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What if you couldn’t recognise anyone anymore?

The Date by Louise Jensen, is a ripper of a mystery.  After her marriage falls apart, Alison Taylor is reluctantly persuaded to sign up to a dating app. She “meets” a nice man, and they have many good online conversations before agreeing to meet in person. Next thing she knows, Alison is waking up the morning after, with a bruised throat and arms, an aching bleeding head, and face blindness.

Before reading this novel, I didn’t actually know there was a condition called face blindness, or Prosopagnosia.  It can be acquired through trauma, or one can be born with it, but it means that you cannot recognise faces. Ever. Even faces you’ve seen a hundred times.  Occasionally there’s a one in a thousand chance you might retain recognition of a face, but usually, sufferers need to learn how to recognise people by voice, body language, hair, clothing etc. It’s a horrendous condition, when you think about it.

Soon after being released from hospital, Alison starts receiving threating notes implying that on the night of the date, she committed some kind of crime. Perhaps she ran someone over? Enlisting the help of her best friend, who lives next door, and her brother, she tries to recreate the events of the night. The only problem is, she comes to realise that some people are lying to her.  And who she thinks some people are, they aren’t.

Later into the plot, it emerges that her roommate (who she double dated with that night) is officially missing. In addition, she finds out that her roommate is actually the daughter of a woman who was killed in an armed robbery, that Alison’s father was involved in.  Is there a link?  Was it her she hurt?

Suffice to say that there are many twists and turns in this novel, and I certainly didn’t guess the ending. Louise Jensen has done an admirable job of portraying the imagined reality of living with face blindness, intertwined with a suspenseful mystery.  7/10.




Maths is Fun 2018 – holiday programme

Maths is Fun children’s programme for October school holidays is open for registrations now.  It’s for children in Year 1 to Year 8 at school (or homeschooled). Children learn to enjoy maths by applying it to create and have fun. Places are strictly limited so parents need to register your kids quickly.  Sessions are run by qualified teachers, and lunchtimes are supervised.

Age groups are separated into four age-appropriate separate sessions each, depending on school years. Children may not participate in groups outside their allocated group.

The theme this year is “Finding your way” so sessions will be based around map reading, latitude, longitude and the such.

RUNNING TIMES BELOW – MUST BE REGISTERED TO ATTEND.  Contact your local library now.

Dannevirke Library

  • Level 1 (school year 1 & 2) : Mon 8/10 & Tue 9/10 : 9.30am to noon, both days.
  • Level 2 (school year 3 & 4) : Mon 8/10 & Tue 9/10 : 1pm to 3.30pm, both days.
  • Level 3 (school years 5 & 6) : Wed 10/10 : 9.30am-12 then 1pm to 3.30pm. Bring lunch.
  • Level 4 (school years 7 & 8) : Thur 11/10 : 9.30am-12 then 1pm to 3.30pm. Bring lunch.

Woodville Library

  • Level 1 (school year 1 & 2) : Mon 1/10 & Tue 2/10 : 10am to 12.30pm, both days.
  • Level 2 (school year 3 & 4) : Mon 1/10 & Tue 2/10 : 1.30pm to 4pm, both days
  • Level 3 (school years 5 & 6) : Wed 3/10 : 10am-12.30 then 1pm to 4pm. Bring lunch.
  • Level 4 (school years 7 & 8) : Thur 4/10: 10am-12.30 then 1pm to 4pm. Bring lunch.

Eketahuna Library

  • Level 1 (school year 1 & 2) : Mon 8/10 & Tue 9/10 : 10.30am to 12.30pm, both days.
  • Level 2 (school year 3 & 4) : Mon 8/10 & Tue 9/10 : 1.30pm to 3.30pm, both days
  • Level 3 (school years 5 & 6) : Wed 10/10 : 10.30am-12.30 then 1pm to 4pm. Bring lunch.
  • Level 4 (school years 7 & 8) : Thur 11/10: 10.30am-12.30 then 1pm to 4pm. Bring lunch.

Pahiatua Library

  • Level 1 (school year 1 & 2) : Mon 1/10 & Tue 2/10 : 1.30pm to 4pm, both days.
  • Level 2 (school year 3 & 4) : Mon 1/10 & Tue 2/10 : 10am to 12.30pm, both days
  • Level 3 (school years 5 & 6) : Wed 3/10 : 10.30am to 12.30pm, then 1-4pm. Bring lunch.
  • Level 4 (school years 7 & 8) : Thur 4/10 : 10.30am to 12.30pm, then 1-4pm. Bring lunch.


Adult Trivia Quiz 2018 – Results

After a super-fun evening throughout the district, the ‘4 Horsemen of the Potato Chips’ were victorious in retaining the title of District Champs. Thank you to everyone who participated, and a special thank you to all our generous sponsors.  Here are just some of the photos – you can see them all in our Facebook album

Kratos – winning Eketahuna team




‘The Last Minute’ – winning Pahiatua/Woodville team


Staff – Leilani & Fiona in their recycled outfits

Staff – Wyn and Corinna

Eketahuna Library crowd

3 Assets and a Liablity at Dannevirke

Best Fancy Dress at Woodville – The 3 Rs, Yeh Right

Best Fancy Dress at Dannevirke, Tongue Twisters

The 4 Horsemen of the Potato Chips



Extinction Trials : what if dinosaurs still ruled the Earth?

S.M. Wilson has written a teen novel that seems like a blend of the Hunger Games and Jurassic Park.  In this Earth, humanity has been relegated to the over-crowded continent of Earthasia, while dinosaurs rule the other rich and luscious continent of Piloria.  Humans are in a dire situation, with resources diminishing at an alarming rate, and they cannot survive much longer.  The leadership decide to launch another expedition to the other continent, the aim being to steal certain dinosaur eggs so that the scientists can try to establish methods of wiping out the dinosaurs to allow humans to expand.

Stormchaser is an orphan, and she has a secret affinity for swimming with dinosaurs.  Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. They apply to join the expedition but only a few are selected, and competition is fierce and vicious. First they have to make it through the trials. Then, if they go to Piloria, they are risking their lives – in the past, most exploration parties have never returned – but the benefits are huge.  Plenty of sustenance, and riches beyond imagining.

I enjoyed this dystopian fantasy adventure novel, and am looking forward to the second installment. Possibly the next big thing, I suspect. Highly recommended.



Jurassic Park meets Jaws

Imagine discovering an underground sea, pristine for thousands of years and containing prehistoric marine life long extinct.  Now imagine accidentally falling into that sea, to be faced with the looming maw of a giant Carcharodon Megalodon  – a tasty treat for the huge precursor to the modern Great White shark, and an enduring mystery for your relatives, who never know your fate.  That is what the main character in “Fathomless” by Australian author Greig Beck is trying to find out – Cate wants to know what became of her grandfather, missing for 50 years. Now a Professor of evolutionary biology, she identifies a remote place in Alaska that promises a fruitful investigation – primarily because of a fossil tooth and cave drawings found there.  When her University won’t fund it, she persuades a Russian billionaire to invest $150 million to fund the expedition – his condition is that he is included in the team.  But Valery has enemies – and when they realise he is leaving the United States, they embark on their own ambitious expedition to hijack the submarine and bring him back to Russia.

With great excitement, finally the US team accesses the subterranean sea. Their marine expert, Jack, an old flame of Cate’s, confirms there are many extinct species there, that died out above ground tens of thousands, if not millions, of years ago.   Unfortunately, they have underestimated the danger, and combined with the Russian sabotage, some members of the team end up stranded in the cave… floating around on a rubber dinghy while the Megalodon searches for supper. I won’t tell you how that part of the story ends.  Suffice to say that there are three or four threads to this story.

The Russian saboteurs accidentally cause a breach of the underground sea, which allows a Megalodon to escape, where it heads to the continental US coast, it’s ancient hunting ground. When the Coast Guard eventually realise that a mega shark, unlike anything they’ve ever known, has destroyed dozens of ships, they need to develop a plan to kill the Meg before she can give birth. Of course, nothing runs smoothly, especially when the custom-fortified whaling ship they are using to hunt the Meg is attacked by eco-warriors.

Will the Megalodon triumph or will the humans?  Read it and find out!   Recommended to all fans of action and adventure. – Natalie

PS – The Meg movie (2018) is based on the novel/s by Steve Alten, which I personally found superior to the movie both in plot and character development. The movie was a bit of a let down to me, after having read the books.

Poetry competition entries 2018: The art of picking your nose / The little dog ‘girl’

© Badger Bloomfield

© Badger Bloomfield




Poetry competition entries 2018 : Kyoto Station / Thunder in the afternoon

© Ian McClunie


© Ian McClunie

Poetry competition entries 2018: Examination of a life and love / Who I am

Examination of a life and love

I went walking among the talking

And in the space, I saw your face

As it was meant to be


And in that magic grace I found

A depth of love, so profound

That I was bowed with sorrow for

The loss of time that was before


When all your love was spent on me

And I so blind I could not see

That what I needed was just to be…

And rest for a time, in thee


© Barbara Mawson


Who I am

I am the night dancing in the trees

I am the clouds shifting in the breeze

I am the sunlight splintering the waves

I am the darkness echoing in caves




Egocentric, concentric, eccentric






Round and square,

Cutting tracks, new paths, here to there

A journey with no end

A path? a gate? lost? and fear

then indecision. the plan has gone

I am alone and something’s wrong.

To keep on going is scary stuff

I must step out, I’ve had enough.


A choice is there, decision made

A new found freedom to engage

The fear has gone, the “story” lost

and now I find the journeys cost

Is paid in joy, and love, and hope

Luminosity, generosity, possibility


© Barbara Mawson

Poetry competition entry 2018: Resurrection / Poems


Snow silently enshrouds sleeping shrubs,

Which wait,

Naked and forlorn,

Until Spring, dancing gaily through the garden,

Brings verdure,

And vibrant colours to adorn.


© Penny Simpson




Tumbling in a rhythm all their own.

Succinct, and yet sublime,

Like grass,

Which gives its fragrance when it’s mown.

© Penny Simpson

Poetry competition entry 2018: Untitled


To start this off, we are talking of a man,

Now 80 years old, his name is Sam.

From the day he was born in 1938,

His life had started with already a grim fate.

His mother, a heavy drinker and a father who died just before the war,

Abandoned, Alone and hurt at the age of four.

In and out of different homes trying to have a nights sleep,

Wondering when his 6 year old self would be abused by the next drunken creep.

Sam knew that he was different to the other kids in school,

Picked on for his clothing and behaviours, told by teachers he was a fool.

Safe to say Sam didn’t last at school long at all,

So he picked up a flagon and drank it, sat back and began to watch his problems fall.

He set of on a journey to find himself some work,

But around every turning corner, his depression would lurk.

Many times Sam found himself with his favourite loaded gun,

Until he met his soon to be wife Mary, hair pulled back tightly in a bun.

Ten years of marriage was washed down the track,

Sam opened the door to another man, with Mary’s hair down his back.

Again Sam went spiralling to that all familiar place,

His gun pulled out again, another day he can’t face.

Sams been found by the police on the side of the street,

Screaming that he wants to die, never being discreet.

Admitted into an inpatient unit, as he can take no more,

His body still feeling shaken from the all alcohol the night before.

Security trying to put him into a place he’s never before been,

Restrained, involuntary now under an Act, so on the wall he leans.

While the staff of Doctors and nurses are trying to do their best,

They learn that getting Sams trust will be their greatest test.

What they need to understand is Sam is as scared as can be,

As all the memories come flowing back to that little boy just over three.

Now in a rest home and he hates it just as much,

He tries his hardest not to be upset with the male nurses or such and such.

He feels as though is now not being heard as Sam,

Their replies are often “oh stop it you silly old man”.

His life a whirlwind from the start – we wouldn’t have any clue,

It is important to always remember what it’d be like to wear another persons shoe.


© April Brown



Poetry competition entries 2018: Life alone / Passed

Life Alone


Without you life would still go on

And I may not remain alone

But no one ever could replace

That loving, caring tender face


And life could never be the same

For in my dreams I’d call your name

And hunger for the days gone by

When you were here by my side


I never could forget the way

We shared our lives from day to day

I love you more than words can say

I’ll love you till my dying day


And if I find that you have gone

I know I’ll have to carry on

But lust for life would disappear

Loneliness remain my only fear


And if I must live life alone

My memories of you will hold

More precious love than I have told

To stay with me while I grow old


© Stephen Baker-LeMay




Though some ones gone their life has passed

The meaning of that life can last

Throughout all times in different ways

They’ll stay with us throughout our days


We’ll sit around and talk and laugh

About the times of our tin bath

And memories will come flooding in

And those who’ve passed will live again


And if we’re sad and need a lift

We’ll remember funny things they did

And tell our children and theirs too

So they can share the laughs we knew


And by our telling they’ll live on

As happy thoughts in our young

Who one day needing a story to tell

Will remember something they know well


And people that they never knew

Will once again come into view

And new generations smile and laugh

About the people that have passed


© Stephen Baker-LeMay

Poetry competition entry 2018: A technological block / Soul train

A Technological Block


Here I am at this desk,

Trying to do my best

But I can’t

Trying to be ideational

And come up with something inspirational

But I can’t

Working out what I want to convey

Trying to not be cliché

But I can’t


You see

It’s three

In the morning

And I’m on a clock

This is my last shot

To write something


But here I am sitting

Unable to write anything

At the messiest table in history

It’s not great for my OCD


The keyboard is clunky

And the computer itself chunky

It doesn’t have chrome

So I trying on my own

To operate Internet Explorer

I know, a 21st century horror


The wi-fi is slow

My battery is low

And I have nothing

I wish I had something

For pursuing

What am I doing


I rearrange the pens

Give the counter a cleanse

Colour co-ordination

A wonderful transformation

A calm order

To replace the torture


I pack away the highlighter

And pull out a typewriter

Hidden away

Waiting for this day


As I type at the keys

I find an idea to seize

The musical taps of metal pieces

Slowly reaches

My heart


This is writing

An organism that you find biting

Away at you inside

As ideas and fantasies collide

But when it all subsides

You are left with a story

An allegory

of your soul.


© Day-eth Smit



You’re standing on a platform

All alone in a swarm

Of bodies


People shuffling mindlessly

Holding on tightly

To memories from before

Yet they lose them as they

Step through the door


Your ticket stub is torn

As you step off the platform

Speakers overhead say the train is departing

Your journey is just starting


You board the childhood express

Wide eyed and innocent


Cherish this moment

One day you’ll know

What it meant

To be young


You pull up at the next station

And with a sense of frustration

Step off the cart

Hearing the whistle blow

As it departs


You wait for a second

The adolescent track beckons

From afar

So you step up into

Its car

And the southbound journey



You wish this train would runaway

You liked it better


But you signed up of your own accord

And so the next train

You must board


At the next junction

The subway can’t seem to function

Rush hour has begun

No one ever said adulthood was fun

This is the mainline

You can board at anytime


The terminal that’s next

Isn’t the best

We wish you luck

Your gonna need it


Why’d you choose

To be a commuter

You should have just taken

An Uber


Mind the gap

You can’t go back


It is time

Welcome to the end of the line.

© Day-eth Smit

Poetry competition entry 2018: The art / Ladies of the parlour

The Art

She was serving food and coffee

So she could buy paint and canvas

Her oval Scandinavian face was at its best when etched with a smile

Only once I didn’t see the smile


We shared a year of birth

Love of expressionism


An eagerness to be eager

Without the stumble and fall of flounderers


How could I be in love

So quickly –

Again this year

This month

Is it this week already


When she had the canvas and paint

She painted

In my cavernous laundry


The coffee was fabulous

The art?

The art of being supportive



© Keith Nunes



Ladies of the parlour

She clomps down the echoing hallway

Baby steps in size 10s

Flashing eyes light the bare-naked rimu floor

Face-colour clash with zippy wall paint

Donning of wig bangled paraphernalia

‘Whoop whoop whoop’  at the teeny tiny King Charles dancing on Victorian rug

Splashes of ochre sun breaking through stains of window glass

Red Buddha mantelpiece blind binoculars point kaleidoscopes at flinty fingernails


Lined up in chorus lines singing ladies of grandeur

Ninety years each of finery and feather boas

Spriteleys in heels of yore

‘From the top’ and they run it through to the bottoms

Seated with rinsed tea and chockies

Euphonia of euphorias in crickle-back tune

‘Give me an mmmmmm’

And they give freely of their mmmmmm’s


© Keith Nunes


PS – this entry was received within the competition dates, and was submitted to the judge, but was accidentally overlooked for publishing. Sorry Keith!

Poetry competition entry 2018: The Stockman / Grandchildren

The author spreading superphosphate for hand sowing (1948)



both poems by © Trevor Tyler


Poetry Competition 2018 – People’s Choice Award

Below are the entries for our competition (click on title). The overall winner has been selected by our esteemed judge, author Lyn McConchie, which is detailed in a separate post.  However, we also will be awarding a People’s Choice award as chosen by votes online (closed).

And the winner is ….   “A winter morning” by Allie Lundon.  Congratulations to Allie, who has received a $25 voucher.  Thanks for voting people!



The Stockman   (overall winner)


The art of picking your nose

The little dog ‘girl’

Kyoto Station

Thunder in the afternoon

Examination of a life

Who I am




A technological block

Soul train


The Pace of Time

Life alone


Hand that remembers



The Art

Ladies of the parlour


In His mighty court

The oyster catcher


Pacific soaring

Birthday poem

Pūroro ā tōna wā Pōneke

Chocolate mousse

Every parade has it’s cat

My life in a nutshell

Passports and purposes

Never ever after


O Great Oak

Unknown stranger


A minimal state

I, Messiah

A winter morning  WINNER of People’s Choice


Prayer to Our Lady


Factory gone

Who am I heart, who am I?

Pohu – Burst

Morning yoga



The blessing (for mother, child, sister)


Investigative surgery

Imagine waves

Child in me

Examination of a life and love


& having writ

To a snail on a sidewalk

There, but for the grace of

Lavender rose


School day


The road less travelled