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WW1 : Maori Contingent formed

Most Kiwis have heard of the Maori Battalion, and are proud of how they represented New Zealand during the First World War. 16th September was the date the Government announced the formation of a ‘Maori Contingent’ of 200 men for service with the NZEF, later expanded to 500.  But how did it come about?  After all, Mother England, at the time, had a policy that “native peoples” should not bear arms against European forces…

“By the end of the war, 2227 Maori and 458 Pacific Islanders had served in what became known as the Maori Pioneer Battalion. Of these, 336 died on active service and 734 were wounded.

maori battalionThe first Native Contingent sailed from Wellington in February 1915. Major-General Sir Alexander Godley, commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, sent the contingent to Malta for further training and garrison duties.  Eventually, the Native Contingent landed at Anzac Cove on 3 July 1915. Here they joined the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. When the contingent was evacuated from the peninsula with the rest of the ANZACs  in December 1915, it had only two officers and 132 men left.

In mid 1915, the Native Contingent ceased to exist and Maori troops were dispersed amongst other battalions, but in February 1916, Godley reorganised the New Zealand Expeditionary Force into the New Zealand Division and reunited Maori troops as the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion (sometimes referred to as the Maori Pioneer Battalion). The battalion was organised into four companies, each with two Maori and two Pakeha platoons, made up of the remnants of the Otago Mounted Rifles. Maori soldiers in other battalions were encouraged to transfer to the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion, but it was not compulsory.

The newly formed New Zealand Pioneer Battalion arrived in France in April 1916 and became the first unit of the New Zealand Division to move onto the Somme battlefield. They also were at the Messines offensive in 1917.

On 1 September 1917 the battalion became a fully Maori unit – the New Zealand Maori Battalion.  They captured Le Quesnoy from the Germans on 4 November 1918, and were then assigned to the Rhine Garrison and began their march towards Dunkirk. The complete battalion sailed for New Zealand in March 1919 where they received a heroes welcome.”

This web feature was written by Steve Watters and Monty Soutar and you can read the full article at NZ History Online.


If you’d like to delve deeper into the subject, Tararua District Library has several books of interest available. – Natalie

Congratulations to all our Trivia-lists!

The 2014 Tararua District Library Annual Trivia Quiz was on last night, and the trophy changed hands!  Yep, “3 Assets & a Liability” (aka MCI & Associates) couldn’t hold on to it this year, in the face of the combined knowledge of “International Intelligence” from Dannevirke High School.

An awesome time was had by all involved, so thanks for participating.  The scores were:

Town Team Name TOTAL
Dvk International Intelligence 80 1st overall & at Dannevirke
Wdv United Union of School Teachers & Husbands 76 1st at Woodville
Wdv Armed Fours 75
Dvk 3 Assets & A Liability 74
Dvk Barraud St Brains 74
Wdv St James’s Angels 71
Dvk Sir and the Lads 68
Dvk The Four Horsemen of the Potato Chips 67
Dvk Barraud St Beans 67
Eke Awesome Foursome 67 1st at Eketahuna
Eke Hope Springs Eternal 64
Eke Angels of Mercy 58
Eke Tani Four 55
Dvk Florence’s Naughty Angels (Fancy Dress Winners) 51
Dvk The Wisdom of Claghead 47
Eke Upper High Street 37
Wdv The Volunteers 29

A big thank you to our wonderful sponsors:

Scanpower, New World, Craig Potton Publishing, Wheelers, Miller Books, Tararua District Council, McDonalds (Dannevirke), The Vault Cafe, 123 Plus, Country Chef, Pukaha Mount Bruce, Mitre 10, Westpac, Just Gifts Dannevirke, Wards Pharmacy, Dannevirke Bakery, Joy Raffaelli.

Photo Tararua District Library - Adult Trivia Quiz 2014 - District Champions Winning Team International Intelligence Dannevirke High School Team

District Champions ‘International Intelligence’ (Dannevirke High School)

How to tell someone their favourite book sucks …

What better way to deepen your relationship with someone than to read their favourite book? Favourite books can be like a personal religious text; they can help you understand someone’s motivations, prejudices and worldviews.  But what if their favourite book, well, sucks.

Here’s some tips:

1 – Do not read aloud passages of the book that you find to be comically overwrought.  You may think you are showing that you’re engaging with the book. All you are doing is showing that you are an insufferable snob.

2 – If the whole point of the book is to show some Big Important Lesson, do not say that you find the characters self-centred and annoying. You are missing the point. You are merely confirming your status as an insufferable snob.

3 – Question your motivation. Are you reading their favourite book to genuinely draw closer to them? Or are you reading it because you hope this offers you another chance to show your self-declared cultural superiority? If it is the latter, you don’t deserve books. Or to be in a relationship.

4 – Realise that a favourite book is like an open wound. It is something to be protected. If someone, especially a loved one, comes near it, we flinch as if it is has been exposed to a chill wind. We tell them to be careful and be gentle. Any connection with the book, no matter how slight, can cause an intense reaction.

5 – Finish the book. The only thing worse than having an opinion on a favourite book is offering only pointed indifference. By abandoning the book you are effectively saying you don’t care enough about the person to find out what has made their soul leap.

6 – Don’t tell them it sucks. Because it doesn’t. If your loved one loves it, then it is special. Your highfalutin’, snobby reflexes be damned. This is not an exercise in relativism – every opinion is not equally valid – but rather its realising that everything isn’t always about you. Their favourite book might not be yours, but at least you’re with someone who has been moved by a book. Well done, that means you’re with someone rather special. If you take nothing else from this exercise, delight in that.

Read the whole article by Edd McCracken on Book Riot here

end to book sucks

Maths is SO fun – or it will be after this!

“Maths is Fun” is a free literacy programme for primary school children that will be running at Dannevirke Library 6th to 10th October 2014.

The programme is funded by the Eastern Central Community Trust ; facilitated by Wairarapa REAP ; administered by Tararua District Library ; taught by teachers Eileen Thomson and Teresa Mason.

Places are strictly limited to 50 children in total, so if you wish to register your child, please either visit the library to complete the form, or complete and email/scan back the attached PDF form.


Maths is Fun registration – Dannevirke Library – October 2014  (click this link once, then again)

maths is fun


What would you do if you kept dying?

Set in the near future, young adult novel ‘Revived’ by Cat Patrick looks at the life of the subject of a government experiment. Daisy died in a tragic bus accident and has since been revived five times by a mystery drug the FDA are testing.

Hrevivedowever, all is not as it seems and mysteries and sub-plots litter Daisy’s world as she navigates the dramas of high school, and having to move and assume a new identity. Making a new friend, meeting a boy and discovering all is not what it seems with the head of the programme makes this a well written and convincing book.

I cried at the end and enjoyed the questions this book raised. Although the end seemed rushed and I was a little disappointed more wasn’t explained about the plot twists, it is a good honest read that keeps you entertained and transfixed. Who knows what shadowy goings-on there are in an organisation that literally holds your life in their hands.

Check out the Young Adult Fiction section for more great reads.

- Corinna



We’re temporarily missing…

offlineFrom 1pm Saturday 6th September 2014, the library online catalogue and Tararua District Council websites will not be available, but just for a little while!

This is due to maintenance work being done on our systems. Hopefully, everything will be back up and running by 5pm.

Could you live in a tiny home?

“Tiny homes on the move” by Lloyd Kahn is a large format book that caught my eye because of the subject matter – and what I suspect is a fascination shared by many – with homes that are compact, highly organised, and moveable, or ‘nomadic’, as Kahn puts it.

trycycle houseThe sub-heading, “Nomadic Life in the 21st Century”, encompasses vehicles and vessels, including sailboats and houseboats, vans, school buses, trailers, and even four cycles! I had to stop typing this and check those out. The Tricycle House is a perfect example of what this book is about – an ingenious new take on tried and true nomad tricks. It was invented in China, where private land ownership doesn’t exist, and people sleep in vehicles in parking lots at night. Constructed from polypropylene, it concertinas in for transport, and out for living in. Amazing what people can fit in these miniscule spaces –  would you believe, a bath?! As well as two beds? You will have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. And it is towed around by a bicycle – highly suitable for China.

This half high-tech, half low-tech design is typical of the subject material, where traditional gypsy caravans have evolved to incorporate new technology available, such as solar panels and inverters. And in places, this book is as much about the people and their personalities as it is about the moveable living quarters. Highly recommend this book full of wonderful, well-thought out pictures of exteriors, but most importantly exteriors. There are many weblinks throughout too, for those who like to learn even more.

- Tamara

Get your quiz on!

Today is the last day for registering your team for our Tararua Library District Quiz.  It’s a general knowledge trivia quiz – we don’t expect masterminds!

When?   Wednesday 10 September 2014, 7pm

Where? Your local library

Who?  Teams of 1 to 4 people, cost of $20 total per team. (That’s $5 / head)

District Trophy

District Trophy

Prizes? For best fancy dress (theme 1914) ; highest score per town ; highest score overall ; spot prizes.

Entry forms are available from any library, or email, or see earlier posts.

“Barbarians” by Terry Jones

It amazes me that despite deliberately avoiding the Monty Python TV series and movies, a style of humour I do not enjoy, I have enjoyed many of the books of both Michael Palin and Terry Jones.

“Barbarians” by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, shows how history is recorded by the winner (in this case the ancient Romans) or who we consider the “good guys” (again said ancient Romans). Jones has used facts to illustrate the tale in a well written, well researched and in some places very funny (or is that sarcastic) book.

This book is about how some historians have portrayed historical Rome as the great saviour from the barbarian hordes. That, with a twist of fate, the Western Europe of today might have been totally different or, horror upon horror, that Western Europe could have been better (if not the same) than what we have at the moment. And, while we appreciate the best things the Romans have given us, we could have done without some of the worst things they have given us. Every Roman fan must realize that some of the worst of Roman culture could be destructive and cruel (ask the Gladiators or the followers of the non-state religion).

I found the disjointed timelines quite distracting. You just get into the flow of the story and the next chapter takes us 20 years back into the past, which is quite disturbing for us scatter brained types. Although perhaps I’m unique!

This books greatest virtue is it reads as a history lesson, and not a political manifesto. It’s the opinion of two men, and as every theory has two sides,  you are welcome to think this is hogwash and the Romans were the greatest thing since chocolate. It’s an informative and fun read either way. Two of the many things I have learnt are Pythons can write but not act (sorry fans), and Asterix was right!

- Darren

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

1st, 2nd & 3rd all get a Kobo eReader plus a $100 Paper Plus voucher plus cash as below:

Winner: $1000 cash

1st Runner-up: $500 cash

2nd Runner-up: $300 cash



1st, 2nd & 3rd all get a Kobo eReader, a $100 Paper Plus voucher plus $1000 worth of books for the School library and cash as below:

Winner: $1000 cash

1st Runner-up: $500 cash

2nd Runner-up: $300 cash


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

Winner:  A Kobo eReader, $100 Paper Plus voucher and 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


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