Why the 7th July is an important day

Can you guess why this today is a very important day. No idea? Today is . . .

World Chocolate Day, also known as International Chocolate Day!

What’s the history of chocolate?

Chocolate was first introduced to Europe in the mid-16th Century (“History of Chocolate,” 2020). But chocolate consumption actually goes back about 4,000 years – the ancient Olmec people of Latin America drank a form of hot chocolate and used it as a medicine (Kim, 2019). When the European explorers arrived in South American Cacao beans became a very valuable trade commodity. Cacao beans are the most raw form of what eventually becomes chocolate.

Cacao Beans are the raw ingrediant for making chocolate…

Back to today…

How do we celebrate this awesome World Chocolate Day?

No prizes for the correct answer. Yes, celebrate by consuming (even more) chocolate. What’s your favourite chocolate? Cadbury dairy milk, Whittakers fruit and nut, Queen Anne boxed chocolates or an Italian Ferrero Rocher? What about the pricey but definitely worth it handmade Belgian or Swiss chocolate? Whatever your preference just enjoy…

Queen Anne boxed chocolates…

Why not try a different variety of chocolate today. It’s a great idea – you never know what you’re missing, till you try it for yourself!

Is Chocolate Good for Us?

Wait a minute! Isn’t overindulgence in chocolate not exactly good for our waistline and overall health? What does the science say. Milk chocolate, seemingly the most popular and affordable type of chocolate in the world, gives us beneficial protein and calcium. But milk chocolate is often very high in sugar, which has been linked to tooth decay, diabetes, cardio-vascular ailments and other health issues. So, it seems that we need to curb our over-indulgence in milk chocolate.

Figure 1. Chocolates (JillWellington, n.d.).

What about dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate has been touted as a healthier chocolate. The reason..its main ingredient cocoa has biologically active phenolic compounds, which Nordqvist (2018) says may benefit us by:
• lowering cholesterol levels
• preventing cognitive decline
• reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems

Dark chocolate has many positive health benefits…


Takeaway: Based on what is known, it seems that eating high cocoa content dark chocolate that is low in sugar is beneficial, especially for those of us who enjoy chocolate frequently.

How is Chocolate Made?

Curious about how chocolate is made? Watch this very interesting video while savouring your chocolate!


History of chocolate. (2020, July 5, 08:20). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 7, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_chocolate
JillWellington. (Photographer). (n.d.). Chocolates [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/photos/valentine-s-day-chocolates-candy-2057745/
Kim, J. (2019, October 16). A brief history of chocolate [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.chocolate.org/blogs/chocolate-blog/a-brief-history-of-chocolate
Nordqvist, J. (2018, July 17). Health benefits and risks of chocolate. Retrieved July 7, 2020, from Medical News Today website: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270272

Leonard Yeo,  posted by Jonathan Moake

July the 4th is American Independence Day…

This Saturday is the 4th of July or American Independence Day.


On this day in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress and the American colonies formally severed ties with Great Britain. This happened during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and was one of many steps in the United States becoming a sovereign nation.

Declaration of Independence: (1819) by John Turnbull

Independence Day is perhaps the most important holiday in the United States and it is widely celebrated with decorations, fireworks, parades, barbecues and football games. For many Americans the day is a significant celebration of their identity and has become deeply steeped with emotion, tradition and pride.

Typical July 4th fare….hot-dogs, potato salad and BBQ beans…

I imagine that celebrations are going to be a bit subdued in the United States this Independence Day as they have been severely effected by the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why it is especially important that we acknowledge the day for any Americans of our acquaintance.

Make sure you wish any American you know a happy Independence Day tomorrow. I am sure they will appreciate it.

For more information about Independence Day:

Fourth of July: Independence Day

The rules of American Football

The National Football League (NFL)

Delish: 22 All American eats for 4th July

Womans Day: The ultimate 4th July menu for your summer cookout

Celebrating World Albatross Day 2020

Friday 19th June will see the inaugural celebration of World Albatross Day, the theme for this year is Eradicating Island Pests.

Albatross_LogoEvery year many thousands of critically endangered Albatross, Shearwaters and Petrels are caught as a by-catch of commercial fishing activities. This had become such a critical issue that an international agreement was signed by 13 nations on the 19th June 2019 to improve the protection of these species.

This annual event is seen as a way to highlight the many challenges that Albatross, Petrels and Shearwaters face and enhance international awareness of their plight.

World Albatross Day, 2020 (art work)


New Zealand has several internationally important Albatross breeding grounds on our off shore islands as well as several mainland sites. The most well known site is of course the Albatross breeding ground at Taiaroa Heads at the entrance to Dunedin Harbour.

A Royal Albatross at the Taiaroa Heads breeding colony

There are also significant breeding sites for Petrels & Shearwaters at Punakaiki on the West Coast, Great Barrier Island and on several of the Auckland Island group.

Many of the breeding grounds for these birds are threatened by introduced pest species like cats, rats and mice. Events this year will highlight how we can combat these threats and the groups involved in eradicating pests at sites around the world.


Hopefully this new focus will assist the recover of these important species and ensure their continued survival in the wild.

For more information see:

Introduction to World Albatross Day

World Albatross Day 2020

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Royal Albatross Centre








Library opening hours for the rest of Semester One


For the remainder of Semester One the Library at City Campus will be open from:

8am to 5pm Monday to Friday

library image611
Entrance to the Library at City Campus


We are happy to announce that on-campus computer suites can now be accessed after the Library closes for the day. Please note you will require your Ara ID card to enter buildings on campus after 5 pm.

We will resume our normal hours of operation from the beginning of the new semester.

From Monday the 21st July our opening hours will be:

7 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday

10 am to 5 pm Saturday

12 noon to 5 pm Sunday.


Our usual hours will resume form July 21st 2020

We apologise for any inconvenience our shortened hours may have caused over the last weeks and look forward to returning to our full service hours in the new semester.

Samoan Language Week 24 – 30 May


Guest blog brought to you this week thanks to Sefa Faletanoai (Workforce Development Representative at Ara).

What does Samoan language mean to me? – First and foremost it’s a stark reminder to me that I need to use my language more in conversation with family and friends.

I’m one of those Samoans who understands Samoan fluently and I have the capacity to speak it, but my mind always does that thing where it second guesses itself and drops my confidence around other fluent Samoan speakers.

It’s really weird, my parents always spoke to me in Samoan but they never made it compulsory for me to do the same. It was only when I went to high school and interacted with my Samoan peers that I realised that I was behind on speaking my mother tongue.


Fast forward to now and I have definitely been using my Samoan more in work, life and in sport. However, Samoan Language Week always highlights my need to continue to use the language. It also delves a bit further during this special week as although the language is a focus, my Samoan culture gets a full celebration with food, dance, music, film and traditions.


So not only is it great for non-Pacific Islanders to learn our way and our background but certainly for Pacific Islanders to celebrate their corner of the Pacific and their very own claim to uniqueness.


Here are some Samoan language links:

Ministry for Pacific Peoples: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/

Samoan Language Week 2020 list of national events:

Gagana Samoa i Aotearoa Facebook page:

Celebrating New Zealand music month: Great Kiwi albums…

My choice of 10 great Kiwi albums

May is New Zealand Music Month, a celebration of Kiwi music.  New Zealand has a rich, vibrant music scene which has led to the creation of many excellent musicians over the years. I thought I would highlight a few great albums from Kiwi artists.

Here is my personal pick of 10 great New Zealand albums in no particular order:

1. Traction, Supergroove, 1994


2. Big Canoe, Tim Finn, 1986


3. Based on a true story, Fat Freddys Drop, 2005


4. Crowded House, Crowded House, 1986


5. Revival, Katchafire, 2003


6. Loyal, Dave Dobbyn, 1986


7. What to do with fire, Brooke Fraser, 2003


8. Broadcast, Strawpeople, 1992


9. Six 60, Six60, 2011


10. Natures Best, Various artists, 2002



There are many excellent New Zealand music albums and this is simply a small fraction. All of these albums are worth listening to but if you want an overview of Kiwi musicians find a copy of Natures Own which is a compilation of New Zealand music from the 1960’s-2000’s.

What is your favorite Kiwi album?

May is New Zealand Music Month







May is New Zealand Music Month, and whilst we can’t get along to live concerts at the moment we can still enjoy music in other ways.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 6th May at 7pm is the Big Little Lockdown Kiwi Music Quiz. Sign up with your team, test your Kiwi music knowledge, and play the Big Little Lockdown Kiwi Music Quiz, live from your bubble! Donations are requested on registering your team to aid MusicHelps Lives,  a charity providing support to Kiwi music people affected by COVID-19.  Find out more at The Big Little Lockdown Kiwi Music Quiz.

Events on throughout New Zealand Music Month can be found here.


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….

Reach your goals the SMART way

We all have goals – things we would like to achieve. As a tertiary student, it’s savvy to prioritise your goals.

You may have goals to:

  • Get higher grades in your assessments
  • Take a holiday after the exams

These are worthy goals – you’ll feel great when you make them happen. To reach your goals, you need to use a proven way to get started.

You need to set SMART goals to ensure that you get what you want. SMART typically stands for:

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Achievable

R: Relevant

T: Time-bound

Let’s take a look at 2 examples of SMART goals in action:


I want to score better grades


I want to score an A- or higher in each of my courses.


Tomorrow at 2 pm, I will access the Ara Learning Services Exams and Tests resources

I will note down the advice given and take steps to study more effectively.


Tomorrow, after accessing the Exams and Tests resources, I’ll create a weekly time schedule. I’ll use the tips found in:

Organising Your Time

Organising Your Time handout

My schedule will show my class times, part-time work hours, self-study times, breaks and leisure times.

I’ll plan enough time each week to study each course.

I’ll consistently use improved learning strategies based on the Exams and Tests resources and:

How to Learn

How to learn handout


I have the potential to score better grades, as I have obtained good grades like B.

Excellent grades will jump-start my career when I graduate.

I’ll be more likely to get an attractive job offer sooner.

My self-confidence will increase.


In the coming exams, I’ll be scoring more A- or higher grades in my courses.

In a year’s time, I’ll have more A- or better grades.


I want to save for my holiday

Specific: I’d like to save $200 for my holiday in Nelson.


I’ll take a close look at my finances tomorrow – my monthly income and expenses.

I’ll write down the ways I can reduce my spending.

I’ll think of new part-time work to look for.


Every Saturday I’ll record my savings, income and expenses.


I would like a Nelson holiday with friends during the summer break. It would be a reward for my hard work.


I’ll have saved $200 in 6 weeks’ time (I’ve calculated that I can save $33.33 per week).

I’ll go on my Nelson holiday in mid-January 2020.

Saving money regularly is a great habit to develop. But are you doing everything you can to protect your money and financial information?

Use these 14 Ways to Protect Your Money and Financial information

These 2 examples above show that setting SMART goals makes them more than just wishes or dreams. SMART goals give you focus and clarity regarding:

  • What exactly is your goal? (Specific)
  • What exactly must you do, by what deadline? (Measurable & Achievable)
  • Why and how are your goals important to you? (Relevant)
  • When can you reasonably expect to reach your goals? (Time-bound)


How to stay the course and reach your SMART goals

How do you stay on track with the goals you’ve set? Some ways are:

  • Vision: Create a vision board or vision screen – look for attractive pictures, whether hard copy or online. Display in prominent places the pictures of your goals e.g. photos of the places where you plan to holiday. Make the pictures a part of your phone or computer home screen.
  • Reminders: Give yourself reminders – you can use phone apps or a digital/hard copy organiser.
  • Reward: Reward yourself for the milestones achieved, to sustain your momentum towards reaching your goals. Treat yourself to a special meal or a present.


Step 1: Write your SMART goals.

Step 2: Keep yourself rewarded and motivated.

Step 3: Stay the course and walk the talk.

Step 4: Relish reaching your goals. Rejoice.


Start making and carrying out SMART goals to succeed. Check out these videos to find out more:



All the best and good luck!

Take action and make all your SMART goals come true


Leonard Yeo

Learning Services

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day and there is a lot to like about the good feelings that stem from being kind to someone, or by having someone be kind towards you, or simply by being kind to yourself.

World Kindness Day is about thinking about how we can become happier, and help the world by doing kind things for ourselves and others.

Today is also referred to as Radom Acts of Kindness Day and you can find information about being a RAKtavist and many, many, suggestions for kind acts at RAK

Join us at the City Campus Library for Random Acts of Kindness Day where we have created a large scale dice that you can roll and it will reveal a kindness suggestion, plus you will receive a small gift form us. This activity starts at 10 am and will continue until there are no treats left.



What act of kindness will you do today?