Do you have standards?

Guest blog by Colleen Finnerty

According to my mother my housekeeping standards are too low, and my dating standards are too high. Luckily for me the more important standards in life are determined not by my mother but by an international board of subject experts. Each year on the 14th of October we celebrate World Standards Day by paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of experts worldwide who develop international standards.

What are standards and why are they so important?
According to the International Standards Organisation a standard is “a document that provides requirements, specifications, and guidelines that can be used to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose”. In short standards keep you safe and confident about the world around you. For example, have you ever asked yourself why your tyres don’t pop under the weight of your car? How about why you can turn the lights on in your home without getting electrocuted? Or how your roof stays on in these awful nor ’westers? None of these are happy accidents – only careful testing, collaboration and enforced standards can eradicate danger!

Luckily we can access New Zealand Standards Online through the Library. I have had a quick search myself and much to my relief noticed no standard related to how sharp the edges on your lawn need to be nor is marriage seen as a requirement for a happy life. I doubt either of these discoveries will soothe my mother, but one does not argue with international experts!

Banned Books Week (27 September – 3 October)

This week is Banned Books week, started in 1982 in response to calls to remove books from libraries, schools, and bookstores. It highlights the importance of information and our ability to access it freely. See these pages for more information about the history of Banned Books Week.

Banned Books in New Zealand

James Courage's plaque
James Courage’s plaque” by Christchurch City Libraries is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Books have been banned, challenged, and censored around the world and in New Zealand. James Courage came from Christchurch and wrote A Way of Love in 1959, and the book was banned for it’s depiction of a homosexual relationship. The book has since been unbanned and is celebrated as one of the first books to explore gay relationships by a New Zealand writer.

Another, much more recent, book to be banned – well, restricted – is Into the River by Ted Dawe. The book was subject to a temporary classification of R14 by the NZ Classification Office due to its depiction of sex, drugs, and offensive language. This was eventually overturned, after outcry from librarians and others. You can check out and read Into the River at the Ara Library. Have a go and see for yourself!

Finally, a fun one that is still banned to this day – Why Was He Born So Beautiful And Other Rugby Songs. The book was banned in 1968 due to “indecent” and “bawdy” content. Even if you can’t read it, you can listen on Spotify!

Below are some links with more information. Go forth and read books, especially banned, challenged, and restricted ones!


Group Study Room Bookings

Great news! We have a new booking system for our library group study rooms.

We have listened to all your feedback, and after much trial and error have finally put in place LibCal:

You can book any of the group study rooms in the library, at either the City or Timaru campuses, from anywhere, on any device.

It is live for bookings from Monday 14 September – for bookings before then, you can still use the existing Outlook system, or contact the library.

Group of young people studying together
Disclaimer: picture does not represent actual Ara Library group study rooms…

Some tips:

  • Book using your Ara email address
  • Each member of your group can book for one hour per day
  • You can make up to three bookings per week across all the study rooms (not per room)
  • These rooms are for use by groups, and individuals may be asked to leave – individual quiet study is available elsewhere in both the City and Timaru libraries

We hope this system will be easier to use than our old one. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Happy booking.

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

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
JillWellington. (Photographer). (n.d.). Chocolates [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Kim, J. (2019, October 16). A brief history of chocolate [Web log post]. Retrieved from
Nordqvist, J. (2018, July 17). Health benefits and risks of chocolate. Retrieved July 7, 2020, from Medical News Today website:

Leonard Yeo,  posted by Jonathan Moake

Teaching Remotely – tips, tricks, and tools

Teaching remotely is here for at least the next few weeks – below are some tips and tricks, as well as tools to use as you move to online instruction.

Other resources:

More nursing and allied health online resources from Wolters Kluwer

In a previous blogpost we promoted our short term access to key nursing textbooks from Wolters Kluwer via our link to Ovid Books .

(Wolters Kluwer have kindly extended our trial access from 25/5 until 25/6/20 although access may be delayed from 25/5/20 in the transition to the extended trial period.)

You can also access this from the Books/Ebooks tab of the  NursingMidwifery and Osteopathy subject guides and from the Databases A-Z, all of which are available from the Primo Library Search tile in your My Ara app.

Library availability over the Easter break

Once again and despite the Covid 19 situation Easter is upon us.


No doubt Easter 2020 will be one to remember as we cannot do the usual things we would be doing at this time of the year…visiting our friends & family, going on vacation, Autumn trips into the back country or for those who are religious going to church.

Stay home this Easter….the outdoors will still be there after Covid 19 is defeated…

Despite our requirement to stay isolated we can still celebrate the holiday with those in our social bubble. This Easter break why don’t you plan a special Easter meal, go for a local walk/bike ride with your bubble, contact a friend or family member to check their status or just stay home & treat yourself to a stress free day or two.

Why not have a festive Easter meal over the holidays….

Here at Ara Library we will also be celebrating the Easter break so we will not be available from Friday the 10th April through to Tuesday 14th April. We will be monitoring our communication channels (both phone and online) but will not be able to answer any inquiries until the morning of Wednesday the 15th April.

From all of us here at Ara Library we wish you a happy Easter and we look forward to assisting you after the holidays.

Finally, please remember this Easter to stay home to fight COVID-19…


COVID-19 Resources

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, we wanted to share some resources with the Ara community. We all need to work together to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Take a look at the resources below to help you be prepared in the coming days and weeks.

How to protect yourself and others

And for a little fun, some new ways to greet each other!

“Alternatives to Handshakes, Hugs, High Fives and Hongi” by Toby Morris is licensed under CC-BY-SA

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 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….