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What would you do if lost in the Amazon?

Imagine you are an 11-12 year-old boy sent to South America to convalesce.  You board a small plane to travel to a nearby city from where you will travel back to England. With you are two girls, a five year old boy and a pilot. The plane takes off and soars over the Amazon jungle. It does not remain airborne for long!

Four children lost in the Amazon. The oldest boy has learnt basic survival skills from books he has read about brave explorers. One of the girls knows a lot about plants and animals. But they are still only children. How will they survive? And they are not alone!

‘The Explorer” by Katherine Rundell is exciting from the very first chapter. The characters are very real and, as a reader, you want them to survive – intact. You feel their emotions and struggles and above all – their inner strength.  It’s also the winner of the 2017 Costa Children’s Book Awards. Highly recommended for children aged 10-12 years.




Libraries opening late Thursday 22 February 2018

All our libraries will be closed for an all staff meeting on Thursday, 22 February 2018 during the hours as follows:

Dannevirke Library 9am to 11am: OPEN FROM 11am

Pahiatua Library 9am to 11:30am: OPEN FROM 11.30am

Woodville Service Centre & Library 9am to 1pm: OPEN FROM 1pm

Eketahuna Service Centre & Library 10:30am to 1:30pm: OPEN FROM 1.30pm


For assistance involving Council services during these times, please call 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 to connect you to our after-hours service. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

New Zealand History Collection from Bridget Williams Books

We’re excited to announce a new Bridget Williams Books project! ‘Stories from Tangata Whenua’ provides libraries with short, lively pathways into Māori history. Coming soon!

Historian Melissa Matutina Williams and researcher Kerryn Pollock have developed 50 of these stories, based on the multi-award-winning publication Tangata Whenua by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Aroha Harris. Five of these stories were featured on the Radio New Zealand website in the week of Waitangi Day — you can read a sample here.

All 50 will soon be available through the New Zealand History Collection. The stories, delivered as short PDFs, provide highly accessible entry points into the rich historical narratives contained within Tangata Whenua and across the wider Collection.  Stories include:

  • ‘The Children of Parikaha’. On the 1881 government invasion of Parihaka from the perspective of children.
  • ‘Akenehi Hei’s Nursing Advice’. On the first Māori nurse and her struggles and achievements.
  • ‘Te Unga Waka: A Place to Call our Own’. On the Catholic marae opened in Epsom in 1966.
  • ‘Wearing it in Māori Style’. On the adoption of European clothing.

Also coming soon to the New Zealand History Collection is the long out-of-print The People and The Land / Te Tangata me Te Whenua: An Illustrated History of New Zealand, 1820–1920 by Judith Binney, Judith Bassett and Erik Olssen. This landmark reference work is another valuable addition to this indispensable Collection.

  • Provided by Bridget Williams Collection


BWB Collection  How to access the BWB collection?  Either click on the links below OR from our homepage see Tararua Online Resources, scroll down to find the links.

The Bridget Williams digital collection  (links below) is for people interested in all things New Zealand, like the Treaty of Waitangi, and other history.  It’s available at home (click the link, then login using your library membership number and usual passcode) or on our free APNK public computers, or wi-fi within our libraries, whether or not you are a member.  It is a resource that we purchase for your use.

Monsters in South Korea

Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, is about a young woman who screws up her long-term relationship because she can’t stop drinking. Her boyfriend kicks her out, and she has nowhere to go except her hometown, where she stays in an empty house her parents still own.  She bumps into an old school friend, and he kindly gives her a job at his bar. Of course, that doesn’t help much … sure, she can now afford a mattress but she stays behind after work drinking all night with her old school buddies. In the morning, she always staggers home through the local playground.

Her old school friend takes pity on her, and furnishes her place with some old furniture and a TV. Catching up on the news, she discovers that a huge monster has been appearing out of thin air on the other side of the world in South Korea.  It wreaks havoc on the city, and then vanishes.  The world is in turmoil.  Eventually, she realises that the monster is connected to her through the local playground … I won’t tell you how … and that she can influence it’s behaviour for better or worse.

When she shares this amazing news with her buddies, one of them discovers that if he also goes into the playground, a different monster appears. His own monster avatar, if you will.  The problem is, ‘her’ monster is trying to reduce its destruction but he enjoys creating mayhem and chaos. Especially he realises he can also control her, if he threatens to unleash his monster on the Koreans….unless she agrees to certain conditions. Finally she remembers that he wasn’t her friend, but a bully, at school.

 What starts out as a simple light monster/romance movie, actually turns into a drama about growing up, the choices we make, and  taking responsibility. A movie that sticks in your mind long after it’s ended.



Time and tide: the story of the Pelorus mail boat

This superb book by Lorain Day is worth having for the colour plates alone. It is a history of the mail boats operating out of Havelock South, and depicts life in the many bays and coves of Pelorus, Kenepuru and Mahau Sounds, with just a little connection of Totaranui – Queen Charlotte Sound.

The writing is very professional and in my opinion, most accurate. The author has captured the sounds so well. The descriptions and the fish, sea mammals and birds of the area are truly an eye opener.

Page 82 describes life at Whakatahuri: “I recall seeing six coastal decommissioned ships moored awaiting demolition prior to being sent to Japan as scrap (coming back as Toyotas, etc.). It was quite a place, up on the slip-way was the “Matamgi” formerly the ferry between Wellington and Nelson. I boarded this ghost ship and also the moored “Totara”, quite a bitter-sweet experience. To visit the Wells’ family homes was unusual – when the original home began to deteriorate they just built another shell over the house, and you went through two doors to get inside! But eh launches built at Whakatahuri were the best in the world.”

I love this book, it’s a great read not to be missed.

Karen M


Sawbones : soldiers, Indians, and a fugitive Doctor

‘Sawbones’ is the first in a series, and it’s a western with a difference by Melissa Lenhardt and I found it quite simply fantastic.  It follows the story of Catherine Bennett, a qualified Doctor who is struggling to be accepted as equal to the male doctors in New York. One evening she is returning from a visit to the Resurrection Man, when she is set upon. She is rescued by a passing friend, James, who has been searching for her as it seems she is a murder suspect.  One of her patients has accused her of murdering her husband, in a fit of rage when he ceases their affair. Of course, Catherine did no such thing but these people are wealthy, connected, and she cannot reveal her alibi, as autopsies are considered equally as vile.

There is only one thing to do. Run. With the help of some patients, she heads West with her maid, planning to set up her shingle far away. James arranges for her to “die” by identifying a corpse found in the river as hers. Unfortunately, she is seen by a travelling patient so the ruse is ruined. In desperation, she takes a wagon train to the wild frontier where a new town is to be established. During the journey, they are attacked by Indians and the whole train is massacred, except her, and her young apprentice Anna, who is kidnapped by Indians.

US Army Captain Kindle and his men soon arrive, and give chase, but to no avail. Instead, Kindle is injured and Catherine (now known as Laura Elliston) is forced to operate in the field to save his life. His men are in awe of her skill, and when they arrive back at the Fort, she is promptly installed as the Fort doctor.  While nursing Kindle, Laura and he fall in love, and he promises to leave the army and go with her wherever she feels safe.  While planning this, Kindle’s brother contrives to capture Laura – she is to be the bait to bring his brother running, so he can revenge their Father’s death on him.

Highly recommended, a real page turner which will appeal to both men and women, and to those who like westerns, mysteries, adventures and romance.  Followed by ‘Blood Oath’ and ‘Badlands’.



Children’s and Teens summer reading programmes : The End is here!

Today, 12 January 2018, is the final day for report-ins for the ‘Wild About Reading’ and ‘iRead’ programmes.

Wild About Reading – participants need to have completed 4 reports to achieve invitation to our finale/certificate/prize.

iRead – participants need to have completed 3 written reports to be invited to our finale auction.


Read to Win for our High School members, ends on 19 January.  You have until then to amass as many auction vouchers as possible. The online auction will be the following week, and you will be invited to accept the invitation to the private online group event so check your messages.  Each item will be up for auction for 5 minutes, one after another. Like an ordinary auction, the highest (voucher) bid wins.


Starting over in Thunder Creek

‘You’ll think of me’ by Robin Lee Hatcher follows Brooklyn Myers, a 28 year old girl and her 10 year old daughter Alicia. Brooklyn and Alicia return to Brooklyn’s hometown of Thunder Creek, Idaho, upon finding out that her estranged husband Chad has died, and left them his old family home. Yet Thunder Creek does not hold many happy memories for Brooklyn as she had a tough childhood with an absent father.

Then there is Derek Johnson who is now Brooklyn’s neighbour and happens to be her deceased husband’s high school best friend. He had always planned on one day purchasing Chad’s old family home and then 10 acres that surrounded it. But now that Brooklyn owns it, things become complicated. But he is intrigued by Brooklyn and their friendship starts to develop.

This story follows the budding relationships between Derek, Brooklyn and Alicia and the challenges that they all have to face living in Thunder Creek. Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christian author, and although I personally am not religious, I found the story quite moving. She has a way of creating quite heart-warming stories of faith, courage and love.

I really enjoyed reading this and found that I could hardly put it down. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book about love, trust and over-coming challenges.


Alanna Barkle



Sale time!

Children’s Entertainment : what’s on January 2018

Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones are visiting us again. Mix in some fairytales, a bit of pantomime, slightly wicked songs, throw in costumes and some child helpers, and you have fun interactive storytelling, music and laughter for all the family. Designed for children 3 to 10 years, but all welcome.


Little Dog Barking Theatre Company are also returning with their puppet shows.


When humans return to Earth…

The 100 by Kass Morgan is about 100 convicted teenagers being sent down to earth. The teens are being monitored to see if earth is inhabitable after a nuclear war that sent thousands of humans up to space in a space ship. But as the teenagers are landing, the shuttle they are on crashes, causing all contact to be lost. As the teenagers are left to fend for themselves in this new and dangerous world, rivals for leadership causes rifts in the group.

I found this book interesting as I feel it portrays what would happen if we were found in a situation such as this. I would recommend this for anyone, possibly teenagers and above.


(NOTE: The series continues, and has also been made into a television series.  Highly recommended for 13+.  Natalie)

Customer Services Librarian job vacancy

Waiting at checkout

Would you like to work for Tararua District Council?  Now’s your chance!  A part-time position is available.  Follow the link to read the application process, find the application form and job description.

Applications close 12 January 2018.

Please note the process is managed by the Human Resources Manager at council, not the library itself so follow-up inquiries regarding applications should be made to HR.

Are you suited to work in a library?

If you were a witch…

“The witchfinder’s sister” is Beth Underdowns’ debut novel based on the actual life of 1640s witch finder, Mathew Hopkins, as narrated by his fictional sister, Alice.

When Alice’s father is widowed, he quickly remarries as he has three sons and a daughter that need care.  His second wife has a son, but unfortunately, shortly after birth Mathew is burned in a fire. Scarred for life, he is a reticent child whose only friend is Alice as the three older sons have moved away.  Alice soon marries and moves to London, leaving Mathew to care for their mother, whose wits are addled.  Some years later, Alice is forced to return home when her husband is killed and she is with child – Mathew has inherited the family home on his mother’s death, and as the head of the household, now has authority over Alice.

In the intervening years, Mathew has changed a lot and Alice discovers he is now a feared witch finder. He has developed a method for identifying witches – such as refusing women sleep, tying them in uncomfortable positions for hours on end etc – which are effective at encouraging the women to confess their connections with familiars and the Devil.  Soon he forces Alice to be his assistant, examining the women for “marks” and supervising them during their, well, torture.  Alice doesn’t want to participate but she has little choice, being dependent on him for house and board.

As the story develops, the extent of Mathews ‘madness’ is gradually exposed until Alice is left in a very dangerous position that eventually puts her life in danger.  There is only one way out ….

This novel, based in fact and on “A confirmation of witchcraft and discovery” by John Stearne, gallops along at a steady pace, sprinkled with sufficient chilling incidents to put the reader on edge. The character development is very well done, and I definitely felt for Alice.

Those who like historical fiction, or are interested in paranormal events, will enjoy this book I think, as I did.  



ReAD to Win

Our ReAD to WIN Programme for High School students

Register from 4 December 2017

Teens! Now is your chance to win free stuff.  All you have to do is read library books to earn LIBcoins. There will be online challenges along the way to earn further LIBcoins.
The more you earn, the more you can spend at our online auction in January 2018.

For further details search @TararuaReadToWin on Facebook
#readtowin #dothemahigetthetreats


ReAD to WIN these prizes!



Share the love … from one pantry to another

‘Tis the season for giving… Tararua District Library is a collection point for local food banks during December 2017.

Pop into your local library with non-perishable food item donations, and give your community a helping hand (e.g. tinned vegetables, cereals, and other items).

Foods collected will be distributed as follows:

  • Dannevirke Library: Salvation Army Foodbank
  • Pahiatua Library: Pahiatua Help-n-Hand
  • Woodville Library & Service Centre: Woodville Pantry
  • Eketahuna Library & Service Centre: Eketahuna Foodbank