Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2020

Both branches of Ara Library will be closed from 5 pm on Friday 29th May –  8am on Tuesday 2nd June as it is the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

The Queen’s Birthday public holiday is held on the first Monday in June. New Zealand has ten statutory holidays, of which Queen’s Birthday is one.

Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is actually on 21 April, but it is celebrated on various dates across the Commonwealth of Nations to fit with each country’s roster of public holidays.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – Queen of New Zealand


Those who have the day off will spend it with family or friends or will use the long weekend as a opportunity for a extended holiday away. It is an excellent opportunity to spend time in the outdoors before winter fully sets in.

Queen’s Birthday also sees the announcement of the Honours’ List where the Queen makes appointments to the Order of New Zealand including Orders of Merit, Dames, Knights, Companions, Officers and more. These appointments are nearly always based on a person’s services to the community or the nation in sport, business, charity, the uniformed services and arts.

The New Zealand Order of Merit


We will resume our usual hours from 8 am on Tuesday 2nd June.

We hope you have a safe and relaxing long weekend.




Anzac Day 2020: #Stand at Dawn


This Saturday the 25th of April, 2020 is ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day is the public holiday we have in New Zealand to honor those women and men both past and present who have served in the military services of our nation. Many did not return home so it only right that we remember them.

Anzac Day Crowd
A large crowd in the Strand, London on the first official Anzac Day in April 1916. (Getty Images)

ANZAC Day 2020 will be very strange indeed…because of the Covid 19 outbreak and subsequent lock-down this will be the first time since 1916 when there will be no public celebrations of the day anywhere in New Zealand or Australia.

The New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA), Australian Returned Service League (RSL) in concert with both local and national authorities are promoting an alternative to the usual Dawn Service.RSALogo

This commemoration is titled:  #Stand at Dawn- apart but together as one. 

At 0600 hours on Saturday the 25th April they would like all New Zealanders & Australians to stand at their letterbox, at the end of their driveway, in their front yard or in their lounge as a way to commemorate the day.RSL-ColourGoldprint-Official



A national remembrance service will be broadcast by Radio New Zealand online and on the radio for those who wish to listen in.

This will truly be in the spirit of the ANZAC tradition as this event will be happening in Australia with the exact same format.

Join myself and the many millions of other Australians and New Zealanders both at home and around the world who will Stand at Dawn this Saturday.


Lest we forget…..

Please note that as ANZAC Day falls in the weekend this year Ara Library will be closed on Monday the 27th April but will be back from 8 am on Tuesday the 28th.

Student Life: The Ara Tramping Club

Being a student is about hard work, striving to attain your goals and being your best possible self. But all work and no fun is a sure fire way to burn yourself out…even the most conscientious student needs to take a little down time to recharge those batteries.

Hard work is good but the body also needs emotional nourishment…

To that end there are a number of different clubs at Ara which cater to different interests. From sports clubs, cultural clubs to groups for social get togethers there are groups for everyone.

One activity that is personally close to my heart is tramping. Tramping is the word we use in New Zealand to describe hiking/walking trips into the outdoors. A tramp could range from a couple of hours walking to monster 10+ day expeditions to remote Wilderness Areas. There is no better way to experience New Zealand’s legendary scenic delights that by walking there on your own two feet.

Classic New Zealand tramping: sand beaches, swing-bridges and bush….
…..and mountain and stream…

Here at Ara we actually have a student tramping club which caters to this interest. The Ara Tramping Club was set up in 2019 by a group of students and aims to assist both the novice and the experienced back country trekker to find experience and companionship while outdoors.

Article about the Ara Tramping Club in the Feb/Mar edition of Waha Korero

There is a long history of club tramping in this country and it is an excellent way to find people with a similar interest in the outdoors. It also allows you to access the skills and experience more seasoned trampers have and is the best way to begin your introduction to this most excellent pursuit.

Photos of a 2019 Ara Tramping Club trip to Woolshed Creek, Mt Somers

There is a recent article in the Ara student magazine, Waha Korero (February/March 2020) about the Ara Tramping Club. It is well worth a read if you are looking to join a club to get outdoors. They are actively seeking members (both experienced and inexperienced) and would love to hear from you.

Port William Hut, Rakuira, backcountry huts are the focus of tramping in New Zealand


You can contact the club via email at aratramping@gmail.com or on Facebook @AraTramping. The club also advertises their regular planning meetings around the Campus. If you are a student, love the forests and hills and want to experience the essence of New Zealand then you should drop them a line.

I hope to see many of you out in the backcountry…

….may your lunches be dry, your huts empty and your wood sheds full….

Hinewai Reserve: A Story of the Regeneration of Native Forest

When I first heard of Hugh Wilson and the Hinewai Forest Restoration Project, it immediately reminded me of one of one my favorite books, The Man Who Planted Trees. But, it was much later when I found out that Hugh didn’t actually plant any trees. He allowed nature to plant them instead. And nature has been doing well. After 30 years, the reserve is full of native trees and bursting with wildlife.


                        Main gate to Hinewai Reserve, author Michal Klajban, cc-by-SA 4.0

It all began in the ‘70s when Maurice White set up the Maurice White Native Forest Trust. White’s dream was simple but not easy: To find land and start a regeneration project on Banks Peninsula, White’s home, where just 1% of native forest remained. The rest of it had been deforested by European colonizers.

In 1986, White attended a Forest and Bird meeting where he met Hugh Wilson. That meeting changed their lives forever. Wilson, an avid botanist, dreamed about the possibility of land where nature could be left to regenerate without human influence. Maurice, more businessman than botanist, wanted the same thing but didn’t necessarily have the knowledge to do so.

Maurice White and Hugh Wilson in 2017, author Schwede66, CC-BY-SA 4.0

In 1987, Maurice White Native Forest Trust purchased 109 hectares of land. That became the core of Hinewai. Four years later, the trust purchased a neighboring farm and added over 1100 hectares to the reserve.

Now, 32 years later, the reserve consists of 1250 hectares and there are a couple of new, smaller reserves attached. It’s incredible to see pictures from the ‘80s when there was nothing but pasture and gorse (an extremely invasive prickly plant native to Western Europe and Northern Africa) knowing that now there is a forest of native Mānuka and Kānuka trees and other native saplings.

Map: Hinewai Reserve, Long Bay, Banks Peninsula

A documentary, Fools and Dreamers, was recently released about the reserve, the title taken from an early newspaper article in which a local farmer claimed White and Wilson to be “fools and dreamers” for wanting to convert “productive” pasture back into native forest. The documentary is available online and it’s a heart-warming and inspiring watch. It’s 30 minutes short and sums up the history of the reserve together with providing a snapshot of Hugh’s golden personality, relentless hard work and passion for the project.

The reserve is open to the public for free but welcomes donations. If you decide to go there, you’ll find something for everyone: waterfalls to admire, tramping tracks of various grades, viewpoints towards the ocean and Akaroa, and a visitors’ centre. The visitors’ centre is one of the gems of the reserve. It contains books handwritten and illustrated by Hugh on local fauna and flora together with other original materials from which you can learn all about the history of the reserve.

Overview of the reserve with Otanerito Bay in the back, author Michal Klajban, CC-BY-SA 4.0

White and Wilson dreamed big – perhaps too big for most of the local population at that time. But they have shown us that with patience and minimal input, nature can regenerate itself. It does not need humans to “manage” it.

Hinewai brings with it hopes for the future. With 99% of Banks Peninsula deforested, it’s food for the soul to see some of its lost treasure return, especially now with climate change making the need for native forest more important than ever before.

Kererū (New Zealand pidgeon) is a common citizen of Hinewai, author Judi Lapsley Miller, CC-BY 4.0

Hinewai reserve is one of the most successful private conservation initiatives in New Zealand. If you’re looking for a place where you can relax and recharge, you can find the reserve at 632 Long Bay Road R.D.3, Akaroa 7583.

Michal Klajban, Assistant Librarian