Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap into your day

Today, February 29, is Leap Day. It occurs only every four years, in years evenly divisable by 4, such as 1988, 1996, 2008 or 2016 (with the exception of century years not divisible by 400, such as 1900). These are called Leap years. Leap days are more likely to fall on a Monday or a Wednesday.

Although the modern calendar counts a year as 365 days, a complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, an extra twenty-four hours have accumulated, so one extra day is added to that calendar to keep the count coordinated with the sun's apparent position.

A person who was born on February 29 may be called a leapling or a leaper. In non-leap years they may celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1 (some countries/states have different laws on this). There is also still the odd computer programme that is thrown in confusion if someone types in a date of February 29 as a date.

Leap day is perhaps best known for the tradition that allows women to propose to men on this day, supposedly based on an old Irish tale of a bargain made between St Bridget and St Patrick. In some places if the man turns the woman down, he has to pay a forfeit. It is unluck to be born on this day in Scotland or to get married today in Greece.

And when it comes to trivia – on this day in 1692, the first accusations were made in the Salem witch trials, on this day in 1952 the first “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs were erected in New York City and in 1933 former Governor General of New Zealand Sir David Beattie was born.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

On your bike for Rodney's

Mayoral Cycle Challenge
Sunday 2 March 9 am.

Come along with the family for a fun bike ride with the Mayor. The ride is only 2kms, so is suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. All participants get a goody bag! You may win one of our hundreds of Spot prizes. The ride will finish with entertainment, stalls, fun rides, face painting, and prizes on Orewa Reserve. All riders can link to their local school – the school who scores the most points will win sport equipment!

Start at Plantation Cafe, ride down state highway 1 to McDonalds (Florence Ave) or further to the West Hoe traffic lights, where we turn and head back. Register from 9am, ride starts at 10am

Last year we were second in the country for bike riders during this promotion. Let's beat it this year. Get the whole family on their bikes and turn out for the Challenge on Sunday when Mayor Penny Webster is hoping to be joined by 2,000 other riders.

For the young and young at heart

... in other words, the big kids out there.

Sunday 2nd March is Children's Day when we celebrate how special and important the children of New Zealand are, not just our own, but all the children out there. You can do this by doing something as a family, just spending quality time with your child, or why not come along to one of the events in Rodney that are being held for this special day. Here are a couple of things that are going on.

The Hibiscus Coast Leisure Centre in Stanmore Bay is running an afternoon jam-packed with family fun on Sunday. Some of the activities on the programme include a Gym’nee’s programme for children 15 months – 5 years, starting at 12 noon, the wonderful ‘Pirates’ Bouncy Castle, Dallas the Clown, Face Painting and the chance for 3 – 5 year olds with ‘energy to burn’ to cruise around on scooters, bikes and trikes, with Pedal Power.
Pool games such as ‘sharks and pirates’ and noodle races are expected to be very popular and awesome prizes are up for grabs. And don’t miss the famous AquaRun, which will be inflated at 3 pm. Entry is by gold coin to HBC Parent Aid.

Warkworth Playcentre are running a Teddy Bear's Picnic in Lucy Moore Park, Warkworth from 10am to 12 noon on Sunday. Bring your Teddy along for story-telling, games and activities. Should be a great family day (this is where me and my teddy will be).

Helensville are running their Children's Day out on 9th March at the Helensville War Memorial Hall from 10am. This is a free event with stalls, music, arts and parenting seminars for kids from 0-12 years and their parents/caregivers.

Let the kid inside you out and join in one of these events. If we have missed yours, send us an email and let us know so that we can include it.

Ka kite ano

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Doorway to the world

I'v mentioned before that your Rodney Library card is not just about the physical books and other items you can find within the confines of the Rodney Libraries buildings. This week I want to introduce you to another one of the fantastic resources that we make available to you.

The database I want to highlight this week is the Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre which is hosted by EBSCO. For a magazine and newspaper junkie such as myself this is heaven in a library card. This site will give you access to the full text of articles from over 240 (at last count) magazines, newspapers, industry journals and newswires, and has details of what is inside each edition of nearly 400 periodicals in total. As suggested by the title, there is an Australian and Kiwi emphasis but there are magazines from further afield (e.g. United States of America and South Africa). Check out this list of everything available at the site.

This is a fantastic way to track down an article that you can remember reading, but can't remember exactly where you saw it. In a lot of cases, once you track it down you can read it on screen immediately (that what we call fulltext). In other cases the site can provide you with details of what magazine it was in, what month or edition, and even the page number. You can then check the Rodney Library catalogue as heaps of the magazines we have on our shelves are covered by EBSCO (which is a quicker way to refer to it).

So how do you access it. Simple! Go to the Rodney Libraries web page and click on the e-resources button/option. This will bring up the list of databases available to you. Scroll down to either Newspapers and Magazines or New Zealand and click on Australia/NZ Reference Centre. A screen will come up with two boxes, one asking you for your library card number and the other asking for your PIN. Once you have entered these correctly and pressed Go, the search screen for EBSCO will appear.

Oh and did I mention that you can do this from home.
Oh and did I mention that this is FREE to all Rodney Library card holders.

If you would like a demo of how this works, please ask next time you are in the library.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Hold your Horses!

I'm being a litle parochial here (that's the bonus of being one of the bloggers) in saying wasn't it great to see Mark Todd and equestrian sports on the front page of the Herald yesterday. The interest and publicity he has garnered for the sport simply by announcing he wants to ride at one more Olympics has been phenomenal. I was talking to someone a couple of weeks ago who is involved in the Puhinui Three Day Event in March and she said we would not believe how busy her phone and email were after the news was announced. Check out the story at the NZ Herald website.

We have a huge horsey community in Rodney (and a very talented one) and we cater for all horselovers at Rodney Libraries. If you are a beginner rider check out books like First Riding Lessons (Sandy Ransford) or if you are more advanced a good book is Fitness for Horse & Rider (Jane Holderness-Roddam). You can find up to date news in the Horse & Pony Magazine, read about famous horses and riders in our sports section under number 798.4 (such as Mark Todds biography) and get information on a wide range of horse sports.

There is plenty of fiction for all ages in the library. Young readers are well catered for with plenty of series fiction. Have a look at the new Kiwi series Pony Club Secrets by Stacey Gregg. The first book is Mystic and the Midnight Ride. For older readers Dick Francis is as popular as ever but if you have read all of his books, try John Francome or Lyndon Stacey. I have just finished an excellent audio book of the latter called Outside Chance (which we also have in print).

For all our different books, dvds and videos on horses (fiction and non-fiction) go to our Rodney Libraries catalogue and enter a subject or keyword search for "horses" (or ponies) - or click here where we have done that for you.

The other reason why horsey things spring to my mind today is that I took my horse for a ride to the beach last night. I can report that the storms over the weekend brought lots of sea grass and debris onto the sand. I can also report that it is very soft. How do I know this? The instant and sudden dislike and refusal of my mare to take one more step and her spinning retreat from the vicinity. I got awarded an 8 for my dismount, roll and recovery from some spectators with an extra .5 for presentation as I came up smiling. It would apparently have been a 10 if I hadn't needed to go on a short jog up the road to retrieve my mount. Maybe I need to check out some of those instructional books and videos myself.

Have a good day.

Monday, 25 February 2008

How many days does this month have?

There's a nifty little poem that acts as a reminder about how many days each month has. This website celebrating Leap Year has 69 versions of it (as at February 2008).

Why have a leap year at all? It's a long and complicated explanation according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Basically the calendar that was in use was diverging from actuality and the powers that be decided something needed to be done. It's a fascinating story.

We'll have more on this theme on Friday.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Another busy weekend

There are lots of events on this weekend as everyone tries to make the best of the summer we are having (in comparison to the wet weather our cousins across the ditch are suffering in some parts). Here's a quick run down:

Have a Go Fun Day : Push Play. Snells Beach. Saturday
From 8.30 am to 1.30 pm lots of local sports clubs and people will be running free activities and demos for all ages. Competition and spot prizes for lots of things. I might go up and try my hand at a couple.

The Longest Dinner. Warkworth. Saturday
Fundraising for the Kawau Coastguard and the Jane Gifford Restoration Trust, there may still be time to book either a spot or a table and join the fun on Saturday evening beside the Mahurangi River.

Helensville A & P Show. Saturday
For the 106th time, Helensville is celebrating with farm animals, entertainment and rides.

Seaview Classic Criterium Cycle Races. Orewa Town Centre. Sunday
Fast paces racing on a loop course. First race at 8.30 am.

Magic Mountain, Matakana - Fat Freddy's Drop. Saturday and Sunday
Still time to get your tickets for either the evening or Sunday picnic show. For more details check out the Magic Mountain website.

If there's anything we've forgotton, please let us know - add your comment. Or if you want to tell us on Monday what a fantastic event it was, do that too.

Have a great weekend whatever you do.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Book Sale Now On

For all those book lovers and collectors out there, as well as everyone else who loves a bargain, don't forget that the Whangaparaoa Book Sale is NOW ON. And there's plenty of time for you to have a good look through all the books as it is on until Saturday, running from 9am to 4pm each day. Its on Level 4 of the Whangaparaoa Plaza (opposite the Post Shop).

Just a quiet word on a personal note. Please be considerate of other people at the sale and the volunteers who are running it and putting in lots of hard work for a good community cause. A couple of quite agressive traders spoilt the experience for one of the volunteers at Warkworth last week. A smile can go a long way.

Summer Reading Programme family stars

The Summer Reading Programme was once again very successful, keeping over eighty children in Orewa occupied and focused on reading throughout the summer. Orewa Library is delighted to congratulate Marina , an avid reader, who has participated in the programme for five years , and her brother Kyle who successfully completed his first year. Well done! May you both continue to enjoy many years of literature.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

I want to have my say!

It occurs to me that you may have been reading our blog, wanted to put us right, agree with us or just make a comment, and haven't known how.

And as we would really like this to be more like a conversation than a just the two of us talking at you, here's a simple guide to how to us the comments function. It's really easy, you don't have to join up or register (which I know puts a lot of people off) and there's only four easy steps.

1. Click on the comments link at the end of the post

2. Type your comments into the text box

3. Type the string of wavy coloured letters into the box provided.

4. Select the name you want to comment under. You have 3 choices
  • Log in using a Google or Blogger account. This means that the comment you leave will link back to your own website or blog.

  • Choose another identity. You can pick a name and even enter a website URL to link back to if you want.

  • Choose to be anonymous. With this option you don't need to supply a name or a website URL. And we don't have a problem with anonymous comments, but bear in mind that we do check the comments before they are published.

So all you need to do is follow these four easy steps and Congratulations. You are now part of the blogger world. Please have a go and let us know you are out there.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Adventure in the Bush

The new Des Hunt book for children, The Tooth, appeared in the library on Friday so I whipped it home for a read over the weekend. Des Hunt writes action packed adventures set in the natural landscapes of New Zealand and this is his sixth book.

Tim Thomas lost his mother when she drowned trying to save him when he was just 4. He has only vague memories of the day, but it includes an image of a large tooth embedded in rock. So he and his friend Mits spend their holiday searching for the fossil in the hills between Napier and Taihape. They are racing against time as the valley is due to be flooded for a power project. There are also school bullies and horse thieves to deal with.

I enjoyed the page turning action, the information and the interaction between the very believable characters in this story. And it's great to have another fantastic story in a New Zealand setting. If you like this one Des Hunt's other books can also be found at Rodney Libraries.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Gaiman's poll winner - "American Gods"

Apparently "American Gods" is the Neil Gaiman book most people would like to introduce their friends to. The author is conflicted (as explained in his journal post) but we the people have spoken and HarperCollins will be publishing it to the web.

It has five stars on the library catalogue which seems like a pretty good indication of quality.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Book sales in Warkworth and Whangaparaoa

The week is almost over but we're still sharing the love through our book sales.

15 and 16 February at Old Masonic Lodge, Warkworth.
9am-5pm today and 9am - 3pm tomorrow.

20 to 23 February opposite the Post Shop in The Plaza, Whangaparaoa. 9am-4pm each day.

Sharing the love, Gaiman style

What a week it's been. Festivals, museums, each other...we're in love with the lot. Author Neil Gaiman is sharing the lurve too. His blog turns 7 this week and as a small gift to us he's going to make one of his books available online at no charge. Or as he says ", gratis and for nothing." There's one more day to go so have a look at the voting page and cast your vote.

The answers

So how did you go on the quiz yesterday?
1. He was Shah Jahan, she was Mumtaz Mahal and the mausoleum is the famous Taj Mahal in India.
2. Elizabeth Taylor
3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.
4. King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
5. I hope you had great fun discussing this. It was a trick question. They are all great love stories (although some are more classic than others). Fantastic movies (although I must admit to not having watched Doctor Zhivago before).

If that was too easy, let me know and I will try to make up more difficult questions next time.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Birthday Te Papa

Te Papa - our fantastic national museum is 10 today.
I love meandering through museums almost as much as I love loitering in libraries. And New Zealand has some fantastic museums, whether they are the large ones in our major cities (memories of visits to the Auckland War Memorial Museum are favourites of mine) or the smaller ones tucked away in the corners of our country.
I am ashamed to say I haven't visited Te Papa yet (something to do with never having been to Wellington) but it is definitely on my "to do" list. In the meantime I can visit the Te Papa website here and find out more about the History of Te Papa by clicking on this link.
If you are down in Wellington over the weekend, check out the programme for the birthday celebrations on Saturday.
Many happy returns Te Papa.

Happy Valentines Day

While I would die of shock if I got roses or chocolates today (unless I bought them for myself of course), I hope that many of you out there are far luckier on this day for lovers. Remember as well as Valentines Day, it is also Library Lovers Day so give your local librarian a friendly smile – we really appreciate it and as the words of the advert go – you never know who you might get it back from.

Something a bit different today - a quick quiz especially for Valentines Day.

1. He was a fifth but favourite son. After his father’s death in 1627 he became Emperor. His favourite wife died giving birth to their 14th son. He satisfied her dying wish to build the world’s most beautiful mausoleum to her. Who are they and what is the building?

2. Her first great love died in a plane crash in 1958. She married her second great love twice and walked down the aisle six other times. She won two Oscars. And her name is…?

3. He was a little known 32 year old poet/playwright. She was an internationally renowned poet, invalid and 39 year old spinster. They secretly married in 1846 before moving to Italy. Their romance lasted 15 years and was the basis for such famous lines as “How do I love thee, Let me count the ways”. Who were they?

4. He met her in 1931 when she was still married to her second husband. He proposed to her in 1936. However after they married they lived in exile in France as he gave up his position in the family firm. Who were they?

5. Name the odd movie out. Casablanca. Gone with the Wind. When Harry met Sally. Shrek. Doctor Zhivago. From Here to Eternity.

If you want to find some answers, or if you just want to find out more about Valentines Day, try The History Channel’s Valentines Day website. If you are still struggling I will have the answers here tomorrow.

ka kite ano

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

The love of family

Valentines Day isn’t just about romantic love. It’s also about the relationships and love between family. Which is my clumsy way of introducing you to the first of the electronic resources you can access with your Rodney Library card and that’s the fantastic genealogy site

This has been called the most comprehensive online source of information for conducting genealogical research available. It contains more than 1.5 billion names from over 4,000 collections. Although it has a strong American focus, the British content is steadily growing. And a special Library Edition of this website is available to all Rodney Library card colders.

As any keen genealogist knows, access to these sites is usually only via registration and payment of a fee. However as a Rodney Library card holder, you have free access to Ancestry from any Rodney Library computer. Simply come into the library and ask the librarians if you can use the computer for Ancestry and we will pop you on to do your research. It’s easy to access. All you need to do is go to the Rodney Library web page and click on the e-resources button (or if you are lazy hit this link and it will take you straight there). Scoll down to the history and genealogy section and clock on The computer will then ask you for the barcode off your library card and your pin number (if you don’t have one of these ask the librarian) and you are then logged into Ancestry to begin your search.

Ancestry can only be accessed from the computers in your library, but stay tuned next week for details of some of our other databases that you can access from home, just by using your library card.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Find LOVE at your library

In Rodney we are not just celebrating Valentines Day on the 14th of February. We have declared it LIBRARY LOVER'S DAY. And not only is there plenty to love about your library (the books, magazines, dvd's and the people), there is also plenty about love at the library.

From famous love stories and romance novels to chick lit and books on how to keep the flame alive, there is something here for everyone.

I certainly got lots of different suggestions when I asked what everyone's favourite love story was. Personally I enjoyed The Bridges of Madison County (Robert James Waller) although the book was definitely better than the movie. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) was mentioned by a couple of people. One of my favourite romances is The Bronze Horseman (Paullina Simons). Not only is this a fantastic love story by one of our most popular authors, it is gives a wonderful background to a turbulent time in Russian history. Love in the Present Tense (Catherine Ryan Hyde) is about love and the nature of family which poses the question "How do you go on loving someone who can't be there for you?".

A book that has been recommended to me is The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. One review calls it a book "that calls for a rainy day, a cozy chair and a good, steaming cup of team. Strong and satisfying" while another calls it a "rumbustious yarn - brilliantly told, great fun to read". Sounds like my kind of story.

Let us know what your favourite romance is. We would love to hear from you and are always looking for new books to read.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Become a friend of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival

The success and sustainability of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival depends on financial support from sponsors, patrons and friends who believe that writing, books and ideas should be part of Auckland’s cultural life.
There are lots of perks to becoming a Friend including premium seating, discounted tickets and access to the private Friends Lounge during the festival. Also... sign-up before 29th February 2008 and go in the draw to win a brilliant collection of quality books!

More details on their website - Become a Friend of the Festival

This year the Festival is on from Thursday 15 May - Sunday 18 May.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

"Kick her in the guts Trev"

Hands up how many people recognise the words of the famous (or should that be infamous) Fred Dagg aka Mr John Clarke. A quintessential New Zealand phrase which had extra meaning for this ex-farm girl as I have a brother called Trevor and used to use the phrase with abandon along with other agricultural utterings such as "Get away back" or "Get in behind".

These phrases, to me, are examples of the kiwi culture but I am sure you have lots more. Kiwiana abounds in words and phrases which evoke pictures, memories and currently are inspiring the budding authors of the district in the Rodney Writes 2008 writing competition. Whether it is beach umbrellas or chocolate fish, pavlovas or feeding-out, "Ladies a plate" or "She'll be right" there is still time for you to write your masterpice (limited to 2,500 words) based on a well known Kiwi word or phrase.

The story can be factual or fiction and there are three categories covering everyone from already published authors, to novices and young writers. The prizes (sponsored by the Rodney District Council) are also very attractive.

Pick up a brochure from your local Library. The closing date for entries is 14th March 2008 and winners will be announced at a prizegiving on 23 April 2008.

Good luck.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Local Waitangi Day Celebrations

A community day celebration of the Treaty of Waitangi will be hosted by the Te Hana Community Development Charitable Trust.

Where: Te Hana Southern Reserve, State Highway 1
When: Wednesday 6th February starting at 9.30 am

The event includes a mid-morning combined church service, invited dignatories, local tangata whenua and iwi representatives from throughout the Kaipara, entertainment, traditional foods, carving, weaving, crafts, stalls and childrens activities.

Our National Day

Waitangi Day - our national Holiday. Officially this is "a national day of thanksgiving in commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi" in 1840 between Maori and the British Crown. In other words - Waitangi Day is intended to be our birthday celebration as a country.

Today New Zealand is made up of a whole range of cultures. But we are all Kiwi's. Why not make 2008 the year you celebrate our birthday. Here are a few simple ideas:
  1. 1. Hang a New Zealand flag at home or at work (this is the display in the Warkworth Library).
  2. Have a beach or backyard BBQ (or a real kiwi roast lamb and pav hot dinner) with family and friends.
  3. Visit one of the many fantastic museums or historic sites around the area to learn more about our country and our history.
  4. Plant a native tree or plant at your place.
  5. Read a classic New Zealand book (ask your local librarian for a recommendation or check out the Rodney Libraries catalgoue) or check out the blog last week when we talked about New Zealand authors.
  6. Say Kia Ora to everyone you meeting on Waitangi Day.
  7. If you are a trivia buff - organise a Waitangi Day, New Zealand themed quiz.
  8. Go to a Waitangi Day celebration. Whether you make the trip up to the Bay of Islands or go to one of the many concerts or events happening around the country, get out and about amongst the people. There are events at Okahu Bay in Auckland and in Waitakere.
  9. Read up at the library on the history of New Zealand and the Treaty so you understand the issues better. Look for resources on our Library website.
  10. Visit one of the many websites about New Zealand and the Treaty. The Treaty Resource Centre,, and the Te Ara (Encyclopaedia of New Zealand) website are just a few that provide good information.

Have a fantastic Waitangi Day. I am going to start my celebrations tonight by sitting down in true Kiwi style and watching the Black Caps beat England in the 20/20 cricket match (lots of shouting at the TV with friends). Ka kite ano.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Te Reo Maori classes in Orewa

Information from Te Herenga Waka o Orewa ph. 09 427 8958 [edit to correct ph. no. 27/10/2009]

For anyone interested in learning Te Reo Maori (the language), a new venture is starting this year. There will be evening classes held in Silverdale and will include Tikanga Maori (ways/culture) including singing and dance movements. The course will run for 36 weeks with excellent tutors and a certificate given at the end of the year, all free of charge. (To have the government funding approved, there needs to be a minimum of 20 students.)

Te Herenga Waka o Orewa have been in discussions with Te Wananga o Aotearoa to hold Te Reo Maori classes at THW Resource Centre (the old Silverdale Primary School) 30 Foundry Road, Silverdale.

There will be an induction into their course on Tuesday 12 February 2008 6-8pm at the THW Resource Centre for those wanting to enrol. Bring I.D. to enrol on the night. The course will be confirmed if the enrolments from the induction night are over 20 . The course is for 36 weeks with term breaks in-between. Classes will commence in early March. This course is one night a week for 3 hours (usually 6-9pm). It is free and is available to anyone over the age of 16. You will receive a certificate in Te Ara Reo Maori on completion of this course.

Library book sales in February

There are two Library book sales coming up in February. They are almost at opposite ends of the district so no matter where you are you'll be able to come in and find something you like.

This month we are working with two Lions groups to bring you these book sales.

15 and 16 February at Old Masonic Lodge, partnered with the Warkworth Lions.

20 to 23 February at The Plaza, partnered with the Whangaparaoa Lions.

Friday, 1 February 2008

What is it to be a Kiwi? (the bird)

Kiwi live a dangerous and difficult life in the wild. Habitat destruction and predators are a deadly combination for this low-living national icon. Their survival prospects are looking up with the success of kiwi rescue programmes around New Zealand.

Eggs are taken at an appropriate time, hatched and the chicks returned to the wild when they are big enough to defend themselves. The 1000th egg in this process is almost at hatching stage. It's progress can be followed on the KiwiLife section of the "Save the Kiwi"website.

The library has a number of books on the kiwi which can be found by searching "Kiwis" under a subject search.