Saturday, 29 November 2008

What's On in Rodney

Watch out for Santa who is going to be visiting the Rodney area over the next few weeks. He's already been to Orewa and this weekend he will be at the big Auckland Farmers Santa Parade on Sunday. There is a special train from Helensville and there is the option of buying tickets on board. Visit for details.

Santa is busy next weekend when he visits Warkworth and Helensville, Friday 12th he is in Kumeu, 13th December he is in Maungaturoto and on the 19th he visits Wellsford. Hopefully you will be lucky enough to catch up with him so you can deliver your list and convince him that you have been good this year.

In the meantime if you are not getting your glad rags on to go to the Dinner in the Tunnels tonight, what about these activities:

Rodney Oceania Festival at Aquatic Park in Parakai starts with a karakia by the kaumatua of the Ngati Whatua people today at noon followed by kapahaka, entertainment, stalls and plenty of Pacifica food. It's certainly a beautiful day for it.

Stanmore Bay School has their Gala today from 10am so if you in the Whangaparaoa area get along for all the usual wonderful attractions of a school gala.

The annual Mahurangi College PTA Christmas Gift Fair is on this Sunday from 9am to 2pm at the College Hall. As well as checking out the Christmas goodies, take time for the homemade devonshire tea.

And finally for all those with a touch of tartan about you - Happy St Andrews Day for Sunday.

Ka kite ano

Friday, 28 November 2008

Sadness in the Air

I actually wrote the post for today earlier this week (in one of my inspired and psuedo-organised moments). However when I woke to the news this morning that an Air New Zealand Airbus had crashed into the Mediterranean today with the loss of five New Zealand lives amongst the seven crew who were on board, I realised that there would need to be some changes.

While the blue waters of the Mediterranean are a far cry from the frozen slopes of Mount Erebus, and the cliche "history repeating itself" would be stretching things too far and taking away from the enormity of the loss of life on Erebus, this crash happening on the 29th anniversary of the Antarctica disastr is (as Air New Zealand executive Rob Fyfe said this morning) "poignant". Our condolences to the families. For more information on todays tragedy go to

Here is the framework of the original post I prepared.

On Wednesday 28th November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight TE901 crashed into the side of Mount Erebus in Antartica during a sightseeing flight. This still ranks as New Zealands biggest air disaster with the loss of 237 passengers and 20 crew. Today is the 29th anniversary of the disaster and around New Zealand especially, but internationally also, families and friends will be remembering their lost loved ones. The losses included several Rodney residents.

More information about this New Zealand event can be found in the internet at several excellent sites including at Christchurch City Libraries and Te Ara (The Encyclopedia of New Zealand). Rodney Libraries have several resources specifically referring to Mount Erebus (click on the words to go to our catalogue). If you are wanting to know more about air disasters around the world, carry out a subject search for Aircraft Accidents.

Bill Manhire was commissioned to compose a poem for the 25th anniversary of the disaster in 2004. It was originally read by the late Sir Edmund Hillary.

EREBUS VOICES - The Mountain
I am here beside my brother, Terror.
I am the place of human error.
I am beauty and cloud, and I am sorrow;
I am tears which you will weep tomorrow.
I am the sky and the exhausting gale.
I am the place of ice. I am the debris trail.
I am as far as you see.
I am the place of memory.
And I am still a hand, a fingertip, a ring.
I am what there is no forgetting.
I am the one with truly broken heart.
I watched them fall, and freeze, and break apart.

We fell
Yet we were loved and we are lifted
We froze
Yet we were loved and we are warm.
We broke apart.
Yet we are here and we are whole.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Summer Reading Programme

Calling all Super Heroes!! Join our Summer Reading programme these summer holidays because SUPERHEROES READ!

Join at your local library this summer and we’ll show you just how much fun reading can be. The Summer Reading programme is free and places are always in hot demand. Feedback from parents is always positive and many say they see real progress in their children’s reading over the holiday period. For all school-age children Summer Reading is a great way to keep up the reading habit and develop a lifetime love of reading.

Registrations open on 6 December at all libraries except Helensville. Helensville registrations open on 8 December. Places will be allocated on a first come basis. It is important that both caregiver and child attend to register. At registration the child will receive their "Superheroes READ" pack and be on the way to completing their summer reading mission. At each of the four report-ins they will receive a surprise incentive and when their reading mission is completed they will receive an invitation to the Superheroes finale party where they will be entertained by our local Superhero Storyteller - Stu Duval.

Be sure to register early as places are limited. We can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Pay your Library charges online

If you're a regular user of the online "My Info" facility and you sometimes have charges on your card then you may have noticed a button "Pay fines and charges". This is a new function on the catalogue. It allows you to pay your library fines and charges by credit card over the internet. Once you login to the payment area you can select which charges to pay. The next screen will ask for credit card details. Once your transaction is complete you will see a screen telling you whether it was successful or not. A copy of the receipt will be emailed to you. You can also choose to print it out.

The "Pay fines and charges" button will only display if there are charges on the logged-in library card. If you'd like to know more about this please talk to a staff member at your local library.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Congratulations Raconteurs

Raconteur - "a teller of anecdotes" from the French for "relate, recount"
source The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary

Why am I telling you this? The newest Toastmasters Club in New Zealand is the Rodney District Council corporate Club "RDC Raconteurs" (and it includes several Rodney Libraries staff which is why it gets a mention here). Welcome to a fabulous international organisation which promotes and helps develop communication skills for everyone to use. From the nervous father of the bride who hopes to only have to get up and speak once in his life (for each daughter) to those that need the skills every day for job interviews, business presentations and negotiations.

Never heard of Toastmasters? It all started in 1924 in America but has now spread around the world. Where public speaking is up there in the top five fears most people have, Toastmasters aims to take that fear away by giving people confidence, skills and encouragement they need to succeed. But it's not just about public speaking. So many of the skills learnt at meetings can be applied in everyday conversations and situations, from the ability to listen to being able to think on your feet and express yourself well.

Of course, there are heaps of resources in the library to help you out with this as well. But sometimes you also need to put it into practice. Do a subject search under "public speaking" or check these out.
Speak Easy: The essential guide to speaking in public (Maggie Eyre), a New Zealand author with an endorsement by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Presentation SOS: From perspiration to persuasion in 9 easy steps (Mark Wiskup)
The complete wedding speech guide (Andrew Byrne)
101 great answers to the toughest interview questions (Ron Fry)

There are now four Toastmasters Clubs in Rodney. In addition to the RDC Raconteurs there is also Warkworth, Hibiscus Coast and Silverdale-Orewa. Plus we have many more clubs on our borders in West Auckland and on the North Shore. If you are interested in finding out more about how Toastmasters go to the New Zealand website ( and see if there is a club near you. All community clubs welcome visitors.

Monday, 24 November 2008

White Ribbon Day 25 November 2008

White Ribbon Day, 25 November, is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women.
In New Zealand most violence by men against women takes place in the home - with an average of 14 women a year killed by their partners or ex-partners. Each year there are over 3,500 convictions recorded against men for assaults on women and one in five women will experience sexual assault or sexual interference at some point in their lives.

Public Displays
Pick up a ribbon from displays at various locations around the District on Tuesday November 25th. The displays will provide information about family violence, balloons for children and most events will include free sausage sizzles and performances from local student groups.

These events are happening:

· in Helensville outside Woolworths,
· in Wellsford outside Postie Plus,
· in Warkworth next to Lee & Hart’s Pharmacy,
· in theWhangaparaoa Plaza, and
· in Orewa, on Moana Ave, outside the Orewa library.

All events will begin at 11:30 am and end at 3:30 pm.

Information about Help for Families
There are a number of local organisations who can provide support for women and families experiencing family violence.

Hestia Womens’s Refuge provide community support, advocacy and emergency accommodation to those affected by family violence. They can be contacted on 0800 321 361 to reach the emergency paging service.

Rodney Stopping Violence Services provide violence prevention programmes and counselling for men, women and children and can be contacted on 09 425 8130.

What you can do
- Wear a white ribbon to show your support.
- Challenge attitudes and behaviour which condone or tolerate violence.
- Encourage others in your organisation, family/whanau, community, street or workplace to wear a white ribbon.
- Organise a local event to speak out against violence towards women.
- Spread the word about the White Ribbon campaign and its aims.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Jodi Picoult - one of our most popular authors. In fact it is often to find one of Jodi's books on the shelves, even though we order multiple copies for all the Rodney Libraries.

I'v read a couple of her books in the past, but I picked up My Sister's Keeper over the weekend and found that I could not put it down (once again "What is housework?"). Jodi is great at creating characters who plunge into a course of action and then have to live with the repurcussions. These can be couples, families or whole communities, all realistic and easily recognisable (even if you don't like them) and you often find yourself wondering as you read "What would I do if that was me?".

I am quite happy (although slightly embarressed ) to admit that as I was reading the last few pages, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. Although sad, there is something immensely satisfying with a read like this.

Jodi is in her early 40's and lives in New Hampshire with her husband, children and a menagerie of animals. She says she always thinks she knows the end of the book when she starts writing it, but she is usually wrong, calls herself a workaholic and her advice for someone who wants to be a writer is "Do it!". You can find out more about Jodi on her website

It makes a fascinating read and also gives a sneak tip that My Sister's Keeper is just one of her books which is in movie production at the moment.

(photo credit

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Christmas is coming

and if your letterbox is anything like mine it is already overflowing with catalogues and pamphlets to entice you where your money should be spent. Like all the bookshop catalogues with all the books that the publishers have held back just for the Christmas $$$$$$'s.

There's no getting around the fact that books can be expensive. So here's an idea. Why don't you test out the latest book or author at your library first. For instance, if you want the new Alex Cross series title Cross Country by James Patterson, you have several options. You can put in a request for it and go on the waiting list, if you see it on our Express Select stands (available at most of our libraries) you can rent it for a week for $5 or you can wait until the fuss dies down and in the meantime, re-read one of this prolific authors other books from those available across the district.

This is a great way to see if you like an author or a title, before you decide it is a must have for the shelves of your home library. So if you see something in a catalogue over the next five weeks as we count down to Christmas, check it out first at your local Rodney Library. You can even do this from home, simply by logging onto our website and searching the catalogue.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Local History goes Live!

It's taken a lot of hard work, but Rodney Libraries is now very proud to bring to you the first stage of Local History online. Click on the link and find a description of what Local History online is all about, together with links through to local Rodney museums and other places of historical interest such as Couldrey House in Wenderholm and the Puhoi Bohemian museum website.

Local History Online is a combined collection of local history indexes of Rodney, North Shore and Waitakere Libraries. The Newspaper indexes cover selected articles in the community newspapers of Rodney, North Shore and Waitakere. The Image indexes cover digital image collections of North Shore and Waitakere Libraries. The indexes can be used to research a local event, historical building, or notable local person etc. Indexes are continually being updated.

Rodney Libraries index to the Rodney Times is still in its infancy. Indexing is occurring retrospectively and content will increase over time. The aim is to eventually provide access to the content of all issues of the Rodney Times.

Pay a visit and have a look around. Its all our history and worth a second look.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Stage set for spectacular Auckland Festival 2009

Festival Director David Malacari revealed the exciting line-up for Auckland Festival 2009 last week. World premieres, cutting edge artists, great classical works, a sophisticated late night scene, and compelling, inspiring and challenging work from New Zealand, the Pacific and beyond. The festival is on 5-22 March 2009. Tickets are on sale from Wednesday. Visit the website for the full Festival programme.

The programme has several themes - Theatre, Dance, Music, and Visual Arts. The Red Square will be taking over Aotea Square.

Highlights include:

"Gathering Clouds" is a new dance work by acclaimed choreographer Neil Ieremia. Beautiful in its fury, Gathering Clouds responds to controversial claims made by economist Greg Clydesdale in which he warns that Polynesians display “significant and enduring under achievement” – a problem he believes immigration is making worse.

Hailed as a masterpiece everywhere it has been performed, this magical theatrical production, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fables and anecdotes drawn from his Parisian travels, delves into the life of a Québécois man who comes to Paris to write a libretto for a children’s opera of The Dryad. Incorporating humour and satire, puppets and supra-realist video backdrops, The Andersen Project also explores more troubling territory: questions about sexual identity, unfulfilled fantasies and a thirst for recognition that are drawn from Andersen’s life and writings, and which serve as a filigree to the modern tale.

Nostalgia is a powerful and engaging tale that combines movement, theatre, dance, voice and an original score in a stunning production. It is a visual feast that traverses the history of the 20th century to offer a theatrical experience that transcends language.This compelling work evokes the passion, joys and the distress experienced by travellers and immigrants everywhere. Against a backdrop of overscale images, the immigrants travel to new lands. Slowly they emerge from the constraints of their past, to experience the colour, excitement – and despair – of a new South American life.

"The Arrival" By Shaun Tan, adapted by Red Leap Theatre, New Zealand
CREATED BY: Kate Parker, Julie Nolan, and Cast
What drives so many to leave everything behind and journey alone to a land where the future is unknown? This question inspired Shaun Tan's award-winning book, now lifted from the page in a wondrous, wordless stage production. Designed to captivate audiences of all ages, the show combines music, movement, puppetry and shadow play to send your heart and imagination on a journey of discovery to a land of flying ships, strange birds and travelling balloons.
This story of overcoming hardship, of humanity and of hope is a tribute to migrants and refugees throughout the world.
The Arrival is also part of the
New Zealand Post Family Weekend. Developed through the Auckland Festival WATCH THIS SPACE initiative funded by Arts Regional Trust and ASB Community Trust.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

This weekend in Rodney

Oops - running a bit late with the blog events for the weekend. That's what comes from having too many meetings to go to.

Anyway - if you are not already out taking advantage of the fact that the rain forecast hasn't arrived yet, get along to these two great Rodney events.

The Wellsford A & P Show - Saturday 15 November at Centennial Park, Wellsford. This show signifies the start of the A & P Show season in Rodney and as well as sideshows, animals and the indoor exhibits, there will be lots of other fun and entertainment as well.

Red Beach School Gala - Sunday 16 November at the Red Beach School, Hibiscus Coast. Another wonderful community event with lots of fun, bargains and entertainment. The Gala opens at 10am tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

You asked for it!

You asked for it and we thought it was fantastic idea.

So as from NOW, all non-fiction DVD's have been reduced in price to $2.00 per week. That's down from $5.00 per week.

We are really thrilled to be able to announce this change which we know will be a big help to teachers and parents especially, as we have an excellent supply of documentaries on geography and historical events.

While we try to keep our non-fiction DVD's separate from our fiction (movies and tv shows), it doesn't always work. If you are not sure if your choice is fact or fiction, just ask one of the librarians.

Come in and see what we have on our shelves.

A romance evening to remember

Join Laura Lee Guhrke, Karina Bliss and Helen Kirkman at Whangaparaoa Library and Service Centre tonight from 6:30pm - 7:30 pm.

Joint presentation by Orewa and Whangaparaoa Libraries. A Literary Adventures event.

Laura Lee Guhrke
"From the publication of her very first historical romance, Laura Lee Guhrke has received numerous honors and critical acclaim for her novels and her writing style. She has been honored with the most prestigious award of romance fiction, the Romance Writers of America Rita Award, and she has received additional awards from Romantic Times and All About Romance. Romantic Times has proclaimed her, “One of the most natural voices in historical romance to be found today."

Karina Bliss
With a name like Bliss it was almost inevitable that Karina would become a Romance writer. For most of her working life she's been a journalist who wrote about travel for the New Zealand travel industry for close to a decade. She says "Now I have another job that on the surface looks glamorous and exciting. I’m a romance writer. Unfortunately not one of the ‘words pour out of me’ romance writers, but the ‘stare at the screen until your forehead bleeds’ variety.
Like motherhood, I thought it would be easy and it’s not."

Helen Kirkman
Helen Kirkman has always written stories - at home, at school, during the lunch break at her local government job, on the back of an envelope in a queue at the bank…
The breakthrough came when Helen won the Clendon Award for best unpublished romance manuscript. Harlequin bought her story and she now writes colourful historical stories for their mainstream romance imprint HQN Books.
Helen’s passion for colorful history provides the perfect backdrop for the powerful emotion in her writing.

Corporal Willie Apiata, Victoria Cross

Willie Apiata VC: the Reluctant Hero by Paul Little

'At 0900 on Sunday 01 July my CO handed me three letters to read. The first was from the Governor General, the second from the Prime Minister and the third was from the Minister of Defence. These letters informed me that I had been awarded the Victoria Cross for New Zealand (V.C.).' Cpl Bill (Willie) Apiata, V.C.

On 60 Minutes earlier in the week they interviewed him.
Watch the video on the TV3 website

Corporal Willie Apiata is a rare mix of strength, confidence and humility. He says the act for which he received his Victoria Cross is just something you would do for your mate, and says the Cross doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to his entire team.
But for New Zealanders, he is the hero we can be proud of; the first Kiwi to win a Victoria Cross since WWII. And while we might know about his heroic dash to carry his commander to safety before returning to fight, there is very little that we know about him, his family, his upbringing, and his life outside the SAS. Until now.
Mike McRoberts talks to Apiata about medal thieves, the SAS, being a hero and suddenly being faced with becoming a national celebrity. And he finds out just how good Corporal Apiata would be in close-quarter combat.

Earlier in a year a full length documentary was produced. The library has it on DVD.
Reluctant hero
“Reluctant Hero”, the story which outlines Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Willie Apiata’s thrust into the spotlight of media and public attention from the anonymity of an NZSAS soldier. It details the initial days and months of Cpl. Apiata VC living with the award as well as a full re-enactment of the events in Afghanistan that lead to the recommendation and eventual bestowal of the VC.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fiction Addiction

You might think that is obvious for someone who works in a library, surrounded by books all day. However (and surprisingly) when you are studying and racing from job to job, reading fiction for pleasure isn't often top of the list. In fact, apart from trying to keep abreast of the childrens and young adults fiction, I haven't managed to get through many novels this year.

But that all changed for myself and several others this week (judging by the glazed looks, shopping basket piles and conversations I have had with some people) when our semesters finished and we could once again throw ourselves amongst the shelves. Nothing else got a look in this week as I fed my fiction addiction (I did remember to vote).
Here are a couple that have been inhaled so far:
Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen). A tale of both the circus world in Depression America and life in a home for the elderly in the 20th Century, this is at times gritty and poignant. The alternating realities of both worlds made this compulsive reading.

Twilight and New Moon (Stephenie Meyer). I am now amongst the readers who adore this series of vampires and humans living alongside each other. Mingling myth and modern America, I can't wait for the next instalment to arrive.
And don't even ask me about either my housework, or the books on my request list. So keep an eye out for more great book recommendations.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Armistice day, 11 November 1918

This year is the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany which ended World War One. Also known as Remembrance Day it it usually marked with one or two minutes silence at 11am.
(image from Flickr Kwok88 photostream)

At the time, New Zealanders joined in many parades and civic celebrations on November 12, the day the Armistice was officially announced here. In Auckland, Armistice Day celebrations were postponed until mid-1919 due to the influenza pandemic.

The Great War lasted from 1914 to 1918. Reports vary on the number of New Zealanders who died or were wounded. The total number of troops sent has been estimated at "10% of its 1914 population between the ages of 20-45."

There are over 500 public war memorials to remember those who fought in World War One. Typically they are in the main street of town. There are many variations - some have figures, others are obelisks. Not many civic buildings were built as monuments however the Auckland War Memorial Museum is an example of one. Some towns built gates such as the one at the entrance to the Wellsford Museum.

Army regulations allow the wearing of a small rose on uniform on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, in a similar manner to which poppies are worn on ANZAC Day.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, from October 2008 to March 2009, the return of soldiers to New Zealand is remembered in a series of events, talks, movie showings, exhibitions and recitals throughout the country.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
(Fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen')

Rodney Libraries Staff Achievements

Customers of Whangaparaoa Library will be happy to know that congratulations are in order for Librarian Donna who is the proud mother of a lovely baby girl. Well done and welcome to someone who I am sure is going to bring lots of smiles to the family.

Up North in Warkworth we are welcoming Gail Dallimore who is our new Northern Libraries Manager. Gail has moved north from Wellington and is already into the swing of our busy library. Kia ora Gail, welcome to the team. Take the opportunity to say hi next time you are in the library.

Meanwhile, two of our Rodney Libraries Management Team were recognised at the LIANZA (our national body of Library Professionals) Conference and awards. Former Library Manager Beverley Fletcher was made a Fellow for for her outstanding and professional leadership and knowledge. Beverly has been involved in many aspects of special, National, and public library service through her various positions at Ruakura Research centre, National Library Hamilton, Auckland City Libraries and the Rodney District Libraries. Also recognised is Kris Wehipeihana who has worked for the past eighteen years in the field of public librarianship, at Waipa and Rodney District Councils. Kris is currently Coordinator, Services Development at Rodney Libraries where she focuses on strategic library services development across all libraries. Congratulations ladies.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Radio books this week

Here's a quick rundown of books and authors you can either listen to or hear reviews of this week on the National Programme.

Monday 10 Nov - The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Tuesday 11 Nov - The Devil’s Own War by John Crawford (ed)
Wednesday 12 Nov - On Top of Everything by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Thursday 13 Nov - Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Children’s book review with John Macintyre
Piano Rock: A 1950's Childhood – Gavin Bishop
The River Runs – David Hill
Kaimanawa Princess – Diane Haworth

NINE TO NOON 10.45am
Monday 10 to Friday 14 November
Unpublished short stories
Monday 10 to Friday 14 November
Allen Adair – Jane Mander; Eps 1–5 (of 12)
Monday 10 to Sunday 16 November
The Wedding at Bueno-Vista – Shonagh Koea; Eps 8–14 (of 15)

And just to finish off, TV One’s Good Morning programme will be reviewing these books:
True stories – Elizabeth Knox
Disguise – Hugo Hamilton
The darkness looking back – Andrea Jutson

Jurassic Park author passes away

Best-selling author Michael Crichton - who wrote the novels The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, and created the popular TV drama ER - has died unexpectedly at age 66, his family confirmed. His first novels were written under a pen name while he was studying at Harvard Medical School.

For the full article reporting his sudden passing, click here.

To find his fiction on Rodney Libraries shelves, carry out an author search or click here.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Historic Helensville

Helensville is celebrating a Heritage Day on this Sunday (November 9th) with loads of events and many of the shops are going to be open (in costume) for the occasion as well.

Events include:

Historic Home Tour - a walking tour of town beginning at the Helensville Museum at 10am

Music - The pipe band, brass band and country music will be playing in various parts of town including the Museum, Riverside Reserve and the Railway station throughout the day.

Kapa haka performances begin at Rata Street Reserve at noon.

The Museum is hosting several lectures and presentations.

Kaipara Cruising Club will be open with photos and information on Helensville's maritime history.

Vintage cars have been invited, there is a Heritage Church Service, heritage demonstrations of everyday tasks and plenty of other entertainment.

For details and tickets contact the Helensville Museum on 094207881 or Sarah on 094208060.
photo from website

Orewa Beach Open day

Rodney District Council will be holding a special event at Orewa Beach on Saturday November 8 and encourages everyone to come along and find out what they have in store for this fantastic location. The open day will take place between 10am and 3pm where RDC staff will give details on the Council's management plan for Orewa Beach and explain some of the ideas behind the plans. Staff will also conduct beach walks at 11am, 12 midday, 1pm and 2pm where the public will have the opportunity to see first hand how and why the proposed plans have been developed.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Watching History

Sometimes as we rush from task to task, caught up in the hustle of every day living, we forget that we are witnessing history all around us. Sometimes it is also worth stopping, thinking and acknowledging that history is all around us. Yesterday was certainly another such occassion as America elected it's first Black American President Barack Obama.

So often when we remember moments of history, it is the tragic that stands out. I still vividly remember where I was when I heard of the death of Princess Diana (a lazy Sunday afternoon at home) or where I was when I heard about the September 11 terrorist attacks (waking up in the middle of the night thinking I was listening to a new version of War of the Worlds). I have more difficulty remembering where I was for the achievements such as the release of Nelson Mandela (not sure), the first man on the moon (probably at school) and the felling of the Berlin Wall (?).

But I am going to remember yesterday. Driving home from a Conference feeling tired but inspired, I got a tingle when I heard the announcement and the speeches of McCain (in defeat) and Obama (in victory), both calling for unity, which I saw on arriving home, sent a tingle down my spine. One of my colleagues has a daughter in the States at the moment and she spent the day in a bar experiencing the event with Americans. She said she cried five times and received a note from an American War veteran thanking her for sharing the day with them. How cool is that!

So my challenge to myself, and to you, is the remember where you were when history was made yesterday, and to realise that history is being made all around us every day, for the people of the future to talk about and celebrate.

JPs on duty at Whangaparaoa Library

Starting on Wednesday 12 November a Justice of the Peace will be duty on regular weekly basis in the Manuka Room at Whangaparaoa Library and Service Centre. They will be available from 10am-12 noon. It will be staffed by local JPs on a roster system.

A Justice of the Peace can witness documents and certify copies. For more information about the role of a JP see Royal Federation of Justices' Associations and Ministry of Justice.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Guy Fawkes

One of the hot topics at the beginning of November is Guy Fawkes night. This event commemorates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot which was a plan to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in 1605. It’s traditionally celebrated with fireworks on November 5.

There are some new rules around buying and selling fireworks. The new rules include:

- Retailers may only display fireworks for retail sale or sell them for four days prior to and including Guy Fawkes Day; this is the period beginning 2 November and ending at the close of 5 November.

- You may only buy fireworks if you are aged 18 and over.

- Sparklers can now be sold only in retail fireworks packages together with other fireworks. They must not be sold separately. No more than 50 sparklers can be sold in any single retail package.

If you’re going to have fireworks at home then follow these safety tips from the
Pyro Company website

- Read instructions on the fireworks before using them
- Use a torch to read the instructions
- Light fireworks in a wide open area away from anything that could catch fire
- Don’t give to small children to light
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy
- Keep pets inside
- Don’t try to relight dud fireworks
- Keep fireworks away from open flame (in closed box)
- Burns need water for 10 minutes

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Gee Up!

It's time for the big hats and race day fashions as the biggest race in Australasia breaks the gates at 5pm New Zealand time. I am (of course) talking about the Melbourne Cup. I will certainly be trying to find a TV somewhere that I can watch the 148th running of the race (although I have never been much good at picking the winner so I might refrain from my yearly trip to the TAB).

Hit up some of these websites if you want to know more about this year's race or the history of the Melbourne Cup.
The Melbourne Cup at Wikipedia
The Melbourne Cup blog
Emirates Melbourne Cup 2008 website
Cup History from the Official Australian Cultural website

If you want to do some reading, you can always head to your local Rodney Library. Browse through both fact and fiction under a subject heading like "horse racing" (click on any of these subjects to show what books we have in which library) or just come in and wander through the shelves. For fiction you would be looking for authors such as Dick Francis, John Francome or Lyndon Stacey. On our non-fiction shelves around call number 798.4 you will find biographies of horses and their trainer/jockeys as well as overviews of the industry.

If you are handy to Warkworth on Tuesday afternoon, don your hat and gloves and head along to our own mini-Flemington, Bridge House for their Cup Day event which will be raising funds for breast cancer. It may not be too late to arrange a ticket. Email organiser Rachel Sutton or phone her on 021-374-737

Now all I have to do is choose between Master O'Reilly and Red Ruler to cheer for.