Vaiaso o le gagana Samoa 28 Me – 3 Iuni 2017

Talofa lava! Beginning Sunday 28 May is Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa, Samoan language week. The theme for this year is “Ma’au i lou ofaga. Maua’a lou fa’asinomaga” – “Keep your identity alive to thrive.”

 Samoan culture is huge here in New Zealand – in fact, Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand after English and Te reo Māori.

Ministry for Pacific Peoples has some great proverbs for all of us including:

 E iloa ‘oe i lau gaganaYour language speaks volumes of you

 A malu i fale, e malu i fafoRespect yourself and others will too

 At Ara, we are celebrating Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa with a number of events:

 ·       Monday 29 May     

§  Official opening in the City Atrium, including Samoan food and performances, 12:10pm

§  Quiz night in the City C Block Lounge, 6-8pm (5.30pm doors)

·       Tuesday 30 May

§  Cultural Craft making Ula Lole in the Madras library, 12-1pm

§  Cultural Craft making Ula Lole in the Woolston library, 12-1pm

·       Wednesday 31 May

§  Cultural Craft making Ula Lole in the Timaru library, all day event

§  Social Volleyball, Sports Court W133, 12-1pm

§  Movie Night watching Three Wise Cousins, C Block Lounge, 6pm

 A big thank you to our Samoan students who are leading these events.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

“Ia soifua ma ia manuia.”

A key to success


Being able to competently use a computer, and a variety of software, is no longer just the domain of computer ‘geeks’. Almost every job out there now requires some level of IT skill – and having better skills is one way you can set yourself apart from the competition. These skills can also come in handy during your study, or in your free time – ever wanted to write your own blog, or design an app, or start your own business? is an online learning company that helps anyone learn about business, software, technology and creative skills. It has a vast video library of interesting courses taught by industry experts. There are over 3,500 courses and over 144,000 videos, which means that there is something for everyone to be found here. is very easy to use and offers tutorials on everything from game design, project management, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, cloud computing and so much more. access is available to staff and students through the Ara Library Databases page. You’ll need to sign in using your Ara username and password (the one you use for Moodle). If you have any trouble accessing, please contact the library.




International Day for Biodiversity 22nd May 2017

Today is International Day for Biodiversity and David Hawke (Academic tutor in Science at Ara) has kindly written a guest blog on this topic for us. 

The importance of biodiversity to sustainable development is recognised each year by an International Day for Biodiversity. This year, the theme is Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism.

Aotearoa – New Zealand’s biodiversity suffered greatly after both Polynesian then European settlement. One aspect was the loss of widespread populations of burrowing seabirds from both islands. There are only a very few populations left, and one of these occupies steep hill country near Punakaiki.

Many tourists visit the West Coast, and Punakaiki is one of their most popular stopping-off points. Westland petrels arrive at their breeding areas in April, and their young have all left by early December. Each year, the locals organise a “Return of the Westland petrels festival” on a local beach, and people can go visit a Westland petrel colony as part of a guided tour. Because the track to the colony runs along a steep hillside and the tours are closely supervised, it is impossible for people to wander off and disturb the birds. Just in case, the colony open to visitors holds only a tiny proportion of the total population.

The now-rare seabirds formerly deposited vast amounts of nutrients and trace elements. In my research, I have been investigating aspects of this activity. With our students, Professor Jon Harding (University of Canterbury) and I recently looked at how Westland petrels affect the selenium levels in soils, plants and stream biota. The potential role of these birds is shown in the graphic by Holly-Marie Amos, a Bachelor of Art and Design graduate. You can learn more about our study by looking at the audio Powerpoint at ; the link to the audio is on the right-hand side of the web page. You can access the full article using your Ara log-in.

New Zealand Music Month Considered: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

This weeks’ blog is brought to you courtesy of Bruce Russell, sound artist and musician, and Manager of Art and Design at Ara. Russell offers his view on New Zealand Music Month.

I may well be the worst person imaginable to ask to write about NZ Music Month. As someone who has devoted a large chunk of his life to promoting NZ music, I have always found the idea of having a month each year where we pay lip service to music from our own country more than a bit redundant and possibly a little patronising. I’ve always associated it with my distaste for film festivals. Why can’t we have good movies in cinemas all year round? Which month is a bad month for listening to NZ music? A decade ago such a view was seen as more than a little curmudgeonly (trust me, I know – because people have told me), though now I think the whole music month concept is more generally seen as past its use-by date. Perhaps that’s why this year NZ Music Month has an exciting theme – newness! As Music Commission Chief Executive Cath Andersen has apparently put it (according to the Commission’s own online press release): “This year the focus of NZ Music Month is music discovery – most people now have a favourite local artist, so we think May is the perfect time to try and find your new favourite New Zealand band.”

Leaving aside the bigger question – is 2017 really the year in which novelty is much on show in popular music anywhere on the globe – is 2017 really the year we should all espouse not one but two New Zealand Musical Artists? Mother of God – be still my beating heart! Excuse me if I find this aspiration less than inspiring. What other country so undervalues its own culture that a paid public servant should feel it is part of their mission to whip up the population’s enthusiasm to leap such a pathetically low bar: like arthritic sheep in a conspicuously retarded rodeo? Leaving that rhetorical question to hang – like strange fruit among the poplar trees – and putting to one side my impatience with the whole ‘Month Concept’, how (you are probably wondering) do I actually rate our music?

Being of a certain age (born in the year NZ got TV, sixteen in the year the world got the Sex Pistols, and 21 in the year Flying Nun records was “launched”) – I am firmly of the opinion that in the last three decades our popular music has been as good or better than any in the world. During the later 80s, and through to the Datsun’s global explosion of 2002, our rock music was the most critically influential per capita of any nation. The influence of NZ ‘post-punk’ was deeply felt in America and Europe from 1985 (the release of the first Flying Nun export compilation Tuatara) onwards. Yes, Split Enz may have been the gateway drug, but their influence was limited by their singularity. By the 1990s our music was being seen by many as a template in Australia, and its influence, though explicitly denied through effusions of post-colonial angst, was evident even in that most culturally resistant of markets: the UK.

Some of my assertions may be outlandish to those acquainted only with the official narrative, but the influence of our music and our musicians was globally established well before the creation of the NZ Music Commission in 2000, or the first NZ Music Month in 2001. Our artists were playing SXSW in Austin by the mid-90s, well before most people in our music industry even knew what it was. What was not well established was the NZ music industry, so the successes of the earlier period could only be attributed to the artists themselves, and a few under-capitalised and quite unprofessional labels. As such, they were not much heralded in NZ itself, by our ‘follow-the-leader’ media, which had consistently failed to see the real story unrolling from 1981 onwards. In a game where everything important is by definition the business of capital, it was in no one’s interest to trumpet achievements that were not, in any meaningful way, those of capital. But now this state of affairs has been comprehensively remedied by the public sanitisation of New Zealand music into ‘kiwi music’, made safe for the media (primarily radio), and safely stage-managed by our public servants at the Commission, the ones who think that 2017 is a good time for us all to have two favourite NZ artists.

So three cheers for newness, for state-authorised culture; but most of all for NZ Music Month, and all who sail with her. Better far too late than never.

Sign Language Week

sign_language_logo_for_web8th-14th of May is New Zealand Sign Language week. NZSL became an official language of New Zealand in 2006 and is the main language used by the NZ Deaf community.

NZSL is not only the use of hand movements but also includes body, mouth and facial movements to indicate meaning. Each region also has its own NZSL variations, just like regional accents.

Want a sneak peek? Check out this video from Deaf Aotearoa. For the complete guide, we have the NZSL Dictionary in the library, or this shorter collection of important signs for beginners.

Ara is running NZSL taster classes where you can learn some NZSL for yourself:

Monday 8th May, 12-1pm, Rakaia Centre atrium, City Campus

Wednesday 10th May, 12-1pm, Library (near the big TV), City Campus

We hope to see lots of you there.

International Day of the Midwife

Today is the International day of the Midwife, and our guest blog is by Melanie Welfare, Midwifery tutor at Ara.

One of the biggest events in the midwifery calendar is always May 5th which is delegated as the International Day of the Midwife by the International Confederation of Midwives, an organisation with a vision that ‘envisions a world where every child bearing woman has access to a midwife’s care for herself and her new-born’, and a mission statement to ‘strengthen Midwives Associations and advance the profession of midwifery globally by promoting autonomous midwives as the most appropriate caregivers for childbearing women and keeping birth normal’

Lauren first cuddles 02

As such, a day to be celebrated worldwide by midwives, wahine/women and whanau/families. The 2017 theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!” In Aotearoa/New Zealand the level and standard of midwifery care is amazing with over 98% of women registering with a midwife in their pregnancy (Midwifery Council New Zealand 2015), but this is not the same worldwide where the mortality and morbidity rates remain unacceptably high, and many women birth without any skilled attendants (International Confederation of Midwives 2017).

Ara Institute of Canterbury has a Bachelor of Midwifery programme, this is a four year degree that is run over 3 years. We work closely with the wahine/woman and midwives as well as the maternity units in the region to ensure that the midwives that graduate from the programme have both the educational and practical experiences necessary to become a valued member of the midwifery workforce.

In the Christchurch region there are a number of events planned to celebrate IDM we started yesterday with a shared lunch for all the students where they had the opportunity to share their journeys so far with each other in an informal setting. Thursday night at the Space Academy on Saint Asaph Street there was an opportunity for midwives, women and whanau to come together to celebrate the partnership that is one of the cornerstones of midwifery in Aotearoa/New Zealand. On Friday there was a morning tea for women and midwives in the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) National Office here in Christchurch. Morning tea was taken to the primary birthing units in Lincoln, Rangiora, and Saint George’s as well as Christchurch Women’s hospital. The Canterbury and West Coast regional branch of NZCOM have donated a small gift to every woman in the region who birth their babies on the 5th May. Similar events are planned throughout the country and worldwide where the day will be commemorate in a variety of amazing ways.

Isn’t it amazing to think that all of you who are reading this blog will have already met a midwife, you may not remember this but they were there…

19 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 weeks sepia small


May is New Zealand Music Month

May 1st marked the berginning of New Zealand Music Month for 2017.  The theme this year is finding something new – a new band, new tracks or a new album by a New Zealand artist.

Ara is supporting this theme by offering an Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition. Harry Harrison (Music Arts tutor) is our guest blogger this week, and gives us an insight into the Competition.

The 2017 Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition is an annual event with this year’s entries closing on 7th May. Sponsored by Ara and Musicworks, the competition is open to all songwriters in Canterbury year 11, 12 & 13 Secondary school students and Ara Music Arts students. It is free to enter and there are cash prizes and Musicworks vouchers to be won.

The competition culminates with an awards concert at 2pm 21st May in the Ara Music Arts  Auditorium

Historically, Christchurch has produced an amazing line of songwriting talent, with artists like Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Julia Deans all hailing from here. Ara is  proud to announce that this year’s judges will be Lauren Mitchell and Matt Barus. Together they form the Christchurch experimental indie folk duo Terrible Sons and independently have had successful artist careers. Lauren aka LA Mitchell, is a successful pop recording artist, singer songwriter and ex member of Dave Dobbyn’s band. Matt was the lead singer and songwriter of successful pop band The Dukes. Matt recently had one of his songs recorded by international artist Blondie. Both Lauren and Matt live in Christchurch.

The competition encourages young people to write songs and demonstrates that it’s possible to focus a musical career around song writing. Last year’s event attracted a good mix of styles and sounds, with 11 finalists performing solo and in bands at the prize giving show.

Have you ever wondered about writing your own songs? We have many resources available for your use on this topic, you might like to start with Write songs from scratch : a complete guide to songwriting for beginners?