is regarded as the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. Sending red envelopes is a way to send good wishes and luck (as well as money).

For more more craft ideas and recipes for festive treats, click on this link.

Where can I find information about Chinese New Year?

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about Chinese New Year.
  • NZ History has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Kids World Travel guide has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Also check out these amazing books!
    Books about Chinese New Year:

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

This book explores the festival of Chinese New Year and the story behind it and features eight simple origami projects for your own festive fun! The book shows how people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and what the Chinese calendar and the animals of the zodiac are. Attractively designed, its simple text and wonderful full-colour photos make this an essential book for children celebrating or learning about the festival. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year : a celebration for everyone.

Part of the nonfiction Orca Origins series, Chinese New Year is illustrated with color photographs throughout. Readers will learn how a simple gathering of family and friends grew into a weeklong, worldwide festival. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

Learn about the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world. This series encourages children to consider religious beliefs and cultural practices via easy to read text and informative, full color images. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

“Chinese New Year is a time of hope and hapiness. During the festival, some people eat special foods and give gifts. Others watch parades and light fireworks. One thing all people do at Chinese New Year is have fun!” – Back cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsRuby’s Chinese New Year.

“As Ruby travels to her grandmother’s house to bring her a gift for Chinese New Year, she is joined by all of the animals of the zodiac. Includes the legend of the Chinese horoscope and instructions for crafts.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHome for Chinese New Year : a story told in English and Chinese.

“The Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions. This Chinese children’s story tells a delightful trip with lots of cultural details along the way! Jia Jun’s Dad worked out of town all year around. Now it’s time for him to come home.” ( Adapted from catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMaisy’s Chinese New Year.

“Maisy’s friend Tiger is coming home especially for Chinese New Year! Once the house is tidy and the decorations are up, Maisy changes into her lovely red dress and throws a big party for all her friends. They have a delicious feast, tell stories, see the fireworks together and, on new year’s day, watch a spectacular parade – with an amazing dragon dance!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe runaway wok : a Chinese New Year tale.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty–but magic–wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe little pigs and the sweet rice cakes : a story told in English and Chinese.

“Told in a bilingual Chinese and English edition, this is the story of three little pigs whose appetites initially get the better of them. In a shared dream, they met an old man who tells them to deliver sweet rice cakes to him a week before New Year’s Eve. The next morning, they see some sweet rice cakes on their kitchen table. The three little pigs completely forget the old man and eat every bit of them.”  Find out what happens next! –Adapted from publisher.

image courtesy of syndeticsPeppa’s Chinese New Year

“It is Chinese New Year and Madame Gazelle is teaching the children all about this very special celebration. Peppa and George and their friends make Chinese New Year cards, try tasty Chinese treats and even take part in their very own dragon parade!”(Catalogue).

Books about Tigers:

image courtesy of syndeticsMy big cats journal : in search of lions, leopards, cheetahs and tigers.

Follow Steve Bloom as he travels across continents taking photographs. Find out how big-cat predators survive in tough conditions; how they live, grow up, hunt and have babies. Bloom’s account makes a compelling narrative in the same way that the voiceover on a natural-history television programme is both informative and pacy.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsCan we save the tiger?

The tiger is just one of thousands of animals — including the ground iguana, the white-rumped vulture, and the partula snail — currently in danger of becoming extinct, joining the dodo, the marsupial wolf, the great auk, and countless others we will never see again. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsAll about tigers : a description text.

This series uses the topic of big cats to present different text structures commonly used in informational writing. The interesting topics will engage independent readers and provide useful stimulus for teachers planning to teach how non-fiction texts are structured and presented. (Catalogue).

 

World Braille Day 2022 and… Happy birthday to Louis Braille!

January 4th is World Braille Day. World Braille Day is celebrated around the world every year on January 4th, which is also the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille writing system.

World Braille Day: Everything you need to know from the BBC. Hands on a Braille page.

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Why is World Braille Day important? To recognise the blind and visually impaired. It raises the awareness of the importance of the braille in education, communication, and social inclusion. Finally, to honor Louis Braille and incredible tool that he created which has helped so many people over the years.

What is Braille? A system of writing used by and for blind people, consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell.

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Who was Louis Braille? Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. Louis Braille  lost his eyesight as a child when he accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with his father’s awl. From the age of 10, he spent time at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in France, where he formulated and perfected the system of raised dots that eventually became known as Braille. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as Braille. The term ‘Braille’ was dubbed after its creator.

image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

For more information, check out his story:

image courtesy of syndeticsSix dots : a story of young Louis Braille.

“Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet — a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.” (Catalogue).

Did you know?

  • In 1999, NASA’s Deep Space 1 flew past an asteroid on its way to photograph the Borrelly’s Comet and named it ‘9969 Braille’ in acknowledgment of Louis Braille.
  • Braille is an alphabet that can be used to write almost any language and versions are available in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Spanish, and more.
  • Uncontracted Braille spells out every word, whereas contracted Braille is a shorthand version that abbreviates familiar words.
  • There’s a unique version of Braille specifically for mathematics and science, called the Nemeth Code.
  • There are toys in Braille  such as Uno, Monopoly, and LEGO are available in Braille versions.

For more information:

World Braille Day – BBC.

The Life and Legacy of Louis Braille | American Foundation for the Blind (afb.org)

Blind Low Vision NZ – support for Kiwis who are blind or have low vision

We have an amazing collection of braille books, Louis Braille and other famous inspiring people – both in fiction and real life that changed the world, despite being blind.

Enjoy!

DK Braille Books series.

image courtesy of syndeticsCounting.

“Learn to count to 10 with DK Braille Counting. Designed especially for visually-impaired pre-school children and their parents, this touch-and-feel book takes readers through a collection of tactile objects made in all sorts of exciting textures, including silky flowers, crackly leaves, and sticky worms. Each image is also printed in high-contrast colours to engage partially-sighted readers, while the rhyming counting story is printed in both braille and clear printed text to suit the needs of every child and parent. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille Counting is a wonderful book for learning to count with braille.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsFarm.

“A high-quality LEGO® DUPLO® book with braille and tactile images for blind and partially sighted parents and children to share with their sighted family members. Produced in consultation with braille experts, this LEGO DUPLO board book explores a LEGO DUPLO farm with animals including pigs, ducks, chickens, cows, sheep and horses. It combines high contrast colours with embossed images of the models for children to feel.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsAnimals : knowledge you can touch.

“Learn about lions, elephants, koalas, and more in this exciting reference book designed specifically for blind or visually impaired readers. The pages combine braille, large print, and high-contrast photography with clear and predictive layouts for curious young readers. The images are large and embossed, flocked, or glossed with explanatory text, and the text is both embossed braille and printed in large text format for a shared reading experience for sighted readers.” (Google Books).

image courtesy of syndeticsIt can’t be true.

“Packed with astonishing facts and astounding world records, DK Braille It Can’t Be True is a fascinating book designed especially for visually impaired readers. In over 70 pages you will find the world’s weirdest wonders and unbelievable facts described in both braille and large print, paired with tactile images that demonstrate just how unusual the objects and events being described really are. Through the use of detailed embossing, you can feel the world’s largest hailstone (three times larger than a tennis ball!) and a bird so small it can sit on the end of your thumb. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille It Can’t Be True will keep you entertained and amazed for hours.” (Catalogue).


Read about Helen Keller, who was blind, deaf and changed the world!

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller : her life in pictures.

“The fascinating life of one of the most popular historical figures is told through images — most rarely, if ever, seen — from the American Foundation for the Blind and The Perkins School for the Blind. The images trace Keller’s life from birth, to childhood with Annie Sullivan in the cottage, to college, and on to her many years as a dedicated social activist and spokesperson. We get a glimpse of her sense of humor, her experiences as a lecturer on the vaudeville circuit, her many pets, and her last quiet years in Connecticut.”(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller’s best friend Belle.

“Shares details about Helen Keller’s early life, including her love for animals and her special relationship with a devoted Great Dane named Belle, who was a faithful companion to Helen throughout her younger years.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller.

“In this kids’ biography, discover the inspiring story of Helen Keller, who overcame the odds by learning to understand and communicate with the world. Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing due to an early childhood illness and spent the first 6 years of her life unable to interact with other people. She remained isolated from the outside world until Anne Sullivan came to work as her teacher. In this biography book for kids ages 8-11, learn all about Helen Keller’s amazing life and achievements – how she learned to read Braille and speak, go to college, write books, and ultimately revolutionize the world through her activism on behalf of the deaf and blind. This new biography series from DK goes beyond the basic facts to tell the true life stories of history’s most interesting people. Full-color photographs and hand-drawn illustrations complement thoughtfully written, age-appropriate text to create an engaging book children will enjoy reading. Definition boxes, information sidebars, maps, inspiring quotes, and other nonfiction text features add depth, and a handy reference section at the back makes this the one biography series every teacher and librarian will want to collect. Each book also includes an author’s introduction letter, a glossary, and an index.” (Catalogue).

Some inspiring reads…

image courtesy of syndeticsThe black book of colours.

“An award-winning, unforgettable black book about colour, which shows you how to “see” without your eyes.It can be hard for a sighted person to imagine what it is like to be blind. But in this breathtaking, ground-breaking and award-winning colour book, Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria try to convey the experience of a person who can see only through their sense of touch, taste, smell or hearing. With gorgeous textured art on black paper, accompanied by a beautifully written text translated into braille, this powerful book breaks down barriers and gives young readers the ability to experience the world in a whole new way.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMysterious traveller.

“This tale begins with a disgruntled camel, desperately trying to protect a little baby from a violent desert storm whipping up all around him. He is rescued by Issa – the desert guide – who takes the child in, naming her Mariama. She becomes Issa’s family and, as he begins to lose his sight, his eyes. Many years later, a mysterious stranger arrives at their doorstep, a stranger who will change both their lives for ever.” (Catalogue).


image courtesy of syndeticsFootsteps through the fog.

“Unlike her brothers and sisters, Anthea cannot see, so when they all go to the beach one day, their mother tells them to take care of her. While they are all playing on the sand, a thick fog rolls in from the ocean. Suddenly it’s up to Anthea to get everyone home safely. Written by the legendary Margaret Mahy and with artwork by master illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is a beautifully told story that will give readers young and old a new perspective on blindness. Mahy and Bishop have both donated their royalties for this project to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe world ends in April.

“Eleanor Dross knows a thing or two about the end of the world, thanks to a survivalist grandfather who stockpiles freeze-dried food and supplies–just in case. So when she reads about a Harvard scientist’s prediction that an asteroid will strike Earth in April, Eleanor knows her family will be prepared. Her classmates? They’re on their own. Eleanor has just one friend she wants to keep safe: Mack. They’ve been best friends since kindergarten, even though he’s more of a smiley emoji and she’s more of an eye-roll emoji. They’ll survive the end of the world together . . . if Mack doesn’t go away to a special school for the blind. But it’s hard to keep quiet about a life-destroying asteroid–especially at a crowded lunch table–and soon Eleanor is the president of the (secret) End of the World Club. It turns out that prepping for TEOTWAWKI (the End of the World as We Know It) is actually kind of fun. But you can’t really prepare for everything life drops on you. And one way or another, Eleanor’s world is about to change.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe sound of colors : a journey of the imagination.

“A lonely young girl who is losing her sight uses a trip on the subway as a springboard for her imagination. Her mind takes her on a colourful journey where she swims with dolphins, sunbathes on a whale’s back and follows a butterfly to her destination. First person recount. A sophisticated picture book. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue).

Christmas in the Capital and at the Library!

Tis the season for festive fun! Christmas is coming to the Capital … and to the library! Why not get into the Christmas spirit and check out the amazing Christmas themed books and DVDs we have in our collection in between Christmas shopping and life! The countdown to Christmas and the end of 2021 is on!

image courtesy of wellington.govt.nz

Image courtesy of WCC.


Ngā haora hararei – Holiday hours over Christmas & New Year 2021/2022!

Libraries in Wellington are closed on Christmas Day, (Saturday 25th December) until Tuesday 28th December, and again on New Years Day (Saturday 1st January) until Tuesday 4th January. From the 29th of December, we will be open on reduced hours.

From Wednesday 5th January, all branches, except for He Matapihi Molesworth Street, will return to normal to normal hours. He Matapihi Molesworth Street will be open again on Monday 10th January.
Click here for more information about opening hours across all our libraries over the Christmas and New Year period.

What is Christmas? Find out with…

image courtesy of syndeticsChristmas.

“Learn what Christmas is, and how it is celebrated. Learn about the religion of Christianity, and what Christmas means to its followers. Learn about prayers and carols, Santa Claus and his reindeer, and traditional decorations and gifts. Also learn about festive Christmas foods and traditions of giving to charity at Christmas.” (Catalogue).

Also check out last year’s post on Solstice and Yule: The Grandfathers of Christmas, which provides you with information about the history of Christmas.

Did you know? Two cultures, the Celts and the Norse each contribute to some of the world’s original festive celebrations at the Christmas time of year.

Some handy ideas for Christmas Crafts:

Need some ideas on making Christmas cards, decorations and gifts? Why not check out books such as:

image courtesy of syndetics100 things to recycle and make.

“Provides step-by-step, illustrated instructions for crafts made with everyday materials, including egg cartons, sticks, and cardboard tubes.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook. 

image courtesy of syndeticsChristmas things to stitch and sew.

“This new reduced edition of this seasonal title contains fifteen enchanting activities that use a selection of simple sewing techniques. Includes festive projects such as a reindeer collage, Christmas stockings, hanging star decorations and a beautiful fabric holly wreath.” (Catalogue).
Also search our catalogue for more ideas for Christmas Crafts.

Whip up a Christmas feast:

Need some ideas on making snacks, nibbles and a feast for a Christmas party or Christmas lunch! Have a read of this book, or click here for more:

image courtesy of syndeticsChristmas cooking.

“Easy step-by-step recipes for delicious Christmas biscuits, cakes and sweets that can be given as gifts, hung on a Christmas tree, or simply eaten and enjoyed. Lots of wrapping ideas, including festive gift boxes and tags. Colourful illustrations and mouth-watering photographs throughout.”

Read stories about Christmas:

image courtesy of syndeticsCowshed Christmas.

“A retelling of the Christmas story with a New Zealand twist. Farmyard animals including a cow, sheep and kune kune come with gifts such as a rugby ball, pavlova and jandals for the baby Jesus by the cowshed door. Suggested level: junior.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsGrumpy Cat’s first worst Christmas.

“Pokey makes every effort to get Grumpy Cat to join in the Christmas spirit! Pokey wants to build a snow-cat together, go sledding, decorate the Christmas tree, and bake cookies for Santa! But Grumpy Cat wants to live in her wonderland of NO.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe life and adventures of Santa Claus.

“Drawing on the attributes of Santa Claus from Clement Moore’s 1822 poem […], Baum chronicles Santa’s life from his childhood in an enchanted forest […] to his destiny of sharing gifts and spreading love to his fellow man. Along the way we witness him making his first toys, discover the origins of the Christmas tree and Christmas stockings, and learn the stories behind many Christmas secrets…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsI killed Father Christmas.

“Jo-Jo’s mum and dad are arguing again – but this time it’s on Christmas Eve and Jo-Jo’s convinced it’s all his fault. He’s been spoiled, selfish and greedy – and his badness has actually killed Father Christmas. […] But then a magical encounter with the real Father Christmas shows Jo-Jo that the true message of Christmas is the giving of love, not of gifts.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsQuentin Blake’s A Christmas carol.

A beautiful edition of the timeless Christmas classic. A Christmas Carol is the book that defines the Christmas spirit. Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited miser, is visited by three ghosts one Christmas Eve. The ghosts show Scrooge the true value of Christmas: charity, good humour and love for his fellow man.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsA very Babymouse Christmas.

“The holidays are here and everyone’s enjoying their favorite traditions-eating latkes, decorating for Kwanza, singing holiday songs, and most of all, being with family. Well, everyone except Babymouse. […] Whether she has to face down the ghosts of mean girls past or outsmart Santa himself, she’ll do whatever it takes to make sure she gets the present she wants.” (Adapted from Catalogue).

For more ideas on Christmas themed stories click here.

Stuck inside? Try some Christmas movies:

image courtesy of amazon.co.ukHome Alone.

“When the McCallisters went on holiday they forgot eight year old Kevin. When two bungling burglars break into the house Kevin outwits them.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Grinch.

“A re-telling of the classic tale about a grumpy old creature living in a cave on Mt. Crumpet who can’t stand to see his neighbors in Whoville enjoying themselves. Things are especially bad at Christmas, when the Whos kick their merriment into high gear with fantastic celebrations. This year, the Grinch decides to dress up like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and steal all the Christmas gifts and decorations so the Whos can’t enjoy the season.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Polar Express.

“Late on Christmas Eve night, a boy lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa’s sleigh. When to his surprise, a steam engine’s roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pajama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.co.ukOlaf’s Frozen Christmas.

“Olaf teams up with Sven on a merry mission. It’s the first holiday season since the gates re-opened and Anna and Elsa host a celebration for all of Arendelle. When the townspeople unexpectedly leave early to enjoy their individual holiday customs, the sisters realise they have no family traditions of their own. So, Olaf sets out to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions and save this first Christmas for his friends.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Nutcracker and the four realms.

“In search of a key to unlock a box from her late mother, Clara finds her way into a mysterious parallel world. She teams up with a soldier named Philip in order to brave the Fourth Realm to find the key and return harmony to the unstable world.” (Catalogue).

To get into the spirit of a Kiwi Christmas, relive the magic of Kiwi Christmas song, Summer Wonderland so you can sing along and take part in the festive cheer while  strolling through a summer wonderland. To recap, Summer Wonderland is a Kiwi spin on a much beloved classic Christmas carol Winter Wonderland, with a lyrical twist for the Southern Hemisphere and recorded for Air New Zealand.  This Christmas carol really showcases and beautifully captures the spirit and essence of a Kiwi Christmas of tucking into ham and pavlova, playing cricket, mozzie spray and tan marks. Check it out!


On behalf of the staff at Wellington City Libraries, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Meri Kirihimete! Kia Pai ngā Hararei!

Celebrate a Festival of lights with Hanukkah 2021!

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

חנוכה שמח! Happy Hanukkah! חג אורים שמח! Happy Festival of Lights!

Hanukkah 2021, also known as Festival of the Lights, will fall this year on the 28th November until 6th December.

What is Hannukah?

Hanukkah, or Chanukkah, is a Jewish festival that is observed for eight days and eight nights. It officially starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which can occur anywhere from late November to mid-December.

Did you know? Hannukah can be broken down into חנו כ”ה, “[they] rested [on the] twenty-fifth”, referring to the fact that the Jews ceased fighting on the 25th day of Kislev, the day on which the holiday begins.

To learn more about Hannukah, check out this clip from Clarendon Learning on YouTube down below:


How do people celebrate Hannukah?

To commemorate this, Jewish people who celebrate Hanukkah light candles in special nine-branch candelabrum known as a Hanukkah menorah (מנורת חנוכה).  One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and then this continues until all the candles are lit. The candles themselves are not used for any other purpose, even to light the other candles in the Menorah, so the ninth candle is used to light all the others. During Hanukkah, Jewish people make music together, share food (especially yummy fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot jam-filled doughnuts), exchange gelt, or gift money, and spend time with family and loved ones. A game is also traditionally played during Hanukkah that involves a driedel, which is a spinning top.

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org


For more craft and gift ideas, have a read of:

image courtesy of syndeticsFestive fun.

“Presents craft projects relating to special days and festive occasions: Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Passover, Easter, April Fool’s Day, May Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Includes step-by-step instructions. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Where can I find information about Hannukah?

Non fiction about Hannukah, Judaism and other religious festivals:

image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrate! : a book of Jewish holiday.

“This wonderful charmingly illustrated book celebrates Jewish holidays all year long. From Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to Sukkot, the celebration of the harvest, to Hanukkah, the festival of lights, this is the perfect book for families to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA Jewish life.

“A Jewish Life explores some of the cornerstones of what it means to be Jewish today, through Passover and Hanukkah celebrations, christening and wedding ceremonies, what happens in a synagogue and why many Jewish people go on pilgrimages to Israel.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe big book of festivals.

“Kids aged 7+ with an interest in the world around them will adore this collection of fantastic festivities, crazy celebrations and happy holy days from across the globe. The big book of festivals introduces young people to some major festivals and some lesser-known regional festivals from around the world. This gorgeously illustrated hardback features a total of 38 festivals, including: Lunar New Year, Day of the Dead, Kumbh Mela, Holi, Diwali, Gelede, Christmas, La Tomatina, Eid-ul-Fitr, Konaki Sumo, Carnaval, Hanukkah, Anastenaria, Festival of Giants, Matariki, Halloween, The Birthday of Guru Nanuk, Buddha’s Birthday, Bunya Cone Harvest Festival, Easter, Inti Raymi, Venetian Masquerade Ball, and more.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA faith like mine : a celebration of the world’s religions– seen through the eyes of children.

“Using revealing photography and detailed personal accounts to give unique insight into the diversity of religious faith as experienced by children across the world, this is an ideal book for families to read together.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsReligious celebrations.

“This interesting book is part of a series written for young students that focuses on a wide variety of celebrations and festivals held for special occasions throughout the world. It focuses on religious celebrations. Written in simple language, this colourful book takes a global approach highlighting similarities and differences between how events are celebrated within different cultures.” (Catalogue)

Picture Books and fiction about Hannukah.

image courtesy of syndeticsNonna’s Hanukkah surprise.

“When Rachel loses the special menorah her mother gave her so she could share Hanukkah with her cousins, Rachel’s grandmother comes to the rescue with a creative and crafty solution.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIs it Hanukkah yet?

“From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHana the Hanukkah fairy.

“When Hana the Hanukkah Fairy’s hanukkah is stolen by naughty Jack Frost, Hanukkah celebrations everywhere are at risk. Rachel and Kirsty must help Hani find her magical object!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe latke who couldn’t stop screaming : a Christmas story.

“Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukah. Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. People who are interested in either or both of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as if Hanukah is being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.” (Catalogue)

Guy Fawkes: Celebrate a gunpowder plot gone wrong at WCL!

image courtesy of wikipedia.org

This black-and-white drawing of Guy Fawkes was actually created over 200 years after his death by illustrator George Cruikshank! Image: Public Domain

Prepare to blow up… your mind with endless information about a gunpowder plot gone wrong. Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night will arrive once again on November 5th as an annual celebration with bonfires and fireworks in remembrance of the failed plot to kill the British Government and King James VI and I.

Why do we celebrate Guy Fawkes?

Guy Fawkes and a group of men were part of a plot to blow up British Parliament to kill the King of England on the 5th of November. However, the government found out about the plot before the attack could take place. The government arrested Guy Fawkes and his conspirators. Guy Fawkes and the others were convicted of treason. Parliament announced a national day, known as Guy Fawkes Day, to celebrate their survival. The first celebration was held on November 5, 1606. Today, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with feasts, bonfires, and fireworks.

Books about Guy Fawkes

If you’d like to read more about the history and alternative stories about Guy Fawkes, here’s a selection of books at the library:

image courtesy of syndeticsGuy Fawkes.

“Examines the life of Guy Fawkes, his childhood, family life, and the unsuccessful Gunpower Plot where he was arrested and executed with the rest of the plotters. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsGuy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

Read all about the history of Guy Fawkes and the gunpower plot that went horribly wrong. (Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndetics5 November 1605 : the Gunpowder Plot.

“This title explores the Gunpower Plot. It looks at what happened on the day and the background and consequences. It is suitable as a quick-read introduction to the subject and also as a high interest/low reading ability level book.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsRemember that November.

“It’s almost Guy Fawkes Night, and at the school speech competition Andy talks about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The children cheer excitedly, thinking Andy will win the contest. But then, Aroha gets up, wearing a white feather in her hair, and tells the story of another fifth of November – the invasion of Parihaka in 1881” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCorpse talk. Season 2.

“Sequel to the Blue Peter Award shortlisted Corpse Talk Season 1. The latest in the ultimate history lesson as Adam Murphy digs up and interviews an even more unusual and fascinating dead people, and finds out about their extraordinary lives.” (Catalogue)


While we’re in celebration mode, why not read up about celebrations and festivals around the world such as:

image courtesy of syndeticsFestivals and celebrations.

“Take a trip around the world, looking at the many different ways that people celebrate special days, holidays, religious festivals and traditional celebrations. Comparing Countries is a groundbreaking non-fiction dual-language series which compares and contrasts ways of life in different countries around the world. Presented in two different languages, each title explores a topic common to all children, from homes to festivals, highlighting what makes us different and what we all have in common. This series provides great support to geography learning, as well as helping young language learners improve their reading skills.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe big book of festivals.

“Kids aged 7+ with an interest in the world around them will adore this collection of fantastic festivities, crazy celebrations and happy holy days from across the globe. The big book of festivals introduces young people to some major festivals and some lesser-known regional festivals from around the world. This gorgeously illustrated hardback features a total of 38 festivals, including: Lunar New Year, Day of the Dead, Kumbh Mela, Holi, Diwali, Gelede, Christmas, La Tomatina, Eid-ul-Fitr, Konaki Sumo, Carnaval, Hanukkah, Anastenaria, Festival of Giants, Matariki, Halloween, The Birthday of Guru Nanuk, Buddha’s Birthday, Bunya Cone Harvest Festival, Easter, Inti Raymi, Venetian Masquerade Ball, and more.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLighting our world : a year of celebrations.

“Throughout the year and around the globe, people use light — candles, bonfires, lanterns and fireworks — to celebrate special occasions. This richly illustrated book is an illuminating tour of the world’s brightest and warmest festivities.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA year full of celebrations and festivals.

“Countless different festivals are celebrated all over the world throughout the year. Some are national holidays, celebrated for religious and cultural reasons, or to mark an important date in history, while others are just for fun. Give thanks and tuck into a delicious meal with friends and family at Thanksgiving, get caught up in a messy tomato fight in Spain at La Tomatina, add a splash of colour to your day at the Holi festival of colours and celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With fact-filled text accompanied by beautifully bright illustrations from the wonderfully talented Chris Corr, prepare yourself for a journey as we travel around the world celebrating and uncovering a visual feast of culture.” (Catalogue)

For more information, check out:

Britannica.

BBC.

National Geographic.

Get into the spirit of Halloween ’21 at the library – Part Two!

image courtesy of stuff.co.nz

Halloween has STILL arrived at the library!… and the scare fest continues on from Part One, with some fiction, picture books, and books from the eLibrary collection for a quiet (but scary!) night in. Wellington City Libraries also has some spooktacular DVDs in the collection for your viewing pleasure. AHHHWWOOOOOO!

eBooks on Overdrive!

Overdrive for Kids has an amazing collection of eBooks about Halloween and Halloween themed. Click here to view the collection.

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics

Fiction, Comics and Picture Books!

image courtesy of syndeticsSeven ghosts.

“Jake and the other finalists in a writing competition have been invited to a stately house for a tour like no other. As their guide leads them through grand rooms, hidden nooks and magnificent grounds, they hear the stories of seven ghosts who haunt the halls. But strange shapes and shadows follow Jake as he journeys through the house and with each tale that Jake hears, he begins to feel more uneasy. All is not as it seems and soon Jake will discover that something is very, very wrong … Old ghosts are stirred-up for Halloween in this spine-tingling, multi-narrative horror.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMelusine [2] : Halloween.

Melusine is a sorcerer’s apprentice, funny and dynamic, who does everything possible to become a powerful witch. Unfortunately, she’s not always successful, and very often her tricks turn against her and her friends… But tremble, poor mortals, for it’s the return of Halloween, the day of witches and the walking dead! This festival of demons must be celebrated with dignity, with great smashing of pumpkins and rotten tricks. The opportunity rises for Melusine and her friends to show what they can do… And then to start a new storm of gags and catastrophes!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsBabymouse: monster mash.

“It was a dark and scary Halloween… This year, Babymouse is determined to have the best Halloween costume and the best Halloween party ever. Will Babymouse be the monster of her dreams? Will Felicia Furrypaws come to the party? And is that really the creature from the black lagoon living in Babymouse’s locker?” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe very hungry caterpillar’s creepy-crawly Halloween : a lift-the-flap book.

“Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar on his spookiest adventure yet as he explores the woods by the light of the moon. Lift the big flap on every page to discover which creatures are hiding in the woods tonight. A simple, engaging new seasonal lift-the-flap adventure with big flaps that are perfect for little hands!”(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsWhat do werewolves do when it’s not halloween?

“But what about werewolves? Where do they go? What do they do through the year? Do they groom? Do they howl? Do they listen to jazz? Or watch movies and shed a small tear? What do werewolves do when it’s not Halloween? Perhaps they’re lurking where you least expect! Featuring vampires, witches, zombies, ghosts and skeletons, this is a SPOOKY and KOOKY Halloween treat for all to devour!” (Catalogue).


New to the collection is…

image courtesy of syndeticsThe good, the bad, and the spooky.

“Based on the New York Times bestselling picture book sensation The Bad Seed, Jory John and Pete Oswald present: The Good, the Bad, and the Spooky! Includes two sticker sheets, perfect for decorating your own mini jack-o’-lantern. Halloween is the Bad Seed’s favorite holiday of the year. But what’s a seed to do when he can’t find a show-stopping costume for the big night Postpone trick-or-treating for everyone, of course! Can he get a costume together in time Or will this seed return to his baaaaaaaaad ways Find out in this hilarious, charming, and thought-provoking continuation of Jory John and Pete Oswald’s bestselling series.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of Pup detectives [4] : ghosts, goblins, and ninjas!

“During a martial arts expo at Pawston Elementary, the sacred scroll of Bark-Jitsu is stolen. The pup detectives set out to crack their most puzzling case yet… because this one involves, ghosts, goblins, and a super stealthy ninja”– Provided by publisher.

Click here to view more Halloween themed books.

DVDs:

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Addams Family.

“Members of the mysterious and spooky Addams family–Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester and Grandma–are readily preparing for a visit from their even creepier relatives. But trouble soon arises when shady TV personality Margaux Needler realises that the Addams’ eerie hilltop mansion is standing in the way of her dream to sell all the houses in the neighbourhood.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comCoco.

“Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comCoraline.

“A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comHotel Transylvania 12 and 3.

“The Hotel Transylvania, run by Dracula, is a unique, high-end resort catering only to the finest monsters and their families. Check out The Hotel Transylvania trilogy and watch all three films back to back starting with the original film, where Dracula is preparing for an extra special weekend – his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday – when trouble arises: a human has stumbled upon the resort for the first time ever! Even worse: the human has taken a liking to Mavis!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comIn the sequel, everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania. “Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire.” (Catalogue).

iage courtesy of amazon.com

In third film, A monster vacation, “The monster family embarks on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monster kind.”(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHarry Potter (and the philosopher’s stone) (and the chamber of secrets).

An oldie but a goodie, watch Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone and relive the magic where Harry learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own, becoming a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards and having to battle some “enemies” along the way.

IMAGE COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry finds the second year more challenging with flying cars, trees fighting back, duelling clubs  and a fifty year old secret that threatens to destroy Hogwarts.

image courtesy of amazon.comMonsters (Inc and University).

Mike Wazowski and James “Sulley”  P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

image courtesy of amazon.com

In Monsters Inc, Lovable Sulley and Mike Wazowski are the top scare team at MONSTERS, INC., the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. When a little girl named Boo wanders into their world, monsters are scared silly, and it’s up to Sulley and Mike to get her back home. But Boo’s presence is more than just a mere accident. Now, Mike and Sulley have to face an enemy within their own ranks. Overall a heart-warming movie where guaranteed to scare and make you laugh.

Extra challenge… from beyond the grave!

Get into the Halloween spirit and dance your socks off zombie-style to Thriller by the late but talented Michael Jackson! Hmmm, I wonder if he would be keen to accept the vacancy of Wellington City Libraries’ library ghost?

Did you know? Wellington City Libraries’  Nao Robots, Frank and Stein, (formally known as Red and Blue) can whip out their own dance moves to to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Read more about them here.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Public Holidays: Why Do We Have Them?

Apart from school holidays, there are other holidays in New Zealand that everyone gets to enjoy – even the adults! These are called Public Holidays and they must be enacted into law under the Holidays Act 2003 to be official public holidays.

aerial photography of city beside body of water during daytimeWellington Anniversary Day is regional holiday celebrated on the fourth Monday in January. The holiday commemorates the arrival of the first settler ship to New Zealand on 22 January 1840.

But there are also public holidays that are observed throughout New Zealand. Starting with the national holiday that’s coming up very soon (Labour Day), here’s a list all of New Zealand’s official holidays:

Labour Day – 4th Monday of October

Labour Day falls on the fourth Monday of October, so in 2021 it will be on Monday 25 October. New Zealand Labour Day is a holiday commemorating the fight for an eight-hour working day and New Zealand’s first Labour Day holiday was celebrated in 1890. Before that, often a working day could be very long with only a half-day or one day off a week.

According to NZHistory, the changes were started by a Wellington carpenter called Samuel Parnell. The story goes that Purnell was hired by a shipping agent, who commissioned him to construct a new store for him. Parnell agreed-but stipulated some terms of his own. He is famously said to have answered:

“There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for me to do what little things they want for themselves.”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day – 25 and 26 December

Christmas Day is an important festival in the Christian Calendar where they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – a pivotal deity in the Christian faith. Christmas in New Zealand is less about snow and sleigh bells and more about sun, sand and barbecues in the backyard! The name Boxing Day comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor, their servants and tenant farmers.

New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Day – 1 and 2 January

Due to its geographical position close to the International Date Line, New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome in a new calendar year.

Waitangi Day – 6 February

Waitangi Day marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974.

Good Friday & Easter Monday

Easter is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon that lands on or just after the spring equinox. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Christmas Day and Boxing Day, above).

Anzac Day – 25 April

Anzac Day, for both Australians and New Zealanders, first started in 1916 to commemorate those that were killed in the World War 1 (“The Great War”). Now we remember  all New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. There are dawn remembrance services all around the country which New Zealanders old and young are attend. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Queen’s Birthday – Second Monday in June

The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Arthur Phillip, Governor of New South Wales (Australia), declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the king of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June.

Matariki 2022

This will be a new public holiday from June 2022! New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from 24 June 2022. The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar).

 


New Zealand’s history and how it’s public holidays came about, is a fascinating thing. Why not check out:

Labour Day / Boon, Kevin
“Outlines the history of the eight-hour working day in New Zealand and the role of Samuel Parnell in bringing this about. Looks at working conditions and labour relations in New Zealand, including sweatshops, the 1890 maritime strike, the Waihi Miners’ strike of 1912, the Great Strike of 1913, and the 1951 waterfront dispute.” (Catalogue)

The house that Jack built / Bishop, Gavin
“Uses the cumulative nursery rhyme, about the chain of events that started when Jack built a house, as a metaphor to illustrate the arrival and settlement of the European settlers in New Zealand during the early 19th century. Includes references to Maori folklore.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated history of New Zealand / Stenson, Marcia
Contents include: How we know about the past — Land of birds — Arrival of the Māori — Māori settlement — European explorers — Sealing, whaling, timber and trade — Missionaries and musket wars — Treaty of Waitangi — Pioneer settlers — Gold — Conflict between the races — Political changes — Changing ways of earning a living — Fighting outside New Zealand — Bad times and the role of the government — Disasters — Changes in our lives — Changes in Māori lives — Some of our heroes and heroines — How has human occupation affected New Zealand? (Catalogue)

Running the country : a look inside New Zealand’s government / Gill, Maria
“From the Bill of rights to the way we vote, from parliamentary headquarters to local council – and everything in between – Maria Gill explains our system of government. You will discover facts about laws, our currency, voting at the elections and the role of the media. There are fascinating profiles of New Zealand leaders, illustrated by cartoonist Malcolm Evans, along with photographs, amazing statistics and useful “google this” internet links to find out more. This revised edition brings us right up to the new Labour Government of October 2017 (in coalition with New Zealand First and The Green Party).” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Dual-language, flip-book, graphic-novel-style non-fiction about about the Treaty of Waitangi developed for a general audience” (Catalogue)

Christian church / Wood, Angela
“What is a church for? Who is Jesus? What is the Bible? What happens in a church service? All these questions and more are explored in this first introduction to the religion of Christianity. The We Worship Here series introduces children aged 6+ to the main religions of the world. Each book features information about beliefs, values and the ways people worship. The books are clearly and sensitively written, checked by expert consultants and the text is supported with beautiful illustrations.” (Catalogue)

If I ran the country / Knight, Rich
“Congratulations! You’ve just become the leader of your own country! There are a lot of decisions to be made, and not long to make them. The good news is you’ve got your hands on this funny, fact-packed book, covering everything you need to know to rule effectively – no matter where in the world you are. But it’s not just about political systems, elections, climate change, justice and all those other things we hear politicians talking about. You also need to learn how to lead. With essential life and leadership skills and tips – from teamwork, confidence and compassion to discovering who you are and what you believe in – If I Ran The Country answers all the questions most often posed by first-time top dogs like you. You’ll be ruling like a pro in no time!” (Catalogue)

Horrible Christmas / Deary, Terry
“The complete horrible history of Christmas tells tales from the dark days when the Puritans tried to abolish Christmas, to Christmas in the trenches when the British and Germans traded bullets for footballs. Plus dreadful jokes, rotten recipes, and a Christmas quiz!” (Catalogue)

Celebrating Matariki / MacGregor, Jill
“In New Zealand, Mataraki is a time to remember ancestors and traditions of long ago. Maori iwi celebrate Matariki in different ways at different times. Tamarau and his friends share some ideas and activities for celebrating Mataraki.” (Catalogue)

Dawn of the twentieth century / Boon, Kevin
“Tracks key events in the first decades of the twentieth century as New Zealand became a more distinctive and independent society. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Waitangi Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it matters / Werry, Philippa
“Reviews the historic events behind the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and charts the celebrations, tensions and protests witnessed in the years that followed, concluding with a summary of the Waitangi Day events held around the country on 6th February today” (Catalogue)

Get into the spirit of Halloween ’21 at the library — Part One!

image courtesy of stuff.co.nz

Halloween has arrived at the library! In addition to dressing up and eating treats, now is the time to get your scare on reading up about the history of Halloween, and getting some cool ideas for Halloween costumes and crafts. Soon to come is Part Two, where we’ll share with you some extra-spooky fiction, picture books, eBooks and movies for a quiet (scare) night in. Let the scare fest begin! AHHHWWOOOOOO!

About Halloween:

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is celebrated on October 31st. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1 in contemporary calendars. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits. Today Halloween is considered a holiday (especially in the United States) for dress-up, (traditionally witches, ghosts and zombies), treats and fun, especially for children. For more information about the history of Halloween, read our previous post.

Some ways that people around the world celebrate Halloween include:

  • Dressing up in costume,
  • Handing out treats to trick or treaters,
  • Decorating the house with Halloween party favours,
  • Reading or sharing ghost stories (we have heaps of those!),
  • Watching scary movies (we have heaps of those as well!)

Immediately following Halloween, on November 1st, Día de Muertos is a traditional Central American holiday that reunites the living and dead. It is a holiday for celebrating life and death, a holiday where mourning is exchanged for celebration. Below are a couple of books from our collection where you can read up more about this festival:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe day of the dead = El dia de los muertos.

@This book tells the story of two children as they celebrate their ancestors on the vibrant holiday: The day of the dead. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals and joyful songs, Hispanic families welcome back ancestors on this holiday. Complete with lush college and lyrical text in both English and Spanish, this wonderful picture book creates the perfect introduction to this festival (and perhaps also to the Spanish language).” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsDía de los muertos.

“It’s Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style.” (Catalogue)


Where can I find more information about Halloween:


image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrate Halloween.

“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to make frightening Halloween decorations.

“Do you like to scare and gross out your friends? Create frightening Halloween decorations with just a few simple supplies. Surprise your friends with glowing alien heads and sicken them with bloody intestines. Whether you’re decorating for a party or just for fun, these projects will turn an ordinary Halloween into a howling good time.”(Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to create spectacular Halloween costumes.

“Are you searching for a Halloween costume that will get you noticed? Then How to Create Spectacular Halloween Costumes is the book for you! From a guitar-playing vampire to the floor of a movie theater, these easy-to-make costumes are sure to impress your friends. They might even cause a few screams!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndetics10 minute Halloween crafts.

“In 10 Minute Crafts: Halloween, children can learn how to make Halloween decorations such as bat hangings and black cat lanterns and create spookily brilliant zombie finger puppets and witches on broomsticks, plus lots more amazing Halloween ideas.” (Catalogue)

New to the collection is…

image courtesy of syndeticsHalloween : 300 spooky facts to scare you silly.

“The wildly popular Weird But True line is all dressed up for Halloween with 300 all-new spooky facts about candy, costumes, pumpkin carving, and more Calling all boys and ghouls: You’re in for a treat of freaky facts, stats, tidbits, and trivia about one of the most popular holidays Did you know that there is an underwater pumpkin carving contest? Or that the U.S. Defense Department has a zombie apocalypse plan? Maybe you’d be amazed to discover that there are more Halloween emojis than there are U.S. states? It’s all weird–and it’s all true–in this latest and greatest edition, packed with hilarious and terrifying tidbits on Halloween.” (Catalogue)


Have a safe and happy Halloween!