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Hey kids and teens, design a Bee Aware Month poster and be in to win!   All Tararua District school students are eligible to enter (including home-schooled).

All you have to do is create a poster which has the Bee Aware Month Logo in it, put your name, age and contact details on the back, and hand it in to your local Tararua District library by Friday 2 October 2015.  Easy!  The winners of the five categories will be announced Monday 5 October.


Bee Competition Poster



An officer and a spy

I was chatting to an old friend recently – old in both senses of the word – and was surprised to learn that he had not heard of the infamous Dreyfus Affair – a scandal that rocked France and was reported around the world before the turn of the 19th century, in 1894.

dreyfusCaptain Alfred Dreyfus was an insignificant Army Officer who, when a French spy for the Germans was about to be exposed, was ruthlessly framed with forgeries, and became the scapegoat for the real traitor. Dreyfus was a career officer, hard-working but uninspiring – he was also a Jew. France, or the French, were prone to anti-Semitism at all levels of society and Dreyfus was  court-marshalled, publically stripped of his uniform and medals and sent to be imprisoned for life on a tiny rock off the north coast of South America aptly called Devils Island.

I am recounting this story because though it has been written up by many authors in all its horrifying truth, Robert Harris has turned it into an excellent novel called ‘An Officer and a spy’. Published in 2013, it is worthy to be read by many, as Harris is an accomplished novelist having written a dozen books before this including – Fatherland, The Ghost and The Fear Index.

Harris chooses to centre his story on George Picquart who heads the secret intelligence unit responsible for Dreyfus’ arrest. This young Colonel gradually becomes doubtful of the case against the Captain and the novel traces his subsequent investigations, actions and persistent reports to his superiors who clearly want the Dreyfus case closed and forgotten.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fictionised true story and Harris has made a first class job of retelling the awful tale in this way. If you have not come across this episode in recent history you will find this account all the more compelling. It is a reminder of what happens when corrupt men of power pervert justice in the name of ‘national security’ in order to cover up the crimes of one of their own. This miscarriage of justice reverberated around the world until, finally, Dreyfus was released in 1906 and reinstated.




September – Bee Aware Month

Bee-Aware-Month-Logo-600x560September is Bee Aware Month, and this year’s theme is “Feed the Bees.” It’s all about educating New Zealanders about why bees are so important, and what we can do to help them prosper – namely, planting bee-friendly plants and seeds so our bees have enough food to survive and thrive.  #BAM2015 #feedthebees 

We need bees, more than you might think. Bees pollinate one third of the food we eat, and life would be a struggle without them. It’s a two-way street, though – bees need us to plant food they can eat, to keep them buzzing and doing the awesome stuff they do for us.

Over $5 billion of New Zealand’s agricultural exports also depend on bees. Bee numbers worldwide are in decline and we must do all that we can to save them before it’s too late – some of the main factors causing this are nutritional stress, lack of food compromising the bees’ resistance to pests and diseases, and pesticides and sprays.

What can you do to help?  Plant bee friendly trees and plants like fruit trees and old fashioned or heirloom flowers and herbs. Provide water – place pebbles or twigs in a saucer of water so the bees have something to stand on and drink. Protect swarms – if you see a swarm of bees (in a tree or on your house for example) contact a local beekeeper. For a list of beekeepers see

If you’d like to know more, we have quite a few books about beekeeping (apiculture) in the library.   See catalogue

The National Beekeepers Assoc. is also running a School Photo Competition which you can find out about on their website here

Source:  National Beekeepers Association of NZ website


Poetry competition: Eketahuna – my town

Eketahuna – my town

Aww, that’s a great idea,

A poem I will create

About the area I live in and love

While I’ve still got my mental state.


I could mention the bush and the bird life,

And the beauty of the snow capped ranges.

And not mention the north west wind and

And the rain that comes in sideways.eketahuna location on map


How blessed we are in a southerly,

How Masterton is far worse off than you

Unless you happen to be standing in Main Street

Where the wind is cold enough to freeze

Certain parts of you anatomy blue.

Like your fingers and toes

Your ears and your nose.


In summer it gets so hot and dry

A week without rain is a drought

That’s enough for the TDC to say

‘fire restrictions’ and to turn off the water

Off from your spout.


But it’s the people that makes this place special,

Young and old, quirky and strange, jolly and caring

And all know your name,

So the point is, if you are feeling lonely

Or just ‘out of sorts’ for the day


Take a stroll down Main street

With the cold wind blowing up your back

And someone will always say

‘hello’, ‘good morning’, ‘how are you?’

And you know you’re on the right track.


Actually I’m not sure that this a poem,

I think they are supposed to rhyme

I just know there is only one word

For this place

The people are simply “SUBLIME”


Jane Goddard

(A senior person!)


Poetry competition: Eketahuna!

When travelling down state highway 2

It will surprise you, the things to do.

A place to stop, later or sooner

Yes, I’m talking about Eketahuna

There’s trendy shops to browse or buy

Hungry or thirsty? Then our cafes you should try.

If you’re needing accommodation there is a great array,Eketahuna kiwi

Choose from BnB. Hotel, camping or farm stay.

Our sporting facilities put others to shame,

Bowling club, golf course, swimming baths and domain.

If it’s arts and crafts you’re looking for,

Our galleries always welcome you to their door.

For souvenirs, maps and local information,

The info centre is your destination.

Now getting into the wider area

Take a scenic drive to Putara and Nireaha

A visit to the area would not be complete

Without a Mount Bruce trip, it’s a real treat.

The model railway and farmhouse cheese

Is another attraction that’s sure to please.

Newman, Rongamai, Alfredton, Parkville

Hamua, Hukanui, Ihuraua, Hastwell

Are some of the places around our district

To see sheep and cattle or take a picnic.

The streams and rivers have great trout fishing

What about hunting, I hear you asking?

If deer or pig huntings where you get your thrills

Then take a hike into the Tararua hills.

See, there’s much to offer despite the rumour

Next time, ‘please’ don’t bypass



© Dara Robbie

Poetry competition: Winners!

We have two winners this year, as judged by Tararua author Muriel Cowan – Karen Rees (Woodville) and Steven Clarkson (Taupo).  Congratulations to you both, your prizes are on the way to you!


Icy Cold Homes  (Winner)

Icy cold homes

Thawing at the day

Break new jewels to

String along wisdom inicy

Sections down the road.

Cracked glass

Drips to the sun

Sliding slowly down to

Snotty coughs.

Misted windows show

Happy faces drawn

Melted to fungus rugs.


© Karen Rees


Four Individual Haiku (Winner)

winter revel

taste of the Caribbean

under a brolly


spring shoots

the constant judgment

of clocks


new born daisies

running like

a child


first blossoms

following telephone calls

down the road


© Steven Clarkson (2015)

Poetry competition: Grandma’s

Grandmas 1

Grandmas 2
























Poetry competition: My Daughter

My Daughter


The Big Bang exploded,

so she could exist.


She came,

adorned with adulation.


Sculptured from my body,

animated with the gift from God.


I was indifferent to life,

she created my world.


Diamonds, rubies, emeralds are nothing.

I place her as high as the angels.


The sun’s rays are there only,

to kiss warmth into her skin.


In the perfect curl of her tiny hands,

lies my heart.


© Kerry August

Birdsong and Poetry at Pukaha Mt Bruce

Treasure of Tararua, PUKAHA MT BRUCE, is hosting Birds & Words this Friday 25 August. Pukaha is celebrating National Poetry Day by opening its doors early for nature lovers to wander through the morning bush, with birdsong ringing. A beautiful place to listen to poetry by New Zealand Pacific Studio resident poet Melanie Carter.

Location: Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, SH2, Wairarapa

Date/Times: Friday 28 August, 07:00 – 08:30 am

No entry charge but koha for Pukaha is welcome. Coffee/tea & muffins $8 per person.

birds and words poster_

Poetry competition: Great Aunt Sally Kowali

Great Aunt Sally Kowali

Great Aunt Sally Kowali, and her centenarian friend, Miss Lally,

lived not far from one another in a cul-de-sac street.

Sally called in on Miss Lally,

who sat by the fire,

drank then wee-ed, pint sized cups of tea.

Miss Lally liked The Queen. The Queen sent Miss Lally,drinking tea

– who upon reaching a milestone –

a portrait of her (by standard post),

cardigan-ed in aquamarine.

That cardigan dunt ‘alf make ‘er eyes soft“, swooned Sally Kowali,

who one biscuit too many, and a dress-size too tight,

forced her skirt button, *pop.


© Sarah Walsh

Poetry competition : A Roadside Tragedy



“Run as fast as you can”,

Oh no too late she heard the sound

Back across the road she ran

tugged and pulled her heart beating

Baby was silent, left the land of the living.

The passing traffic, dust and gravel shook the ground

No one noticed the terrible tragedy

On the side of the country road that day

as the grieving mother pulled her baby away.

Out of the bushes the sympathisers appeared

Father Mongoose sped past others runningmongoose

pushed mum aside grabbed his lifeless offspring

A cacophony of muted sounds caught my ears

All broke down in sorrow and tears.

No one noticed the terrible tragedy

At the edge of the roadside out of sight

While the traffic sped by churning wind and dust.

And the morning sun shone down so bright.

Such events some humans never know or see

That living creatures feel love,

pain and woe like you and me.


© Nancy Byrne (2015)


Poetry competition: A promise

The emerald tinge of grass

Basks in the sun

Landscaping the hills

As the mighty river of Mohaka

Weaves its way seaward

And kisses the land as it goes.


A viaduct majestic but now forlornMohaka Viaduct

Takes it’s bow

No more clickety clank of train wheels

To echo through the valley.


The land

Our land

Is the keeper of our memories

Of our yesterdays

Our tomorrow dreams

And now

So take care of the land

And the land will take care of you.


Remember the ancestors

Traces on the land

Reminders in the stars

Amongst us at times unseen

Whispering in our hearts

You are loved

And you are love.


Remember too the young onesaroha

For they are finding their voice

Listen to them

Encourage them

And most of all love them.


For then they will want to remember the stories

And they too will take care of the land

And I will take care of them.


This I promise you.


© Oriana Walker



Poetry competition: Caterwaul


We are the family down the road,

Together we roam like lost children

Not brought up right, left bereft with

Home gone, we are one, not forgotten.

We are pests, swarms of flies descended on bins,caterwaul

Starved of love we dine on skinny rats,

Under your door we smell sweet gravy,

We feel the warmth of your ire.

We watch you cuss and hiss like livid witches

Spitting odium. We dodge your cauldron,

Like Houdini we wriggle from river bags to

Dance on glass traps, cuddle barbed boundaries

To score our tiny claws down your polished cars,

Puncture your tyres so you don’t drive us down.


© Karen Rees (2015)



Kids Book Club meeting

Kids Book Club Promotion August 2015  Hey kids, join our new book club at Dannevirke Library!  Members get cool benefits like first pick of some new books! We already have almost a dozen boys and girls who have joined.

This will be the second meeting and a club name will be chosen.  Bring along a book you’ve just read, or a favourite, to talk about if you want to. Don’t worry if you are a bit shy, you don’t have to talk or join in, you can just watch and listen, but there’s plenty of fun to be had for everyone.  It’s not just about books!

Mums and Dads can relax in the library, reading books, newspapers or magazines, or using our free wifi or computers while they wait for you.

Poetry competition: Little Brown Bear

Little Brown Bear

Little brown bear

love heart sewn

on your head.


Stitches up your middle

where your creator

sewed you up.

Little red jacket

holding you tight.


Little brown bearteddy bear well worn

do you think

there is someone

out there,

looking in on us?


See the moonbeam

on the carpet

over there. Look

now gone

as if cloud covered curtains

opened and closed,

cutting off their

moonbeam light.


I saw a picture

in the newspaper.

The face of a man

wanting to buy

silver, banknotes

and toy bears.


I turned the page over

so he couldn’t see

you, here

with me.


Thank goodness we

have no T.V.

All those faces

looking in on us.

They might want to

take you

from me.


Happy face,

big ears,

big paws.

My little brown bear

are you ready

for cuddles,

let me turn

out the light.


© John Priest (2015)



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