The ’50 things to do’ list from the Department of Conservation

Are you looking for an activity to keep you and your children occupied over the summer break? Why not work your way through the Department of Conservations (DOC) ’50 things to do’ list…

The Department of Conservations ’50 things to do’ list…

I was recently in a DOC office and noticed this form….it is a list of 50 things to do with your children in the outdoors. It includes such things as swimming in the ocean, bird watching, stargazing right through to climbing hills, camping and staying in a backcountry hut. I think this is an excellent way to inspire young people to experience the outdoors on their own terms. It is equally useful for adults…

Reverse of the DOC ’50 things to do’ list…how many have you completed?

The form is available from all DOC offices and it is also available online at I recommend you get a form and begin working your way through it on your own or with your children today. 

See you out there…

Library opening hours for Christmas 2020/2021

The Christmas holiday season and the end of the academic year are upon us. As a part of the holiday break over December and January our hours of operation will be changing.

For the period Monday 7th December 2019 -Tuesday the 9th February 2021 the Library will observe the following hours:

Library opening hours for December 2020-February 2021

Please note we will be closed on Monday the 8th February for the Waitangi Day celebration. Our normal hours of operation will resume on Tuesday 9th February 2020

From all of us at the Library we wish you a safe and happy Summer break and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Library hours over the Canterbury Anniversary Weekend (Show Day)

All branches of the library at Ara Institute of Canterbury will be closed on Friday 13th November 2020 for Canterbury Anniversary Day (Show Day). We will reopen at 10am on Saturday 14th November.

Show Day will be different this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The annual Agricultural Exhibition held at the show grounds in Hillmorton has been cancelled this year. 

The Canterbury Agricultural Show in 2017…

Given that 80 000-100 000 people visit the show over its three days this was the only possible outcome. This will be only the second time in its history that the Show has been cancelled. The other time was during the Second World War when it did not take place from 1939-1944.

While the Canterbury Agricultural Show is cancelled most of us will still have a day off work & study. Show Weekend is usually fine so some sort of outdoor activity would seem to be a good alternate. Picnics, barbeques, camping, beach walks and family get togethers are all good options…

Travers Valley from the Lakehead Track jetty, Nelson Lakes National Park

Personally I will be spending the weekend tramping in Nelson Lakes National Park.

From all of us here at Ara Library I would like to wish you a safe Canterbury Anniversary Day and we look forward to seeing you soon. 

Library hours over Labour Day

All Ara library branches will be closed on Monday 26th October for the Labour Day holiday. Our usual hours will resume from Tuesday the 27th October 2020.

Labour Day has been celebrated in New Zealand since 1900 and commemorates the struggle over many decades for an 8 hour working day. 

Lithograph showing the first Labour Day celebrations in Wellington in 1900

While some people will still be working many of us will be able to spend time with family and friends. Great Labour Day activities include camping, walks, visits to the beach or your favorite park. It is usually a good day for a early summer barbeque or picnic. You might make a weekend of it and head off to some exotic location around New Zealand….

From all the staff here at Ara Library we hope you have a happy and restful Labour Day however you decide to spend it.


The ‘Scottish Play’ brought to life

Shakespeare’s Macbeth comes to Timaru…

Ara’s (Timaru campus) retired tutor, Gail Tatham and Fashion & Art graduate, Sue Connolly have reconnected for “The Scottish Play”.

Gail Tatham’s connection with Ara is 20 years of teaching in the Art Department, mainly Art History and Theory. Sue Connolly studied in the Fashion Department and then went on to graduate from the Art Department as well. She is now a well-known local artist and President of the South Canterbury Arts Society.

Gail has now retired and is following on with her passion in theatre. She is directing this show while Sue has been helping with the design and making of the costumes. The Aidan Theatre is a local independent theatre company.

Author: Helen Purdon

Ara Timaru Campus 

Trial of a new reference database…Points of View Reference Centre

Where do you stand? – Australia/New Zealand Points of View

Just when you think you have something straight in your head someone yells “fake news” and you are not too sure what to think anymore. Luckily the library is trialing a wonderful new online resource called Australia/New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre

We have a trial of the Australia/New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre


This resource covers a wide range of topics, such as banning rodeos, freedom camping and gun control and everything in between including recent views on COVID 19. Each of the over 225 topics contain an overview (objective background/description), a point (argument), and counterpoint (opposing argument), and a guide to the critical analysis of each topic.

Many subjects are covered in the Points of View Reference Centre


All of these tools are designed to help you develop your own perspective on the issues and write or debate an effective argument on the topic.


Never lose an argument across the dinner table or within the classroom again. This resource is fact checked and reflects both sides of any story. All you need to do is see both sides and declare where you stand. Remember those who stand for nothing fall for anything!

Conservation Week 2020: A critique of rock stacking

Conservation Week 2020 is running from the 13th-23rd of August. It is a time to reflect and discuss matters pertaining to nature, the environment and our role within it.


I would like to take a moment to talk to all those people who are following the latest social media fad of stacking rocks. This is a world wide phenonium as rock stacks have started to appear on beaches, riverbeds and mountain areas right around the globe. The activity is strongly driven by social media usually with photos of the constructors standing with their work.

A typical rock stack….

Some people see this as a form of art but this is not art! While it may be attractive to some people many others see it as a desecration of the natural world.

Track marker cairns are o.k. as they serve a valuable purpose

In their natural location and in their natural state rocks provide a complex eco-system for a multitude of species. When you disturb rocks, move them around and try to reorder them you destroy this fragile system. Rock stacks are also a very intrusive form of visual pollution. They look unnatural as you will rarely see perfect stacks of rocks in nature.

Unfortunately one rock stack begets many rock stacks…

This Conservation Week I would like to ask everyone to stop building rock stacks and ask you to encourage other outdoor users in a polite way to cease this activity. If you encounter a field of rock stacks I would encourage you to dismantle the stacks and place the materials back into their original location.

Spread the dismantled stacks out over a wide area & try to make the result look as natural as possible.

 No stacks of rocks in nature…Pororairi River, Paparoa National Park

Everyone should know and follow the Leave No Trace precepts when interacting with the natural world, the precepts are:

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (LNT)
Leave No Trace means just that…leaving no trace of your presence after you are gone. I think you will agree with me that leaving a huge stack of rocks does not follow the LNT precepts.
Suppress your desire to leave your mark on the environment and just enjoy it on its own terms. Let others experience our iconic scenery as nature intended it to be seen.
Thank You

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition 2020

The Ara Wellbeing Action Group is running their annual Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition at City Campus on Wednesday the 26th August. This event is open to both staff and students.


No prior registration is required to enter…you simply bring a batch of your favorite home baked chocolate chip cookies to the Atrium in the Rakaia Centre between 10 and 11 am on the day of the competition. Note: a batch is defined as at least 8 cookies.

Bake a batch of your most tasty chocolate chip cookies

There are two categories: Classic Chocolate Chip (standard recipe no extras added) and Freestyle (must have chocolate chips/chunks but other ingredients are allowed).

Entries will be judged from 11-12 noon after which the will be sold as a fund raising for the St John Ambulance Service. There will be prizes for 1st and 2nd place winners and also for the most “interesting” take on the main theme.

Proceeds go to St Johns Ambulance Service, Christchurch

Why not get your bake on and show off your cookery skills while helping a worthy cause. See you there!!!

75th Anniversary of VJ Day…the end of World War II

The 14th August, 2020 was the 75th anniversary of VJ Day marking the official end to World War II. A series of remembrance events had been planned right across the world but due to Covid-19 most of them have been cancelled.


New Zealand was a major combatant in the Pacific theater of operations in WW II with the 3rd Infantry Division, Coast Watchers, Royal New Zealand Navy and RNZAF forces all taking part in the Pacific War. Over 1000 New Zealand lives were lost during the four years of fighting.

New Zealand soldiers of the 14th Bde land at Baka Baka, Vella Lavella to relieve the U.S. 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, on September 17, 1943.

RNZAF Corsairs over Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands 1944 from NZ History website


In what later became known as VJ Day, an official announcement of Japan’s unconditional surrender. Even though Japan’s War Council, urged by Emperor Hirohito, had already submitted a formal declaration of surrender to the Allies, via ambassadors, on August 10, fighting continued between the Japanese and the Soviets in Manchuria and between the Japanese and the United States in the South Pacific.

On the afternoon of August 14 (August 15 in Japan, because of time-zone differences), Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up by the Allied powers.


The news did not go over well, as more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers stormed the Imperial Palace in an attempt to find the proclamation and prevent its being transmitted to the Allies. Soldiers still loyal to Emperor Hirohito repulsed the attackers.


VJ Day celebrations in New York City, USA

At the White House, U.S. president Harry S Truman relayed the news to the American people; spontaneous celebrations broke out in Washington, D.C. in the United States and right across the world as the news was relayed. After six savage years of fighting the war was finally over…

Here are some resources about New Zealand’s role in the Pacific theater:

NZ History: New Zealanders in the Pacific War

Kiwis over the Pacific: The RNZAF in World War II

NZ History: The Royal New Zealand Navy in the Second World War

Ara and Timaru Boys High School collaboration in food technology.

Jill Milburn, Bakery Tutor, from Ara (Timaru Campus) has been working with a Timaru Boys’ High School, Yr 10 Food Technology class on their digital cake designs. This is part of the new school curriculum for Digital Technology and Ara jumped at the opportunity to support them in this new and revolutionary project.


Jill Millburn and the TBHS students discuss ideas for their designs

Timaru Boys’ High School  (TBHS) are the first in the country to attempt this new and innovative way of using digital technology within their Food Technology Department. Jill is helping to support the students and will be showing them cake decoration designs and techniques before their final presentation to the School in a few weeks’ time.

Author: Helen Purdon (Posted by Jonathan Moake)