Saturday, 31 October 2009

A Great Recipe

I have been meaning to write this post since the start of New Zealand Book Month, but somehow there was never enough time to do it justice. Which is why I find myself on the last day of October, at work on a lovely clear (but crisp) Saturday morning, but determined to find the time to write about the one Kiwi type of book (well one of the types of Kiwi books) that tumbles from my cupboards and book shelves.

My name is Kowhai Reader and I am a ... Recipe Book Junkie. I have recipe books, both new and old, secondhand, handed down, clean and in most cases somewhat food soiled. Working in a library has meant that I am able to restrict my purchasing somewhat. And I do also have to admit that while I love the books, I am less likely to be found toiling over the stove and oven trying out the recipes. From experience, there was always one ingredient that I didn't have in the pantry when the urge to cook or bake came upon me.

Which is one of the reasons why Kiwi Cook Books are best. I am far more likely to have the ingredients when I open a Kiwi recipe book, than any of the international ones. Here are a few of my favourites.

I was expounding to my mother the fantastic new recipe book that had just come into the library, when she went to her recipe draw and pulled out a very battered and stained little blue cookbook that I remembered from my childhood. Recipes from the Heartland from the CWI was simply a refresh and reprint of one of my favourite when growing up and learning how to bake. It had the Never Fail Toffee recipe in it that never failed me as a kid (but went badly wrong the first time I tried it as an adult).

Of course the Edmonds cookbook was a staple in most homes. I have three now. My grandmother's, my own which Mum gave me when I left home and a microwave version. If you get out the latest one and compare it with my grandmothers, it makes fantastic (and nostalgic) reading. Which is one of the reasons that the Edmonds Classics edition is one of the most popular in the library.

Names such as Alison Holst, Alison Gofton, Sophie Gray, Jo Seager, Aunt Daisy, Julie Le Clerc, Lauraine Jacobs, Peta Mathias, Garth Hokianga and Richard Till are all represented, as well as many others. We have at least 173 different Kiwi Cookbooks in the library (and several copies of most of them). Just do a subject search for Cookery New Zealand to find the list.

Friday, 30 October 2009

New Zealand Book Month Wraps Up

NZ Book Month at Warkworth Library with Gail Dallimore (Warkworth Library), Sharleen Greer (Village Bookshop), guest speaker Lauraine Jacobs and Darrell Soljan (Ascension Vineyard)

NZ Book Month at Kumeu Library with artist Gaylene Earl and helpers who created two works of art based on cutting and pasting from materials supplied by the Library.

New Zealand Book Month is wrapping up at Rodney Libraries and a Kiwi book that I have been thinking for some time I should read has finally arrived on my desk. What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler is based around the Kaipara Harbour, so it will be interesting to see if I can recognise any landmarks.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The October Story

This was NZ Book Month's 'social experiment' on Facebook. The October Story was a community written short story with anonymous contributors writing the next installment.

From the Facebook description...

"This is what it entails: you read the last note posted and submit your paragraph to continue the story by SENDING A MESSAGE to 'The October Story' the best submission for that period (a.m. and p.m. daily) will be posted from the 'trail' of that paragraph, we'll ask for submissions to follow on…thus making a NZ Book Month 'story' for October 2009."

The October Story so far... (to 14 October) is on the NZ Book Month website. It's been left at a very interesting point - I hope someone finishes it before the month is out!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Halloween Party at Warkworth Library

Celebrate Halloween with a special storytime at Warkworth Library on Friday 30th October at 6.00pm.

This is dress up time for the WHOLE family for scary stories (but not too scary) plus songs and games. It will be lots of fun so bring a mug (for your milo) and a cushion (unless you don't mind sitting on the floor) to the Great 2009 Halloween Storytime with the Wicked Witches of the Warkworth Library.

PS And to all the students from Warkworth Primary School who came to see me today and wanted scarier stories - come along on Friday and see if you can scare me.

PPS There will be cake and biscuits

Final chance to take part in the 100!

The final session with local artist Gaylene Earl is on at Kumeu Library today.

Wednesday 28 October 10am - 12pm

Gaylene has been involving the community in developing two art works to be displayed in the library. Adults and children are welcome to attend and all of the artistic materials needed to develop the art works will be available at the library. She's been using withdrawn library books which are damaged, have multiple pages missing or are very old.
The art works have been inspired by works by New Zealand artists Don Binney and Ani O’Neill, which are featured in “Contemporary New Zealand Art Four".

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

ASB Wordbank competition for New Zealand Book Month

Building the country’s first and largest Wordbank was an exciting challenge for staff at ASB, and with children dropping off their entries at branches all over the country, the bank is bulging with new currency: words.

Words are the newest form of collateral this October - New Zealand Book Month, and kids are proving that they know what our words are worth. Five to thirteen year olds have been asked to write a letter to their favourite Kiwi author, telling them why they love their books and stories, and then post or drop their words – in letter form – into their nearest ASB branch.

With less than a week to go, the inaugural ASB Wordbank competition is proving popular with Kiwi kids. And so too are the prizes – behind the scenes visits to Auckland Zoo and Shortland Street, rides in a Hot Rod, books and more. Communities get the chance to win big too as ASB branches with the most entries can select a school or library to receive books and author visits.

Authors are also getting excited about what Kiwi kids have to say. Fifi Colston, children’s author, illustrator and TV presenter says, “Feedback from kids about my books is fertiliser for my creativitree. It helps me grow, thrive, blossom and produce that delectable fruit called 'story'.” And this year’s children’s choice award winner Melinda Szymanik notes, “Hearing from people who’ve read your books is the best gift a reader can give an author. We love knowing what you think and finding out whether the things we enjoyed writing the most are the things you’ve enjoyed reading the most.”

Director of NZ Book Month Michele Powles is animated about the competition. “Kids genuinely want to let authors know what they thought of their stories, and for authors it’s the best feedback possible. It’s fantastic to be partnering with a company like ASB who has such a strong profile in local schools and communities, so that we can get national reach with this promotion.”

The ASB Wordbanks close at 4pm on Friday the 30th of October. For entry forms and further information go to or pop into any local ASB branch.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Weekend Snippets

The end of a busy week and State Highway One has been busy through Warkworth from first thing this morning as people make their escapes from the city on the first long weekend of the spring/summer season. If you are out on the road - be careful out there.

If you haven't already got your reading, music or DVD's for the holiday weekend, all Rodney Libraries are open on Saturday (all slightly different hours so check our website for details - just click on your local library on the map for information).

In the meantime, here are a few snippets from the book world to finish off the week.

Visit the "Books" page to get information on Nick Hornby's latest novel (his first in four years) Juliet, naked and Ozzy Osbourne's biography called I am Ozzy. Several copies of both have already been ordered for Rodney Libraries so watch out for these and ask at your library if you would like to request them.

Check out one of our favourite Kiwi website's Beatties Book Blog for all the up to date national and international news and views in the world of publishing, books and authors. There will be an excerpt in the Sunday Star Times this week of Rachel King's novel Magpie Hall, so that will be worth checking out.

If you are a science fiction, fantasy, graphic novel or pop culture fan, then you will probably already know that the Armageddon Expo is on in Auckland this weekend at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane. If you can bear to brave the roads this weekend, it certainly sounds like it is worth a visit.

For information on events around Rodney District over the weekend and through to November check out the Rodney District Council website

Have an awesome weekend everyone.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Have you read a Kiwi Book yet this month?

I have scanned a couple but Michelle Holman's new kiwi chick lit title Knotted dropped onto my desk today. It will be top of the pile for Labour Weekend reading as I so enjoyed her laugh a minute Bonkers and Divine. That means there should be a review on this site early next week.

It doesn't have to be a new release (although there are plenty of new Kiwi titles launched this month for New Zealand Book Month). Do a subject search for New Zealand fiction and have a forage through 20th and 21st Century entries - almost 800 of them, not including the children's fiction and picture books (over 900 titles).

And I haven't even touched on our biographies or some of the fabulous non-fiction on our shelves. Someone mentioned to me last weekend that they had just read Willie Apiata VC - A Reluctant Hero and thought it was the most awesome book they had read for ages. There are several copies on the shelf at the moment so grab one for the weekend.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I'm late... I'm late...

It's past closing time and today's Blog entry is only now being written.

Which means that today's subject of time management and personal efficiency is very appropriate. Despite being an advocate of such lofty goals, unfortunately I have to reveal that there is no magic pill that will suddenly clear your desk (and email inbox), organise your calendar and prioritise your tasks (and no magic wand either). This is something that simply requires you to put decide to do it, set some time aside and get stuck in. Then once you are clear, set up a system AND STICK TO IT!.

While we have no magic pills or wands in the library, we do have a wide range of books on our shelves with lots of helpful suggestions. Not all of them will work for you, but the ones that do will make a difference. Try a subject search for time management to find titles such as New Leaf New Life or Eat that Frog! (21 ways to stop procrastinating). In keeping with the New Zealand Book Month theme, have a look at the titles from Kiwi author Robyn Pearce. Robyn also has a website which is worth a visit

Most books on this subject are on our non-fiction shelves under Call Number 650.1. I'm off to take some of my own advice and see if I can make a dent in the pile of paper on my desk. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Children's literature auction

If you have always wanted to own some original artwork from a Kiwi illustrator, have lunch or go horseriding with a New Zealand author, or even own a shawl created by one, then you should check out the Storylines Charity Auction.

This is the second time that run a fundraising auction has been run by the Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust. A wide range of authors, illustrators, Kiwi identities and organisations have got behind the auction such as the Auckland Zoo (go behind the scenes with the keepers and meet the monkeys), Weta Workshop (have lunch with Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton - creators of the WotWots), the Scary Washing Machine Man (aka Mike Whittaker) and courtesy of a range of Publishers, the back catalogue of Margaret Mahy from 1986 to today.

To bid on any of the lots you need to register at the Storylines Auction website. There are 39 items and experiences that you can bid on and funds are going to a very worthy cause (of course I would say that).

Monday, 19 October 2009

NZ Book Month at Rodney Libraries

This is the week when New Zealand Book Month REALLY comes to Rodney Libraries. There are several events around the district so here is a quick run down.

Orewa Library
Wednesday 21 October at 2pm hear Michael Irwin speak at the Orewa Library. Michael is the author of Educating Boys which is called a "practical handbook" on "what's working and what is not" based on research, experience and lengthy discussions with the boys themselves.

Kumeu Library
Local artist Gaylene Earl will once again be at the Kumeu Library this week, looking for up to 100 local people to help to create a couple of pieces of art using old and withdrawn library books, which can then be displayed in the library. She will be at the library on Wednesday 21 October from 10am to 12 noon and again on Thursday 22 October from 3pm to 5pm.

The Kumeu Book Club also meets this week on Thursday 22 October at 7pm. The book for this month is Leaving Home by Anita Brookner and the November title is Adam Bede by George Eliot.

Warkworth Library
Cuisine magazine Editor and author Lauraine Jacobs can be found at two events in north Rodney on Friday 23rd October, so why not kick off your long weekend in style. She will be hosting a High Tea at Brookview Teahouse in Matakana at 10.30am. Later the same day you can indulge in a glass of wine and listen to Lauraine speaking at the old Masonic Hall (next to the Library) in Warkworth at 6pm. She is promoting her new book A Treasury of New Zealand Baking.

For more details phone your local library.

Friday, 16 October 2009


They can be held in the palm of your hand, but contain thousands of words. They come in a wide range of subjects. They are highly miniature and digital and are capable of providing an extraordinary audiobook that is small in size and easy to use. And they are now at Rodney Libraries.

Playaway Audio Books are a new type of audio (or talking) book for Rodney Library patrons. Instead of battling the bulk of tapes, or having the hassle of returning the audio book with one CD still in your player at home, Playaways come in a single small unit AND batteries are provided. All you need to do is plug in some earphones and you are away. The earphones are not provided with the units so you can either use your own (my cheap radio ones work fine) or you can buy a set from us for only $2.00.

All the popular authors are represented, with a mix of both fiction and some non-fiction. These include Maeve Binchy, Bill Bryson, Alexander Kent, Sarah Waters and Jeffery Deaver. There is also a smattering of classics from writer like John Le Carre and Dame Ngaio Marsh. Although the collection is only small at the moment, it is growing. Click on this link, Playaway Audio Books at Rodney Libraries, to get a full list of what is currently available so you can try them out.

Meanwhile, there may be some changes in store for other audio books if author and musician Nick Cave has his way. "The Bad Seeds frontman teamed up with bandmate Warren Ellis to compose a soundtrack for Cave's The Death of Bunny Munro audiobook." To read more about what may become a new trend with audio books, click this link.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Magazine Mayhem

Following on from one of yesterday's posts, Kiwis are passionate about their magazines. You only have to look in any news agency, bookshop, cafe or waiting room to realise the truth of this statement. And Kiwis are excellent at producing really good homegrown magazines for their readers, because we want to read about ourselves in relation to the world, as much as we read about the rest of the world.

Rodney Libraries can provide you with a wide selection of magazines to choose from. The important thing to note is that it is not just the magazines on the shelves of your local library that you get to choose from. Every Rodney Library has a different selection of magazines so that we can cover as wide a range of intersts as possible. So just like a book, just because you can't see it doesn't mean we haven't got it.

Here is the catalogue link through to all the New Zealand Magazines held in Rodney. And if you want to travel further afield here is the link to the list of over 450 different magazines from both New Zealand and around the world that you can source through Rodney Libraries.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Celebrating Achievements

Librarians and information professionals from around New Zealand (and some from further afield) are currently gathered in Christchurch for the LIANZA 2009 Conference. While this might inspire visions for some of a lot of grey hair, flat shoed, cardigan wearing matrons, having been lucky enough to attend the conference last year, I can confidently assure you that this is not the case. As with any industry gathering what you actually find is a group of vibrant like-minded people, passionate about their profession, all sharing ideas and inspiration on how they can do things better for their customers.

Rodney Libraries have not only attended the Conference but have been the focal point on three occasions.

Our Manager Marion Read was part of the eLGAR presentation on "the best customer experience". Helensville Children's Librarian Rachel Fisher and Services Coordinator Kris Wehipeihana (aka rodneylibraries) presented a session on our successful Poetry Podcast competition run earlier this year.

Kris made it onto stage again when she and Collection Services Manager Paula Legal received the Nielsen Bookdata Research Award (check out the beaming pair - photo courtesy of Ross Becker).

Congratulations to you all. It may be blowing our own trumpet but it's fantastic to see Rodney Libraries represented nationally and recognised by our peers.

A sample of Kiwi fiction

Sometimes you just don't have time to read a whole book. There are times when all you want is to pick something up, put it down again a short time later and be left fully satisfied. You don't want to have another 200 odd pages to read (and usually more in todays market of huge thick tomes) to reach the conclusion. It's one reason why in our busy Kiwi lifestyle, magazines are so popular (which is a topic for another day).

One solution is to dive into the Rodney Libraries collection of short stories and anthologies of new Zealand fiction (whether extracts from longer workers or stand alone stories). This is also an excellent way to sample lots of different authors, both new and old, to find someone that takes your fancy who you can go ahead and read more of.

Volume 6 of the Best New Zealand Fiction (edited by Owen Marshall) is due to hit our shelves soon. But in the meantime you can wander through Volumes 1 to 5 which includes stories and excerpts from authors such as Lloyd Jones, Charlotte Grimshaw, Karyn Hay and Paula Morris among others.

The 2009 Huia Short stories compilation is another book due later this month. These are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers 2009 and includes local author Jacquie McRae. Earlier volumes of the Huia publication which covers the best in Maori fiction can be found in our catalogue.

We have 220 entries if we do a subject search in our catalogue for New Zealand Short stories so there is something for everyone, including the children and teen readers. The majority of the short story collections are shelved with the general fiction, but just ask the librarians for help if you can't find what you are looking for.

And... reading some short stories is a good chance to get yourself in the mood to do some writing yourself with the 2009/2010 Rodney Writes competition just around the corner. Entry forms should be arriving in the libraries soon.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Books on the Radio

We get told all the time (and read) that when writing in a blog, the key is consistency. If you start something, you are supposed to keep going.

So it is with a reasonably pink and shamed face that I write this particular entry. It has been some time since I last blogged about what books are being reviewed on the Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon programme. However better late than never and just in case I fall down on the job again, maybe you should bookmark this website link for National Radio Books if this is something you are interested in (although I will try to do better).

The books for that are being reviewed this week are:

Monday 12 October
And another Thing by Eoin Colfer
Tuesday 13 October
The Complaints by Ian Rankin
Wednesday 14 October
Truth by Peter Temple
Thursday 15 October
Summertime by J M Coetzee
Friday 16 October
Lustrum by Robert Harris

And they are all available (or soon to arrive) at Rodney Libraries. This schedule is subject to change so it pays to visit the website and check it out each day. The NZ Booksellers website has a link with a forward schedule, but this can also change. You can also download the reviews onto your computer or MP3 player, so if you don't catch it the first time it is still there.

Monday, 12 October 2009

New Zealand Book Month out West

The Kumeu Library will be hosting local artist Gaylene Earl at a series of sessions at the library. Gaylene wants to involve the community in developing two art works to be displayed in the library.

Gaylene is looking to recruit 100 helpers to come in to the library on different days in October to help create the community art works using the books. Both adults and children are welcome to attend the sessions and all of the artistic materials needed to develop the art works will be available at the library.

The art works will be inspired by works by New Zealand artists Don Binney and Ani O’Neill, which are featured in “Contemporary New Zealand Art Four".

The art works will be developed using withdrawn library books which are damaged, have multiple pages missing or are very old.

Session times are:
Wednesday 14 October 10am – 12pm
Saturday 17 October 10am - 12pm
Wednesday 21 October 10am - 12pm
Thursday 22 October 3pm - 5 pm
Saturday 24 October 10am - 12pm
Wednesday 28 October 10am - 12pm

Friday, 9 October 2009

Celebrating Kiwi Music

It may be New Zealand Book Month, but it was New Zealand Music that was being celebrated last night at the annual awards ceremony.

Here are the full list of winners. And those that are highlighted are songs, albums or musicians that you can check out at Rodney Libraries.

New Zealand Music Awards 2010 full winners list:
Best Album of the Year: Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
Single of the Year: Ladyhawke - My Delirium
Best Group: Midnight Youth
People's Choice Award: Smashproof
Best Male Solo Artist: Savage
Best Female Solo Artist: Ladyhawke
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Ladyhawke
Best Music Video: Chris Graham - Brother (Smashproof)
Best Rock Album: Midnight Youth - The Brave Don't Run
Best Urban/Hip-hop Album: Ladi 6 - Time Is Not Much
Best Aotearoa Roots Album: Fat Freddy's Drop - Dr Boondigga and the Big BW
Best Dance/Electronica Album: Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
Best Gospel/Christian Album: Mumsdollar - Ruins
Best Classical Album: David Bremner - Gung Ho
Highest Selling NZ Single: Smashproof - Brother
Highest Selling NZ Album: The Feelers - The Best: 1998-2008
Radio Airplay Record of the Year: Tiki Taane - Always on My Mind
International Achievement: Tied: Ladyhawke and Brooke Fraser
Legacy Award: Ray Columbus and the Invaders
Best Album Cover: Ruban Nielson, Screens (The Mint Chicks).
Best Engineer: Andrew Buckton, The Brave Don't Run (Midnight Youth).
Best Producer: Fat Freddy's Drop, Dr Boondigga and the Big BW (Fat Freddy's Drop)

You can also find reports of the evening on the website , the NZ Music Awards website or on the NZ Herald website.

Mad science

The Mad Science school holiday programme has officially finished in most of the libraries. (Helensville has one last fling at 10.30am today.) If you're still looking for something to do then why not try one of these?


Do try this at home! : 28 spectacular experiments for scientists of all ages / Jon Milton ; illustrated by Mike Phillips ; photography by Jennie Hills.

"Would you like to make a fizz bang rocket or a helicopter? Then you need this very funny book packed with dozens of amazing, easy-to-do home experiments, ably demonstrated by the Science Museum's own Punk Science comedy team. You will have lots of fun, and will learn lots about Science at the same time."

Stomp rockets, catapults, and kaleidoscopes : 30+ amazing science projects you can build for less than $1 / Curt Gabrielson.

"Provides instruction on how ti build a variety of science projects using recycled or nearly free materials. Children will gain experience working with common tools and be encouraged to modify and improve their designs. Some of the projects are: a heart pump, mini-bot, helicopter, ling model and hydraulic butterfly - among many others."


Suzy's world

"Suzy's world, the popular NZ TV series for 5-9 year olds that answers kids' questions. Presented by Suzy Cato, Suzy's world was designed by teachers in conjunction with the school science curriculum. It's entertaining, educational..."


Incredible science

"The 'Incredible Science' festival is an annual one-day event held by The University of Auckland's Faculty of Science on the first Monday of the July school holidays.
Aimed at primary and intermediate aged children, their families and teachers, Incredible Science is a fun, free day of interactive activities, lectures and shows highlighting the fun and diversity that science offers."

Science Kids
"Science Kids is the home of science & technology on the Internet for children around the world.
Learn more about the amazing world of science by enjoying our fun science experiments, cool facts, online games, free activities, ideas, lesson plans, photos, quizzes, videos & science fair projects.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Second Tsunami Alert!!

Breaking news is that two strong earthquakes just off Vanuatu around 11 o'clock this morning has put New Zealand back on tsunami alert. The most important message is to stay off the beaches and not to go out in boats today.

An up to the minute report from the website can be linked through to by clicking here.

SOSSI at Whangaparaoa Library tonight!

Our first event for NZ Book Month is on tonight at 7pm at Whangaparaoa Library.

The Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society are having an Information Evening where they will show a DVD documenting the predator fence project on Great Barrier Island. They are planning a similar fence for Shakespear Park to ensure the safety of our own beautiful native birds. Artwork by Jeff Thomson will be on show. Jeff is donating part of the proceeds from each sale to the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Project. A gold coin donation to SOSSI would be appreciated.

This event is in celebration of "The 10pm question" by Kate De Goldi. A great read for both young adults and adults it was NZ Post Book of the Year 2009 and Readers Choice in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2009. It's about Frankie, an intense young man with a head full of questions. He’s fascinated by birds and spends a lot of time both studying them and drawing make-believe birds of fabulous colours and amazing plumage.

School holiday programme Thursday 8 October

The Mad Science continues with these events in the library...
Helensville Library 10.30am Mad Scientist crafts.
Mahurangi East Library 10.30am Stories and activities - Wacky Windmills
Orewa Library 2pm Stories and activities
Wellsford Library 10.30 Science experiments to amaze you and to try at home!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Breaking Booker News

Breaking news that the 2009 Booker Prize for fiction has been awarded to Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall. This is a fictionalised account of the life of Thomas Cromwell. Here is the publisher's description from out catalogue.

"England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages."

School Holiday programme Wednesday 7 October

The Mad Science continues with these events in the library...

Helensville Library
10.30am Mad Scientist crafts.

Mahurangi East Library
10.30am Stories and activities - Optical illusions

Whangaparaoa Library
2 pm - More experiments with the Mad Professor & partner

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Mental Health Awareness

Monday 5 October to Sunday 11 October 2009 is Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for 2009 is Winning Ways to Wellbeing. This takes on special significance for me this year. Having witnessed the consequences of someone not reaching out for help first hand this year, this post is more than just rhetoric.

I much prefer to think of the phrase society uses "mentally ill" in the positive and look for ways to protect our mental health. So I am all in favour of the key message of this year's campaign which is to look after your mental health and has been broken down into five key points:
- Be Active
- Connect
- Give
- Learn
- Take Notice

To learn more about these five points, head to the 2009 Promotion Page on the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand website.

Mental Health and Mental Illness encompass a huge range of afflictions, from the moodiness of PMT through to the severity of schizophrenia or the prolonged awfulness of alzheimers. From having a blue day to battling bi-polar or feeling suicidal. The most important thing to know for sufferers is that you are not alone and that help is available. You may choose to come by that help through family, friends, professional help or sometimes you just need to take the first step and doing some reading to find out why you are feeling like you do and what you can do to help yourself.

Resources in the Rodney Libraries such as Living with a Black Dog (Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone), Positively Me (Marjorie Manthei) or Phobias and how to Overcome them (Gardner and Bell) help both sufferers and their family. To feel less alone, it can also help to read about others who have suffered and are prepared to open up about their experiences. John Kirwan has been one of the most high profile of these, but more recently adventure athlete Steve Gurney has added his name to those who have talked about how depression affected him. Other high profile New Zealanders who have shared their lives include Tracey Richardson, Murray Deaker, Janet Frame and Denise L'Estrange-Corbet.

And if you are suffering, whether it is a down day or something more serious (or if you think someone you know is battling), please please - talk to someone.

School holiday programme Tuesday 6 October

The Mad Science continues today with these events in the library...

Helensville Library
10.30am Mad Scientist crafts.

Kumeu Library
10:30 am - “Do Try this at Home” stories and activities

Orewa Library
2pm Stories and activities

Warkworth Library
10.30am “Bubble Trouble” Join the Mad Professor for more Stories, activities and experiments with a high “mess-o-meter” rating.

Monday, 5 October 2009

School holiday programme for this week

The Mad Science continues with these events in the library...

Helensville Library
Oct 5th - 9th 10.30am Mad Scientist crafts.

Kumeu Library
Tue Oct 6th 10:30 am - “Do Try this at Home” stories and activities

Mahurangi East Library
Wed Oct 7th 10.30am Stories and activities - Optical illusions
Thu Oct 8th 10.30am Stories and activities - Wacky Windmills

Orewa Library
Tue 6 Oct 2pm Stories and activities
Thur 8 Oct 2pm Stories and activities

Warkworth Library
Tues Oct 6th 10.30am “Bubble Trouble” Join the Mad Professor for more Stories, activities and experiments with a high “mess-o-meter” rating.

Wellsford Library
Thur 8 Oct 10.30 Science experiments to amaze you and to try at home!

Whangaparaoa Library
Wednesday Oct 7th 2 pm - More experiments with the Mad Professor & partner

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Weekend recommendations

Spring might be here and summer just around the corner, but in traditional Kiwi style, it's a wet windy weekend out there folks. Which means it's a perfect weekend to stay inside and check out some DVD's from your local Rodney Library collection.

In keeping with New Zealand Book Month theme, why not finally get around to seeing some of our fantastic Kiwi movies based on books by our own (or revisit them). There are movies in our collection such as Once were Warriors, The Whale Rider, Sleeping Dogs and Under the Mountain, all good home-grown fare.

It's not only movies though. If you want to revisit Television programmes or documentaries we have a wide selection. From the Best of Country Calendar, Surfing the Menu New Zealand and Getaway New Zealand, all the way through to one off documentaries such as Tau Te Mauri: Breath of Peace about eight Kiwi's who are doing their bit for global peace. To view our full New Zealand DVD selection, click on this catalogue link.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Author Lauraine Jacobs

Celebrate NZ Book Month at Matakana with food and travel writer Lauraine Jacobs. We're lucky enough to have Lauraine at two events on Friday 23 October 2009. Booking are essential for both as numbers are limited.

A new book 'A Treasury of New Zealand Baking' edited by Lauraine, will be available to buy at both events in conjunction with The Village Bookshop. Royalties from book sales to go to Breast Cancer Foundation.

In the morning - 10:30am at Brookview Tea House, 1335 Leigh Road (opp Wharf Road), Matakana. Lauraine will chat about the behind the scenes of food writing nationally and internationally. High tea will be served and cost $20 per person. Book with Lynne Curry, Brookview Teahouse, ph: 09- 423 0390.

In the evening - 6pm at the Old Masonic Hall (next to the Library) in Warkworth. Lauraine will talk on her life as food editor of Cuisine Magazine - sharing insights on travel, food and restaurants over a glass of wine provided by Ascension Vineyards, Matakana. Cost $5 per person. Book with Gail Dallimore, Warkworth Library 09 427 3769 or

Kiwi Inspiration

It's hard to believe but I have arrived at New Zealand Book Month and none of the books sitting in my "To Be read" pile are by Kiwi authors. Isn't that just karma? So I have to go back to a couple of things I have finished recently or which have stayed with me for this entry about inspirational Kiwis or those amongst us with messages to give.

Blog followers will not be surprised that I read a lot about sportspeople. I stumbled over Sunrise from the Summit early in September. It is based on a simple premise. 18 inspiring New Zealand sportswomen share their stories with New Zealand soccer international (and author) Michele Cox. Not only do we find out about their journey and motivations, but each one provides tips to the aspiring sportsperson. These tips can also be applied to everyday life. Kate Horan tells us "You are never too old or too fat". Bernice Mene advises to "Make sport and physical activity a family occasion". Valerie Vili believes "Your best performances will come when you are happy". It's a great read.

I have been lucky enough to hear Kiwi Tony Christiansen speak on a couple of occasions. If I ever find myself thinking I am having a bad day and that I can't do something, then one of the ways I kick myself out of it is to think of this guy. He can't actually kick anything because when he was a young boy he lost both his legs in an accident. But that hasn't stopped him becoming a qualified surf lifeguard, a champion swimmer, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon-do, a speedway and racing car champion, a gold medal-winning athlete in world games, a qualified pilot, a successful businessman, a husband and father of three children. Don't Just Sit there is the children's version of his autobiography Race you to the Top. His book of tips on how he took the word "can't" out of his vocabulary is Attitude Plus! Whether you need the kick or just want to read a great yarn, I strongly recommend these books. (Tony's image from his website

Something I spotted today which is going on my TBR (To Be Read) list is Kevin Biggar's The Oarsome adventures of a fatboy rower: How I went from Couch Potato to Atlantic rowing race winner. The title says it all and if that wasn't enough the back cover calls it "unconventional, hilarious and controversial". Sounds like a good read. I will let you know.

School holidays - what's on next week

The Mad Science continues next week with these events in the library...

Helensville Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual 10.30 am Mondays
Oct 5th - 9th 10.30am Mad Scientist crafts.

Kumeu Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual 10.30 am Mondays
Tue Oct 6th 10:30 am - “Do Try this at Home” stories and activities

Mahurangi East Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual 10.30 am Tuesdays
Wed Oct 7th 10.30am Stories and activities - Optical illusions
Thu Oct 8th 10.30am Stories and activities - Wacky Windmills

Orewa Library
Storytime and Rhymetime for preschoolers will run as usual
Rhymetime 11 am Tuesdays :: Storytime 11 am Thursdays
Tue 6 Oct 2pm Stories and activities
Thur 8 Oct 2pm Stories and activities

Warkworth Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual Monday and Thursday at 10.30
Tues Oct 6th 10.30am “Bubble Trouble” Join the Mad Professor for more Stories, activities and experiments with a high “mess-o-meter” rating.

Wellsford Library
Storytime for preschoolers will run as usual Wednesdays 10.30 am
Thur 8 Oct 10.30 Science experiments to amaze you and to try at home!

Whangaparaoa Library
Storytime and rhymetime for preschoolers will run as usual
Storytime 10.30 am Tuesdays and Wednesdays :: Rhymetime 10.30 am Thursdays
Wednesday Oct 7th 2 pm - More experiments with the Mad Professor & partner

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Michael Irwin author of "Educating Boys" at Orewa Library

Michael Irwin, the author of "Educating Boys" will be speaking at Orewa Library on Wednesday 21 October at 2pm. He has over 30 years’ experience in working with boys, as a teacher, principal and Scout leader. He is currently a senior lecturer in Education at Massey University in Auckland, and his doctoral thesis investigated the way we educate boys in New Zealand.

"Educating Boys" is a comprehensive, practical look at how we educate our boys in New Zealand - what’s working and what isn’t, from kindergarten right through to secondary school.

Asks the questions
- Are boys in New Zealand getting a fair deal at school?
- Why are so many boys in New Zealand not achieving their potential?
- What can parents and teachers do to help boys succeed at school?

Michael Irwin has listened to the opinions of the boys themselves and combined these insights with his own experience and the most recent research on helping boys to learn. Full of practical ideas and wisdom, "Educating Boys" is the essential handbook for people who want to help boys succeed at school and in life.


Welcome to October which is officially New Zealand Book Month - but Booktober sounds so much better. It's a chance for me to read and review and praise all those fantastic Kiwi books and authors (even more than I normally do). So watch this space for fiction and non-fiction; old favourites and new releases; children's, adult's and everyone in-between.

Check out the NZ Book Month website for all sorts of activities and reviews. NZ Book Month is also on Facebook, has guest Bloggers, plus there is the ASB Bank word competition. Plus lots more. Watch this space.

School holiday programme Thursday 1 October

The theme these holidays is MAD SCIENCE. Here's what's on in the libraries today.

Helensville Library 10.30am Bubbles of fun (experiments with bubbles).

Kumeu Library 10:30 am - “Do Try this at Home” stories and activities

Mahurangi East Library 10.30am Stories and activities - Popping popcorn

Orewa Library 2pm Stories and activities

Wellsford Library 10.30 Stories and Activities- Colours of the Rainbow