Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What's on in the libraries on Tuesday?

We have the first of our Spy Classes today at Helensville and Kumeu Libraries.

Helensville Library
10:30 am Spy Class 102 (for ages 8-10). Bookings essential.

Kumeu Library
10:30 am Earn your Beginner Literacy Licence. Then join in a treasure hunt with clues.

Mahurangi East Library
Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence
10.30 am A special holiday Storytime for all ages.

Orewa Library
Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence
Rhymetime for preschoolers will run as usual at 11 am

Whangaparaoa Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual at 10.30 am

Monday, 29 September 2008

Libraries website unavailable?

We've been alerted to the fact that when trying to access the library website some customers end up with a white page that reads "Service Unavailable".

Our technicians are working on the issue.

You can still access MyInfo and the Catalogue via

What's on in the libraries on Monday?

Welcome to the first official day of the school holidays! I hope that you remembered to set the clocks forward yesterday. I always find it difficult to adjust to the change in time. I think it's because I'm waking up in the dark again.

There's no need to be in the dark about how the library works. These holidays we're giving kids the chance to earn their Literacy Licenses. Some libraries are running scavenger hunts, others have special spy classes. Have a look at the events calendar or contact your local library to see who's doing what.

Here's what's on today...

Helensville Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual at 10.30 am

Kumeu Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual at 10.30 am

Mahurangi East Library
Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence

Orewa Library
Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence

Warkworth Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual at 10.30

Friday, 26 September 2008

Spring forward

Daylight saving starts this weekend so prepare for a week of adjustment and a few bleary eyes arriving at work as the body clocks make the change.

However I love the long evenings and am hoping it motivates me to do a little more in the garden, extend those walk/runs I have been trying to fit in and even get to visit and ride the horse a little more often now the mud has subsided slightly.

Clocks are put forward an hour early on Sunday morning - which won't be a problem for Kiwis because we will still be up celebrating a Warriors win on Saturday night (Give it heaps guys). Don't forget to take the opportunity to check the batteries in your fire alarm at the same time.

Have a great weekend all.

Graeme Woodfield visits Kumeu Library today 10:30am

Author Graeme Woodfield talks about his new book "No ordinary man: the remarkable life of Arthur Porritt" at Kumeu Library at 10:30 am this morning.

Written together with Joseph Romanos it tells the story of a remarkable man.

Among his achievements:
- Rhodes Scholar.
- Olympic sprint medallist.
- President of the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Medical Association.
- A member of the International Olympic Committee.
- Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
- A decorated war hero, who was present during the D-Day landings.
- Surgeon to the Royal Family from 1936-67.
- The Governor-General of New Zealand from 1967-72. (He was the first New Zealand-born Governor General.)
- Knighted and later elevated to the peerage.

In addition to their own research, the authors have been given Arthur Porritt’s extensive unpublished memoirs, and have made maximum use of these.

Free entry. Tea and coffee provided.

Graeme will also be at Orewa Library on Wednesday October 1 at 2:30pm.

A Literary Adventure event.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Brisingr Arrives

First there was Eragon, then there was Eldest. And now the latest book in the Christopher Paolini Inheritance Cycle series has just arrived at Rodney Libraries.

Brisingr is the third volume of what is now intended to be a four book fantasy series. It has already broken records around the world for being one of the fastest first day sellers. Promotion for the book reads....

"The dragon rider returns.
The Legend continues.
Oaths sworn...
Loyalties tested...
Forces collide."

For those that haven't yet read the first two books in the series, there is a seven page summary at the begining of Brisingr to get you up to date. But as there is a waiting list already for this book, you will have time over the school holidays to get the first two out of the way (although they are still in demand as well). The series (which was started when the author was just 15 years old) is targetted at 11 years and up, although even the author himself acknowledges that this latest volume has turned out much larger than he thought it would and it may be quite intimidating for a young reader. However if the series has caught the interest of the child, you would be amazed at what they will pick up.

Visit the Rodney Libraries website to place your holds on one or all of this popular series, or ask one of the librarians next time you are in. And if you want to know more about the book, series or author while you are waiting for your turn to read the book, check out the Australian Brisingr website or Christopher Paolini's website.

Readers Succeed!

And that's not just my opinion. When I'm not storytelling, blogging and doing all those other tasks that are part of my job in the library, running up and down a netball court, and doing the odd other thing I manage to squeeze into the day, this librarian is a student. And that's one of the things that comes through loud and clear in the books and research I read both from New Zealand and internationally.

Yesterday I was one of the judges up at the Warkworth Districts Primary school speech contest, where 11 very brave young souls stood on stage and presented speeches on a wide range of subjects from Learning how to Fly (learning to ride a horse), the pros and cons of being famous, fishing, Halloween and much more. The packed audience of parents and students were well entertained and the judges were really impressed with the standard.

But the really interesting thing to me is that the three placegetters... are all readers. They are regular library users and we see them (and their whole families) in the library all the time. It's very satisfying when we see families come into the library and parents who support their kids in this way. It works the other way too though, as often after visiting a school, we get the children bringing their parents into the library. There is certainly something for the whole family when you get here from the board books for the babies, through the magazines, music and to the talking books.

Anyway, congratulations to all the contestants (and everyone back at their schools who took part) but in particular to Nichole, Charlotte and Hayley. Well done.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Todays reason to love NZ books and writing

The NZhistory.net.nz team have come up with 30 reasons to love NZ books and writing specially for NZ Book Month. "There is a different story for each day in September about some of the people, events, books and other publications that are part of this country's literary heritage. " It's not intended to be a definitive list of NZ literary history - they'd need more than 30 days for that!

Todays reason to love NZ Books and writing is Barry Crump. His first book "A good keen man" was published in 1960. It's a series of stories about the life of a deer culler in the North Island. Crump also appeared in a sequence of ads for Toyota as a farmer driving his city slicker mate around in a ute. The library has a number of books about his life and times including one by Robin Lee-Robinson, one of his wives.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Lots of snippets of book news for you all from the literary world.

Duffy Books in Homes and Whitcoulls have announced that they are going to join forces to give kids the gift of book ownership. The partnership is being launched this week. To find out more about Books in Homes go to their website http://www.booksinhomes.org.nz/foundation.htm

Meanwhile the 2008 Six Pack Three released in conjunction with New Zealand Book Month has hit the number one spot on the NZ Bestseller list. At only $6.00 it’s great value. And there is still plenty happening around the area in the last week of NZ Book month so check out the events page on the website http://nzbookmonth.co.nz/blogs/events/archive/2008/07/26/1406.aspx
And while you are there surf the blogs, competitions, and news.

I didn’t get a chance to post book reviews on the radio this week. So for the rest of the week in the 10.30 am book review on the Nine to Noon programme on National Radio, these books will be discussed.
24 Sept – Ngaio Marsh – Her Life in Crime, by Joanne Drayton
25 Sept – Urban Village, by Jenny Carlyon & Dianna Morrow
26 Sept – Children’s books
29 Sept – Dreams of Rivers and Seas: A Novel, by Tim Parks
30 Sept – A Beautiful Place to Die, by Malla Nunn

There was an interesting article in the UK Independent recently where Annie Proulx talked about how irritating the film “Brokeback Mountain” is to her personal life. Check out that article and other book news at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/

Meanwhile the popular “Twilight” series by Stephanie Meyer has hit a snag when some of the fifth instalment was leaked through the internet. These books are really taking off here at Rodney so fans will be a little disappointed. Find out the full story here http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSSP22059520080904?feedType=RSS&feedName=entertainmentNews

If any of these links don't work (because I am having computer "issues" today), just cut and paste the addresses into the address field of your computer and hit enter.

That’s just some of the news in the book world this week. Ka kite ano

September school holiday programme

Helensville Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual 10.30 am Mondays
Tuesday 30 September 10:30 am Spy Class 102 (for ages 8-10). Bookings essential.
Thursday 2 October 10:30 am Spy Class 101 (for ages 5-7). Bookings essential.
Tuesday 7 October 10:30 am Spy School Graduation – Shhhh! Top secret!

Kumeu Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual 10.30 am Mondays
Tuesday 30 September 10:30 am Earn your Beginner Literacy Licence. Then join in a treasure hunt with clues.
Thursday 2 October 10:30 am Earn your Advanced Literacy Licence. Then join in a treasure hunt with clues.
Thursday 9 October 7.00 pm Night time Pyjama party storytime

Mahurangi East Library
Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence
Tuesday 30 September 10.30 am A special holiday Storytime for all ages.

Orewa Library
Storytime and Rhymetime for preschoolers will run as usual
Rhymetime 11 am Tuesday::Storytime 11 am Thursdays

Come in anytime and have a go at our Scavenger Hunt to earn your literacy licence
Friday 3 October 6:30 pm Special “Tails” storytime. Wear a tail and join us for a fun evening.

Warkworth Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual Monday at 10.30 (but not Thursday)
Wednesday 1 October 10.30 am Earn your Beginners Literacy Licence & a Treasure Hunt
Wednesday 8 October 10.30 am Time for your Advanced Literacy Licence & Treasure Hunt
Thursday 9 October 3.00 pm Come and meet your local authors – a doctor, a librarian and a teacher. Hear Steve Barker, Lorraine Orman & Maria Gill talk about their latest books and pick up a few hints.

Wellsford Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual Wednesdays 10.30 am
Thursday 2 October Learners Literacy Licence & Treasure Hunt
Thursday 9 October Advanced Literacy Licence & Treasure Hunt

Whangaparaoa Library
Storytime and Rhymetime for preschoolers will run as usual
Storytime 10.30 am Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Rhymetime 10.30 am Thursdays

Thursday 2 October 2.00 pm Earn your Learners Literacy Licence - suggested ages 5 – 8 years
Thursday 2 October 6.30 pm Special “Tails” storytime. Wear a tail and join us for a fun evening with special guest Judy Lawn who will read her new book Sebastian’s Tail.
Wednesday 8 October 2.00 pm Earn your Advanced Literacy Licence - suggested ages 8 years plus

Monday, 22 September 2008

Performance Poetry - new online competition

Hot on the heels of our very own Podcast Poetry Competition comes this announcement from Bookhabit and the NZ Poetry Society.

"Bookhabit.com and the New Zealand Poetry Society announced today that they will host an online international poetry competition celebrating written and performance poetry. The inclusion of an audio and youtube video section, made possible by the online nature of the competition, will bring the poetry alive and broaden its reach to a new audience and generation. span>

Bookhabit.com's Managing Director Clare Tanner said that the competition will showcase local and overseas poets, and aid the Renaissance of poetry, taking poetry to new audiences through the internet. "Performance poetry is a moving experience that most people have never had the opportunity to be a part of. We are also looking to connect with a new generation of poets, capturing their attention in the youtube video section. This competition will open a door to the art form of poetry and widen a poet's audience. Poetry was always meant to be read and performed, but we were constrained by the medium of print. The Internet can bring poetry to the people, and let them tell their own stories to a much wider audience, in a much more compelling way than previously possible."

Laurice Gilbert, President of the New Zealand Poetry Society, said, "It's a wonderful opportunity for us, as a volunteer organisation, to combine with the resources of Bookhabit.com to take poetry in new directions. We are excited about being part of an internet presence that draws attention to poetry, and includes emerging New Zealand poets in an international setting." from Scoop.co.nz

Check out the competition Conditions of entry.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Shiver me timbers...

... that's a really bright shirt you are wearing! Said with a croak in the voice (which I have no trouble with as I have been at so many different speaking engagements this week, the voice has reached the deep husky tone) for Loud Shirt Day (to support deaf awareness) and "Speak like a pirate day" (for no real reason). Put a smile on your face because the forecast for the weekend is for FINE WEATHER.

(By the way, the best blog award of the day goes to Moata's blog at Stuff.co.nz - check it out).

So apart from the Writers Festival out west, what can you do with your weekend? One of the bigger events is the Rodney District Art Awards Exhibition which is on this weekend, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st from 10am to 4pm at The Belfry, Ascenscion Vineyard, Matakana Road just out of Warkworth.

Get out and check out the markets, the beaches or just visit one of the wonderful cafes or galleries we have in the area.

Have a good one everyone - Go the Warriors and the Silver Ferns!!

PS I believe the whitebait are running. I am available for taste testing the different whitebait fritter recipes around the district..... ka kite ano

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Special Guest

Warkworth Storytime had a special guest this morning when Craig (otherwise known as contestant number 2) and Brownie came along to read a story and join in the fun. Craig read one of Clint's favourite books about Kapai's holiday and despite lots of nerves did really well and by the end of the session was singing along to Twinkle Twinkle.

Check out the Times FM website to see the rest of the photos of Clint and Craig at storytime and find out how you can help him in the contest - Living with Brownie.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The word around us

"The word around us" is on this weekend. It's the literary weekend programme in the Going West festival. The festival exclusively celebrates New Zealand writers. The organisers say "Each year there seems to be more to profile; more stars, more diversity, more challenging ideas." The festival has been on since 17 August and goes until the end of book month.
"The word around us" starts on Friday night with a powhiri at 7pm. There are 3 sessions after that including "Polynation" - a dynamic one-hour show telling the stories of Pacific people. Saturday and Sunday are filled with a diverse range of events. On Saturday you can hear about climate change, Chinese history in New Zealand, moko and about being a fiction writer in New zealand. On Sunday you can hear about how words change meaning, writing when you have a family, poetry and the 'Fish of the Week'. Actually, it's all a bit much to discuss here so pop on over to the website and have a look.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Be Aware

Sometimes the trend for Awareness Weeks and Months just gets to be too overwhelming. There are so many on at once, that it's hard to keep them all straight.

So rather than doing posts highlighting each separately, heres a quick run down on September (half of which has already gone, I know. But at least there's still time to sort out your Loud Shirt for Friday).

Blue September - Prostrate Cancer Awareness Month
Cervical Screening Awareness Month
Life Insurance Awareness Month

1st to 6th
1st - Gamble Free Day
Continence Awareness Week.
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness
Literacy Week
ADD/ADHD Awareness Week
Epilepsy NZ Awareness Week
8th to 14th
Conservation Week
Adult Learners Week
Stroke Foundation Awareness & Appeal Week
8th International Literacy Day
12th World Dental Day
14th Māori Language Day
15th to 21st
NZ Fashion Weekin Auckland
15th World Lymphoma Day
Retina Awareness Week
19th Loud Shirt Day
19th International Talk Like a Pirate Day
21st International Day of Peace
21st World Alzheimers Day
22nd to 28th
Deaf Awareness Week
UNICEF Awareness Week
26 Term 3 ends - Primary, Intermediate & Secondary
26th Sept to 3rd Oct
Arthritis Foundation Annual Street Appeal

And of course if you want to know more about any of these, your local Rodney Library is of course a great place to start. Catch us in our Loud Shirts on Friday.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Taste sensations - NZ food writers

I was at another NZ Book Month event yesterday, the Sunday Star Times Literature Feast. Up on the stage Doris Mousdale was interviewing Kim Knight, Allyson Gofton, Peta Mathias, Lauraine Jacobs, Shonagh Koea and wine guru Michael Cooper. It was a celebration of food and how food contributes to the social history of New Zealand. There was lots of discussion about where our food comes from, what's in it, what your children will remember as their favourite food. Plus a bit of recipe sharing - add more fruit if you're making marmalade and want to make sure that it will set; make scones with sour milk for fluffiness; when making 'bread and milk' add a dash of nutmeg to flash it up.

A stand out for me was Shonagh Koea. She was very laid back with a wicked sense of humour. I added my reserve on her book "The kindness of strangers : (kitchen memoirs)" as soon as I could. Also a favourite, Peta Mathias has a new book out "Can we help it if we're fabulous? : and other thoughts on being a woman". Apparently she's following it up with a book on men. (She says she knows nothing about the subject despite years of careful research.) Lauraine Jacobs has a new book coming out later in the year about Matakana which promises to give us lots of ideas for a local weekend-away.

I asked about their favourite food for spring and here are their answers
Freshly laid eggs

Friday, 12 September 2008

High Achieving

No - I haven't forgotton the Paralympians (I haven't had enough sport yet). Haven't they been doing fantastic! I know that might be bad grammar but I am very excited about their achievements.

Schoolgirl Sophie Pascoe has blitzed the pool, with two Golds and one Silver so far (and she still has another event to swim). Paula Tesoriero is also a multiple medal winner, backing up her Gold with a Bronze. Kate Horan has sprinted to a Silver in her
first event and Michael Johnson had to wave his rule book at officials before shooting his way to a Bronze in his event.

The Wheel Blacks kick off their campaign today with a pool game again Great Britain and continue pool play over the weekend. The cyclists and swimmers are back in action, and Tim Prendergast (who crawled to 4th place in the 5,000 metre final), is hopefully back on track for the 1,500m final tomorrow.

The coverage isn't great with just a highlights package on TVOne late at night. But I am sure if you check up with the guys on Attitude on a Sunday morning, you will find out lots more about how our athletes are going and a behind the scenes look at the team in Beijing.

Play hard and dream big guys and gals.

What's On in Rodney

As I write the sun is actually shining through my windows, but jsut by putting the words on the page I have probably jinxed the weekend forecast. It is all so unpredictible. Luckily, most winter sports have either had their finals or are coming to a close in the next couple of weeks. Congratulations to all teams for taking part and all supporters for enduring the sidelines.

Here are a couple of things you can do around Rodney this weekend:

Charisma Fashion Parade
13 -14 Sep 2008 at Stanmore Bay Primary School Auditorium. 7pm start . Supporting the Silverdale Kindergarten. Local outlets will be supplying the fashions, tips on the season's top colours, make-up much more. Tickets can be bought at Charisma in Silverdale and cost $20. Contact: Charisma on 09 426 6250

15-16 Sep . Hibiscus Coast Hospice, 2A John Dee Crescent, Red Beach 8am—4pm Morning & afternoon tea provided, please bring your own lunch. Limited to 10 places—attendance by reservation only, bookings via: Karen Talbot or Denise Kent : 09 4219180 karent@hchospice

Don't forget the markets, the rugby or the league.

Man Booker Prize shortlist announced

The Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlist was announced on Tuesday. Two first-time novelists, Aravind Adiga and Steve Toltz, survived the cull of the longlist from thirteen novels to just six. Previous winners of the Booker Prize, John Berger and Salman Rushdie, failed to make this year's shortlist and Sebastian Barry is the only novelist shortlisted for this year's prize to have been previously shortlisted. Linda Grant, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 is the only female author to make the shortlist of six. She is joined by Philip Hensher and the widely-acclaimed Indian writer Amitav Ghosh.

The Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlisted novels are:
Aravind Adiga "
The white tiger"
Sebastian Barry "The secret scripture "
Amitav Ghosh "Sea of poppies"
Linda Grant "The clothes on their backs"
Philip Hensher "The northern clemency"
Steve Toltz "A fraction of the whole"

Michael Portillo, Chair of the judging panel, commented "The judges commend the six titles to readers with great enthusiasm. These novels are intensely readable, each of them an extraordinary example of imagination and narrative. These fine page-turning stories nonetheless raise highly thought-provoking ideas and issues. These books are in every case both ambitious and approachable."

The judging panel had to read over 112 entries before whittling down the list to the
Man Booker Dozen and then again to just six titles. They will meet to decide on the winning novel on Tuesday 14 October, and the author will be award the £50,000 prize money at an awards ceremony later on that evening at Guildhall, London.

For more information see the press release on the Man Booker Prize website.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Seven Years On

It's been a really busy day in Rodney Libraries world again today (including a power cut up in Warkworth which threw everything into darkness for half an hour). But I couldn't let the day go without acknowledging a certain anniversary.

One of our volunteers came in this morning and commented that there was so much national politics on the front page of the paper and on the radio with the furore over certain donations, that no mention had been made of 9/11. Of course in New Zealand we struggle with 9/11 as it actually happened on the 12th of September Kiwi time (to say nothing of the fact that they read their dates backwards anyway). I remember waking up in the middle of the night and thinking of War of the Worlds when I turned the radio on. It all just seemed too surreal and impossible until I turned the TV on and saw the pictures. And it's hard to imagine that it's been seven years (just as I was shocked to discover that it had been ten years since the crash that killed Princess Diana).

Terrorism and bullying in any form should be abhorred, so take a moment today (or tomorrow) to remember the tragedy that took so many innocent lives, and affected so many families and people around the world. And lets start reading all those histories of our past, so that we don't commit the same mistakes in the future (had to get a plug for the libraries in there somewhere). That's the beauty of literacy and gift of being able to freely read about both our past and today's world.

Just don't ask me to sift through all the different opinions and work out which one is right. My brain is way to blond for that.

Leading New Zealand writers honoured at the 2008 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement

Three of New Zealand‘s most celebrated writers were honoured on Tuesday night at the 2008 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement held at Premier House in Wellington.
These three writers were recognised in the categories of Poetry -
Elizabeth Smither; Fiction - Lloyd Jones and Non-Fiction - WH Oliver.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said the writers have all added something special to New Zealand's cultural landscape through their work.
"These awards were created to recognise those who have made an enduring contribution to literature in New Zealand. Their work reflects the nuances and subtleties of what it is to be a New Zealand writer. From the uniqueness of this country and the people who live here to worlds beyond these shores, their work adds depth and richness to our literary traditions."
The Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year, New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of an outstanding writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. The nominations are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Council of Creative New Zealand for approval.
Each writer receives $60,000 in recognition of their significant contribution to New Zealand literature. The Awards are administered by Creative New Zealand.

For more information see the Creative New Zealand press release on their website.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Reader's Bill of Rights

I was at a workshop last Friday and they gave us this "Reader's Bill of Rights' to look at.

"The right not to read
The right to skip pages
The right not to finish
The right to reread
The right to read anything
The right to escapism
The right to read anywhere
The right to browse
The right to read aloud
The right to not defend your tastes."

From "Better than life" by Daniel Pennac.

If I could add another one it would be "The right to read multiple titles at the same time and to pick and choose among them as the whim takes you."

What would you add?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Kiwi Kids Lunch Pack Competition

There's still time to enter the Kiwi Kids Lunch Pack competition which is being run as part of NZ Book Month (although entries close on Monday 15th September so you will have to be quick).

Either individually or as a class (primary or intermediate) interview a local author or write a book review and post it to the NZ Book Month Children's site. Get all the details you need from the site and jump to it. While you are there check out some of the top 25 books. How many have you read? Bow down Shadrach (Joy Cowley) is a favourite of mine and I see she appears on the list several times. Do you think there is something missing from the list? Tell us what it is.

Achieving is Believing

As a motto, you don't get much better than this. And it can apply to so many different people, in so many different parts of their lives.

However for the next two weeks it takes on special importance as it is the motto of the Paralympics New Zealand. And already belief has turned into achievement of the highest sort with medals to two of our Paralympians in the early days of competition.

Wellington cyclist Paula Tesoriero has set a new world record in winning gold in the 500m time trial at the velodrome. And Christchurch schoolgirl Sophie Pascoe has won the silver medal in the women's S10 100m butterfly in the pool overnight.

When in my book, achieving would simply be making it to the Paralympics in Beijing, these young womens success is outstanding. Hopefully we will see more of it.

I haven't managed to find out if we have any Rodney connections with the Paralympics team, but if anyone can tell me, drop me a line. And if you want to check out the team, sports and coverage (sadly much less than for the Olympics), head to the Paralympics New Zealand website.

Go hard the believers.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Conservation Week 7 - 14 September 2008

"Meet the locals" - that's the theme for this years Conservation Week. In my experience the locals tend to keep to themselves although half the fun is in trying to spot them. You can often hear them somewhere in the distance.

Here's what's on in Rodney. For other Auckland activites check the events listing on the website.

Free workshops - How to plant a native garden
Create your own wildlife sanctuary by learning which native plants are suited to your local climate and will attract indigenous birds to your garden. Discover how to plan for, plant and maintain a variety if native species with expert advice from your local garden centre.
Workshop dates, times and venues:
Friday 12 September 10am - 11.30am, Kaipara Coast Plant Centre, 1481 Kaipara Coast Highway, Kaukapakapa
Saturday 13 September 10am - 11.30am, Kings Plant Barn, Hibiscus Highway, Silverdale
Sunday 14 September 10am - 11.30am, Kaipara Coast Plant Centre, 1481 Kaipara Coast Highway, Kaukapakapa
More information and contact: Please call the Rodney District Council 0800 4265169 or email info@rodney.govt.nz

Animal pest workshop: Stage 2
A hands-on workshop to gain technical information and practical skills in controlling animal pests. This workshop is designed for those people who have already attended a beginners’ workshop or who already have previous experience. Held jointly by the Auckland Regional Council and DOC.
Date: Saturday 13 SeptemberTime: 9.30am – 2.30pm
Venue/meeting place: The woolshed at Tawharanui Regional Park
Important information for attendees: Lunch and refreshments provided. Free product for all participants. Places are limited so bookings are essential. Contact Su Sinclair at the Auckland Regional Council, su.sinclair@arc.govt.nz, +64 9 366 2000 x8192
Talks: “A pest-free peninsula”; “Threatened reptiles”; “Returning wildlife” - by Matt Maitland (ARC Parks Open Sanctuary Coordinator)
The process towards creating an Open Sanctuary at Shakespear Regional Park has just begun. Listen to talks from the ranger and meet members of the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc (SOSSI) and learn about how they are helping in the process.
Date: Sunday 14 September Time: 11am onwards at the Old Woolshed, Te Haruhi Bay, Shakespear Regional Park
Important information for attendees: Bring your enquiring mind
Bookings are required because the venue is small, sue.hill@arc.govt.nz, +64 9 426 1200

Goldies bush walk
Explore this beautiful local piece of bush with the Kaipara Forest and Bird and enjoy a relaxed bush walk around the track circuit, including a stunning waterfall. The walk takes around 3 hours, lunch on the way.
Date: Sunday 14 September
Meeting place: We will meet at the Constable Road entry to Goldies Bush at 10am
Important information for attendees: Bring boots, raincoat, warm layers, lunch, drink, personal medication and first aid.More information and booking: Kaipara Forest and Bird, suzi@dialogue.co.nz

Riparian planting: Show and tell
Have you been thinking about planting along the stream or riverbank on your patch of dirt? Join the Matakana Landcare at a local property to see what can be achieved, with some plantings 8 years old.
Date: Sunday 14 September Time: 10am - 12pm on the Wenzlick farm at 264 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana, Warkworth.
Important information for attendees: Gumboots could be needed. This event is informal with easy walking.
More information and booking: Kath Heath +64 9 422 7225

Friday, 5 September 2008

Literary Adventure event at Kumeu Library

Dr Graeme Woodfield launches his latest book called "No ordinary man: the remarkable life of Arthur Porritt". Written together with Joseph Romanos it tells the story of a New Zealander who achieved great things in several spheres. Among his achievements: a Rhodes scholar; Olympic sprint medallist; surgeon; war hero and Governor-General of New Zealand.

Friday 26 September 2008, 10:30 am.

Free entry. Tea and coffee provided.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Rodney Olympians welcomed home

Our Olympic athletes are welcomed home today with a mayoral reception at council offices in Orewa. Mayor Penny says "This will be a great opportunity for local students to meet and chat with Rodney's Olympic competitors and for the district to publicly acknowledge and congratulate them on their great efforts in Beijing".

The Library is sending someone along so hopefully we'll have a few photos for you.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

NZ Book Month taste sensations

Pick up your copy of "Kiwi taste sensations" from the library. It's a list of New Zealands top 75 books of the year as chosen by a book seller, a librarian, a Book Month organiser and a blogger. The handout is divided into three sections.

"Top 25 tasty bites" - entertaining reads, perfect for dipping in and out of.

"Top 25 meaty meals - serious or indepth reads.

"Top 25 on the kids' menu - 25 classic or will-be classic reads for children and teens.

All the choices are subjective so if you disagree or want to add your own, let us know.

Two of my all-time favourites are on the children's list

"The changeover : a supernatural romance" by Margaret Mahy. "Laura Chant knew that the face in the mirror was a sign of something dreadful coming. The evil Carmody Braque branded her young brother, and Jacko was ill, getting worse. The only way to save him was to change over-releasing her supernatural powers, joining forces with the mysterious Sorenson Carlisle."

"Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy " by Lynley Dodd."When Hairy Maclary and his canine friends go for a walk and encounter Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town, they run away."

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

NZ Book Month - official launch party in Auckland

Last night NZ Book Month was officially launched with a party in Auckland at the Hopetoun Alpha. The attendees were all from book related trades - publishers, editors, journalists, authors, actors and librarians. After a speech from Judith Tizard, the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, there were a number of short dramatisations of passages from books and plays. I can't decide which was my favourite - the letters between a tween and an author from "Is she still alive?" by Tessa Duder or the hilarious interview from "Roosters I have known" by Steve Braunias.

After the official part of the evening was over I had a chat with Michael Green. He's an author from the Hibiscus Coast. His new book "Blood line" has just been published and will be on library shelves very soon. During our conversation he mentioned that he was one of the bloggers on the NZ Book month site. Each invited author is responsible for 3 blog posts. The subjects of the posts have ranged from favourite words, favourite books, travel issues, publicity, publishing, formats and further. Make sure you have a bit of spare time before you start reading otherwise you'll end up like I did wondering where the time went!

Monday, 1 September 2008

New Zealand Book Month, Six Pack Three winners announced

The winning stories from the latest NZ Book Month competition have been announced.

"Sip quietly on a man's domestic alienation, spoon up some childhood play, chew on the racial tension of '80s South Auckland, nibble at the cat-and-mouse game of a man and his taunting reflection, munch on the life and times of a visionary messiah and crunch up poems of race, blood and anger. These six succulent segments of winning New Zealand writing will satisfy the appetite of the most ravenous reader." From the back cover.

"Today we celebrate the publication of the third anthology of The Six Pack – a collection of 6 pieces of NZ writing chosen anonymously by a judging panel and the New Zealand public. The Six Pack Competition was launched in 2005 with the first Six Pack published at the inaugural launch of New Zealand Book Month. Since then The Six Pack (2006) and The Six Pack Two (2007) have spent numerous weeks on the NZ Bestsellers list. The writing in The Six Pack Three is a fantastic cross-section of subjects and writing styles. Now meet the winners…

Kate Duignan – "Swallow"

Kate lives in Wellington where she is currently teaching the fiction class of the Masters in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University. She was the 2004 recipient of the Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University. She has published one novel, Breakwater (Victoria University Press, 2001), as well as short fiction and poetry in various journals.

David Geary – "Gary Manawatu (1964–2008: Death of a Fence-Post-Modernist"

David is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor, poet, teacher, batsman-wicketkeeper, his fiction has been published in Sport and the New Zealand Listener. He has also published a collection of short stores, A Man of the People (Victoria University Press, 2003) and is the 2008 Writer in Residence at Victoria University.

Aroha Harris – "Write Poetry"

Aroha Harris belongs to Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi and is a history lecturer at the University of Auckland. She has a masters degree in philosophy and a doctorate in history. Her research interests include New Zealand history, Maori culture and society in the post-war era, oral history and race relations. She is the author of Hikoi: Forty Years of Maori Protest (Huia Publishers, 2004).

Ian Mackenzie – "Mirror, Mirror"

Ian is a primary school teacher originally from England but who has lived in New Zealand for many years. He lives in Auckland with his wife Jane, and their two sons Jack and Tom. He has written plays for school productions and weekly mystery stories for students in an English language programme, but this is his first short story.

Marisa Maepu – "’88"

Marisa Maepu is a Samoan New Zealander, born and raised in Auckland. Now living in Wellington with her husband, Marisa has a masters in English from the University of Auckland. Her stories have been published in Niu Voices: Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1 (Huia, 2006) and was a winner in the Spasifik/Huia short story competition in 2007.

Sue Wootton – "Virtuoso"

Sue Wootton is the 2008 Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Magnetic South (Steele Roberts 2008) and Hourglass (Steele Roberts 2005). A children’s story book, Cloudcatcher, is to be published soon. " From the NZ Book Month website

Random Acts of Kindness day

"So what is National RAK Day?

It's as simple as Random Acts of Kindness. Taking the attention off 'self' and being kind to someone else through a Random Act of Kindness, where you're not seeking credit or something in return.

The idea has been around for awhile, but the concept of making it a New Zealand National Day was brought to fruition over coffee between Marshall Gray and Josh de Jong mid 2004 who felt it was time Kiwi's had a day they could focus on doing something great others ~ without the retail pressure! A day where you could ‘RAK' a family member, a friend.... or a complete stranger by shouting them coffee, mowing their lawn, giving them flowers or even something as simple as visiting the many lonely elderly or sick around our country!

The reason to make it a national day is the desire for people to remember the importance of people! With life getting busier all the time, consciously putting aside a day where we are randomly kind will hopefully show people that it is not hard to do something thoughtful, and that we then adapt it as part of our lives . . . on occasion . . . randomly . . ."

Even our councillors are getting in on the act - Thomas on track with kindness via Stuff.co.nz