Tūhono 2024: We Want Your Poems!

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for children and teens, will soon be opening for submissions! From 1 April – 12 May, we will be accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. In previous years we have published more than 200 young poets in Tūhono — so this year we’ll again be splitting it into two books, one for kids and one for teens.

Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets sent to us will be published. Tūhono itself will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, and in a limited print run for our libraries, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory! Check out previous editions of Tūhono on our catalogue here.

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need in order to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2024:

When?

  • Submissions are open from 1 April – 12 May 2024.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in late 2024.

Where?

  • Submissions may be entered here from the 1st of April.

Who?

  • Anyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.
  • You may submit as an individual or as a group.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Tūmanako | Hope.” The kupu Māori ‘tūmanako‘ has a wide range of meanings, including the act of hoping or wishing for something to happen, as well as hope as an object — something that you greatly desire, yearn for, or wish to be so. When you are writing your poem, you might like to think about some of the following questions, but as always with Tūhono, there is no one way we expect you to respond to this theme:
    • Act of hoping — how does hope make you feel? What does hope help you to achieve? What does hope mean to you? When you are hoping for something to happen, what thoughts and feelings come into your mind? How does the act of hoping make your body feel?
    • Hope as an object — Do you hope for something tangible, like a new thing to own? What does that thing look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? Do you hope for something intangible, like world peace? What does that look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? When you have gained (or not) the thing that you have hoped for, what do you think that will feel like?
  • Length: Your poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.
  • Format: Your poem should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published on an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the other great authors and poets represented on our shelves. Tūhono aims to be a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to provide this platform for your creativity to take wing.

Throughout the months of April and May, we will be posting regular updates on this blog providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone! We are so excited to see what you come up with.

Read to Kurī Starting Up Again at Kilbirnie Library!

Good news for dog-lovers and book-lovers alike — we’re bringing back our popular Read to Kurī programme at Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library throughout Term 1 this year!

Every Thursday after school from the 15th of February on, you’ll be able to book in a 15-minute slot to read to one of our gorgeous therapy pups from our friends at Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Read on to learn more about Read to Kurīand how you can book your session!

Archie (right) is one of the lovely doggos joining us for this programme!


What is Read to Kurī?

At Read to Kurī, you will book in for a 15-minute one-on-one reading session with one of our gorgeous doggy pals from Canine Friends Pet Therapy. You will be able to choose a book and curl up somewhere cosy in the library to read with your chosen dog. The dog’s handler will be present at all times.

Read to Kurī aims to help tamariki improve their literacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem in a relaxed, non-judgemental environment. All dogs have been trained and tested for health, safety, and temperament, and many have experience working with young children.

Research shows that therapy dogs:

  • Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
  • Listen attentively
  • Do not laugh, judge or criticise a child’s reading level
  • Allow children to proceed at their own pace
  • Can be less intimidating to read to than a child’s peers

This programme is perfect for tamariki aged 5+ who would like to practice their reading skills while making a new canine friend at the library. Bookings are essential as spaces are limited — visit our Event Calendar to place your booking.


Meet the Kurī

We are very lucky to have two talented pooches join us for Read to Kurī at Kilbirnie Library during the term. Read on to find out a little bit more about each dog!


Kurī 1: Archie

Handler: Penny Griffith

“My name is Archie and I am six years old. I absolutely love people, and especially children!

I am a Schnoodle — my mummy is a Schnauzer and my daddy is a Poodle.

I think I will be very good at listening to children reading me stories… maybe they can even teach me how to read!”

Penny and Archie will be at Kilbirnie Library from 3.30 – 4.30pm every second Thursday starting on Thursday 29 February.


Kurī 2: Mātai

A golden retriever wearing a red bandana with his tongue out in a doggy smileHandler: Lisa Allan

“Kia ora!  My name is Mātai (prounounced maa-tie) and I’m a 4 year old Golden Retriever.

I’m a very chilled out dog with a very warm and patient nature.  I love people and especially children.  They are super fun to hang out with.

I enjoy sitting or lying listening to stories, and when the time is right, playing.  My favourite place is the beach.  I have fun chasing sticks and balls, playing tug of war, and swimming (even when my mum has told me it’s not swimming time )

I think I’d like listening to you reading me a story.”

Lisa and Mātai will be at Kilbirnie Library from 3.30 – 4.30pm on Thursdays 15 and 22 February, and every second Thursday thereafter.


Spaces for Read to Kurī are strictly limited, so book your session in now!

Free Puppet Shows and Workshops for the Summer!

This summer, we are lucky to be joined by not one, but two prestigious puppeteering theatre companies — Birdlife Productions and String Bean Puppets — bringing us 8 free shows at our libraries and community centres! Read on to find out more.

Box of Birds! with Birdlife Productions

Peter and his new friends in Box of Birds! Photo: Supplied

The magic begins this week, with the exquisite puppet show Box of Birds from Birdlife Productions. This beautiful show features hand-crafted puppets, interactive songs, and percussion, and tells the story of Peter and his Grandma as they build a nesting box for Ruru – but Peter must learn to be patient and wait to discover who will eventually nest in his ‘box of birds’!

The show lasts for 30 minutes and is perfect for tamariki aged 3-6 with their caregivers, but older and younger siblings are very welcome.

Dates and Locations:

Flutter: Puppet Show and Workshop with String Bean Puppets

Pepe and Titi flying in Flutter! Photo: Dianna Thomson//TAHI Festival 2023

Join Anna Bailey of String Bean Puppets for this mesmerising puppet show and workshop during the holidays! Experience the magic of puppetry in Flutter, an expowering and delightful show for young audiences about a bat who is afraid of the dark making friends with a glowworm who thinks she is a star.

The show is followed by a shadow puppetry workshop where tamariki can explore a world of shadows, learning how to create magical and beautiful shadow puppet creatures using natural materials, as well as building their own upcycled shadow box to take home.

The Flutter puppet show lasts for 40 minutes and is perfect for tamariki aged 4-10 with their caregivers. The shadow puppet workshop last for 45 minutes and is most suitable for tamariki aged 6-10, but younger siblings are welcome to participate with help from their caregivers.

Dates and Locations:

Ngā mihi to the Creative Communities Scheme from Creative NZ for making it possible for us to share these experiences with you for free.

Nau mai — everyone is welcome!

Look up! – See your library in a new way

One of the activities in our Summer Reading Adventure this season is the Upward Looking Urban Photographer, where we’ve challenged you to look upwards while out and about and notice details that you might have otherwise overlooked.

We’ve had a whole gallery of upwards-looking photos sent into us, and we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you. Maybe one of these photos was taken by you! One of these photos was even taken at one of our libraries. If you haven’t submitted a photo for this activity yet, there’s still plenty of time! The Summer Reading Adventure runs until the 31st of January.

  • What’s that perched atop the iconic Cuba St bucket fountain?
  • A familiar location for some of us! Can you identify which library this is?
  • An encompassing canopy of treetops.
  • You might need to take a second glance to see the floating sculpture here.
  • This building’s original owners may not still be here, but they made sure we’d know who they were!
  • Sunlight catching the edge of the clouds.

Inspired by this activity, we’ve taken our cameras around our libraries and pointed them upwards! In this selection of images you’ll find many artworks, interesting angles, library signage, and ceilings seen from a different perspective – it’s an exploration of library architecture!

We have many libraries scattered around Wellington and they all feature different designs and artworks. This challenge has given us the opportunity to look around our libraries with fresh eyes and rediscover the quirky and interesting parts of our spaces.

Can you figure out where the photo (or photos!) of your library was taken?

  • A rope bridge made of twine and popsicle sticks bridges the gap between two bookshelves.
    Arapaki Library
  • A plastic skeleton perches on a bookshelf with a sign reading 'Young Adult Fiction'. On the ceiling tiles above are movie posters.
    Arapaki Library
  • Spackled ceiling with inset boards meeting in a cross.
    Brooklyn Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā
  • Vaulted ceiling with triangular recessed skylights pointing inwards.
    Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
  • Towards the library entry/exit, and internal five-sided window sits in the pointed ceiling.
    Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
  • A large red paper flower and strings of red beads and white shells hanging from a red library sign with 'Can we help" written on it.
    Island Bay Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tapu Te Ranga
  • Reflection of the library in the round security mirror by the door.
    Island Bay Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tapu Te Ranga
  • Three pictures in a collage. Top: view of the children's area and the coloured triangular pieces of sound-baffling fitting in with the three-pronged lights. Centre: Looking up towards artworks by Robin Kahukiwa and Melvin Day. Bottom: Woven harakeke artwork Whetūrangi on the wall above and below a long window.
    Johnsonville Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • A spine-like plastic guard around power cables attaches into a ceiling tile.
    Kai Ūpoko | Library offices
  • Looking upwards at the vertical word 'Library' on a red background.
    Karori Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Three narrow windows in a white wall look out onto the street and blue sky. A conical light hangs on the left, the bottom level with the top corner of a narrow window.
    Karori Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Checkered glass tiles set in the corner of the building, photographed from the inside.
    Khandallah Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tari-kākā
  • Natural wood balcony with stuffed aniimals liiking down, a skylight above, and long tapestry hanging to the left.
    Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
  • Coloured paper letters spelling 'Children's Area' on the wall below small high windows with wooden blinds.
    Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
  • A blue pillar with outreaching metal struts atop it, in front of a corner window.
    Miramar Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
  • A triangular internal window above a mural of a beach with swimming child, reading octopus, and books flying through the air. In the window, a silhouette of a librarian waves.
    Miramar Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
  • Wooden beams on the right angle up to the natural wooden ceiling. On the left a wooden taniwha attached to a colourful painted wall looks up towards the peak of the ceiling.
    Newtown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ngā Puna Waiora
  • A round, curved, three-dimensional artwork on the ceiling. Shades of blue, with koru like tentacles reaching out from the centre.
    Newtown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ngā Puna Waiora
  • The corner of the building. Orange-toned wood on the ceiling, with a large corner window looking towards a Pohutukawa tree with vibrant red flowers.
    Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Up past bookshelves of children's fiction are triangular fin artworks, then above those metal beams cross the wooden ceiling.
    Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Diagonal industrial beam cuts across decorated upper walls above fiction shelves
    Te Awe Library
  • Decorated 1900s eave overhanging the footpath, with a yellow 'Te Awe Library' sign hanging from it.
    Te Awe Library
  • A backless tall shelf of extra large books. Behind this shelf, seen through the gaps in the shelf, are yet more bookshelves.
    Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre
  • Square windows, photo taken looking inside. A vase of roses, a succulent, and a yellow sign with the word 'hot' peak over the windowsill.
    Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre
  • A spiral cord hangs next to a skylight with a red beam across it. Blue sky with fluffy clouds outside.
    Wadestown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Diagonal angular ceiling line, with a square light in the ceiling and recessed skylight
    Wadestown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari

One of our other Summer Reading Adventure activities challenges you to go back in time using Wellington Recollect and find an image of your library taken in decades gone by. We find it very fascinating to go and look through the pictures and see the different library layouts and different buildings there have been over the years. Can you spot anything from our upward-looking-photos in the pictures of your library on Recollect?

Summer Reading Adventure: Writing remarkable reviews

We’re almost halfway through the Summer Reading Adventure! If you haven’t already heard about the Summer Reading Adventure, you can head on over to our previous blog post for heaps more info, or jump straight into our Summer Reading website to sign up!

Through the power of books and imagination, help us transform Wellington into a fantasy wonderland this summer!

One of the activities you can complete as part of the Summer Reading Adventure is writing book reviews. There are five digital badges you can earn for writing reviews, and some of these also come with physical prizes!

There are two different kinds of reviews you can submit, written reviews and picture reviews, and we thought we’d provide you with some tips and tricks for creating an excellent and insightful review.

Tips for writing a book review:

  • Tell us what you thought about the book! We don’t want to just read a description of the plot.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include
    • How did I feel at the beginning of the book?
    • How did I feel at the end? Was there a change?
    • Who was my favourite/least favourite character? Why?
    • Did this book give me any new ideas? If so, what are they?
    • Who else might like this book? Why?
    • If I had written this book, would I have changed anything about it? What, and why?
  • Be creative! We love to read reviews in the form of poems, short stories, reviews written with emojis.
  • Be careful with the boring things like spelling and punctuation. This isn’t school — you won’t be disqualified if you spell “discombobulated” wrong — but having good spelling and punctuation makes it easier for everyone else to understand what you mean!

Tips for creating a picture review:

  • Will you be drawing a picture, or taking a photo of something you’ve created or that reminds you of the book?
    • Tip: Other Summer Reading Adventure participants can see your reviews so if you’re making a video talking about your book and you’re concerned with online privacy, you might want to have the book in front of the camera instead of you.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include:
    • Was there a character you really liked (or really didn’t like) that you could draw?
    • Was there an important moment in the story? Did you think something different should have happened?
    • Did this book give you any new ideas? How might you show that new idea in a picture?
  • Be creative! Draw something that represents the book, create the characters or an important scene out of LEGO, cook something that the characters ate and take a photo. We love seeing innovative ways of reviewing books!

For inspiration we’ve included a few examples of the excellent reviews that have already been submitted. These reviewers have thought about which parts of the book that made them enjoy it, and hopefully their recommendations will make you want to read these books too!

First off, we have a picture review of Camp by Kayla Miller.

Picture review of Camp. Drawn with coloured felt pens, the left side has pictures the characters Olive and Willow. The right side has a written review.

This vibrant picture review shows us the reviewer’s interpretation of the two main characters. She also explores her two favourite characters and what about those characters she likes.
Picture review by Bea

Here’s a fab review written last summer about Louis Sacher’s There’s a boy in the girl’s bathroom. This reviewer also writes about the characters, but he also writes about what the book made him feel.

This books main characters were Bradley Jeff and Carla. Bradley was a weird kid overall but he changed a lot. At the start Bradley was a big bully but at the end Bradley was still weird but he was also kind. Bradley was super sad when Carla left it made me sad too. This book is my favourite book I have ever read because I was feeling there emotions and it was like I had gotten sucked up into the book. I love this book and want to read it again sometime☺️

Review by Dion

In this review of Which way to anywhere by Cressida Cowell, the reviewer picks out two characteristics that made her really enjoy the book, the teamwork (character interactions!) and the magic throughout the story that.

This is by far one of my favourite books ever. I like how there is a lot of teamwork involved in this adventure and the magic that just spices it up perfectly. My favourite character is definitely puck!

Review by Petra

While you’re writing your reviews, don’t forget to read through other kids’ reviews too — there are thousands and thousands of them and who knows, you may just find a book you’d like to read yourself! Happy reading and reviewing!

The Bad Smell Hotel and Maps of Smell!

Earlier this year, The Cuba Press and Te Māhanga | Karori Library celebrated the book launch of The Bad Smell Hotel by father-daughter duo Rajorshi Chakraborti and Leela (age 11)!

The duo came up with the idea of the book during the 2020 lockdown, and their story is set in the not-too-distant future, where society is contending with mysterious bouts of uncontrollable farting! This book is marvellously illustrated by Dan Mills! Check out this video of the book launch!


Blurb for The Bad Smell Hotel:

It’s 2050, and the world of Jerry, Aina and Dr Winnie Ngata is very different from ours. Most humans have an easy life. There are robots to make you a smoothie, take your avatar on a VR tour of any city you like, or bring you anyone you’re missing as a hologram in front of you. But why are more and more people checking in to bad smell hotels? What is causing them to fart so much that they can’t live with their families anymore? And what on earth is a Fartbit? Bad Smell Hotel is a story to make you laugh and make you think.

The Bad Smell Hotel is available to buy at good bookstores or directly through The Cuba Press. You can also borrow The Bad Smell Hotel from our libraries!

The Summer Reading Adventure Gets Smelly!

For our 2023-2024 Summer Reading Adventure, we’ve got a very special challenge inspired by this book!

Find out how to sign-up on our Summer Reading Adventure kids’ blog post! Here’s a preview of the challenge that you can complete over on Beanstack!

The Smell-Walker’s Map

The bad smell hotel by Chakraborti, Leela

Usually, maps show us where physical places can be found. What if they showed us where smells could be found?

Today your challenge is to walk about, with your parent or caregiver, and make a map of smells! It doesn’t have to be totally accurate, just draw an approximated version of the path that you take and note down the most unique or noticeable smells that you find! Car workshop smell? Draw it in! Florist’s flower shop? Write that down! Pine needles? You got it, make that map entry!

Tell us about some of the smells that you encountered in the Capital City Questline in our Summer Reading Adventure for Kids

 

 

Read to Kurī at Te Māhanga Karori Library!

Great news for dog-lovers and book-lovers alike — our popular Read to Kurī programme is coming to Te Māhanga Karori Library!

On Friday 15th of December, you’ll be able to book in a 15-minute slot to read to gorgeous therapy dog Pippin, thanks to our friends at Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Read on to learn more about Read to Kurīand to find out how to book your session!

Join Pippin and her handler, Julia, at Te Māhanga next Friday!


What is Read to Kurī?

At Read to Kurī, you will book in for a 15-minute one-on-one reading session with one of our gorgeous doggy pals from Canine Friends Pet Therapy. You will be able to choose a book and curl up somewhere cosy in the library to read with your chosen dog. The dog’s handler will be present at all times.

Read to Kurī aims to help tamariki improve their literacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem in a relaxed, non-judgemental environment. All dogs have been trained and tested for health, safety, and temperament, and many have experience working with young children.

Research shows that therapy dogs:

  • Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
  • Listen attentively
  • Do not laugh, judge or criticise a child’s reading level
  • Allow children to proceed at their own pace
  • Can be less intimidating to read to than a child’s peers

This programme is perfect for tamariki aged 5+ who would like to practice their reading skills while making a new canine friend at the library. Bookings are essential as spaces are limited.


Meet Pippin

We are very lucky to have Pippin and her handler Julia Melville joining us at Te Māhanga Karori Library for Read to Kurī.

Pippin is a very chill doggo who loves being read to. She visits daycares regularly and loves getting to know lots of different tamariki around the city.

Her human, Julia, says she’s a bit lazy for tricks, but will happily lie and get pats!

Pippin and Julia will be at Te Māhanga on Friday 15 December from 3.15 – 4.30pm. We hope they will be able to join us again in 2024!

To book your session with Pippin, please register at the desk or call Karori Library on 476 8413.



Spaces for Read to Kurī are strictly limited, so make sure you register early to guarantee your spot!

Te Ara Pukapuka Children’s Walk at Karori Park

This Summer, get into nature and read a lovely pukapuka at the same time!

Throughout 2023, Te Ara Pukapuka, our children’s book walk, has travelled all around the city from Churchill Park in Seatoun, to Khandallah Park, Kilbirnie Park and Waihinahina Park, Newlands. For Summer 2023—2024, we venture into the walking tracks of Karori Park! Follow each page from one to the next as you wander through the park, taking in the gorgeous sights.

A welcome page is displayed on a post, with an arrow pointing in the direction of the walk.

Our Te Ara Pukapuka welcome page

Te Ara Pukapuka Karori Park begins near the carpark at the southern end of the field, close to Sunshine Kindergarten, 21a Sunshine Avenue, Karori, Wellington 6012.  You can find the entrance on google maps.

Wellington City Libraries and the Wellington City Parks, Sport & Recreation team have again partnered with publisher Scholastic NZ to present a reorua bilingual edition of Ko Tama me te Taniwha / Tama and the Taniwha written by Melanie Koster, illustrated by Monica Koster and translated by Pānia Papa. This wonderful pukapuka is available to borrow from our libraries, and to buy from all good bookstores!

Be aware that Karori Park is a popular dog-walking area, so be prepared to meet some kurī on your travels! Keep an eye out for a couple of bike tracks that briefly intersect with Te Ara Pukapuka.

Two park benches and a post displaying the pages of a book stand beside a walk way.

A great place to stop for a picnic midway on the Karori Park Te Ara Pukapuka journey!


Don’t forget to log reading this pukapuka towards your Summer Reading Adventure too! What’s Summer Reading Adventure? If you aren’t signed up yet, you can find out all the information that you need on our post The Summer Reading Adventure is Here! – Kids’ Blog (wcl.govt.nz).

Kids can also find Te Ara Pukapuka listed as an activity for Summer Reading Adventure within the Capital City Quest arc, so be sure to mark this one off as you work towards achieving SRA prizes!

Ngā mihi to all the wonderful people who have supported Te Ara Pukapuka! Happy reading everyone!

Nesting season is here: What to do if you find a baby bird

Summer is now officially here, and all of this season’s baby birds are starting to hatch. You might be able to see a nest up a tree at home, or there might be one tucked in under the eaves of your house’s roof and you can hear the birds cheeping at night. Some of you may even find a baby bird on the ground and not know what to do to help.

Well never fear! If you’re reading this then you’ll be ready and prepared if you do find a lonely baby bird.

Nestlings

Two pink baby birds with no feathers in a nest

Two baby Tauhau nestlings (Silvereyes or Wax-eyes) ‘gaping’ – asking to be fed.
Photo: 2695117 by Robyn on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 DEED

We call baby birds nestlings when they’re at their smallest. Nestlings won’t have many feathers – they might not have any feathers at all! A nestling will spend their days tucked cosily into the family nest, waiting for their parents to come back and feed them. A nestling should still be in the nest, so:

  1. if you find one out of the nest,
  2. you can see where the nest is, and
  3. it doesn’t look sick or injured,

then the best thing to do is to put it back in the nest. You can get an adult to help with this if the nest is high up. If you can’t find the nest or the nest is damaged, then the next best thing is to make the nestling a replacement nest! Once you’ve made the replacement nest and put it somewhere safe near the original nest, keep an eye on it – from a distance! If the parents don’t come by to check on their nestling within a couple of hours, then you might need to contact the SPCA or a bird rescue.

Fledglings

A fledgling Pīwakawaka (right) perches on a branch next to their parent (left).
Photo: 26966445 by Jacqui Geux on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY 4.0 DEED.

Once the bird has grown their feathers and is starting to think about leaving the nest, we call them a fledgling. A fledgling might leave the nest to get some movement practice in, hopping between branches or the on the ground near the nest. If you find a fledgling on the ground, it may be perfectly safe and healthy and all you should do is keep your distance and see if there are any dangers about. If the fledgling is not in a safe spot, then you can move them to somewhere nearby that is safe. If they’re injured or sick, that’s when you should take the fledgling in and contact the SPCA or a rescue.

Here in Wellington our local rescue is the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust who will take in any injured or abandoned wild bird.

The SPCA has this great flowchart that you can follow if you do find a baby bird, fledgling or nestling. They also have information on exactly what you should do if you find an injured bird, as well as a section on their education site that covers a few more situations to do with birds. These links have tips for how to move and handle any bird you find, and tips for making a replacement nest.

Cats

A small dark cat perched partway up a fence staring past the camera with wide eyes

Your friendly pet cat may not be as friendly to the local birds.

Many of us have pet cats, and many of our pet cats love to go outside. Unfortunately, cats also love to hunt and we really don’t want them hunting baby birds that can’t fly away. If your cat brings you a bird they’ve caught, and the bird is still alive, even if the bird looks healthy you should contact the SPCA or a bird rescue. Birds can become sick or get an infection from being carried around in a cat’s mouth and the rescue will know the best way to look after the bird.

If you have a pet cat, the Department of Conservation has created an easy quiz you can take to see how conservation friendly your cat is. Remember, even if your cat gets all 8 points that doesn’t mean that they won’t ever hunt any of the animals you may see in your garden. It just means that you are doing your best as a pet owner to lessen their impact.


Where to learn more

If you’d like to learn more about the birds visiting your garden, DOC has created a short guide to help you identify some of the common birds you may see. We’ve also put together a list of books that you might find interesting. Some have information about birds and bird rescues in Aotearoa, and some are stories we hope you’ll enjoy about lost or rescued birds.

New Zealand’s backyard birds / Barraud, Ned
“Guide to the birds that children see and hear in their everyday lives, those that visit our backyards. Some of those will be native birds, maybe tūi, korimako/bellbird and pīwakawaka/fantail, though just as likely they will be introduced birds such as thrush, blackbirds, or flocks of sparrows. This book brings to life our most accessible wildlife, describing the different birds we are likely to see around home, and with useful background information about birds in general”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Squawk! : Donovan Bixley’s forest birds of Aotearoa / Bixley, Donovan
“Bright birds, cheeky birds, masked birds, clever birds, warrior birds, shy birds, big birds, tiny birds and the world’s most gigantic birds! Find out what makes the feathered friends of Aotearoa so lovable in this … book by author and illustrator Donovan Bixley. Includes moa, tui, kakapo, whio and so many more!”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The video shop sparrow / Cowley, Joy
“Two boys rescue a sparrow trapped in a closed video shop.” (Catalogue)

Are you my mother / Eastman, P. D.
“When a baby bird hatches while his mother is out searching for food, he leaves the nest for a series of adventures to try to determine his mother’s identity.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eaudiobook.


Sylvia and the birds : how the bird lady saved thousands of birds, and how you can too / Emeney, Jo
“Part Graphic Biography, Part Practical guide to protecting out Taonga Birdlife, this remarkable Book for young readers and their Whanau is fully committed to detailing the wonders of our native Birds, the threats they face, and how we can help them. Based on the life of ‘The Bird lady’, Sylvia Durrant, it inspires a reverence for the natural world and is a call to action for all young ecologists and Environmental Activists. With an Engrossing Text, Matauranga Maori insights, Activities and How-Tos, It offers hours of enchantment and Engagement.” (Catalogue)

Kererū / Kane, Glenda
“High in a tree in a suburban backyard, a kererū hatches. At rest in its nest, it waits for its food … But another stomach is rumbling, too. Will the baby kererū survive? This unflinching tale paints a complete picture of life in the wild for these beloved native birds, and offers solutions, too. The reader is invited into the story and shown how to look after Aotearoa’s vulnerable wildlife. And at the end of the story there are exciting new beginnings”–Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

Ngā manu Māori = Native birds / Merewether, Katherine Q.
“Learn the Māori names for 35 of our precious native and endemic birds of Aotearoa. A beautifully presented te reo Māori and English bilingual board book. Drawn from the multi-award-winning Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, and collated into bite sized pukapuka. A stunning matte laminated robust book with rounded corners, for durability and longevity.” (Catalogue)

Kakapo rescue : saving the world’s strangest parrot / Montgomery, Sy
” KAKAPO RESCUE gives young readers a first hand account of the efforts to save one of the world’s rarest and more unusual birds, the kakapo. Part of the Scientist in the Field series. ” (Catalogue)

Little Truff saves the kererū / Russell, Ann
“Little Truff, the cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is spending the summer holidays with her family at Piha, New Zealand’s famous surfing beach. Along with her Siamese friend Chloe – highly intelligent but mischievous, Truff is asked to investigate why the kererū, native wood pigeons, are disappearing without trace. A drastic drop in numbers could lead to their extinction in the area, meaning the forest’s giant trees couldn’t regenerate – and an eco-tragedy would result … Will they find out why the birds are vanishing? And put a stop to it?”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The Summer Reading Adventure is Here!

It’s the 1st of December, which in the land of libraries can mean only one thing — the Summer Reading Adventure has officially begun!

Through the power of reading, transform Wellington into a fantasy dreamland! Is that a phoenix soaring above the harbour?

From today until the 31st of January 2024, we’re inviting you on an adventure — an adventure that will take you from the safety and comfort of your bedroom, to locations around the city, into your back yard, down to the local library, into the pages of more than a few books, and back home again in time for tea.

Along the way, you’ll be reading books, drawing pictures and maps, taking videos, completing challenges, getting out into nature, and maybe fighting off the odd monster or two — all in the name of seeing who shall have the honour of being crowned Supreme Champion of Words, Books and Deeds. You’ll also be earning all kinds of awesome prizes for your efforts, from collectible badges to ice-cream vouchers, books, family experiences and much more!

Pick up an Adventurer’s Guide from your local library, or check it out below, to get started — or just head straight to our Summer Reading website! Don’t forget to check out our previous blog post for heaps more info about how you can take part!