Month: October 2023

Matinee Mondays

There will be a series of screenings on Mondays at 10am, between now and Dec 4th on the Mezzanine Floor, provided via the wonderful Beamafilm service.

Beamafilm is a movie streaming platform for documentaries, and independent features. Stream content straight from your TV, computer or device – all you need is a library card!

Come along and you’ll see how you could use Beamafilm at home, or simply take a seat and enjoy a movie, with tea and coffee provided.

Let us know if there’s a specific film on Beamafilm you’d like to watch, and we’ll see if we can play it for you!

A Projection of Pride 

Whether you’re a part of the Rainbow community or an ally, October has some great opportunities to commemorate the Manawatū Lesbian Gay Rights Association’s (MaLGRA) birthday month. 

That classic combo of coffee and creativity will be on offer this Wednesday evening, from 5.30pm, as we celebrate diversity and acceptance. Writers are welcome to share their rainbow positive poems and we’ll also have a selection from our wonderful collection for people to browse and read aloud. 

Information about other rainbow-positive activities happening in Palmerston North this month can be found here. 

Read the Rainbow with our queer poetry and young adult recommendations. 

Recommended Queer Poetry:

Don’t call us dead: poems 

By Danez Smith 

Out here: an anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa 

Curated by Chris Tse and Emma Barnes 

Echidna, or, the many adventures of Hinenākahirua as she tries to find her place in a colonised world: included throughout is the story of Māui-Pōtiki & Prometheus  

by essa may ranapiri 

100 Queer Poems 

Curated by Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan 

Recommended Rainbow Reads for Young Adults 


We Could Be Something 
by Will Kostakis 
A wonderful emotional rollercoaster of a novel about two young men, each on a journey of discovery. It’s part coming-out story, part falling-in-love story, part relationship breakdown story, part extended Greek family story. It’s warm and funny, a little bit heartbreaking, and completely satisfying. Harvey’s dads are splitting up. It’s been on the cards for a while, but it’s still sudden. Woken-by-his-father-to-catch-a-red-eye sudden. Now he’s restarting his life in a new city, living above a cafe with the extended Greek family he barely knows.Sotiris is a rising star. At seventeen, he’s already achieved his dream of publishing a novel. When his career falters, a cute, wise-cracking bookseller named Jem upends his world.Harvey and Sotiris’s stories converge on the same street in Darlinghurst, in this beautifully heartfelt novel about how our dreams shape us, and what they cost us.’Vivid and exquisitely written… Kostakis weaves a sparkling tale of hardship, heartbreak, identity and the universal struggle of finding your footing in the world.” 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens agenda 
by Becky Albertalli 
“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out — without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.” 

Nick and Charlie 
by Alcie Oseman 
A short novella based on the beloved characters from Alice Oseman’s acclaimed debut novel Solitaire and graphic novel series Heartstopper. CHARLIE: “I have been going out with Nick Nelson for two years. He likes rugby, Formula 1, dogs, the Marvel universe, the sound felt-tips make on paper, rain and drawing on shoes. He also likes me.” NICK: “Things me and Charlie Spring do together include: Watch films. Sit in the same room on different laptops. Text each other from different rooms. Make out. Make food. Make drinks. Get drunk. Talk. Argue. Laugh. Maybe we’re kind of boring. But that’s fine with us.” Everyone knows that Nick and Charlie are the perfect couple – that they’re inseparable. But now Nick is leaving for university, and Charlie will be left behind at Sixth Form. Everyone’s asking if they’re staying together, which is a stupid question – they’re ‘Nick and Charlie’ for God’s sake! But as the time to say goodbye gets inevitably closer, both Nick and Charlie question whether their love is strong enough to survive being apart. Or are they delaying the inevitable? Because everyone knows that first loves rarely last forever…” 

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit 
by Jaye Brown 
“Joanna meets the perfect girl for her and must decide whether to break a promise that could change everything for her and her family or lose out on love in this charming young adult romance. Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad.Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right? 

by A. L. Graziadei 
“A. L. Graziadei’s Icebreaker is an irresistible YA debut about two hockey players fighting to be the best—and the romance that catches them by surprise along the way.Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot. The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.” 

Annie on My Mind 
by Nancy Garden 
When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there’s something special between them. Soon, their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance. Neither imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful, but as Liza and Annie’s newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and at their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.   One of the first books to positively portray a lesbian relationship, Annie on My Mind is a groundbreaking classic of the genre. The subject of a First Amendment lawsuit over banned books and one of School Library Journal’s “One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century,” Nancy Garden’s iconic novel is an important story for anyone discovering who they’re meant to be.” 

Erna Ferry: local legend

Erna Ferry’s music career began in the 1980s, and nearly forty years later our local star has earned a national and international reputation.

Born in Germany, where her father (a Scottish Black Watch soldier) was in charge of helping refugees and displaced people in the Ruhr after World War II; Erna’s family moved to New Zealand when she was three.

After her father passed, when she was eleven, her mother remarried, and they started a new life in Palmerston North.

Growing up in the city, she attended Palmerton North Girls High School and developed her love of music.

“I formed a group with two of my friends called the Bluejays. We sang together and dreamed about music,” Erna recalls of her early experiences performing.

While she was a student at Palmerton North Girls High School Erna ferry and two friends formed the Bluejays, her first foray into music. Image courtesy of Erna Ferry

Post secondary school, she travelled and spent several years living in Wellington, before taking off on a seven-year OE in Europe.

After seeing the world, she returned home, got married and had children, but never envisaged singing would ever be more than a hobby.

She credits a friend encouraging her to help with scenery for a local production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, in the ’80s, as the turning point in her life.

Her big break came when the show’s director, Robert Rimmer, stopped her one day and asked if she could sing.

In need of a vivacious blonde for the starring role, Erna was encouraged by her friend to audition.

“We were travelling to Wellington in a car and I sang ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ to a tape of Tom Jones,” she recalls.

The director liked what he heard and wasted no time in casting her as the play’s lead.

What followed, was a whirlwind experience that she describes as one of the most terrifying, exciting and satisfying times in her life. Her commitment to the show continued behind the scenes. “I made the clothes my character wore, so I could keep them after the final show. They’re still in storage,” Erna laughs.

Bitten by the performing bug, more shows followed including ’80s favourite ‘A Slice of Saturday Night’. The show proved to be a vital step in her music experience.

Cast mate Simon Bowden, introduced her to the world of jazz, showing her a song book of jazz standards.

“This was music I knew and loved. Many of the songs were the show tunes of the ’20s through to the ’40s that my parents listened to when I was growing up,” she says.

The experience opened new opportunities. Her cast mate convinced her, and another young musician, to form a band called ’After Hours’. This helped her hone her skills.

Juggling her family with her new-found career, the trio ‘After Hours’, carved out a reputation with shows across Palmerston North.

By 1993, when her jazz repertoire and reputation as a singer had grown in Manawatū, a friend entered her in a national Jazz Quest competition without her knowledge.

Erna took it in her stride. On the night of the competition, she performed until 10pm at a local restaurant with the trio, before her father collected her and drove her to Wellington for the first heat. Erna remembers arriving at midnight and having just enough time to take off her coat before she hit the stage.

“I sang three songs including ’Mack the Knife’ and won that week’s heat,” she says.

Three weeks later she took top honours at the Jazz Quest final. That was the point Erna realised she ‘had arrived’ and was part of the jazz community.

Later that year she joined jazz legend, Al Jarreau, on his New Zealand tour as the support act.

“I realised there was no money in jazz unless you were the one who was headlining, so I developed a multi-genre approach to my singing,” Erna says.

Her approach enabled her to turn her talents to performing at a variety of events from weddings to conferences, product launches, special occasions, and gigs at local bars and pubs.

In 1998 she met New Zealand jazz legend, Rodger Fox, at a festival in Whanganui. The meeting led to both a personal and professional partnership, that has spanned more than two decades.

“We were both single and we clicked personally and professionally,” she says. “Roger tricked me into putting out my first album. He secretly collected my charts from small groups and sent them to an arranger in the United States, who rearranged them and sent them back as Big Band charts,” she recalls.

With all the hard work done, she agreed to the project, and her debut album, Devil May Care, followed.

The success of this album led to a second CD in 2004, Big Blues, that drew its inspiration from her part in a World Blues review tour throughout New Zealand.

In the years that have followed, the partnership has flourished both personally and professionally, with national and international tours and recognition as a formidable force in the music scene.

Throughout it all, two constants have remained in Erna’s life – her passion for music and her connection with Palmerston North and Manawatū audiences.

While her career sees her travel far and wide, Palmerston North is still her home and the place where her music memories began.

Brazen Hussies: rebels with a cause

Aiming to shock and create conversations on frequently sensitive subjects, the Brazen Hussies were born from the challenge to be brazen and outspoken in the 1990s. A group of friends, self-confessed feminists and political thinkers, were keen to make a stand against politics and confront issues such as benefit cuts and the Employment Relations Act.

Since their first performance, outside the old Palmerston North Post Office for International Women’s Day, the group has never shied away from topical issues ranging from climate change to Don Brash speeches, to women’s health.

While their line-up has changed throughout the years, the nature of their music hasn’t. The Brazen Hussies parody popular songs with lyrics revised to highlight contentious issues and the politics of the day.

A fixture at most annual Palmerston North May Day commemorations, the Brazen Hussies have reinvented such classics as ABBA’s Money, Money, Money – with lyrics criticising the rise of capitalism and right-wing politics. Other politically themed songs in their repertoire have included, Sink the Corporate Pirates song, These Boots are Made for Walking, and What Shall We Do with the Politicians.

Dressed to impress the Brazen Hussies. Photo: Image courtesy of the Brazen Hussies.

With a strong social conscience, the group has always been focused on ‘the message’ and expressing their opinion through singing. Over their two-decade run, these solely female singers have enjoy thinking up new and interesting ways to shock.

“I’m sure some people squirm when we come along, and others think ‘what are they going to do next?’ But that’s good and it’s what we want. Singing has given us a powerful voice,” says original Brazen Hussies member, Jean Hera.

First Voice 2023

Once again the First Voice project has delivered a wonderful bundle of writing!

55 Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School students, from 27 non-English speaking backgrounds, produced a piece of writing in their mother tongue. This year, the theme was ‘Unique Nations’. With the assistance of mentors, the pieces were proofread. When the students returned to school, the results were published.

Amazing to see so many languages and scripts represented, from Tokelauan to Urdu, Swedish to Samoan.

You can peruse the finished article at Palmerston North City Library. It’s available as a physical version, and also online via Manawatū Heritage.

Congratulations to all the students involved – you’ve done an excellent job!

Manawatū Music History

From Friday Oct 6-7, we celebrate Manawatū Music Makers (even more than usual). Come in and hear some great talks by some truly inspirational and entertaining characters!

There’s also the launch of this year’s Palmerston North Heritage Trust calendar, with — you guessed it — a musical theme.

Covering classical, to pop, to jazz, and including talks about some of our iconic local venues too, you’re bound to enjoy this series.

See the full programme here.

Sign up to the Library’s emails lists here.