Pre-Register now for the Summer Reading Adventure!

Read books, explore the city, win prizes!

The Summer Reading Adventure for Kids runs from 1 December 2023 – 31 January 2024 for children aged 5-13. Read books; write, draw or film reviews; and complete quests to earn all kinds of awesome goodies — and you’ll still be home in time for tea! Adults and teens can also take part in their own Summer Reading Adventures — visit the Summer Reading page on our website for all the info.

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

Starting on the 1st of December, you’ll be able to pick up an Adventurer’s Guide from your local library to get started. But you don’t have to wait! Head on over to our Summer Reading Adventure website to pre-register — you’ll get a sneak preview of the quests and activities you’ll be able to do, and you’ll be ready to get started immediately when the 1st of December rolls around.

Read on to find out more!

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Dragons, Dust Storms, Delicious Food and more: New Kid’s Books in the Collection

What a delightful combination of books we have new in the collection this month!  Should you wish to read about witches and dragons, wonder what it might like to be the boss, have curiosity about food around the world or just need a bit of a giggle, we’ve got something in the new books that will satisfy your wish!  Take a look at these we’ve selected from those arriving this month…

Picture Books

Stickler loves the world / Smith, Lane
And just think of the wonders we must pass every day without even noticing!  Stickler, an original character covered in sticks and with multiple ever-changing eyes, loves its little world. With best friend Crow, it shares the wonders of all the amazing things the world has to offer. Stickler is astonished by the ordinary, such as the sun and the stars, as well as fascinated by those things in nature that are often overlooked, such as swirling seed pods falling from the sky. The two pals wander about the world, stopping to appreciate the many marvels along the way, especially its beloved sticks, each one unique.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book that wouldn’t read / Tipene, Tim
“The boy at the centre of Tim Tipene’s striking new story doesn’t like reading, until one day in the school library he picks up The Book that Wouldn’t Read.  Suddenly the book takes on a life of its own — with sentences moving up and down, words changing colour and disappearing, and strange fonts and characters that get the reader jumping around, even burping. His appeals to the teacher and friends get hushed because ‘it’s reading time,’ and before he knows it, he’s finished the book. ‘What should I read next?'” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Doris / Jacoby, Sarah
“Doris has always reveled in the warmth of a spotlight. Her whole life, she’s danced the nights away, with friends from the only home she’s ever known. But one day, Doris twirls … out of step … until she stumbles across a whole new kind of spotlight.” (Catalogue)


School trip / Craft, Jerry
“Jordan, Drew, Liam, Maury, and their friends from Riverdale Academy Day School are heading out on a school trip to Paris. As an aspiring artist himself, Jordan can’t wait to see all the amazing art in the famous City of Lights. But when their trusted faculty guides are replaced at the last minute, the school trip takes an unexpected – and hilarious – turn. […] Will Jordan and his friends embrace being exposed to a new language, unfamiliar food, and a different culture? Or will they all end up feeling like the ‘new kid’?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bigfoot and Nessie : the haunting of Loch Ness Castle / Campbell, Chelsea M.
“Bigfoot and Nessie return for another adventure, and things are getting particularly eerie. This time around, the dynamic duo is visiting Nessie’s home, the underwater Loch Ness Castle, and Bigfoot couldn’t be more excited! […] Only things are not exactly what they seem: Nessie can’t get away from her overbearing momager and endless celebrity duties, and to make matters worse, there’s a ghost roaming around in the house! Can Bigfoot and Nessie confront the ghost, stand up to Nessie’s mom, and uncover the castle’s haunting secrets?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chapter Books

The house with a dragon in it / Lake, Nick
“When Summer and her foster family are having lunch one day, a hole appears in the middle of the living room. That hole leads to a dragon and the promise of three wishes, granted by a very unusual witch. Summer wishes for popularity and plenty of money, and things are looking up . . . until she realizes that the hole in the floor is getting bigger and the witch is getting more sinister. As things begin to unravel, will Summer get her dearest most secret wish?” (Catalogue)

The boss of everyone / Wallace, Danny
“Ten-year-old Joss’s greatest ambition is to be Class Monitor at school. But she’s about to go one step further. It’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Joss’s dad takes her to the games company he works for. When the boss calls a meeting and tells them he’s giving his job away to the person with the best idea for a company game-changer… Joss sticks her hand up. And the next thing she knows, Joss is the boss. Joss is thrilled. Dad is horrified: he’s going to have to be on his best behaviour all the time! As Joss whips everyone into shape, maybe they can all learn a lesson or two… even Joss herself.” (Catalogue)

Dust : a novel / Bowling, Dusti
“After Avalyn nearly died from an asthma attack, her parents moved her to the clear, dry air of Clear Canyon City, Arizona. And for the last ten years, she’s been able to breathe. That is, until Adam showed up. Quiet and unkempt, Adam is an instant target for the bullies who have plagued Avalyn and her friends. As Avalyn gets to know him, she begins to suspect that the sudden, strange increase in dust storms around town are somehow connected to his emotions. She thinks his problems may be even worse at home, especially when massive black walls of dust start rolling in after the school day. Will she find a way to stand up for her new friend? Her life may just depend on it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No one leaves the castle / Healy, Christopher
“The Lilac. The bard songs say that she’s the world’s most fearsome bounty hunter. That there’s no criminal she can’t catch, no mystery she can’t solve. None of that is true. Yet. In reality, the Lilac is just a kid, and the bard who wrote all that is her best friend, Dulcinetta. But the Lilac has set her goals on becoming the best bounty hunter in the Thirteen Kingdoms–and when a priceless artifact goes missing from the home of famed monster hunter Baron Angbar, the Lilac and Netta are eager to apprehend the thief and make a name for themselves. But when their investigation brings them to a dinner party at Castle Angbar, and they meet the Angbar family and their servants and guests–an unsavory group of nobles, mages, and assorted creatures, each more shady than the last–the Lilac begins to wonder if the reward is worth the trouble. And that’s before the dead body is discovered…” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Beasts of the ancient world : a kids’ guide to mythical creatures, from the sphinx to the minotaur, dragons to baku / Ward, Marchella
“Uncover tales of ancient beasts, in this beautiful anthology of mythologies. This book introduces children to the thrilling mythological beasts from ancient civilizations. Discover 23 stories accompanied by beautiful, colorful illustrations. Through the incredible storytelling you can learn about fantastic creatures such as the Japanese baku, which had the power to devour nightmares, the wise Egyptian Sphynx, and the fearsome Minotaur who went head-to-head with Theseus in Greek mythology. Featured pages highlight amazing real-life photos of objects, showing how each beast was represented in art. A perfect, global introduction to the most fascinating stories about legendary creatures from ancient history…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chews your own tasty adventure : a cooking journey where YOU get to choose the ingredients! : vegetarian recipes from around the world / Pathmanathan, Sai
“A fun interactive cookbook which empowers children to choose and experiment with cooking – each simple recipe only has six ingredients! Join in the fun as you experiment with recipes from around the world! From cupcakes to churros and paratha to pide, chews each ingredient in an interactive game and then see which recipes you can create. Perfect for beginner cooks to start their cooking adventure, with a maximum of six key ingredients for each recipe and clear and simple instructions, but also challenges young cooks to experiment with new techniques and ingredients. Includes fun facts for each recipe and lots of top tips!” (Catalogue)

Inside the world’s wonders : see what lies within some of the greatest buildings on Earth / Gifford, Clive
“Take a tour around the world to uncover some of the planet’s most incredible landmarks and monuments – inside and out. From the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal to Sydney Opera House, you’ll discover these iconic structures’ secrets, learn about their history and find out why they have become ‘wonders’ of the world.” (Catalogue)

For more new kids books in the collection, go to: What’s new / November 2023 (

Author Spotlight: Katherine Rundell

“It was a very fine day, until something tried to eat him…”

Katherine Rundell‘s books blend magical delight with tales of adventure and courageous young protagonists. They’re great for reading aloud for different aged family members, or for tamariki to read to themselves (under the duvet with a torch, we won’t tell!)

With the release of Katherine Rundell’s latest book, Impossible Creatures, we have compiled a list of some of her other wonderful reads.

Impossible creatures / Rundell, Katherine
“A boy called Christopher is visiting his reclusive grandfather when he witnesses an avalanche of mythical creatures come tearing down the hill. This is how Christopher learns that his grandfather is the guardian of one of the ways between the non-magical world and a place called the Archipelago, a cluster of magical islands where all the creatures we tell of in myth live and breed and thrive alongside humans. […] Then a girl, Mal, appears in Christopher’s world. She is in possession of a flying coat, is being pursued by a killer and is herself in pursuit of a baby griffin. Mal, Christopher and the griffin embark on an urgent quest across the wild splendour of the Archipelago, where sphinxes hold secrets and centaurs do murder, to find the truth – with unimaginable consequences for both their worlds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rooftoppers / Rundell, Katherine
“Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. […] So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wolf wilder / Rundell, Katherine
“In the days before the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Feodora sets out to rescue her mother when the Tsar’s Imperial Army imprisons her for teaching tamed wolves to fend for themselves.” (Catalogue)

The explorer / Rundell, Katherine
“Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England when the plane they’re on crashes in the Amazon jungle and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.” (Catalogue)

The good thieves / Rundell, Katherine
“Vita’s grandfather, Jack, has been cheated out of everything he owns by a conman. Vita is determined to set things right with a lawless, death-defying plan. –Adapted from cover.” (Catalogue)

Cartwheeling in thunderstorms / Rundell, Katherine
“Will must find her way after she’s plucked out of a wonderful life in Zimbabwe and forced to go to boarding school in England”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The book of hopes
“In difficult times, what children really need is hope. And in that spirit, Katherine Rundell emailed some of the children’s writers and artists whose work she loved most. ‘I asked them to write something very short, fiction or non-fiction, or draw something that would make the children reading it feel like possibility-ists: something that would make them laugh or wonder or snort or smile… I hope that the imagination can be a place of shelter for children and that this book might be useful in that, even if only a little. This collection, packed with short stories, poems and pictures from the very best children’s authors and illustrators, aims to provide just that.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For younger readers:

The zebra’s great escape / Rundell, Katherine
“”A girl, a zebra, a dog and a squirrel set forth on a great adventure. Mr. Spit is out to get them – but bravery and brilliant friends are a match for anyone”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

For the adult in your life:

Why you should read children’s books, even though you are so old and wise / Rundell, Katherine
“Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children’s books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children’s fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult readers.” (Catalogue)

The Weird and Wonderful World of Cryptids!

The Summer Reading Adventure for 2023-2024 is fast approaching, and this year the SRA has an exciting new challenge for you – a chance to design and draw your very own cryptid! But what is a cryptid, you might wonder?

A cryptid is a creature or being whose existence hasn’t been proven, like the Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster. Those are two of the most famous examples, but there are actually countless cryptids out there, including some amazing creatures here in Aotearoa! Since you’ll be creating your own cryptid from scratch, let’s get inspired by some of the more well-known ones in NZ:


The Waitoreke (also known as the New Zealand otter or kaurehe) is supposedly a furry, amphibious creature the size of a cat, and accounts of this cryptid date back more than 200 years. Sightings of this creature are usually reported around the waterways of the South Island, so keep an eye out next time you go on a family road trip!

Moehau Man

Moehau Man is a large, ape-like creature said to live in the Moehau Range in the Coramandel. While some people suggest that the legend of the Moehau Man has roots in Māori mythology, or is even borrowed from the American Bigfoot, its definite origins are unknown and keen cryptozoologists (people who study and try to find cryptids) have yet to find enough proof to confirm its existence.

Fiordland Moose

Way back in 1910, a handful of moose were introduced into the South Island’s Fiordland, where they disappeared into the wilderness. Ever since, the continued existence of these creatures has been much debated. With the last proven sighting in 1953, and an entire moose antler being found in the 1970s, the whole of New Zealand has been kept guessing about these moose, and wondering if they’re still trekking around the Fiordland bush.

Canterbury Panther

The legend of the Canterbury Panther comes from regular reports and sightings of a giant black cat in the area around Canterbury. While some sceptics suggest that these sightings are of an abnormally large housecat, enough evidence remains that the Canterbury Panther is one of Aotearoa’s most famous (and plausible!) cryptids.

A black kitten with blue eyes looking up at the camera, standing inside a wicker basket.

The terrifying Canterbury Panther? Perhaps not.
Photo by 2 Bro’s Media on Unsplash.

Come down to your local library this summer to try designing your very own cryptid as part of our Summer Reading Adventure, and in the meantime, have a browse of our library’s cryptozoological collection!

Cryptid creatures : a field guide / Halls, Kelly Milner
“Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide offers a closer look at fifty of these amazing creatures, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Cryptid kids [1] : the Bawk-ness Monster / Goetter, Sara
“Before she moves away to a new city, Penny wants to prove that she was truly saved from drowning by the Bawk-ness Monster but instead must rescue kidnapped cryptids from an evil collector along with Luc and K”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Monsters : 100 weird creatures from around the world / Banville, Sarah
“From well-known and well-feared monsters like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, to the lesser-known, but just as weird and wonderful Japanese Sea Serpent and Chinese Hopping Vampires, this book is the must-have guide to monsters from all over the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Cryptid Club / Andersen, Sarah
“Do you hate social gatherings? Dodge cameras? Enjoy staying up just a little too late at night? You might have more in common with your local cryptid than you think! Enter the world of Cryptid Club, a look inside the adventures of elusive creatures ranging from Mothman to the Loch Ness Monster.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The Cryptid Club [1] : Bigfoot takes the field / Brumm, Michael C
“Lily knows better than to listen to the gossip her little brother, Henry, has heard, but when her school newspaper needs a big headline, the rumour that Bigfoot has been spotted is the best lead she’s got.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Monsters on the run / Sherry, Kevin
“Yeti Blizz Richards and his gang of cryptids set out to find a friend for Vanessa, the Loch Ness Monster, even though it means traveling back in time to the dangerous age of the Cretaceous looking for plesiosaurs–unfortunately Vanessa proves to be rather timid about meeting other dinosaurs.” (Catalogue)
Drawing monsters / Scrace, Carolyn
” This title is packed full of inspiring ideas for your child to use to create entirely new artworks of their own. Art Works are a great way to start learning how to draw. Each title features simple step-by-step instructions that are perfect for practicing guided reading.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The taniwha of Wellington Harbour / Wairama, Moira
“Whataitai and Ngake are two taniwha living in a beautiful lake, however when Ngake gets bored and decides to break free into the ocean his actions have far reaching consequences and help shape the landscape of our capital city.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Mythical monsters : mad, mischievious, mysterious creatures / Smith, Lauren
“Have you ever met a yeti, or seen Nessie hiding below the surface? There’s no proof that these creatures exist, but just in case, we’ve collected the stories of some of the biggest, baddest and oddest monsters in the world.” (Catalogue)
History’s mysteries : legend and lore : curious clues, cold cases, and puzzles from the past / Claybourne, Anna
“Interesting and curious historical legends and their background, for children”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

This blog post was written by our wonderful teen blogger,

Beth – Teen Blog (

Diwali the Festival of Lights – 2023

Shubh Deepawali! Happy Diwali!

This year Diwali celebrations kick off on the 9th of November and finish on the 14th. Diwali is usually 5 days long, and every year it is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar dates which usually fall between September and November. Diwali is mainly known as a Hindu festival but is also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists alike. Because of this, there are lots of different religious events, stories and deities associated with Diwali.

One of the most well-known is the story of Prince Rama and Sita. When Rama’s wife Sita was kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana, Prince Rama slayed the demon with the help of Hanuman the monkey warrior. As they made their way back to their kingdom in the city Ayodhya, there was no moon to light their path, so the people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps to guide Rama and Sita home. This is why to this day, oil lamps (or diyas) are lit as a part of Diwali celebrations and signify the triumph of good over evil.

Our Diwali photobooth during an event at Ngā Puna Waiora | Newtown Library!

During Diwali, some Hindus also celebrate Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Colourful rangoli are set up in house entrances to invite the goddess in and bring good luck, and plates of handmade sweets and fruit are made as offerings.

Overall, Diwali is a time for friends and families to come together – to give gifts, wear their best outfits, clean and decorate the home together and share lots of delicious kai!

Here’s a selection of photographs taken at Ngā Puna Waiora | Newtown Library earlier this month, during our Diwali Storytelling, Sari Draping and Photobooth event!

  • Librarian Asha and uest author Rajorshi Chakraborti read some of their favourites!
  • Learning how to drape a sari!
  • Our Diwali photobooth!

If you want to learn more about Diwali, have a read online at Britannica library – a free encyclopaedia which you can access with your library card number and pin.

Check out some of our Diwali books below:

Overdrive cover Baby’s First Diwali, DK (ebook)

Celebrate Diwali with this delightful baby board book that little ones will adore.
The bright and colourful images in this ebook are the perfect way to discover Diwali together. From the shining diya lamps that gave the festival its name, to colourful Rangoli flower decorations, to sweet treats, Baby’s First Diwali features all the familiar favourites associated with India’s biggest and brightest holiday.
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover It’s Diwali!, Kabir Sehgal (ebook)

Count along in celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, in this luminous picture book from bestselling mother-son duo Surishtha and Kabir Sehgal.
Count up to ten and back down again to the tune of “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” while learning about the traditions that make Diwali a fun-filled festival! Celebrated during autumn harvest, Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. From sweet treats to intricate henna designs to exciting firework displays, kids will delight in this vibrant glimpse into the Festival of Lights. (Overdrive description)

Shubh Diwali / Soundar, Chitra
“One family celebrates the Hindu festival of lights”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Rama and Sita : the story of Diwali / Doyle, Malachy
“Rama and Sita live happily in the forest until Sita is abducted by the demon king Ravana. Can Rama rescue her – and who is the little white monkey who offers to help?” (Catalogue)

Dharma’s Diwali / MacGregor, Jill

“Dharma, a young girl from Lautoka, describes how she and her friends and family celebrate Diwali, the festival of light.” (Catalogue)

All about Diwali : things to make and do / Haddow, Swapna
“Diwali is one of India’s most significant holidays. This beautiful activity book book is filled with crafts and recipes, fun activities and facts about the Diwali celebrations observed by over one billion people across faiths. Read all about why Diwali is named the festival of lights and discover the stories behind it.” (Catalogue)

Read to Kurī comes to Johnsonville Library!

Even more good news for dog-lovers and book-lovers alike — due to the popularity of this programme at Te Awa-a-Taia | Kilbirnie Library, we will be bringing our Read to Kurī programme to Waitohi | Johnsonville Library for the rest of the term!

Every Monday after school from the 13th of November until the 11th of December, you’ll be able to book in a 15-minute slot to read to our gorgeous therapy dogs Martha, Frankie, Freja and Willow, thanks to our friends at Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Read on to learn more about Read to Kurīand how you can book your session!

Our gorgeous doggos for Read to Kurī at Johnsonville Library. From left: Martha, Freja, Willow, Frankie

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 the Kurī

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

Kurī 1: Martha

Handler: Anna Prussing

Martha is a ten-year-old collie, with eight brothers and sisters. She’s a very gentle sweetheart!

She’s been the library and reading dog at St Theresa’s in Plimmerton, and a Canine Friend for six years.

Nothing makes her happier than being with children, hugs and snuggles, and hearing them read to her. Her favourite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but she’s happy to hear anything!

Her best friend is a slinky coffee-coloured cat called Charlie who lives with her and bosses her about!

She lives in Whitby with Anna and they both love reading with children.

Anna and Martha will be at Johnsonville Library from 3.15 – 4.30pm every second Monday starting on Monday 13 November.

Book your session with Martha – November 13

Book your session with Martha – November 27

Book your session with Martha – December 11

Kurī 2: Frankie

Handler: Lincoln Hall

Frankie is an SPCA special, who is a terrier mix.

Frankie loves his time at Canine Friends, and particularly getting pats from students at universities. His specialty is having his tummy rubbed by his adoring friends!

Frankie is a sweet and quiet boy, who loves eating treats, tissues and socks. He loves people and other dogs. His best friends are his dog siblings, Harry and Minnie, and his cat siblings, Pango and Pipi.

Lincoln and Frankie will be at Johnsonville Library from 3.15 – 4.30pm every second Monday starting on Monday 13 November.

Book your session with Frankie – November 13

Book your session with Frankie – November 27

Book your session with Frankie – December 11

Kurī 3: Freja

Handler: Dairne Poole

Freja is almost 2 years old, and she is also a Golden Retriever. She is a very smiley dog who is always happy to see new people and become friends.

She is an excellent running companion and loves to go running with her handler Dairne in the hills above their house in Wadestown. She also loves playing with her friend Willow, and going to the beach to play in the surf.

Dairne and Freja will be at Johnsonville Library from 3.15 – 4.30pm every second Monday starting on Monday 13 November.

Book your session with Freja – November 20

Book your session with Freja – December 4

Kurī 4: Willow

Handler: Andrew Poole

Willow is a Golden Retriever and she is 5 years old. She is handler Dairne’s son’s dog – she joined their family when Dairne’s son was just 8 years old in 2018.

She loves pats and cuddles, chasing balls, playing with her buddy, Freja, and food. She is very gentle and kind, however if you’re a cat, she may want to chase you!

Andrew and Willow will be at Johnsonville Library from 3.15 – 4.30pm every second Monday starting on Monday 20 November.

Book your session with Willow – November 20

Book your session with Willow – December 4

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

Play Week Aotearoa 2023 – Play is Everywhere

Play Week Aotearoa 2023 is underway from 6 – 12 November! 

Whatever you have nearby – a box, a hose, a tree – then you’ve got play! Play Week Aotearoa is all about celebrating the value play brings to tamariki, whānau and communities across Aotearoa.

Play gives us freedom and chances to take risks. It’s how our tamariki learn to problem solve, get creative, make mistakes, create new friendships, learn skills and build a life- long love of being active. You can be part of it too. Play is Everywhere! Find out more at

From neighbourhood scavenger hunts and tafue | jump rope to fort building and balloon games, here are some great play ideas from!

For more inspiration from schools and our communities, check out these play stories from all over Aotearoa!

Here’s a few of our books to help celebrate and spark play!

365 days of play : activities for every day of the year / Butler, Megan Hewes
“This go-to activity book for kids ages 4-8 includes 265 pages of games, crafts, recipes, experiments, projects, jokes, songs, guides, skills, tricks, hacks, challenges, and everything else in the canon of kid”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Wild days : outdoor play for young adventurers / Irvine, Richard
“Perfect for inspiring kids to get out in the fresh air, this brilliant book is crammed full of outdoor activities and fun for children.” (Catalogue)
50 fantastic ideas for found materials / Featherstone, Sally
“Children love constructing models and other objects, and working with found and recycled materials has a firm and continuing place in the early years, encouraging children to be imaginative and creative as they practice their skills in joining, wrapping, bending and cutting. These materials that are often free or low cost, are available everywhere, waiting for imaginative practitioners to find and use them…” (Abridged from catalogue)
image courtesy of syndeticsThe science of swimming.
“In swimming, there are multiple scientific concepts at play, such as density, gravity, momentum, and buoyancy. Readers learn about these concepts and more with this engaging guide to the science behind swimming. Useful diagrams display how to execute the perfect push-off from the wall of a pool, how to swim successful strokes, and how to do a cannonball.” (Abridged from catalogue).

A child’s garden : 60 ideas to make any garden come alive for children / Dannenmaier, Molly
A Child’s Garden offers a wide range of innovative examples showing how to create special places in which children can experience nature on their own home turf… Out-of-the-ordinary sandboxes are pictured, along with paths, mazes, furniture, peepholes, and scores of ideas for creative play areas that fit perfectly into adult gardens.” (Abridged from catalogue).
Playtime : activities for little children that can make a big difference / Richards, Elspeth
“…Playtime explains how children learn and communicate through play, and what easy things you can do to make this a happy and rewarding experience for you both. Whether you’re looking at house numbers whole out walking, inventing a new kind of hat or cutting up a banana together, there are ways to make the most of valuable time with your child. This book includes all sorts of games and ideas for children aged 1-5, as well as babies.” (Abridged from catalogue)

Remembering Te Pāhuatanga – Learn About Parihaka

On the coast of Aotearoa, near Mount Taranaki, there is a very important place called Parihaka which has a lot to teach us about the history of injustice in New Zealand, and the importance of hope and peace.

In the years following the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840, colonial greed and racism enabled the government to unlawfully confiscate land and wage war against groups of Māori who sought to defend their territory.

During the 1860s, the community at Parihaka became a haven for different groups of Māori, and a place of resistance to land confiscation and encroaching settlement. The people of Parihaka had a peaceful campaign, led by Te Whiti and Tohu, that consisted of ploughing up confiscated land, removing surveying pegs, and placing fencing.

In response, the government arrested these peaceful people and sent them far away, to Wellington, and to the South Island where they were forced to build roads. On 5 November 1881, Parihaka was invaded by a military force of 1600 armed constabulary. This is called Te Rā o te Pāhua, the day of plunder.  Māori people who were not originally from the Parihaka area were forced to leave. Violence was inflicted against the people. Their leaders were arrested. Buildings were damaged. Te Whiti and Tohu were held without trial for two years, before returning home in 1883.

Despite all of this harm, Parihaka was rebuilt by its people, and still thrives today. Parihaka reminds us of what hope and working together can achieve, especially in the face of injustice.

The memorial at Pukeahu War Memorial Park

A Place to Remember

At Pukeahu War Memorial Park, on the north-west corner of the old Dominion Museum building, there is a memorial dedicated to the people of Taranaki and Parihaka who were imprisoned in the Mount Cook barracks. The memorial represents a prisoner wrapped up in a blanket. The base of the monument is made of stones from Taranaki. As you wander through Wellington, this is the perfect spot to take a moment to reflect on the Parihaka legacy of peace.

Online resources for tamariki to learn more about Parihaka

Image: Parihaka by Josiah Martin on DigitalNZ.

Parihaka | AnyQuestions

AnyQuestions offers free online homework help to New Zealand school students. AnyQuestions provides a librarian chat service, from 1pm to 6pm Monday to Friday during the school year. The website also has great ManyAnswers articles on important topics and places. This Parihaka article will help show you more great places to find information!

Another great resource is Remembering Te Pāhuatanga o Parihaka | Story | DigitalNZ which brings together photos, biographies, and oral history interviews along with an article which discusses how waiata and poi have helped pass on stories.

We also have further articles on our general library blog for readers of all ages: Parihaka – Library Blog ( Wellington City Libraries is grateful to have shared a Kōrero with Kura Moeahu – Library Blog.

With some help from teachers or caregivers, older tamariki might be able to use some of the longer books about Parihaka that can be found in our booklist: Remembering Te Pahuatanga o Parihaka | (

Readers of all ages are encouraged to check out the following books!

Pukapuka for tamariki to learn more about Parihaka

Syndetics book coverMaumahara ki tērā Nōema / nā Jennifer Beck rāua ko Lindy Fisher ; nā Kawata Teepa i whakamāori.
“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 u the invasion of Parihaka in 1881.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book coverRemember that November / written by Jennifer Beck ; illustrated by Lindy Fisher.
“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 u the invasion of Parihaka in 1881.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPeace warriors / Raymond Huber (2015)

This book tells the heroic stories of brave New Zealander’s and people around the world who used non-violent resistance to pursue paths of peace. One of the stories is of Archibald Baxter, who refused to fight in World War 1 because he did not believe in killing. He faced brutal punishment and rejection for his courageous choice.

Keenan Book Cover
Amorangi and Millie’s trip through time / Keenan, Lauren
“Amorangi and Millie lost their mum. Their only clue to her whereabouts is a carving on a tree that says, I’m in the past! Rescue me! To do this, Amorangi and Millie must travel up every branch of their family tree and collect an object from each ancestor they meet. They must then be back in the modern day before the sun sets, or they’ll all be trapped forever in the past. In their travels, the children experience aspects of events in New Zealand history, such as the invasion of Parihaka, the Great Depression, World War Two, the Musket Wars and the eruption of Mount Taranaki. They also experience changes in the town and landscape, the attitudes of people and the way people live their lives”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Graveyard Shakes: Kids’ Comics for Halloween!

Spooky season is upon us, and we just so happen to have you covered for some great reads from our comic and graphic novel collections.

If you like the idea of a witch who uses her cauldron to make pizza, an avenging-warrior-ghost-hog, or a girl who meets her new best friend by summoning a spirit at a seance tea party, then these are for you!

Junior Comics

Witches of Brooklyn [1] / Escabasse, Sophie
“Effie moves to Brooklyn to live with her strange aunt and soon discovers that she might be a witch.” (Catalogue)

Graveyard shakes / Terry, Laura
“When Katia runs away from her private boarding school her sister Victoria goes looking for her, accidentally stumbling into the underworld of a nearby graveyard inhabited by ghosts and a man named Nikola, who is preparing a sinister spell.” (Catalogue)
Séance tea party / Yee, Reimena
“After watching her circle of friends seemingly fade away, Lora is determined to still have fun on her own, so when a tea party leads Lora to discovering Alexa, the ghost that haunts her house, they soon become best friends.” (Catalogue)

Ghost hog / Weiser, Joey
“Truff is the ghost of a young boar, fueled by fury towards the hunter who shot her down. She has a lot to learn about her new afterlife, and thankfully the forest spirits Claude and Stanley are there to guide her! However, they soon find that her parents, along with their fellow animal villagers, have been kidnapped by the malicious mountain demon Mava! Truff wants to help, but… the hunter is finally within her grasp, and if she lets him go, she may never get her revenge! Is vengeance all that being a ghost is good for? Or is there something stronger keeping this little pig tethered to the living world?” (Catalogue)

Skull Cat. Book 1, Skull Cat and the curious castle / Shurtliff, Norman
“It’s Scully the Cat’s first day as the new garden-keeper at a spooky castle… but when everyone goes missing, is he brave enough to become a hero? Draw your sword and let’s find out! Even though the castle is an eerie place, full of dark secrets, Scully is excited to start his new job and prove himself to be a great gardener. But wait a minute… what happened to all his co-workers? Were they devoured by bloodthirsty vampires? Spooked by a love-struck ghost? Pranked by a comic-reading goblin? Enchanted by a sleepy sorcerer? Will Scully have to become the hero and uncover the truth behind Le Dark Chateau? He never signed up for this!!”– Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

Sorceline / Douyé, Sylvia
“For as long as she can remember, Sorceline has had a knack for the study of mythical creatures. Now a student at Professor Archibald Balzar’s prestigious school of cryptozoology, she’s eager to test her skills and earn a spot as one of Balzar’s apprentices. But for all her knowledge of gorgons, vampires, and griffins, Sorceline is mystified by her fellow humans. While she excels in her studies, she quickly clashes with her classmates, revealing her fiery temper. When one of her rivals suddenly disappears, Sorceline must set aside her anger and join the quest to find her. But the mystery only deepens, leading Sorceline on a journey far darker and more personal than she expected.” (Catalogue)

YA Comics

Unfamiliar. 1 / Newsome, Haley
“Young kitchen witch Planchette gets an incredible deal on a new house in a magical town. Turns out, there’s a reason: it’s haunted! After unsuccessfully attempting to get these unwanted ghosts to leave, she realizes the only thing to do is to help them with their problems. Along the way, she befriends a shy siren who hates being popular, a girl battling a curse, and a magically-challenged witch from a powerful coven.” (Catalogue)

Summer spirit / Holleville, Élizabeth
“Summer for Louise means sand, surf, and… the supernatural. Louise spends every summer at her grandma’s house with her older sister, cousins, and Rodin the dog. But, this year, her plans to relax and read comics on the beach are about to be turned upside down by a mischievous ghost, bored with being forced to haunt the same house. While the other girls are wrapped up in romance and teenage problems, Louise takes refuge with her new paranormal BFF, determined to escape the drama and just enjoy her summer break, something that is proving to be a lot harder than she anticipated.” (Catalogue)

The Okay Witch / Steinkellner, Emma
“Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.” (Catalogue)

Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau | Tokelau language week!

Mālo ni!

It’s time for Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau | Tokelau language week 2023! Our theme this year is:

Ke Olatia ko ia Tokelau i tana Fakavae | Tokelau to Prosper Within its Foundation.

Tokelau Language and Culture

The nation is made up of the three atolls (ring-shaped coral islands) Nukunonu, Atafu, and Fakaofo, known as the Union Islands, until 1946 when Tokelau (north-wind) became the official name.

Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens. There are more than 8500 Tokelauan people in New Zealand today – five times the population of the islands themselves (about 1600)! We’re very lucky to have more Tokelauans in Wellington than anywhere else in the world, living and contributing a lot to our shared culture!


Join us at Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga| Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library for a special Tokelauan Storytime and Fatele Dance on Tuesday, 24 October 2023, 3:30 – 4:30pm

Celebrate Tokelau language and culture with some special guests who will share some stories and some fatele dance. Bring your elders and children and join in the fun!

Listen to a beautiful Tokelau pehe – a song – from Tokelauan-Kiwi singer Olivia Foa’i

Alafapeta | Alphabet

The Tokelau alafapeta is made up of fifteen mataituhi (letters).

There are five vaueli (vowels): A – E – I – O – U

And ten konehane (consonants): F – G – K – L – M – N – P – H – T – V

3 of these consonants are pronounced a bit differently to English though:

F – sounds more like a breathy W, like when you blow out a candle.

G – is pronounced Ng. The Tuvaluan word for “language” – Gagana – is pronounced Nga-nga-na.

H – makes a “Hyuh” sound when placed before the letters A, O or U. The word hau sounds like “hyau”.

Helpful words

Mālō ni  — Hello

E ā mai koe? — How are you?

Ko au e mālohi, Fakafetai — I am well, thank you.

Ko koe te mata mālohi — You look well

Te mānaia o te aho — It’s a beautiful day

Ōmamai tātou hihiva fakataki — Come, let us dance!

Io! — Yes!

Te lelei ō koe — Well done!

Tōfā nī — Goodbye!

Kaokao — Armpit

Learn even more phrases using the Tokelau Language Cards from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples!

Tuhi | Books

We have two NEW 2023 books in Gagana Tokelau by David Riley!

Three of the stories below are bilingual, so you can read them in either English or Tokelau.

librarian holds 4 tokelau books

Here is Ethan a librarian at Newtown holding the new books from David Riley and two other classics.

Lightning boy /Ko te tama ko Uila by David Riley (2023)

Sometimes the least likely person is the one who solves a problem. That’s what happened to Uila the day that danger came to his family. Find out how in Lightning Boy, a bilingual legend from Tokelau.

The pearl shell necklace /Ko te kahoa pā by David Riley (2023)

How much would you do for someone you love? Kalokalo-o-te-la loved Hina so much he gave everything he had for her. Find out how in The Pearl Shell Necklace, a bilingual legend from Tokelau–Back cover.

Havali fakaua ki te fale/ Walking home in the Rain by Feauaʼi Amosa Burgess

Four Tokelauan kids have fun and play pretend in the rain on their way home from school.
Tokelau heroes / Riley, David

Part of David Riley’s beloved Pasifika Heroes series – Tokelau Heroes tells the inspirational stories of achievers who have Tokelauan ancestry. It includes legends like Hina; historical figures such as Ihaia Puka; and contemporary heroes like Opetaia Foa’i (Father of Olivia Foa’i mentioned above).

For more information about Tokelau, you may visit: