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.


Holiday adventures on Quail Island

Quail island

Looking for something interesting to do over the Christmas holiday break. Why not spend a fascinating day exploring Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour.

The island is steeped in history. At various times used as a leper colony, quarantine station and working farm. Today the island is a nature reserve with extensive planting and a resident population of native bird species.

There is an excellent 2.5 hour circuit track around the island taking in many points of interest. There are a number of historic sites to visit as well as an informative heritage centre. Alternatively, take a picnic lunch and your swimming gear and spend a relaxing day at Swimmers Bay. Access to the island is via Black Cat cruises each morning and afternoon except Christmas day.

Additional information is located here:

DOC: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/otamahua-quail-island-recreation-reserve/

Christchurch NZ tourism i-site: http://www.christchurchnz.com/walk-canterbury/christchurch/coastal-and-waterway-walks/quail-island-walk/

New Zealand Geographic: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/the-ghosts-of-quail-island/

Black Cat Cruises: https://www.blackcat.co.nz/quail-island-adventures#/products/c87a52c9-8e4b-488e-ade5-2f2d4264cb22



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


Happy holiday

Christmas tree

Ara Libraries are closed for the holiday period from 1pm today (Thursday) until 8am Wednesday 4th January. All campuses will also be closed for this period: see our website for more details.

Remember, our electronic resources are still available – check out the subject guides to find some relevant to your topic.

If you’re at a loose end, check out the Campus life blog for some holiday break ideas.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday, and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

School Holidays

It’s the school holidays. I can tell. There’s less traffic in the morning, the malls are mad, and there are more kids in the library.

I found an interesting article from a British newspaper, saying school holidays (particularly the summer one) were outdated and should be abolished. Originally, it said, school holidays were arranged to suit a farming calendar – children were on holiday over the summer, when farmers were busiest. In Scotland, October half-term week was known as the ‘tattie holiday’, when children would pick potatoes on local farms.

Children playing

Children may no longer work on farms during their holidays, but they are often far from idle. School holiday programmes, run by schools or community groups, keep children occupied with activities ranging from swimming to computer programming. Libraries run activities for all ages. Parents take time from work or study to make sure their children go back to school refreshed and ready to go.



For polytech students, ‘holidays’ are something of a myth – there’s no classes, to be sure, but the assignments and studying don’t stop. The library is a bit quieter at the moment, so pop in and see us if you want a bit of help or just somewhere to spread out and study.


St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicareeder/7113370835/sizes/m/

It is sometimes said in Ireland, that God created alcohol to stop the Irish taking over the world. Though I’m not sure how much truth there is to that claim, it certainly seems to me that on this one day a year, the world gets to see what it’s missing out on. Here in New Zealand, you have a fair claim to the celebration- many Irish moved out here among the first wave of settlers, and by some accounts there were a few look-a-likes here even before then.

But still, like most of the western world, once a year, everyone here gets to be Irish for a day. People wear any scrap of green they can lay hands to, and the proliferation of “Kiss me I’m Irish” Tshirts, hats and badges, combined with free-flowing beer tends to lead to all kinds of debauchery. So with that in mind, I wondered what the library could do to help out your celebrations.

I have, therefore, prepared the following gems of wisdom to help you through the day.

  1. Do use the word ‘Sláinte’ instead of ‘Cheers.’ It’s pronounced “Slawn-cha,” more or less.
  2. Do not begin a conversation with “Fiddle-dee-dee, potatoes!”
  3. Do wear a bit of green. You can skip this if you’re actually Irish.
  4. Do not get all drunk and lose the run of yourself. It’s dangerous for you and your friends won’t thank you for having to take you home early.
  5. Do adjust your social media privacy for any pictures you’re tagged in. Prospective employers will look at your profile, and you don’t want them to see pictures of you painted green and doing a kegstand.
  6. Do have some patience with your bar staff, who will be flat out. They’re human too, and are busting their humps to keep you happy. The best way to improve your service is to tip like an Irishman.
  7. Do not forget that you’re celebrating all things Irish, not being drunk. Show a little kindness to someone in need while you’re out, and make your night a little more memorable.
  8. Do take a look at the TX section in the library, near the entrance. If you want to mix up some cocktails like a sir, or cook yourself a feast for Tuesday morning, that’s the place to get good at it.
  9. Do comment on how wonderful Brian O’Driscoll and the Irish rugby team are. Particularly lavish or inventive praise might earn you a friend for life.
  10. Do not contact the police if the Irish tell you that they’re “Having the craic.” Having the craic is not a crime. Having the craic is all but mandatory on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re not sure what having the craic is, then I submit this video of some goats having the craic, proving that you don’t have to be drunk to have fun.

Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll be enjoying fine form, in fine spirits. Stay safe and look after your friends, and enjoy the feeling of being Irish, even if just for a day.

Labouring on


This coming Monday (28th October) is Labour Day.

Since 1900, Labour Day has been a public holiday in New Zealand, commemorating the struggle for the 8-hour working day and other worker’s rights. If you’d like to know more about employment rights, responsibilities, and legislation in New Zealand, try one of these:

8 hour day

Top 100 questions and answers on employment law

Employment relationships : workers, unions and employers in New Zealand

Reconstructing New Zealand’s labour law : consensus or divergence?

Essential New Zealand employment legislation


If, on the other hand, you have plans for Labour day that are a bit less political, you might like to try one of these:

Inspirational gardens of New Zealand relaxing

Eco-house manual : a guide to making environmentally friendly improvements to your home

Bourke Street Bakery : the ultimate baking companion

Classic tramping in New Zealand

Or even:

The exam skills handbook : achieving peak performance

Whatever your plans are for the long weekend, have fun, relax, and remember that while the library will be closed on Monday, we’re still open Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (12-5).