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Drum roll please ….

The best New Zealand books for 2014 have been announced.  Jill Trevelyan’s  non-fiction – Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer - has been named the New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2014. The book also won the general non-fiction award, netting the author a total prize of $25,000.

Broadcaster Miriama Kamo, who convened a panel of five judges, said the book not only told the story of McLeavey’s life, gallery, love of art, and deep friendships with artists – it also explored the emerging art scene in Wellington and across the country.


Book of the Year ($15,000 prize)
Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press)

General non-fiction ($10,000 prize)
Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press)

Fiction ($10,000 prize)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press)

Poetry ($10,000 prize)
Us, then by Vincent O’Sullivan (Victoria University Press)

Illustrated non-fiction ($10,000 prize)
Coast: A New Zealand journey by Bruce Ansley and Jane Ussher (Random House NZ/Godwit)

Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice ($2500 prize)
Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high country station by Harry Broad and Rob Suisted (Craig Potton Publishing)

People’s Choice ($5000 prize)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press)

New Zealand Society of Authors best first book ($2500 prize each, announced 16 July)
Tough by Amy Head (Victoria University Press)

Horse with Hat by Marty Smith (Victoria University Press)

Tragedy at Pike River Mine by Rebecca Macfie (Awa Press)


[Source: Matthew Backhouse, APNZ report]  Read the full story here

Looking for a job?

job huntingTararua District Library has a range of things to help jobseekers.  Free high speed broadband via the Aotearoa Public Network Kaharoa (APNK) computers – they have the Microsoft Office suite of programmes, Skype, etc.   You can use this resource to update your CV, do remote job interviews, apply for jobs online and more.  Our computers are FREE to use – the only cost is printing (20c per sheet).

We also have free unlimited wifi available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So if the library is closed, you can still use our high speed broadband from outside.

Dannevirke Library also has a scanner, which is free to use –  scan documents to a flash drive or to an email address, ready to upload to an online job application when needed. Pahiatua, Woodville and Eketahuna Libraries may be able to assist you with this in other ways.

We also have books that can help you decide what path to take next,  how to write your CV, interview techniques, or even how to start your own business or create a website.  There are plenty of handy ideas on the internet too:

Careers NZ – advice on job-hunting, CVs, job vacancies

Seek  jobhunting site

Jobseeker jobhunting site

Work and Income job bank

Nailing your CV and cover letter are essential if you want to get an interview.   Check out how to write a cover letter. There are lots of other tips in Trade Me’s job hunter’s guide to kick you off too.

The library is also a good place to do online course work, or expand your computer skills, or enrol in a MOOC (massive online open course), or simply read. Through the APNK computers, you can also access Press Display (which offers digital newspapers from all around New Zealand and the world) if you want to scan for job advertisements.


Do you fancy yourself as an author?

Calling all rising writers – here is your opportunity to be a published writer!

The Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards, one of New Zealand’s most prestigious writing awards, will be judged by leading New Zealand writers. The competition fosters New Zealand writers and has helped launch the career of some of our best-known authors – including Eleanor Catton.  Entries are now open until 26 September.


OPEN DIVISION – 3000 word limit

Winner: $1000 cash plus an additional prize package

1st Runner-up: $500 cash plus additional prize package

2nd Runner-up: $300 cash plus an additional prize package



Winner: $1000 cash plus an additional prize package

1st Runner-up: $500 cash plus additional prize package

2nd Runner-up: $300 cash plus an additional prize package


NON-FICTION ESSARY – The New Zealand Identity – 1000-1200 words (no age restriction)

Winner: Story published in Sunday Star-Times or on, plus an additional prize package


COMPETITION CLOSES Friday 26 September 2014.  Go to for terms and conditions, and to download required entry form to send with your entry to Sunday Star Times.




‘Elegy’ by Narena Olliver


Out of the morning light she appeared, suddenly there

On the side of the road, white and clean shorn, she looked

Me straight in the eye, and for a chill moment, unhinged me,

She scared the living daylights out of me, as I drove by.


Just an old ewe, chewing her cud, yellow eyes bold and glassy, defiant,

Head held high, strutting her stuff, there on the side of the road.

“Cheeky bitch”, I could hear some farmer, this farmer, say

Before setting the dogs on her, and for nothing more, for no good reason

Other than for escaping from a paddock bare of grass.

“It had been a hard winter!” but it was always a hard winter

For an old ewe wanting to make milk to feed her lambs,

Twins I knew, tucked carefully away somewhere

Behind a bush out of a bitter cold spring wind

In that paddock bare of grass, of dead and dying lambs and ewes.

“Farming here in this green New Zealand land is just a matter of controlled starvation.”


What can one say about an old ewe, fit for dog tucker.

That she had seen it all, worried by dogs, struck by fly,

nicked in the eye by shearers for kicking back, buggered

and brutalised by farmers, those bush philosophers “Ah well,

she could have lost a tit or been fed alive to the pigs!”


What can one say about this old ewe, defiant still.

That she would escape the butchers, the culling knife

rear her lambs once again, and then leave the flock,

go bush, get through the fence and head for that ridge

that leads deep into that wild and lovely place, Te Urewera,

and there lie down under some noble tree, totara or rimu

and gaze into that far distant place, and quietly leave it all.



© Narena Olliver

An entry in our competition

A poem by Robin Winter

She walked many and long

in the garden of her childhood

gathering lilac in her arms

ducks eggs in her apron

and seeing angels in the snow.


She remembered her father

shaking the cherry tree

to make the blossoms fall

and skating on the icy pond.


These were her memories

recorded for others,

but for herself she kept only

red geraniums

filling her heart with their pungency.


And afterwards

heavy eyed

she slept

haunted by their spiced scent

and dreamed

of the broken flowers

staining her lost youth.


© Robin Winter

An entry in our (now closed) competition

“J” and “Brown Times” by Edna Eled


Oh my haunted Jerusalem, will you ever know joy?

This bloody July, jeopardizing all judgement

Judas and Jesus, Jews and Jihad.


Is it justice you strive for? Playing out morbid jokes?

Are you angry, thirsty,

breathing in jealousy, bleeding out fiery jewels,

your jaws drooling human juice?


Jury of this cruel jungle

crying silently, witnessing from your hidden jails

how this juxtaposition

once again




Brown Times


She wanted to divorce

the hot water bottle


a crimson red tail

in the vast autumn field

under her belly


devouring her desires

sharing her breaths

puking smiles at her



she wanted to break it

make it

fake it


she would not mistake it

she just could not take it


the very last noodle

left on her plate

her tears, her lovers,

her burning cascades



©  Edna Eled


Two poems that were entered in our competition

‘Rally’ by Gayle Cresswell

Sideways on the corner

Inside front up in the air,

BDA is screaming

Gravel flying everywhere


Pedal to the metal

Camber-dance along the ridge,

Down a twisting valley

Watch out! Narrow bridge!


End of Stage and Time Control

Oh man, that stage went fast!

One more long one before service,

You hope the tyres will last.


Service, Refuel, and quick gossip.

It seems Joe’s out, he’s rolled.

The grizzled Veteran’s leading

Even though his car is OLD.


Screaming through the forest

On a slippery logging road,

Someone’s gone off down a steep bank,

He’ll be needing to be towed.


Sideways on the corner,

Inside front up in the air

BDA is screaming



© Gayle Cresswell

An entry in our [now closed] competition



Travellers ; Honesty ; Made of Ice [poems] by Rowan Swift


©  Rowan Swift


Lying on the lawn, watching the stars

Listening to traffic, distant cars

All those people in steel death traps

Back ‘n forth, time relapse

The noise in the wind the only proof

That they were there, that’s the truth

Only they can prove their being

To the rest of us, they aren’t worth seeing

Just travelling through this hard old land

Leaving petrol fumes like footprints in the sand

Slow down my friends,

Death’s coming for you

Slow down my friends, God’s watching you!




© Rowan Swift


Walking the streets, forgetting my past

Living alone, a simple outcast

Nice white skin, but dark inside

Burying thoughts of suicide

My sinful mind, playing tricks

Confusing, like religion and the crucifix

Sorry to you all for the trouble I caused

That’s my sense of humour, stuff remorse

The girlfriends I’ve had are all the same

Living life like it’s one big game

Making me sad, and I’m to blame

I’m better off with a dog I can tame

Getting on my nerves when I try to drink

I’m not listening to you, I’m trying to drink

I’m drinking everyday to celebrate

Being above ground, ain’t life great?



Made of Ice

© Rowan Swift


Always on my mind, I want you instead

Sooner than later, before I am dead

My memories of you drive me crazy

I need you now, the image so hazy

The games we play are so nice

Which isn’t easy when you’re made of ice

The most beautiful woman, you I desire

With your cold blooded heart, eyes of fire

Women for me should only be fun

It’s hard for me, when I find that one

I can’t get her, she doesn’t want me

Let yourself go, together we’re free

Therapy for me is what others call love

I’ll report in when you give me a shove

Heaven is a word I never use

But when thinking of you, what else to choose?

Smiling as a flirt, thinking of you

Begging to be hurt, do what you do

Hit me with that look, eyes so cold

Another chapter of the book, this one’s old

That might sound obsessive, that might seem mad

I’m just possessive and I want you bad

Well, now Winter’s over, and Summer is near

I wonder if you’ll notice, or even care

See what you had,

Ignore what you’ve got

Be happy with what you have?

Probably not

Time for bed, I hope I sleep

Pray to God, my soul to creep

Yes, I will stir the whole night through

Yearning for the one, that is you.



‘Sonnet: to care’ by Seona Ashton

Sonnet: to care

When bringing up a child

we all intend to do our very best

to find our own unique way

through the trials and tears

to send our child off to live their life

now fully grown


I do this work because ?

I want to make a difference to the lives of others,

To shift from shame,

move away from mistakes,

Build back the confidence due

to Fathers and Mothers


Hope is the currency I use,

the way I move and motivate,

inspire the change which leads away from fear

into a say about how to extend

and grow the range of options,

give more realistic choice.


The future speaks and exercises voice.


© Seona Ashton
An entry in our [now closed] poetry competition

Solstice Prayer ; On change ; Today ; Thought – poems by Christine Kelly

Solstice Prayer
As the earth turns daily

To face the sun

And the light from long dead stars

Reaches us

As the seasons cycle towards rebirth

And small acts of kindness bring hope

May we find ourselves inclined

To look outwards with generosity

And inwards with gentleness

Brave enough perhaps—

To breathe upon cooling embers

Rekindle flame

Whisper to the departing dark

And share the hearthspace

With the stranger at our door



A friend may need you

Then you too can be an angel

Speak words of peace

Bless and exchange truths

Heal and warm

And then there will be a lightness

in your step

and a joy in your heart

As the heavens lay claim to such treasure.



On Change
This business of change



Roll with it

Even towards it

Reach for serenity

Vulnerability fully acknowledged

The other side of anger-

Preparing to arrive

In each others tomorrow

Mysteriously undamaged

With only a little skin off our hearts.




Wisdom so elusive

Forgiveness chased away

It is judgement on our doorstep

Far too soon



© Christine Kelly [Wellington]


‘The Witches Competition’ by Islay Gallagher

Islays’ sixth and final entry in our competition.


The Witches Competition

One burning lazy summer day

When Angie felt too tired to play

She sat on the grass in the shade of a tree

To think up a game of “What can I be?”


If I sit on that broomstick lying there

And get some wool for long black hair

I could fly up high above the ground

Casting wicked fearful spells around.


She fetched the broom and put on the wig

And grabbed Nibbles the cat who was black and big.

She called to her brother three year old Joe

“Hop on my broomstick and away we go.”


Just then a small black cloud came by

With a tittering, twittering from the sky.

Angie felt it brush softly against her ears

And a whisper said “Come with us my dears.”


The small black cloud then covered them round

And lifted them high above the ground

Nibbles, Angie and Joe sailed away on the broom

With the cloud of black witches toward the moon.


Fifty black broomsticks with fifty black cats

Long flowing hair and tall pointed hats

Laughing and screeching and jumping with glee

As they sped over mountains and rivers and sea.


Soon they came to a forest far down below

Where hundreds of black twisted trees seemed to grow

They dipped down to a clearing – a large murky glen

Filled with hundreds of witches, cackling, dancing, and then


Just as they bumped down hard on their broom

Hundreds of eerie lights lit the gloom

All the witches sat down on their cushions of stones

In front of a stage with red lanterns and bones.


In the centre a witch sat who looked like a queen

In a long sparkly gown of purple and green

And a tall black pointed hat sprinkled with stars

and her hand held a wand of moonbeams from Mars.


She raised her arms and the crowd was still

Then she spoke to them in a voice loud and shrill

She said they had come to this dark forest dell

To find the most magic witch with the cleverest spell.


The competition began with shrieks and yells

As each witch had a turn to show off her spells

All sorts of magic they did for the queen

Each trying to be the best ever seen.


Then cats and dogs and big white rats

Pumpkins, mice and ugly bats

Were changed to ladies fine and fair

To princes handsome, debonair.


High leaping toads joined in the maze

And flickering flames began to blaze.

The ground became a sea of flowers

And broomsticks changed to high shining towers.


The blackened twisted trees nearby

Became jewelled archways reaching high.

The dark and gloomy forest glen

Now filled with jewels and small men.


They saw a wonderland of lights

Of colours and amazing sights

All ugly, dark and gloomy things

Were silver, gold, and sparkling rings.


“Now come on Angie. It’s our turn dear.”

A witch voice said in her ear.

“Hang on to the broomstick little Joe.

Hold Nibbles tight while we do our show.”


The broomstick came to life, and then

They swooped and soared around the glen

They somersaulted up and down

And topsy turvied like a clown.


They changed to gaudy birds of song

Swooping down with tails so long

Their feathers of gay orange and green

They perched on the stage and bowed to the queen.


They danced before her and sang so sweet

She clapped her hands and jumped to her feet.

“I do declare, they are the best.

Now change them back and let them rest.”


They sat down with a bump and that was that

Now they were Angie, Joe and Nibbles the cat.

The lights went down, and turned eerie blue

The fine ladies and princes and archways went too.


Then the cloud of black witches raised them up on their broom

They sailed up to the sky and away from the gloom

Once more over mountains and rivers and sea.

And back to their garden and the green shady tree.


“Thank you my dears,” the witchy voice said

And away swept the cloud to the blue over head.

And as the day ended, there they all sat

Just Angie and little Noe and Nibbles the cat.


© Islay Gallagher  [Dannevirke]









‘Rise Up’ ; ‘Night and Day’ ; ‘Tearing of the Flesh’ ; ‘Moon Fantasy’ by Nancy Byrne

The remaining four of her seven entries into our competition.


On the crest of a wave enjoying life’s pleasures

The Ogre called FATE laughs and seizes

All that you own and so hard worked for

Now smashed to the ground and stamped on the floor.

So the chips are down and its all over

Like the King and the Pawn go back in the box together

Where do you run, how can you recover?

In despair it seems you’re pelted with rocks.

The wily Pawn sneers, thought you were great,

Join me in the box and await your fate.


Losing a loved one dying of cancer

Lost precious souls in unforeseen disaster

Why them? why me? you cry in despair

Shake fists to heaven, God are you there?

You’re still alive, well and breathing

Don’t let FATE destroy you, rise up and defeat him

Life has its seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn Winter

Spring beckons you and Summer gloriously brighter

Renew your visions and start again

In the race of life it’s no pain, no gain.
You’re special, unique, RISE UP! don’t stop,

The ebbing tide will change and you’ll get to the top.






Moon light, silvery beams caressing earth, wooing, enveloping

her into the pearly light of another world of night,

Charming, soothing, casting her sleep dust on jangled nerves

Drawing the oceans and rivers upward in her magnetic kiss

Raising and lowering tides while the night creatures

Scurry around minding their own business.

Too soon Old Sol bids her adieu, she catches a glimpse

of sunrise enveloping earth, another day has birthed

Then sinks into her realm satisfied, pleased with what she had to do.


Old Sol floods the earth with light, painting a

kaleidoscope of colours on trees, plants,

and flowers, generating life, energy and beauty.

The clouds co-operate releasing rain and moisture as their duty.

The wind circles and blows around nature singing her own melody.

Evening and morning, night and day never ceases or comes to an end

The Great Creator sits on the circle of the earth watching men

like grasshoppers and creatures in a daze and loves them all

Ensuring they have NIGHT and DAY, evening and morning without end.
It is so hard to release a loved one into the adult world away from home

Protected and sheltered all these years to fend for themselves,

Studying, working, striving to succeed in a future yet unknown.

I sit in the empty room, silent, see the things left behind

On the desk, on the walls, smell the perfume lingering in the air.

Then the tears fall and I breathe a prayer,

I’ve taught you all the social graces, kindness and respect

Honesty the best policy to God only accountability.

You will be fine, I’m planning for home-coming, a wonderful time

Fly free, don’t lose sight of home, secure and safe

Waiting for your return precious child of mine.






Sometimes I’m disappointed that man has reached the moon

Because I like to picture the old witch and her broom

Sailing past her swiftly on a cool starry night,

Making all the wee folk run away in fright.
How can there be moon fairies in such an ugly place

No pretty flower to sit on, no nectar there to taste

The hard moon rocks are plain to see, just what man has done

Shattered dreams of fantasy and moon struck days are gone.


No more will little children gaze up at the sky

And point with awe and wonder at the lovely moon so high

And say, “There is the old man with the sticks on his back,

He disobeyed the Law you see and now he can’t come back.”
The moon was such a mystery, beautiful and still

But now that man has gone up there, it has lost its thrill

‘Cause all I seem to think of when I look up there

Is a cold and lifeless planet, horrible and bare.



© Nancy Nina Byrne [Woodville]


‘Feeding Bobby Calves’ ; ‘Is there a poet in you?’ ; ‘Tropical Dawn’ by Nancy Byrne

The first three of her seven entries into our poetry competition:




It’s that time again, dairy cows are birthing

Calves are dropping night and morning

Feeding new born calves is one mad race

Tired and cold the farmer’s wife

Looks tenderly at each confused face.

She grips a calf between her legs and thighs

Gently pushes his face into the warm fluid

Her milky fingers submerged, touching his mouth.

She smiles as each one learns to suck

And quickly guides it to false udders.

The last victim struggles, wanting mother

She pleads and coaxes the little one

Refusing to follow what the others have done.

In sheer relief she straightens her back

Daylight has gone, how quickly its flown

She muses as she trudges home

Each little calf has a character its own

Her mother heart softens for calf and mother

It must be agony missing each other.

Think positive now and just don’t worry

Like the seasons that come and go

Calving time and bobby calves

Just one of them in the yearly flow of

Birthing, growing, living and dying

But I guess I’m human and do feel sorry

For little bobby calves and their destiny.






There is a poet or poem in everyone waiting to be released

in song, dance, love, laughter, thought, word, sorrow even disaster,

Life is a kaleidoscope of colours and passions, longings

for true love and empathy when things go wrong.

Trouble strikes family and friends and all seem lost in

the tapestry of life, it’s not the end!

Deep down in the living soul springs a search for faith and hope

to lift them above the shadows

The fight for survival and success that surely

TIME the great healer softens and shares the load.

Like a ray of sunshine in winter’s cold

A cool breeze on a summer day

The hidden poet in man comforts him in thought,

audible or written word, vocally in heartfelt song.

The poem never dies, lives on in whatever form it is expressed

Touching those walking life’s highway carrying a basket

of mixed emotions, scars that lighten but never fade away

Tokens and souvenirs, a chapter of life to tell others about some day.

Yes, there is a poet or poem in you, waiting to be set free

To share, to bless, to comfort or to cheer.




The sound of the waves so soothing

Bare feet gripping the sand, tide receding

Piercing the morning stillness he heard

The call of the mating kikau bird

Mesmerised he stared entranced, feeling free

Red morning sun mirrored in the calm sea

Sunshine filtering through the trees

Orange hues tinting the foliage blue

Palm trees gently swayed in the breeze

The scent of white ginger flowers so sweet

In wild abandonment he began to dance

Gliding over the sand into the red water

Crystal clear spilling through his fingers

Gazing at the sky he breathed in deep

Tropical dawn the night wakes from sleep

Sun rays touching heaven kissing earth

The wonder of a new day giving birth.




© NANCY NINA BYRNE [Woodville]

‘The Problem Solvers’ by John Priest



They both smelt gas

And thought what should we do

One lit a match

Together they should go far


You ask are they alright

I don’t know

They should be back soon

Gravity works on all of us



© John Priest [Woodville]


Another entry in our competition…

2014 Online poetry competition winner is…

Big congratulations to Sarah Walsh for her winning poem “Rosa’s Hair”.  Our judge, published poet Belinda Diepenheim, loved her poem, describing it as “ original language and premise – and fun”.  Well done Sarah!


Belinda also highly commended these poems:

  • “The Problem Solvers” by John Priest
  • Steven Clarkson’s haiku  – Great word choices.
  • Muriel Cowan’s “Three’s A Crowd”
  • Jeanette Shinton’s “Random Thoughts”


We received over 55 entries to the competition, a fantastic effort.  Thanks to all entrants for your wonderful poems.  Our library staff have enjoyed reading them, along with our blog readers.

The remaining poems will be published on our blog through Saturday and Sunday (we had SO many!) so keep your eyes open for those.


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