"Space... The final frontier...
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission:
To explore strange new worlds...
To seek out new life; new civilisations...
To boldly go where no one has gone before!"
(opening monoLogue from the TV series 'Star Trek: The Next Generation")
May and June 2021 are busy months in space. At the beginning of May, there was news that a large piece of space junk may hit New Zealand (it didn’t!), and on 26 May a super blood moon occurred. Then on 10 June an annular solar eclipse occurred.
So what on Earth is space junk, a super blood moon and an annular eclipse?
Everywhere humans go, we seem to leave rubbish behind… and space is no different! In the 60 years since man first managed to blast off and orbit the Earth, and so starting the space industry, we’ve managed to leave more than 500, 000 pieces of junk behind, which are larger than a a marble, orbiting around our planet. There are bits of used rockets, broken satellite parts, and even tools that astronauts may have lost during spacewalks. One of the biggest problems is that as the number of objects orbiting Earth increases, so do the chances of a collision. Even small pieces of junk can cause problems. Hurtling around Earth at speeds of up to 28,000km per hour, small pieces of space junk have the potential to cause damage to the International Space Station or the many satellites people on Earth rely on.
How do we clean up space?
At the end of their mission, modern satellites are designed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere or move out of the way of active satellites. However, older satellites remain in space. One idea for cleaning up these satellites is to use a net to capture them. Another method is to grab the old satellites with harpoons and reel them in. They would then send them to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
But bigger things like space stations and larger spacecraft might not entirely burn up before reaching the ground. However, operators can plan for the final destination of their old satellites to make sure that any debris falls into a remote area. This place even has a nickname—the Spacecraft Cemetery! It’s in the Pacific Ocean and is pretty much the farthest place from any human civilisation you can find.
Technology is always changing and evolving, and NZ aerospace company RocketLab is developing reusable rockets that can be retrieved and used again. It’s still a work in progress, but hopefully soon this will become the norm!
Super Blood Moon
The larger looking, red coloured moon that occurred on 26 May 2021 was caused by the rare combination of a lunar eclipse and the moon being at its closest point to earth in its orbit. The last time a Super Blood Moon occurred in Aotearoa was in 1982.
Annular Solar Eclipse
A solareclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the Sun’s light. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun’s centre, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. The annular solar eclipse that occurred on 10 June was best seen in the Northern Hemisphere (Aotearoa is in the Southern Hemisphere).
The Māori language is known as te reo Māori or simply te reo (the language). Te reo Māori is an official language in New Zealand, along with English and New Zealand Sign Language. It was made official in 1987.Have you thought about reading and speaking more te reo Māori in your day, or maybe you’d like to read to your younger brothers and sisters in te reo? Wellington City Libraries have got loads of first reader resources, translated picture books and online resources to get you started.
These 30 minute immersive storytimes in te reo Māori are offered on a weekly basis at a number of our branch libraries. They are free to attend and you don’t need to have any former understanding of te reo.
Lingogo is an app that lets you read and listen to Māori stories, and it’s free to access through your library membership! It’s great for both beginner and intermediate learners of te reo Māori, and every story has native speaker audio attached for those who prefer to listen.
Leading research shows that reading and listening for pleasure is hands-down the most efficient way to acquire a new language, so download the app to enjoy great stories and immerse yourself in te reo Māori!
Wellington City Libraries have lots to choose from. Here’s just a small taster:
Kuwi & friends Māori picture dictionary / Merewether, Katherine Q.
“From the #1 bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of the Kuwi the Kiwi series, Kat Merewether, comes a large scale, stunningly illustrated visual dictionary. Full of over 1000 basic words in te reo Maori and English, perfect for every New Zealander.” (Catalogue)
The singing dolphin = Te aihe i waiata / Whaanga, Mere
“Every once in a while, a dolphin will come to the island beside The Pathway of the Whales. It will leap and play with people, bring gifts and sing songs. Award-winning author Mere Whaanga tells a story of land, sea and seasons; of living creatures and family ties, and the songs that connect us all.” (Catalogue)
Three Australian soldiers – WW1 – PICRYL Public Domain Image
Over 107 years ago, young men from all over New Zealand and Australia (The ANZACs – Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) left on troop ships from the port of Albany in Western Australia heading for Egypt and then on to Gallipoli in Turkey, to fight in “The Great War,” “the war to end all wars” – World War 1. By the end of this bloody conflict in 1918, 16,000 New Zealand soldiers had died in battle and 41,000 injured. Many of these young men had enlisted in the army thinking that it would be an adventure of a lifetime. Friends and neighbours joined up together excited to be leaving what many saw as a boring life here in New Zealand!
This postcard, sent by New Zealand soldier, Edwin Bennett to his older brother Gifford shows that the adventure of a lifetime wasn’t what Edwin was expecting. Edwin was killed a month later on 16 April 1918. He was 20 years old.
Postcard sent by NZ soldier Edwin Bennett to older brother Gifford, 4 March 1918. Photo courtesy of Sue Jane, Wellington City Libraries
Dear Gif, Just a note to see if I can waken you up a little. I haven’t heard from you now, for some time. What about dropping a line or two. Letters are very acceptable here. How are you keeping? How is work? Well old chap you’re in a great position and a good home to go to and for God’s sake and Mother’s and Father’s sake look after it. I’m sorry I ever stepped across here. But well I did want to come, and I did, now I’ve found my mistake when it’s too late. I could of had another twelve quiet months if my head was firmly turned the right way. But still there is a happy day coming, when we’ll all be home again. Sitting round a nice cosy fire telling some of our experiences. Well old boy I must go. God bless you. Best love from your loving brother Ed. xxxxxx
Sometimes it’s hard to get our head around such big statistics like 16,000 deaths and 41,000 casualties, but when we read about individuals and their war experiences, it can be so much easier to relate to what they went through. Here are a couple World War 1 stories that are written from an individual soldier’s point of view:
Best mates : three lads who went to war together / Werry, Philippa
“The three young soldiers in the story are best friends from school, and they leave New Zealand together to go and fight at Gallipoli. Landing first in Egypt, they travel by ship to Anzac Cove and dig into trenches to fight the Turkish troops holding the peninsula. Conditions are tough and Joe gets sick, but his mates help him off on the hospital ship. Then Harry is fatally wounded and his burial has to take place on the cliff-top, away from the snipers. The three friends are reunited many years later, when two men fly to Gallipoli and lay poppies on Harry’s grave. Taking her inspiration from Anzac Day, the New Zealand story Philippa Werry captures the essence of the Anzac spirit with her moving tale about mateship. The illustrated factual text on pages 30-31 spread provides extra information about the events pictured in the story.” (Catalogue)
Nice day for a war / Slane, Chris
“One man’s war tells the story of a generation. A totally unique graphic novel about NZ soldiers in World War I, based on the diaries of the author’s grandfather. A fictional story (based on fact) of a Kiwi lad as he heads away, full of excitement, to war with his mates from rural New Zealand. there he encounters the horror that was the Western front. It is primarily based on the diary of Matt’s Grandfather, and postcards he had sent home to the family. It also draws on published histories of the Kiwi military in WW1. the book aims to capture what the new experiences of war were like for the young soldiers. A fictional story (based on fact) of a Kiwi lad as he heads away, full of excitement, to war with his mates from rural New Zealand. There he encounters the horror that was the Western front.” (Catalogue)
Since then, Wellington has been home to rainbow festivals, parties, and other events which have celebrated, represented, and supported the LGBTQIA+ community, including adults, youth and children.
Did you know?
The rainbow flag – the symbol of gay pride – was created in 1978 by artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran Gilbert Baker. He was commissioned to create a flag for San Francisco’s annual pride parade.
“What I liked about the rainbow is that it fits all of us. It’s all the colors. It represents all the genders. It represents all the races. It’s the rainbow of humanity” – Gilbert Baker
Have you seen?
Image: Wikipedia Commons
Have you noticed the pedestrian crossing images on traffic lights around Cuba Street, Wellington? Instead of the usual ‘green walking man’ they depict an image of Carmen Rupe, who was a tireless gay rights advocate and popular performer in and around Wellington. Carmen passed away in 2011 aged 75 years old.
National Schools Pride Week happens yearly in term 2. This year: 14 – 20 June 2021. This event is organised by Inside Out, which supports rainbow young people throughout Aotearoa to have a sense of belonging in their schools and communities.
Talk to your teacher, and register your school HERE
Out on the Shelves – an online reading resource connecting rainbow young people with the stories that represent them.
Rainbow Youth – provide support, information, resources & advocacy for Aotearoa’s
queer, gender diverse, takatāpui and intersex youth.
Wellington City Libraries have loads of books and online resources about gender, sexuality, diversity and community acceptance. I simply typed in ‘GENDER JUVENILE’ into the the search engine and came up with seven pages of fiction, non-fiction, picture books, board books and e-books to chose from! Wellington City Libraries – Gender Juvenile
Social media has been awash the last few weeks with the singing and playing of these earwormy (is that even a word?) songs called sea shanties.
Melodies like The Wellerman and Drunken Sailor have been popping up in videos everywhere. And the trend all began with a postman named Nathan Evans, who started singing the songs in his bedroom in Scotland and posting them to TikTok.
Musicians all over the world have been jumping on board and adding their own parts to Evans’ vocals – even Andrew Lloyd Webber, turned Evans’ rendition of The Wellerman into a duet with a piano accompaniment.
What is a sea shanty?
Sea shanties are a type of folk song historically sung by fisherman, whalers and merchant sailors to accompany the work they needed to do on board a sailing ship. The theme music to the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants is a great example of a sea shanty, which often uses the ‘call-and-response’, style in the song!
They’re believed to be around 600 years old, and the name itself is thought to derive from the French verb ‘chanter’, meaning ‘to sing’. They often used similar tunes to old Irish and Scottish folk songs and would typically have been sung a cappella – without instrumental accompaniment – across a crowded deck. Such songs were designed to match the rhythm of common jobs aboard a ship such as pulling rigs or mopping the decks; they synchronized the sailors and made their work more bearable / enjoyable.
A deep dive into The Wellerman and its link to NZ’s whaling history
The sea shanty which started this craze – Soon May the Wellerman Come – is thought to have originated in New Zealand and sung on whaling boats in the mid-19th century. The “Wellerman” refers to a supply ship (owned by the Weller Company) which brought supplies such as tea, sugar and rum to the men on the whaling boats. The lyrics describe a whale hunt. The whalers have harpooned the whale but can’t get it on board.
Whalers and sealers were among the first Europeans to arrive in New Zealand. The first shore based whaling stations were established in southern New Zealand in the late 1820s.
Whale pots near the visitor centre on Kāpiti Island. Image: Courtesy Sue Jane
In 1839, the peak year for New Zealand whaling, approximately 200 whaleships were working in New Zealand waters. Kororareka in the Bay of Islands was the biggest whaling port in the southern hemisphere, with 740 ships visiting the port in 1840. The Kāpiti region had six whaling stations dotted around the area. Even Kāpiti Island had a whaling station on it, as Southern Right Whales would use the channel between the Island and the Kāpiti Coast as they migrated north from Antarctica. Old whale pots used to boil the whale blubber to get the valuable whale oil, are still sitting on the island today.
Almost all of Napier’s roads, houses and buildings were damaged or destroyed in the quake. Image: Hawke’s Bay NZ / Archive
2021 (3 February 2021, to be exact) marks 90 years since the Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, which occurred on the 3rd of February 1931. This earthquake devastated the cities of Napier and Hastings and goes down in Aotearoa’s history as our worst natural disaster to-date. The quake was measured at 7.8 on the Richter Scale with 256 deaths – 161 in Napier, 93 in Hastings, and 2 in Wairoa. Many thousands more required medical treatment.
Lascelles kids (1929). Annie is wearing the bow in her hair. Image: Courtesy Sue Jane
The following is an account of that terrifying day written by Annie Lascelles who was 8 years old at the time. Annie went on to have a long and interesting life, playing the piano until her death in 2019, aged 96… but I think you’ll agree that she had a lucky escape! Annie never lost her fear of earthquakes and would refer to Aotearoa as “The Shaky Isles”:
On the 3rd Feb. 1931 I set off for school, it being the first day of the 1st term at St. Joseph’s School (now Reigner School), Greenmeadows (just 4 miles from Napier). It was my first day in Standard 2 (year 4) – I remember it was a mild, slightly cloudy morning. We had a new teacher, also as being a Tuesday I had taken my music. The previous year it had always been my piano lesson at play time (10.40am). With this in mind I was about to go over to the nun’s convent adjacent to the school. This was a new two-storied brick building, erected about 12 months before.
The new Convent collapses in the quake. Sadly, Annie’s music teacher was killed. Image: Courtesy Doreen Keogh
However, my friend Molly asked me to go over to the shop as she had to get some slate pencils (we used slates in those days, sort of like mini-chalkboards) so I went, thinking I would go over and see my music teacher when I returned. Mr Russell’s shop was through the horse-paddock at the back (a few of the children used to ride horses to school). Molly spent half her money on the slate pencils, but the other half on an ice cream each! We were heading back across the shingle road to school when the earthquake struck (10.47am). We were both thrown to the road. I remember looking along the road. It reminded me of a rough sea with breakers coming in but instead of spray on the ridge of each wave it was dust and shingle. Of course my ice cream was squashed into my new uniform, about which I was more concerned (what would Mum say!). Mr Russell rescued us and we spent the next half hour clutching onto him, each had a leg I think – every time the quakes jerked and shook we pulled at his trousers! After some time my Mum appeared. Dad had rushed home from his work, hopped in the car and drove Mum down to see we were OK. They found my four brothers but not me. Mum gave one look at the Sisters’ Convent which had collapsed like a pack of cards, and thought the worst (I can remember watching the convent crumble and the roof just sliding down over the top of the bricks, looking for all the world like a big tent top). Also, there was so much noise from the quake, which seemed to be a continuous shake after the first 2 big shocks. Fortunately, someone remembered seeing Molly and I going through the horse-paddock to the shop so no doubt Mum was pretty relieved to see me clutching Mr Russell’s trousers…but I was still concerned about the mess I had made of my uniform!
Napier burns post earthquake. It was thought that the fires started in two chemist shops in central Napier. Image: Stuff.co.nz
We were all put in the dodge (a big black car, with side curtains) and drove into Napier to get my older sister who was having her first day at Sacred Heart College on Bluff Hill. I can remember Dad being concerned as the road kept opening up with cracks and closing again, he was afraid a wheel could become entrapped.
Only for the fact that trucks, Army I think, were transporting patients from the Napier Hospital out to the Greenmeadows Racecourse (now Anderson Park) we were able to follow the trucks on return, as the two bridges over a couple of river outlets had risen by quite a few feet and the soldiers were stacking timber up to fill the gaps to allow the trucks through and they beckoned us on. We parked to the south of Clive Square as it was impossible to go further. The town was ablaze and razed practically to the ground with firemen and hoses and rescuers doing what they could. Mum and another brother had to follow the path up the side of the hill to approach the Convent that way. They eventually came back with my sister and another girl who lived out our way (a sister of Molly, by the way).
At home the exterior looked OK but the chimney had moved about a lot. Inside was chaos, cupboards emptied on the floor, jams, pickles etc. Just a mess; furniture pitched here and there, pictures fallen and smashed. It was impossible to use the coal range in the house for cooking, as with the chimney so damaged, it would be dangerous. Dad made a temporary stove out in one of the out-buildings, erecting a pipe chimney through the corrugated iron roof, enabling Mum to cook food and boil the kettle. No mean task I imagine, as there were six of us in the family. Dad and the boys brought out mattresses and we slept in the garage for nearly six weeks while the house was made safe to live in again. We also brought our grandparents from Taradale out to live with us too. They slept in a tent on the back lawn for a few weeks. Their chimney had collapsed and went through the dining room table, which grandfather was following around the dining room during the worst of the initial shocks – he was underneath, but escaped injury. Nana was confined to bed at the time.
We had an artesian well, fortunately, which never ceased running, so water was not a problem.
Earthquake! : the diary of Katie Bourke, Napier, 1930-31 / McVeagh, Janine
On the day of her father’s funeral, 11 year-old Katie Bourke begins a diary. It is 1930 and New Zealand is in the grip of the Great Depression. Money is scarce and even basic necessities are hard to find. Katie describes how she longs to escape the boredom of school and do something to help her struggling family. Then a disaster happens which turns every body’s world upside down. (Catalogue) Continue reading →
As we move into Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown, I was curious to know what some authors were doing with their time. I decided to do some online searching, and it was fascinating! Not only are there some very creative authors out there, but I also kept getting side-tracked by all the other groovy stuff that’s being created and shared online at this time. It reminded me of diving into a very deep swimming pool of creativity.
Maybe you could “go swimming” yourself, with a parent or caregiver on hand to keep you safe online of course!
Here’s some of the great activities and webpages I discovered, so this might be a good place to start your swim:
Dav Pilkey – author of Dogman and Captain Underpants books and so much more has created a fantastic lockdown activities page, Dav Pilkey At Home, on the Scholastic Books website. This page is chock full of videos, activities, and things to draw, read and write to keep you occupied during lockdown. While you’re checking out Dav Pilkey At Home, why not read Dav Pilkey’s books online through our eLibrary?
Fifi Colston is not only an amazing NZ children’s author, but she’s a wonderfully creative artist as well. Check out her Fifi Colston Creative Pandemic Resources page for a huge range of really creative craft activities you can do with stuff you find at home. For example, see below for an incredibly cool project you can do with nothing but empty toilet paper rolls and a couple of other bits and bobs
Image credit: Fifi Colston – Pots of Love
Finally, don’t forget to check out local school websites as well. Wellington’s Raroa Normal Intermediate School library website has a very deep pool of at-home resources and activities to swim amongst, and it was here that I really started to swim down some side streams and waterways! They’ve aptly named their page Rāhui Resources.
Here are just a couple of pages I freestyled my way into from Rāhui Resources:
New Zealand Geographic magazine have put together an awesome Together at Home page with something new to explore in this beautiful country of ours for every day of lockdown.
And life just wouldn’t be complete without a few comics to enjoy. SJL.com (School Library Journal) have put up some free kids and teen comics for you to enjoy including the popular Cucumber Quest, Ozy and Millie and Wormworld Saga comic books.
Finally, just because… if you’ve got an iPad at home, why not try your hand at some blackout poetry:
Note: this Kids’ Blog post is targeted at adults! Kids read on with caution.
In these strange new times, teachers, parents and other educators are looking to the Internet for homework help and educational resources to keep their kids’ brains active while schools are closed. Good news! The library can be an invaluable resource for anybody who is trying online education at this time, above and beyond eBooks and online databases. How? Enter AnyQuestions.
Have any questions? Why not try AnyQuestions!
AnyQuestions is a service run by the National Library and staffed by public librarians from around New Zealand, including Wellington City Libraries. On it, children are able to chat in real-time with a real librarian fully trained in web-based research about any question they might have. The librarian working with your child won’t just give them the answer directly — instead, they guide the student through the process of doing online research, checking their understanding every step of the way.
For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the service’s opening hours have been extended — now there are librarians on hand to help every weekday from 10am – 6pm.
If you prefer to work outside those hours, or just want a place to find great resources, try AnyQuestions’ sister site, ManyAnswers. This is a service also provided by the National Library and public librarians, and it’s a fully searchable, always-available database of reliable information and vetted resources for the most commonly-asked questions we receive. You can even search by year level to make sure you’re getting information that’s curated for the right level.
Both services are available year-round, so why not start making use of them today?
Want to know more about the latest news and important issues? Tune in to watch KEA Kids News, which will help explain the tough stuff. KEA Kids News is a twice-weekly video bulletin of new by kids for kids.
Inquisitive kid reporters will pick and peck through local, national, and international news to find interesting stories and ask questions. It’s aimed at 7 – 11 year olds.
Tune in every Wednesday at midday, and Saturday at 9am for the latest video bulletin at stuff.co.nz/KEA
Here’s the most recent episode for you to enjoy.
Also, don’t forget about Kiwi Kids News, which is another amazing news site for New Zealand children that has daily updates on all sorts of interesting and inspiring things. Bookmark them both!
This week is New Zealand Sign Language week. It is a good chance for us to learn what life is like for those people who have hearing loss and to help raise awareness for the New Zealand Deaf Community.
New Zealand Sign Language is one of our official languages and is unique to New Zealand. It includes signs for Maori terminology and concepts that you will not find in the sign language of other countries. Sign languages are different all over the world and even in New Zealand people in Wellington may sign slightly differently to people in Christchurch.
One in six New Zealanders have some form of hearing loss and there are thousands of New Zealanders that use NZSL everyday.
Head on over to the Deaf Aotearoa website where there are some great resources and you can check out events happening in your area.
The library also has books on learning NZSL plus books about children who have hearing loss and what life is like for them.