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Like Jack Reacher? Meet Sam Dryden…

Sam Dryden has an amazing skill set due to his years as a member of a super-elite force that specialised in ‘acquiring’ people for the United States.  But that life is behind him now.  Or so he thinks. One evening, while out jogging, he literally bumps into eleven-year-old Rachel, who is running for her life.  A split-second decision turns Sam into her protector, as he saves her from Government forces targeting her for death.  It seems that Rachel was born and raised in captivity – her mother was part of a Government gene manipulation trial. But as Rachel was in-utero at the time, the effect on her was enhanced. Her abilities exceed those of her mother, or anyone else actually.

Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee

But all she can remember is being a prisoner for the past two months, where various people pumped her full of drugs and asked many questions. She has just escaped, having discovered her death was imminent.  The drugs in her system will block her memory for another week, but Sam and Rachel don’t have a week.  They have to find out right now why Rachel (and now Sam) are being hunted. And when they both find out…. well, let’s just say that Rachel isn’t who she thinks she is, and Sam soon has more than just the Government after him.

Sam Dryden and Reacher would get along pretty well I think.  Both skilled military men, tough but with good hearts, dragged into situations where they end up being the good ‘bad’ guy.  The author, Patrick Lee, has that knack of writing so convincingly that it’s like hearing Sam speak. I’m so glad that I happened across “Runner” and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second Dryden adventure ‘Only to die again’ (aka Signal).


Waitangi Day 2016

We are not open on 6th or 8th February due to Waitangi Day

Closure Waitangi Day

1931 Napier earthquake : New Zealand’s worst

At 10.47am, 85 years ago today (3 February 1931) a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the bustling city of Napier, and surrounding areas, in Hawke’s Bay. The Napier ‘quake killed at least 256 people, and the city was largely destroyed first by the tremor and then by fire.  Ten days later, a huge 7.3 aftershock caused more damage.  This earthquake still stands as New Zealand’s worst (in the number of people killed, not the magnitude) followed closely by Christchurch 2011, which killed 185 but injured several thousand.Napier after quake

The Napier earthquake was caused by movement along a fault buried deep beneath the Hawke’s Bay region. When it moved, an area above the fault, about 90 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, domed upward. The land and sea floor were permanently raised by as much as 2.7 metres.  Many of the survivors rushed to the beach to escape the destruction, falling masonry and fire, and found that the sea had receded significantly…fortunately, it was not an indication of tsunami but the evidence of the reclaimed land.

napier 2015However, from the ashes arose the wonderful Art Deco city of today, which has become a tourist highlight of New Zealand.  Incorporating elements that survived the earthquake, a new city was designed which is celebrated every February with the Art Deco Festival, which attracts visitors from all around the world. It also has an excellent museum which has a permanent 1931 earthquake exhibition.

There are many images from the ‘quake on Digital NZ and of course, there have been plenty of books published about this too.   If you’d like to know more about this event, there is a lot of information online and the library holds books in our non-fiction collection, see 551.22napier land



How do I access Tararua District Library ebooks?

If you are a library member, then you can freely download e-books to your compatible device (except Kindle).  First, download the Wheelers ePlatform App.

ebooks app

Second, sign in.  Your username is your library card number (B zero zero etc) and your password is the same one you use to access the library system.  Once logged in, you can download up to six e-books at a time.  Unfortunately, you can’t renew the loan so you only have three weeks but, you can always download it again straight away (unless it’s reserved).  There are no costs involved.

What if you don’t have a password?  Well, as long as the library has your email address, you can set one up yourself.  Go to the library catalogue page and use the link “click here to access the online catalogue”

In the login box to the left, enter your username (library card number B zero zero etc). library log in

Now click on ‘forgotten your password’ underneath.  Enter your username again, and our system will email you a temporary password.  Use this to log in, and then you’ll be prompted to change it.  Passwords must 7 to 13 characters long, and include no symbols. The password will now immediately work with the library system and allow you to access all our database links like Press Display, and World Book, and of course, the ebooks.opac links

AFTER 10am the next working weekday, when the new password has uploaded, you’ll be able to sign into the e-book app.  If you have problems signing in, go back to the library system and try logging in, just to check your password is working or still current, and/or contact your local library.

All the libraries who contribute to NZ Libs are continuously adding new titles, so keep checking.  Happy reading!





Glorious grass roots rugby

The.Ground.We.Won.CoverLet me guess…the last Kiwi-made movie you saw (if it wasn’t the brilliant What We Do In The Shadows, also available at the library) probably had a lot to do with small, hairy-footed people with swords, right?

Well, if you’re looking for another good Kiwi movie, perhaps one involving large, hairy, tattooed people all covered with mud, I’d recommend The Ground We Won, a documentary produced by Miriam Smith and directed by Christopher Prior. Ground follows the fortunes of a provincial rugby team consisting of Reporoa dairy farmers. They’re coming off the back of a terrible season of unrelenting thrashings, and dig deep to find success on the field in the new season, amidst the daily grind of milking, the high demands of calving and home life.

Despite all the bumf on the DVD cover, it’s a pretty simple premise…Ground is about provincial rugby, played by men who are working hard for their living in the New Zealand agricultural economy. It’s about their hard-working lives on the land, and how their hard work is continued out on the paddock every Saturday.

It doesn’t pull any punches, there’s binge-drinking aplenty, bawdy pranks, coarse language from down-to-earth Kiwi blokes…and all that awkward but endearing Kiwi male-bonding. Rugby players will love this film, but there’s plenty of amusement and education here for those who’ve never stepped onto a farm or a rugby field in their lives.

The Ground We Won is beautifully put together and photographed, emotionally involving and at times very funny…the viewer becomes well embroiled with these guys and their lives. Even if you’re indifferent to rugby, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Ground, it’s a great slice of Kiwi life. Most of us think that rugby isn’t a matter of life or death, but these men obviously believe it’s much more important than that!


Reviewed by Keith Smith

Sad Amy…

Amy dvd coverAmy : the girl behind the name is the 2015 acclaimed documentary film about the short and tragic career of the British singer Amy Winehouse. This superbly researched movie closely tracks her life, from the beautiful, outgoing teenager with the amazing “old” Jazz voice and creative mind, to the pitiful, broken-down hag she became in just a few years.

This film was created by the same team who created the amazing documentary Senna, and watching Amy is like watching a fatal car-crash in slow motion. It’s a brilliant piece of fly on the wall doco making, but I won’t ever repeat the experience of watching it.  Why? Because it’s just too tragic; sitting through Amy is too much like being one of those mouth-breathing voyeurs who gather at the aforementioned car crashes. What really got to me was this poor girl’s appalling choices in men…what arrogant, self-aggrandizing leeches they were…her father included.

And of course the low-life media and paparazzi, scenting blood in the water, swarmed all over her like judgemental, hypocritical sharks. Cameras whirring and flashing, calling out “cheer up Amy!,” they finished her off nicely, for fun and profit. None of her true friends were able to stop this awful process, and their distress is palpable.

The film lays this whole process out in front of the viewer in all its appalling detail. Amy is horrifying and moving, an intense study in the complete disintegration of a warm-hearted, intelligent, talented young woman. Not for the faint-hearted.

Reviewed by Keith Smith


Addendum: although never a fan of Amy’s music, because of Keith’s review I also watched this film.  I found it especially poignant because in footage from her early days, several times she said she never wanted to be famous because she didn’t think she could handle it.  Whether you are a jazz or Amy fan or not, I recommend this film anyway.  Make’s perfect sense of other artists’ decisions to protect their privacy (for example, Sia, with her face obscuring wigs). – Natalie

Old New Zealand photos online

old nzDid you know that in 2013, the British Library put 1 million public images on to Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix or repurpose?  And that includes several thousand images of New Zealand maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, satire, illuminated and decorative letters, landscapes and wall paintings, of which little is known.

The British Library hoped that by putting them online, people could help them identify what or where the images referred to (by commenting). Take a look and see if you know!

You can see them at this link The British Library on Flickr




What’s on during school holidays Dec 2015/Jan 2016?

This summer we have the wonderful Zappo doing free shows at all our libraries. Suitable for primary aged.

Also “Rhubarb” story telling duo of Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones, who tell thrilling pantomime stories with song. Suitable for all ages.

All the events are free and open to everyone ; both events generally run for 30 to 60 minutes.mary k for pah


Dannevirke Library Woodville Library Pahiatua Library Eketahuna Library
Zappo the magician 13 Jan 2016 at 1pm 7 Jan at 3pm 7 Jan at 1pm 7 Jan at 11am
Mary Kippenberger 8 Jan 2016 at 1pm 14 Jan at 10am 14 Jan at 1pm 14 Jan at 3pm

Christmas 1916

A Kitchen Maid 1919 / Anders Zorn

A Kitchen Maid 1919 / Anders Zorn

As we’re still in the Centennial period of WWI, here is a poem to remind us all of what life was like for some at that time:


“Christmas 1916: thoughts in a V.A.D. hospital kitchen”

There’s no Xmas leave for us scullions,

we’ve got to keep on with the grind:

just cooking for Britain’s heroes.

But, bless you! we don’t really mind.

We’ve scores and scores of potatoes,

and cabbages also to do;

and onions, and turnips, and what not,

that go in the Irish stew.

We’re baking , and frying, and boiling,

from morning until night;

but we’ve got to keep on a bit longer,

till Victory comes in sight.

Then there’s cutting the thin bread and butter,

for the men who are very ill;

but we feel we’re well rewarded;

for they’ve fought old Kaiser Bill.

Yes! we’ve got to hold on a while longer,

till we’ve beaten the Hun to his knees:

and then ‘Good-bye’ to the kitchen;

the treacle, the jam, and the cheese!

M. Winifred Wedgwood

Lisbeth Salander is back!

by Shilesque

by Shilesque

How can Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist be back?  After all, the author of the hugely successful ‘Girl with the dragon tattoo’ series died in 2004.  Well, the estate of Stieg Larsson commissioned acclaimed Swedish author and crime journalist David Lagercrantz to continue the Millennium series.  And boy, has he! 

Lagercrantz has absolutely nailed the characters – a seamless transition from the original author.  And dare I say it, better written.  Of course, that does make sense as Larsson was a first time author with ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and  Lagercrantz has had more time to perfect the craft.  

In this novel, some time has passed and Lisbeth and Mikael have fallen out of touch.  Since her father’s death, Lisbeth has made it her mission to track down every last member of his criminal organisation to ensure that it is defunct.  But it seems it is not and has continued under the name Spider’s Web.  But with her father dead, who is running it?

Meanwhile, a world famous scientist has contacted Mikael. The scientist has made a breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence – a development that will allow machines to think and become more than humans could aspire to be, and is now afraid for his life.  This scientist has encountered Salander when previous research was hacked and stolen.  That link piques Mikael’s interest, and then, the scientist is murdered by none other than the Spider’s Web.  

The only witness is his young severely autistic son.  Lisbeth and Mikael join forces to protect the boy, solve the murder, and get to the heart of Spider’s Web.  All the while, the N.S.A of America is after Salander, because she hacked their supposedly unhackable system.

An excellent read, which has done complete justice to the prior books.  I hope that Lagercrantz continues on with the series, as I don’t want that to be my last experience with this fabulous duo!



Forgotten words

Recently, the words “hashtag,” “selfie” and “tweep” were among 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, proof of how our culture continues to expand our communication.  The Oxford word of the year, isn’t even a word!

forgotten wordsStill, some old words deserve a bit more love. As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language’s most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words, Wayne State University has released its annual list of top 10 words that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.

If you agree, obambulate to the library and get some language books or dictionaries out – expand your vocabulary!  But if you think I’m talking flapdoodle, don’t bother.


Word Warrior’s Top 10 words to be revived for 2015:

Caterwaul: A shrill howling or wailing noise.

Concinnity: The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.

Flapdoodle: Nonsense.

Knavery: A roguish or mischievous act.

Melange: A mixture of different things.

Obambulate: To walk about.

Opsimath: A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

Philistine: A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.

Rapscallion: A mischievous person.
April Fools’ Day was better than Christmas for the young rapscallion.

Subtopia: Monotonous urban sprawl of standardised buildings.

(Source: Word Warrior’s 2015 Top 10)


Join author Helen Waaka

Poster - Tararua District Library - Book Launch Dannevirke Library - Helen Waaka jpegHelen Waaka is launching her new book ‘Waitapu’ at Dannevirke Library on Thursday 19 November 2015, at 5.30pm.

Entry is free, but RSVP would be appreciated by phone, in person or email to


2015 Children’s Summer Reading Programmes

summer reading;jpgMonday 9 November 2015, registrations open for the iRead and Summer Reading Programme for Tararua District resident children.   The programmes both run from 7 December 2015 to 22 January 2016, but you can book in to participate now – a good idea as places are limited!

These programmes encourage kids to continue reading over the long summer holidays, and improve their communication and confidence, as well as enjoying visits from professional storytellers and entertainers, thanks to the Eastern and Central Community Trust, who fund it.

What is iRead about?   (Year 7 & 8)

  • If you are in Year 7 or 8 at school, or homeschooled and aged 11-13, then you can put your name down for this programme (or your parent/caregiver can) in person or by telephone.
  • Once the programme starts, you have to read Tararua District library books then write a written report about it in the booklet we give you, which is assessed by library staff or volunteers.
  • After every three reports, you can choose a free book to keep, up to a maximum of four free books.
  • At the end of the programme, each person who has completed at least three reports, will receive a certificate and free book.

What is Summer Reading Programme (SRP) about?  (age 2 – 10)

  • For children aged two to Year 6 at school.
  • Parents or caregivers may book in for their child to do this programme (children may not register themselves).
  • The child reads, or their caregiver reads to them, Tararua District Library books.
  • Then the child visits the library to “report-in” to library staff or volunteers, which is giving a brief spoken summary of the story – our expectations cater to the childs age of course.
  • Children may do one report-in at a time, and up to two in any one week. For example, you can do one report-in on Tuesday and another on Wednesday.
  • Rural children may do written reports by email, if they cannot visit the library.
  • After each report-in, the child is given a small incentive gift.
  • Four report-in’s are required to complete the programme, but children can do a fifth bonus one if they wish.
  • At the end of the programme, a Finale party is held where children who have completed, receive a certificate and free book.
  • If you are going out of town, you can register here but do the report-in’s at other libraries that are participating in SRP.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of our librarians, or email 2015

iRead 2015


The battle for Afghanistan

Whoa, what a story!  “Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan” is the true story of grand conceit and chicanery under the British Government and its corporate puppy, the British East India Company, in late 1830s British Colonial India.  The first British War for Afghanistan, 1839-42, was a military disaster so terrible and so disgraceful it makes Custer’s Last Stand look mild. 

The author, William Dalrymple, is a British historian specialising in Colonial Asia. He has an easy completely modern writing style, but is skilled enough to give depth, context and analysis and never lose the thrill and momentum of his tragic narrative. He gives life to the people who made the decisions, their delusions and failings and the impossible situations that engulfed them. We hear of men and women who knew the truth in advance but were ignored and could only watch the horror ignite. 

afghan womanAnd to think that this was the culture of British military government at the very time that colonial New Zealand was also being maneuvered toward the Treaty of Waitangi at the instigation of naval Captain William Hobson.  Oh, they were very good! 

The book includes many beautiful portraits and artists’ impressions of crucial people and events. Of course, there was no photography at this time to give us any actual views, which is probably a blessing.  There is a rather long introduction covering all the leading actors in the conflict which is a little off-putting to wade through initially. But Dalrymple is thorough and the material is valuable to help the reader clarify the intricacies of the story to come.  

 So, if you want a window on the anatomy of incompetent administrations and their ugly consequences, on the helplessness of the common soldier or political agent, on the bloodthirsty militarism of post Napoleonic Europe and on the proud but vengeful culture of Afghanistan and central Asia in those old, though not so long ago, days of international Empire building at the point of a bayonet, read this account and weep.

 Thankyou Mr Dalrymple, lest we should ever forget.   


Julian McKean


Would you like to work in our library?

Would you like to join the team at Dannevirke Library as a library assistant!  Full details and how to apply are online at Tararua District Council.  Applications close 30 October 2015.

Here’s an idea of what to expect. The modern public library is a community hub. Here, you’ll find people of all ages and from all backgrounds, demographics, and socio-economic situations. If you’re not fond of human interaction and noise, then this probably isn’t the job for you!

library assistantHowever, if you’re fond of collaboration, community, and making a difference in the lives of everyday people, then this just might be your dream job.




Modern librarians need the following skills to do their job effectively:

•technologically informed
•confident communicators
•adaptable and open to constant change
•dedicated to professionalism
•committed to lifelong learning

Read more about the library life at


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