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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: aotearoa

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is running from the 4th–21st of November, so now is the perfect time to explore the world of cinema!

Your library membership gives you access to our DVD collection (rental fees apply). Here are some past NZIFF gems that we have on offer:

The Red Turtle / Dudok de Wit (Netherlands/Japan)

A poignant, wordless fable of luminous imagery and swirling animation. In a majestic world of intricate hand-drawn textures, a shipwrecked man is found marooned on a desert island. With his attempted escapes thwarted by the strange and larger-than-life red turtle, the man’s existence is forever altered when something extraordinary occurs. (Catalogue)

The Farewell / Lulu Wang (USA, Chinese-American)

Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate. (Catalogue)

A Date for Mad Mary / Darren Thornton (Ireland)

Mad Mary McArdle has returned home after a short spell in prison – for something she’d rather forget. Her best friend, Charlene (Charleigh Bailey), is about to get married and Mary is the maid of honour. When Charlene refuses Mary a ‘plus one’ on the grounds that she probably couldn’t find a date, Mary becomes determined to prove her wrong. Her attempts at dating are a disaster and she winds up feeling more alone…until she meets Jess (Tara Lee) and everything changes. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kedi / Ceyda Torun (Turkey)

Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame, and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could. (CATalogue)

I Used to Be Normal : A Boyband Fangirl Story / Jessica Leski (Australia)

Filmed over four years, and spanning three generations, this intimate coming of age story follows a diverse group of women who have had their lives dramatically changed by their boyband obsessions. These four women must navigate the challenges of relationships, family, sexuality, and faith, while constantly grappling with all the problems and contradictions that are part of being in love with a boyband. (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post / Desiree Akhavan (USA)

Cameron is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother, Reverend Rick, the center is built upon repenting for same sex attraction. In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners, including the amputee stoner Jane and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit Adam. Together, this group of teenagers forms an unlikely family as they fight to survive. (Catalogue)

Adult cards also have access to online streaming services to Kanopy and Beamafilm, so perhaps you could utilise a guardian’s library card for a family movie night!

After that, why not head over to LinkedIn Learning (free with your library card) and take one of their online filmmaking courses? Topics include making a short film from start to finish, cinematography, screenwriting, video editing and more!

Chicken Soup for the Adventurous Soul

Exams are on the horizon, and some of you may be fighting the urge to run into the woods and never return. But fear not – Spring is in the air, and the world is full of wonderful things to distract you from study! Now is the perfect time to be daydreaming about those Summer roadies and camping trips, and what better way to prepare for the great outdoors than by popping down to your local library for a quick peruse of Bear Grylls’ collected works?

Whether you’re planning a quick day-trip through the bush, a few days camping with friends, or are fully committed to vanishing amongst the undergrowth and resurfacing only often enough that you become a haunting fixture of local folklore, our collection has something for you.

You can find more information about local hiking trails on the Wellington City Council website.

The young adventurer’s guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods–45 action-packed outdoor activities / Hewitt, Ben
“[…] The Young Adventurer’s Guide will teach kids everything from how to walk like a fox and see like an owl to use the stars as their own personal GPS and even how to build the world’s coolest fort out of foraged sticks. This handbook for curious kids will empower them to explore the natural world and even the comfort of their own backyard through a whole new set of skills. Featuring 65 different skills in sections that include: Secrets of the Woods, The Best Camping Trip, Make Cool Stuff That’s Actually Useful and Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hiking & tramping in New Zealand / Bennett, Sarah
“Lonely Planet Hiking and Tramping in New Zealand is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Admire the dramatic peaks and valleys of Fiordland National Park, stroll past bays and beaches of the Abel Tasman Coast, or scale an active volcano on the North Island.” (Catalogue)

Survival handbook : an essential companion to the great outdoors / Sumerak, Marc
“This book includes crucial tips on exactly what you need to know to survive even the most unexpected circumstances. This illustrated guide shows you how to make a shelter, build a fire, locate clean water, forage for food, avoid deadly animals, protect yourself from bad weather, and find your way back home safely afterward. Whether you’re lost, hungry, burned, or buried, knowing essential emergency survival skills could literally mean the difference between life and death.” (Catalogue)

Day walks of Greater Wellington / Gavalas, Marios
“[…] With overviews of popular walking areas, each walk is given a track grade, approximate travel time, easy access details, notes on the track itself and points of interest to highlight the most memorable features. Illustrated with maps and plenty of photographs, this handy guide is the essential companion for anyone venturing into the region’s outdoors.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Camping / Grylls, Bear
“Ever wanted to be an adventurer like Bear Grylls? If you do, you will need to know all the skills required to survive camping in the wilderness! In this practical field guide readers will learn how to choose the best site, how to build shelters and how to make a solar shower – and much more. With full-colour illustrations throughout, this book will appeal to scout groups, as the topic coincides with scout badges.” (Catalogue)

A forager’s treasury / Knox, Johanna
“Features profiles of many edible plants commonly found in New Zealand, including advice on where to find them, how to harvest them and how best to use them”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)


The beginner’s guide to hunting + fishing in New Zealand / Adamson, Paul
“Includes information on the right equipment for the right species, hunting with dogs, and mountain safety and bushcraft essentials. With diagrams, fun facts, a glossary of hunting terms, helpful tips and even some recipes to try out at home … has an emphasis on safety and provides all budding hunters with the basic skills and knowledge for a lifetime of adventure in the great outdoors”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Survival for beginners : a step-by-step guide to camping and outdoor skills / Towell, Colin
“This essential survival guide for intrepid young explorers shows the skills and techniques you need for outdoor adventure, from maps and navigation to camping. Learn the basics – from picking the best campground to knowing how to build a shelter – with clear step-by-step illustrations […] So start packing your rucksack for an outdoor adventure and don’t forget to read Survival for Beginners.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bushcraft : outdoor skills for the New Zealand bush
“Bushcraft is an excellent resource for outdoor activities. It helps both novices and those with some experience to enjoy the NZ bush in greater safety. Provides up-to-date information on new techniques, new equipment, and new ideas. Chapters include trip planning, managing risk, food, equipment, shelter, tramping skills, weather, navigation, river safety, hazards, emergency procedures, and much more!” (Catalogue)

Curiosities and splendour
“Journey back in time with this collection of classic travel writing from great authors and adventurers. These extraordinary odysseys over land and sea captivated audiences and gave them a glimpse into countries, cities and cultures like never before. Tales include Robert Byron’s ten-month journey through Persia to Afghanistan in the early 30s; Jack London’s 1907 sailing adventure across the south Pacific; and Teddy Roosevelt’s scientific exploration of the Brazilian jungles exotic flora and fauna […] (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lost lore : a celebration of traditional wisdom, from foraging and festivals to seafaring and smoke signals / McGovern, Una
“An engaging introduction to traditional knowledge and forgotten wisdom” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults V: Books Around the World

This next piece in our From the Vaults series, being an exploration of some of the hidden gems of the library’s vast collections, is a personal favourite of mine. Whether you’re looking for books to add to your reading list for your Connections internal in English, or are just hungering for a range of cultural perspectives and experiences to add to the pile of books waiting to be read on your bedside table, don’t worry folks — we got you. Our Books From Around the World booklist has just undergone its most comprehensive update in *checks notes* a whole decade, and our ambition is for it to contain at least one book by an author from every country in the world. No biggie.

 Just as Lisa doesn't wish to eat solely at Americatown, we don't want to read solely from Aotearoatown all the time either! (Okay yeah it's a stretch but look this is the best I've got)

So anyway, we’re gonna be straight up with you — though our ambitions are great, we haven’t yet lived up to them. There are around 40 countries (Andorra, Azerbaijan, etc.) that, despite our best research, we just can’t find books from — at least, not books that have been translated into English (if you find a book from a country we’ve missed, let us know!). But the vast majority of countries around the world have representation in our master list — from Bolivia and Uruguay, Vanuatu and Kiribati, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti, to Albania and Ukraine, Yemen and the UAE, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, Uganda and Angola; and many more besides. We’re pretty chuffed with it, if we’re being honest, and really recommend you check out the full list!

Some of the books we have tracked down are among the first books written by an author from that country to have ever been translated into English — for example, Return to the enchanted island by Johary Ravaloson from Madagascar, published in 2019. Others are part of a long-standing tradition of literary translation that dates back decades or centuries — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (France, 1844) for example, or I am fifteen and I don’t want to die by Christine Arnothy (Hungary, 1955). Others, like Consuming Ocean Island by Katerina Martina Teaiwa (Kiribati, 2015) or Legends, traditions and tales of Nauru by Timothy Detudamo (Nauru, 2008) are collections of stories drawn from the world’s various oral traditions, written down with permission from indigenous storytellers.

‘But,’ you may ask, ‘what sets your list apart from the myriad of other such lists I can find online?’ Well, for starters, these are all books that you can actually get your mitts on from your local library — just click the title, then ‘Place Reserve,’ then choose the library closest to your house, and the book will soon be yours! But beyond that, there is something else that makes this list special — you! Not you you, but teens in general — we’ve done our best to try and make sure that every book that makes it onto our list is in some way, shape or form about the experiences and lives of teenagers and young people. Taken together, you could see this list as a pretty comprehensive repository of stories about what it means and has meant to be a young person around the world and through history. And we reckon that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, here are some of my favourite books from the list — but don’t forget to check out the whole list (currently sitting at about 250 books!) for the complete picture.

Here the whole time / Martins, Vitor
Country of origin: Brazil
Setting: Metro Brazil; contemporary
Original language: Portuguese
Format: Novel
Themes: body positivity, bullying, coming-of-age, LGBTQ+, single-parent families, school, self-esteem

Year of the rabbit / Tian
Country of origin: Cambodia
Setting: Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 1970s
Original language: French
Format: Graphic novel
Themes: family, government and society, history, political refugees, war

Aya / Abouet, Marguerite
Country: Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Setting: Yopougon (Yop City), Côte d’Ivoire; 1978
Original language: French
Format: Graphic novel
Themes: adventure, community, family, friendship, neighbourhoods 

The field guide to the North American teenager / Philippe, Ben
Country of origin: Haiti/Canada
Setting: Montreal, Canada – Austin, Texas; contemporary
Original language: English
Format: Novel
Themes: coming-of-age, culture shock, friendship, moving countries, relationships, school, single-parent families

Moonstone : the boy who never was / Sjón
Country of origin: Iceland
Setting: Reykjavík, Iceland; 1918-19
Original language: Icelandic
Format: Novel
Themes: coming-of-age, epidemics, globalisation, history, LGBTQ+, masculinity

The forest of wool and steel / Miyashita, Natsu
Country of origin: Japan
Setting: Hokkaido, Japan; contemporary
Original language: Japanese
Format: Novel
Themes: careers, coming-of-age, music, small-town vs. big-city

Things fall apart / Achebe, Chinua
Country of origin: Nigeria
Setting: Àlà Ị̀gbò, Southeastern Nigeria; 1890s
Original language: English
Format: Novel
Themes: British imperialism, colonisation, government and society, history, justice, masculinity

Afakasi woman / Young, Lani Wendt
Country of origin: Samoa/New Zealand
Setting: Samoa (various)
Original language: English
Format: Short stories
Themes: community, everyday life, folklore, Pasifika culture, people and society, relationships, womanhood

Check Your History with Bridget Williams Books

You know those little white books with coloured spines you see by the counter at bookshops?  -back in the day when you were allowed to leave your house to go to bookshops and libraries, two weeks and a different world ago- Well, those little books are some of the amazing books published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB).

I think that lots of people never really think about the people who are involved in editing and publication.  They slip under the radar a lot. We think about the person or people who wrote the book and who end up reading it but the truth is that a LOT happens to the book between someone writing it and you reading it! If you’re a creative writer or do much writing for school you’ll probably know that it is an entirely different headspace and process between writing and editing. I wrote a very rough draft of this blog post in a scrappy old paper book before I ever touched the keys.

Bridget Williams has been publishing in Aotearoa/New Zealand since 1976. If you’ve ever read or seen The Oxford History of New Zealand, Tangata Whenua:  An Illustrated History or A History of New Zealand Women, she has been involved in all of these. These days she is the director and publisher of BWB and continues to be part of the creation of some of the most important local writing that’s being made.

BWB has a focus on telling stories from this country and puts emphasis on publishing with and for Māori. They are interested in exploring the experience of people who live on these islands and being a platform for voices that have historically not had a platform to speak from.

(Side note: Try looking at all the books on your/anyone’s bookshelf and count how many of them are: written by someone from Aotearoa/New Zealand, written by women or genderqueer people, written by indigenous people, published in New Zealand, have an LGBTQ+ author or content … Also how many different languages are on your bookshelf?)

As you can’t run down to the library right now (even though I know you really really want to) and check out these books in person, what you do have access to is their  amazing online resources. If you’ve got a research project for school, or are just looking for some words to fill the extra time you’ve got at home, these are awesome resources to explore: just plug in your library card number and your PIN and you’re good to go!

Bridget Williams Books – Text Collection: for all your bookish needs — we all know you have them!

Bridget Williams Books – The NZ History Collection: for all your historical needs.

Bridget Williams Books – Treaty of Waitangi Collection: for all your Te Tiriti needs.

Te Taiao and Aotearoa

Kia ora e hoa,

In the wake of the recent Climate Change Emergency listed by the government (02/12/2020) – this is where Aotearoa has joined 32 other nations and territories in declaring a Climate Change Emergency, seeking strong actions – we need to discuss the current situation happening across our country. So whakarongo mai, and let’s get learning.

Destructive fire shown at Pigeon Valley 2020

Pigeon Valley fire in 2020. Photo: Dawn Gaul / Stuff NZ

Ngaherehere and destructive fires

Adding to the replacement forest created by the logging industry, we have been getting destructive fires that have wiped out habitat for native birds and flora.. Professor James Renwick in 2020, has stated that climate change is behind the conditions for larger and more destructive forest fires to be emerging. Fires like that in Tasman and Napier in previous years have been because Papatūānuku is getting drier and drier, making perfect conditions for bush ignition setting forests ablaze.

Raglan coastal region

Raglan coastal region

Te Moana with loss of biodiversity, over-fishing and sea-level rise

Te moana (the ocean) is one of the earth’s greatest resources, reflecting the sun’s harmful radiation as well as providing ample food supplies, and the ever-important coral reefs which feed the life cycle of aquatic life and help combat climate change. However, with salination and sea-level rise occurring, the coral reefs are being destroyed as they cannot adapt to the changing acidity of our oceans. This is critical as the coral reef recycles carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere – losing them is like losing the breath of Tangaroa. Plastics continue to litter our oceans and even the beaches, causing widespread deaths of creatures on land and sea.

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