Happy NZ Music Month

I’m Kaye Woodward and I am an English Language Tutor and Teacher Trainer at Ara.

I’m also in an ancient band called The Bats. New Zealand Music Month might be an appropriate time for a peek in to how this aspect of my life ticks along beside the teaching one.
Bats 1

Photo © Kaye Woodward

Late last year this quaintly wrapped and instantly recognizable package arrived in our letterbox. It was the first batch of songs for Bats album number 10 and signalled the start of a process the four of us have been following since Robert Scott, our prolific song-writing machine, moved back to Dunedin in 1983. The process is unhurried and all up takes around 3 years.

More songs arrived at intervals over the summer and we are currently up to about 15. We don’t read music; we listen and play, so over winter we’ll hunker down in our living rooms and do just that. Next Spring, we’ll get together somewhere to record and mix what we’ve cooked up and anything more that presents itself in the studio. At this stage, we’ll also decide on the artwork for the release. A lot of messing about with the record labels will ensue in order to achieve mastering, manufacture, distribution and marketing (of sorts), but eventually there will be vinyl and CDs to hold in your hands and a digital version. The cycle is completed by playing shows in New Zealand and Australia. Sometimes we even venture to the US or Europe.

The life of a part-time musician seems to complement the life of a teacher quite well. They have almost nothing in common but sometimes one will make me appreciate the other, and sometimes the two lives overlap. While I’m wandering from the carpark, striding to the classroom or shuffling home, there are often bits of songs and guitar parts floating round in my brain, looking for approval, morphing into different ideas or becoming victims of rejection. On the other hand, I hardly ever do marking on tour!

Bats 2

The Bats, Griffith Observatory, LA 1986. © Kaye Woodward.


International Nurses Day

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Today (May 12th) is International Nurses Day, the theme in 2018 is Nurses – a voice to lead, health is a human right. International Nurses Day is celebrated every year around the world to mark the important work nurses do in all societies.

May 12th is the birth date of Florence Nightingale. Florence was a great leader in health care and a visionary nurse, famous for her work during the Crimean War.

For more information on Florence Nightingale and her nursing legacy this new ebook “Florence Nightingale nursing, and health care today” by Lynn Mcdonald (2018) is useful. Click on the link below. You will need to use your Ara student login and password to access this ebook.


International Nurses Day is a significant day as we have all been helped by a nurse at some point in our lives. Today we thank all nurses for their amazing work in advocating, supporting and caring for us all.

May the Fourth be with you

May the Fourth

This guest post is brought to you by Georgie Archibald, Learning Advisor at Ara.

May the Fourth be with you on this most important date of the calendar year, Star Wars Day! Famous nerf herder and flyboy, Han Solo, echoes this sentiment above. Endorsed by LucasFilm and Walt Disney, May 4th is the official international Star Wars date because of the pun on the well-known catch phrase “May the Force be with you.” As a little light hearted relief, here are some other classic Star Wars catch phrases that can provide inspiration for study!

“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.” – Yoda

“Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!” – Chewie

For those who are more serious about their Star Wars lore, the library has some great resources, including a collection of essays examining the culture behind the franchise and a beautiful hardcover showcasing the original Star Wars storyboards. Check them out, and May the Fourth be with you! Watch out for Revenge of the Fifth tomorrow …

Brode, D., & Deyneka, L. (2012). Myth, media and culture in Star Wars: An anthology. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Rinzler, J. W. (Ed.). (2014). Star Wars storyboards: The original trilogy. New York, NY: Abrams Books.

Get your boots on

boots autumn blog

It is darker in the mornings and the leaves are circling in the street and lying in gutters. This week every time I go out the front door in a mad rush I’m regretting not putting on an extra layer of clothing or a long scarf. Part of me is lamenting the end of summer and the lazy, warm T-shirt days. Never the less it is time that you and I face facts as Autumn has arrived and its time to get your boots on.

I love boots and I can never have enough of them. My first coveted boots were Converse All Star green basketball boots and my next were cherry red Doc Martin boots. I even owned (and loved immensely ) a tan vintage pair of cowboy boots purchased from K-Road in Auckland.

Boots are great you feel warmer, taller and stronger in them and they can give you heaps of confidence. Get your boots on today! and if you don’t have any boots check out some great op-shops that we have in Christchurch so you can save money and be more sustainable.

Christchurch City Libraries have a great online directory called Cinch. You can find the addresses of fabulous second hand clothes shops in Christchurch here; http://www.cinch.org.nz/categories/a-z/o/1967/entries


Over Easter all Ara Campuses are closed


All Ara libraries will be closed over the Easter break from Friday 30th March (Good Friday) until Tuesday 3rd April. We will re-open on Wednesday 4th April. Relax over the Easter break and attempt to go chocolate free (if you can). I know this is a very difficult thing to attempt when chocolate is everywhere. Fresh hot cross buns straight out of the oven are a good tasty alternative. If you need to study at Ara the POD at Christchurch City Campus has 24 hour access and TG01 block at Timaru campus is available from 7:30am until 10pm. You will need to swipe your student ID card to get into these study spaces.

Happy Easter everyone!


Weekend studying is the best

IMG_0654Ara Christchurch city campus is open in the weekends and this is a great time to study and get yourself sorted if you are new to Ara. The library is at its quietest and there are plenty of study rooms available for you to work collaboratively in. We even have a spanking new outdoor space for you to eat your lunch on and do some stretches, or basketball shots if you feel the need. Come and see us we are open from 10-5pm Saturdays and 12-5pm Sundays. If you feel like staying later the POD is open 24 hours, you  just have to bring your student card for swipe access into the room.

Waitangi day – all Ara campuses will be closed

Tuesday Feburary 6th is Waitangi day. This significant day marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which occurred in 1840 between over 500 Maori chiefs and representatives of the British crown. Waitangi day has been a public holiday since 1974, and it has been recognised by some as New Zealand’s national day. All Ara campuses are closed on Waitangi day, and will reopen on Wednesday 7th Feburary.

To learn more about the Treaty of Waitangi, this site is useful.


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Te Whare Rūnanga at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi, New Zealand.  Photo by Graham Cairns https://www.flickr.com/photos/graham-and-shirley/






















Happy Holidays

The end of 2017 is not far away so we would like to wish you all the best for the holiday season. Enjoy spending time with your friends and family, and find some time to relax and read a good book. All Ara campuses (and this includes all libraries) will be closed on friday 22nd December at 1pm. We will reopen on monday January 8th at 8am.


Give yourself a break

Congratulations on finishing your exams and getting to the end of your assignments, well done! If you are coming back to Ara next year make sure you find time to relax and wind down before your studies begin again. I encourage you to hit the beaches especially as right now the water is 6 degrees warmer. This phenomenon is due to a Le Nina weather pattern which you can read about here: https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/99501416/whats-behind-the-heatwave-record-sea-surface-temperatures-are-off-the-chart

It is difficult to find any shade at the beach so take care in the sun as you will burn fast in this weather. See this website for tips: https://www.sunsmart.org.nz/be-sunsmart