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2022 Poetry Competition Entry: Spring Veggie Gardener

Spring Veggie Gardener

Early spring, she impatiently waited
It had rained for months upon end
She sat inside and fidgeted
It was driving her round the bend

The ground was too wet to dig
But the weeds continued to grow
Wind had blown away the trellis
The lawn badly needed a mow

Anticipating a change in the weather
She rushed out and spent up on seed
Buying packets of every kind possible
You never knew what you might need

After being stuck inside all winter
She couldn't resist the gardening urge
New gloves and gadgets galore
Were added to her costly splurge

She used pricey seed growing mix
To increase her chances of success
It was a fiddly job to plant them all
She made a helluva mess

The trays were put on windowsills
Tiny seedlings in rows of green
She had sprouted two dozen kale
But only one tomato could be seen

(How she detested kale!
She just couldn't stand the taste
But she would still plant them all
She couldn't let them go to waste)

The day came when there was at last
A pale and watery sun
It was still cold and wet and muddy
But close enough! Planting was done

Amongst the incessant showers
In raincoat, hat, and gumboots
Tender plants were pressed in firmly
Fingers crossed that they'd take root

And now the real challenge began
Of slugs, snails, and all bugs infernal
But it seems for the spring veggie gardener
That hope always springs eternal!

© Julie Draper

2022 Poetry Competition Entry: At Last I Am

© Saraja

2022 Poetry Competition Entry : The King and Queen of Quarantine

The King and Queen of Quarantine: Auckland Bubble 2020

In my bubble there won't be trouble.
Need a plan Ashley's the man.
Unshockable unshakable the earnest Director,
PHD - drama free. 1pm's a cup of tea.
Confirmed cases, pulse races.
General Bloomfield's got it sealed,
He's the balm that keeps me calm.
He side-stepped middle-aged spread,
Basic facts.... enough said.

Scientist Siouxie knows her stuff,
Keeps us on track when things get rough.
Soap and sink make it shrink.
Made us think.... opened our eyes,
She tells us no lies, to Covid's disguise.
Was it a dare, that vibrant hair?
Science ain't boring,
Got us talking.
Got our attention.... And relieved the tension.

Quarantining is really fun,
On the balcony in the sun.
Rapunzel didn't touch her face,
Social distancing, plenty of space.
Twenty years - she grew her hair,
Met her future husband there.
Singing baking reading thinking,
From that village of Corona....
Happy ending - not a loner.

'Happy Birthday,' sing-to-hands-each-day,
One week till the start of May....
Five hours till our Bloomfield fix,
Ashley is our perfect mix....
Eleven hours till the nightly clap,
Now it's time to write a rap....
Online search for N95, 
99% protection - To stay alive....
Eight days wait - for grocery slot,
Means you'd better buy a lot!

Alert level four,
Can walk to the door,
There is no lock...Sanctioned exercise around the block.
Curb crawling passers by, 
Out of corner of my eye.
Was that a cough, or just a sigh.......
A sneeze or a horror tease?
Assessment: 'Potential as a disease carrier?'
Keeping length of bed - two metre barrier.

Eliminate/ eradicate, we've got hope.
Supply chain loo roll - loads of soap.
Time moves as if in slow motion,
Immunise and find a potion.
Ahead of the curve, on top of a cluster,
Still no cure but hope we can muster....

Quarantine to set me free - Hand sanitise and immunise me.
Make me swoon.... and keep me immune,
Twelve months for sure and we'll have a cure.... 

No hesitation - I want vaccination!

© Sofia Grace Kennedy

NZ Director of Heath, Ashley Bloomfield
Siouxsie Wiles MNZM. microbiologist.

2022 Poetry Competition Entry: Hearts Destruction

Hearts destruction

let these words make you brave
in your hearts destruction
hold the flame that is your light
in your hands adore it
through the doors you must go
guided by your second sight
it’s the pain you had to feel
for your joys to smile
for the love within you is still
loving every day

Let the ones waiting there
just for you forever
welcome home a long lost soul
another weary traveler
through the halls you must go
with their wonders shining
all your life's hopes and dreams
now consume the fire
for the love with in you is still
burning every day

so I won't say goodbye

© D J Nelson

Dedicated to the families and victims of tragedy, disasters, and war

2022 Poetry Competition Entry: Piles of Weeds, Briars, and Stones

Piles of Weeds, Briars, and Stones

Grass has grown in patches
Where it was footed a month ago.
Banks of bog lay idle where once worked 
A generation before.

Spruce trees stand guard on one 

Sheltering a southerly wind.

Crumpled dwelling remains:
Diurnal round of
Stone, briar, weeds, 
Piled in a heap.

Mother and her five children
Died by fire, here, 1961 

Ne'er another dwelling,
As far as eye can see.

A vegetable patch is
Still tended.

Hedges trimmed:
Shaped like Mother and child.
Ghosts of yesterday’s bygones.

There’s life in them drills 
Potatoes are growing well, in

Black soil like gold to be

Six painted sticks, depict
A rope tied, defines
Boundary and sanctorum.

A small wooden bridge 
Over minty green frog spawn,

Where a little gate stands ajar.

Children once
Played, laughed, and cried, as

Mother cooked dinner over
Turf fire, 
Plumes of smoke pillowed in
Lean times.

© Tom Boggins

Libraries Tararua – Cut up poetry event 2022

Celebrate National Poetry Day at your local library by creating your own cut-up poem/s. 

Take words from magazines (provided) and re-hash them to make your own unique poem.  Everyone welcome.  Morning tea provided. 

This event is free to all, and no registration is required.  Just turn up on the day!

Date/Times: 26 August 2022, 11.00am at

Dannevirke Library, 1 Station Street, Dannevirke NZ

Woodville Library, 45 Vogel Street, Woodville NZ

Pahiatua Library, 167 Main Street, Pahiatua NZ

Ekētahuna Library, 31 Main Street, Ekētahuna NZ

Further information contact: library@tararualibrary


Libraries Tararua – Pass it on poetry 2022

Come along to your local Library and have fun creating unique poems in collaboration with others! 

The first line of the poems will be provided (or you can come up with your own).  The poems will be passed around, each person adding a new line until the starting poem comes back to you for the final line.  You have now helped create a brand new collaborative poem!

Everyone welcome. Light refreshments provided.  This event is free, and no registration is required.  Just turn up on the day!

Date/Times: 25 August 2021, 2.30pm at:

Dannevirke Library, 1 Station Street, Dannevirke NZ

Woodville Library, 45 Vogel Street, Woodville NZ

Pahiatua Library, 167 Main Street, Pahiatua NZ

Further information contact:

Follow: Libraries Tararua on Facebook or What’s On at


Libraries Tararua Open Mic Poetry Evening 2022

Please join us for an evening of poetry on the open microphone.  Bring along some poetry to recite – either your own, or your favourite poets, or both – or you can just enjoy the entertainment.  Light refreshments provided. 

Who? Adults only

Cost? Free

Date/Times: Wednesday 24 August 2022, 6.30pm-8pm

Location:  Ekētahuna Library, 31 Main Street, Ekētahuna

Please register for catering purposes:

Contact: or call Ekētahuna Library 06 376 0114 weekdays 10.30am to 4.30pm OR use Eventfinda


Poetry Competition 2022 – Rules

From 25 July to 19 August 2022, Libraries Tararua is celebrating National Poetry Day with our annual Poetry Competition.

Win the prize!  Get the glory!  You might even become famous like Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman reciting her poetry at the last USA Presidential Inauguration

Need some tips?  Learn about writing poetry here or you can be a manly poet or a slam poet, or check out some of our many poetry books.

Entry rules:

  1. Open to all New Zealand residents aged 16 years and over (employees of Libraries Tararua are not eligible to enter)
  2. Entries must be accompanied by the name, age, address and phone/email of the entrant.
  3. All entries must be in English. Email to or hand in at any branch of Libraries Tararua.  If emailed, poem/s can be in the body of the email or attached as a Microsoft Word or Publisher document. Handwritten entries will be accepted, however, they must be legibly printed.
  4. Maximum of two entries per person ; at least one poem will be published online, selected by us.
  5. All poems are to be an original creation of the entrant, and previously unpublished.
  6. By entering, you grant Libraries Tararua exclusive royalty-free and irrevocable license to copy, store, distribute and publish your submitted poem/s.
  7. No late entries will be accepted. Entries close 4pm on Friday 19 August 2022.
  8. There will be one prize, for the best poem, as selected by the judge, Dr. Chris Gallavin, member of The Rouseabouts and a poetry performer. The judges decision is final.
  9. The winner will be announced on Friday 26 August 2022, on this blog and our Facebook page, and the prize posted to their address.

PS, if you search poems or poetry in the blog search bar, you’ll find the wonderful entries from previous years to get your creative juices flowing. 

July School Holidays 2022 – Colouring Competition & Winners

When it’s rainy weather, what better activity than artwork! Entries are due back by 5pm Friday 22 July 2022. Mystery prize for the winner of each age group. Entries will be judged by staff members and the winning entries featured online. No entries will be returned sorry.

Download the PDF for your age group and print (choose flip on long edge, double sided). Click on the ellipsis (three dots …) to find print options. You can physically drop in a copy to your local Tararua library or scan/email it to library@tararualibrary

Congratulations to our winners:

              Under 5                    Age 5-6                Age 7-9                      Age 10-12

Dvk        Khadija Ahsan        Khalid Ahsan       Alyssa McNeur        Meadow Pickett

Wdv       Indie Coley             Layla Coley          William Peach          Saydie Ngametua-Smith

Pah        Charlotte Hodder   Brodie Aitken     Amelia Fouhy           Charlotte Fouhy

Dannevirke Winner – Meadow Pickett
Pahiatua Winner – Charlotte Fouhy
Woodville Winner – Saydie Ngametua-Smith
Dannevirke Winner – Alyssa McNeur
Pahiatua Winner – Amelia Fouhy
Woodville Winner – William Peach
Dannevirke Winner – Khalid Ahsan
Pahiatua Winner – Brodie Aitken
Woodville Winner – Layla Coley
Dannevirke Library Winner – Khadija Ahsan
Pahiatua Library Winner – Charlotte Hodder
Woodville Winner – Indie Coley

Review: The Mitford murders / Jessica Fellowes (2017)

The first in a series, this historical mystery novel is set in 1919. Young Louise Cannon lives a life of poverty, helping her ailing laundress mother. Her father has died and his brother, Uncle Stephen, has moved in. He is a letch, drunk and gambler, and neither Louise nor her mother can wait to be rid of him. Unfortunately, Uncle Stephen kidnaps Louise to use her to “pay off” his gambling debts. Summoning all her courage, she manages to escape and lands a job as junior Nanny for the Mitford’s at Asthall Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Surely her Uncle will not find her there! 

There are six girls and one boy in the family, and the oldest girl, Nancy, is a budding detective. She soon engages Louise in her investigation of the mysterious death of an ex-Army nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore, who was found murdered in a train carriage.

Everything is going swimmingly for Louise, particularly when she attracts the romantic attentions of a young police Constable. But then her Uncle finds her. She is left with little choice but to accept the help of someone she’s sure is an out-and-out scoundrel to encourage her Uncle to leave her alone.

I found this novel very interesting, not only because it was a jolly good mystery but because it was written in that lovely old English style. In addition, Florence Shore was a real person, who was really murdered. The crime was never solved either (except in this novel).  What’s more, the Mitford family were real people too – most of the sisters gained a certain level of notoriety.

The real Nancy Mitford

If you like Anne Perry, Carola Dunn,  the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, or the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley, you will probably like this also.

Followed by a further four novels, to date.


Review: Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley 

I love that indigenous authors are coming more to the fore in Young Adult fiction. In 2021, I read two wonderful novels by Native Americans and this thriller was one of them.

The story is set in Sault Sainte Marie in Michigan, USA. Right up on the border with Canada. In fact, the city is split by the border and by the St Mary’s river that flows through it. Much of the action is set on Sugar Island, the Native Reservation.

Daunis Fontaine is the 18 year old daughter of a white mother and an Ojibwe father who witnesses her best friend’s murder. She’s pulled into an FBI murder investigation and begins to question a lot of what has been going on around her and her community, and how she finds her place as a young woman of mixed race.

What I got out of this book was the similarities between Ojibwe and Māori. It’s to do with indigenous belief – spirituality and connection to nature. There’s also the clash of cultures – well, of course there is, but there’s this bit where they’re trying to promote immunization – mumps, measles, that kind of thing – so someone has ordered 300 T-shirts that treads “Be Wise Immunize” with an owl on them… but in Ojibwe culture an owl is a spirit guide to the next world – when you die – so not what you’d want to wear! It’s the sort of thing that happens here all the time! People don’t do their research and end up doing something dumb (I’m looking at you Weta).

Also, the reservation is totally undeveloped. Just some dusty roads and lots and lots of bush. It is such a wilderness right next to the big city of Sault Sainte Marie. If it wasn’t Native land those lovely little coves and beaches would be totally built out.

The plot tackled the all-pervasive issue of Meth – and that too is something familiar to our small communities.

Read this book for its window into another indigenous culture – see the similarities and look for differences in their relationships with white people compared with the way Māori interact with Pākeha (and vice versa!)

And keep an eye out for The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline in eBook format and on audio.


Review: The librarian: a memoir / Allie Morgan (2021)

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a (public) librarian, this memoir will give you a good idea.

Allie Morgan was an accomplished executive, before she had a break-down and became suicidal. Her first foray back into the workforce afterwards was as a part-time library assistant in a small Scottish town.  Unfortunately for her, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience – it can be dangerous working sole-charge in some places!

Fortunately, when she quit, her boss persuaded her to transfer to another branch instead.  It was like night and day.  When she realized that that branch was in danger of closing due to falling footfall (as most councils gauge a libraries worth on how many people enter the doors, instead of what the public get out of the service), she began a stealthy campaign to increase its popularity.  Soon she was joined by several other staff members, who employed guerrilla tactics to get around the strict rules and regulations of the manager, who appeared to enjoy having a very quiet and diminished library. Eventually it all came to a head, and there was all out war between the two factions.

I’m not going to tell you who “won” or what happened to the branch, but I will tell you that this author shares some very insightful observations. Here are a few quotes I found especially poignant:

“ this hyper-capitalist society, spending time helping someone is seen as foolish and wasteful.  It’s all about numbers [and production]. Libraries aren’t free. You have already paid for them in your taxes. We shouldn’t have to be profitable because you have already paid us!”

“A library is incompatible with capitalism. Its core function is incompatible with a drive for profit and efficiency. Ultimately, libraries require money from those who need them least, to help those who need them most.”

“The day when libraries are no longer needed, is the same day that every person can access every story, every reference and every form of education for free. Until that far-off day, libraries exist to even the playing field. They are the repository and dispensary of a community’s knowledge…as necessary as air.”

Interspersed between the library antics and anecdotes, Allie touches on a few aspects of her life, particularly her struggle with mental health. Morgan writes very well, in a very easy and personable style. She manages to instill the magic of libraries between the pages of her story, and hopefully encourage budding librarians out there.  Highly recommended.


Review : The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (read by Will Patton)

Sometimes you try an audio book, and the reader is just really wrong. I’ve had to ditch several books because I couldn’t stand to listen to a voice that didn’t fit the setting – or the country!  I mean – an American reading Pride and Prejudice? Absolutely not!

The Raven Boys is the first book in The Raven Cycle series of 4. The others are The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; and The Raven king. I listened to them during the first lockdown when the weather was so amazing and I just walked and wandered by myself, lost in the world that Maggie Stiefvater has built.So, the story. The story is about this one guy Gansey’s obsession with the burial place of a Welsh king. You have to get over the fact that he’s been buried in America – just go with it. It’s all about finding leylines and delving into Celtic folklore and imaginary places and just enough Latin to make you want to look it up.  Richard Gansey III is super rich. He attends Aglionby Academy with his 3 mates Adam Parrish, Noah Czerny and Ronan Lynch.  The Raven Boys is the first book in The Raven Cycle series of 4. The others are The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; and The Raven king. I listened to them during the first lockdown when the weather was so amazing and I just walked and wandered by myself, lost in the world that Maggie Stiefvater has built.

The story is about this one guy Gansey’s obsession with the burial place of a Welsh king. You have to get over the fact that he’s been buried in America – just go with it. It’s all about finding leylines and delving into Celtic folklore and imaginary places and just enough Latin to make you want to look it up.  Richard Gansey III is super rich. He attends Aglionby Academy with his 3 mates Adam Parrish, Noah Czerny and Ronan Lynch.  

Adam is dirt poor with an abusive father. Noah is “smudgy”. Ronan Lynch is fascinating. He’s Irish. Dark and moody, rude, has no respect and is thoroughly attractive. He also has the ability to bring things out of his dreams. They live together in a super cool old warehouse that Gansey owns.

And then there’s Blue. Blue lives with a bunch of women who are all psychics – seers and fortune tellers and mystics. The women all live in a big communal house and Blue is the daughter/niece of them all. She doesn’t have any special talent except that she strengthens the abilities of the others. Blue has this knowledge hanging over her. She knows (because of her mother’s talents) that if she kisses her true love, he will die.

The book opens with Blue assisting one of her aunts. They are watching on the Corpse Road – which is on a leyline – as the spirits of those townsfolk who will die in the next year file past.  One is a teenage boy who introduces himself only as Gansey …..

So to the reading. Will Patton’s voice at first grated a bit – he’s all gravelly and mean, but as you get used to is it really suits the story. He has a different voice for each character and puts so much feeling into them, it makes it so much more interesting than just having someone read straight off the page. He reads all four books, so he takes those voices through them all and you get to know the characters even better through that familiarity of voice.

You can hear Maggie Stiefvater talking about the series here. I loved this series so much I bought my own set of paperbacks.


February 2022 Sale!

Deselected stock, unwanted donations, all have to go to make room for new items!

Prices range from 20c to $1. Cash or Eftpos (no credit). Please bring your own bags.

Sale runs all of February or while stocks last ; sale tables refreshed as space allows.