Category: What’s on

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day is the day Aotearoa comes together to take a stand against bullying. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHFNZ) has run the campaign since 2012, inspiring tangata to Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

It’s about creating a community where all people feel safe, valued and respected, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion or cultural background. For more information, visit the Pink Shirt Day website. The City Library has many of the titles reviewed and recommended.

Vanya Insull (VJ Cooks) – Q&A

VJ Cooks is coming to the City Library!

Vanya Insull lives in Taupō, New Zealand. She is a passionate foodie who loves cooking, baking, sharing recipes and of course – eating! In November 2016, Vanya founded the VJ cooks Facebook page which quickly amassed a large following. From there, Vanya set up her own website which now has over 500 recipes (and counting!) with average daily views of over 25,000 from visitors across the globe.

On Friday May 24, Vanya will be conversing with the City Library’s own resident cooking enthusiast Alex Johnston.

We’re thrilled to have Vanya be our second participant in the soon-to-be-huge Questions & Authors series. Here are her Qs and As:

Q. What’s your favourite book right now?

A. I just read The Women by Kristen Hannah. It was so good, 5 stars from me.

Q. And what about when you were a child?

A. I love Alison Holst’s cookbooks. 

Q. What’s your earliest writing memory?

A. I don’t really consider myself a writer, but I started writing recipes down in a notebook about 7 years ago. 

Q. Do you have a favourite font for writing in? And revising? (Or do you write by hand?)

A. I just scribble the recipes by hand then type them up for my website or cookbook later on. 

Q. Top tip(s) for aspiring authors?

A. Content is king when it comes to sharing recipes so just keep sharing them on social media. 

Q. If you had the opportunity to travel to any country in the world to research food and drink, where would you go and why?

A. I would love to go to Thailand and do some cooking classes there, I love Thai food. 

Q. What is your favourite back-pocket recipe for an instant dinner?

A. What’s in the fridge pasta. I can make a tasty meal with just a few ingredients.

Q. Who would your dream dinner guest be and what would you cook them?

A. I would love to cook for my late grandparents and show them my success and how far I had come from being a plain and picky eater when I was a kid. 

Q. What is your most treasured food memory?

A. The cooking class I did when I was in Greece last year was very special. 

Q. Who are your food heroes/greatest influences and why?

A. I love to follow what other cooks create on Instagram. My faves are Gaby Dalkin, Donal Skehan and Half Baked Harvest. 

Q. What are the ingredients and flavours you could not live without?

A. My favourite flavour combos are: Garlic and Rosemary. Raspberries and Chocolate. Pasta and cream haha. 

Miriam Sharland – Q&A

Miriam Sharland’s eco-memoir Heart Stood Still launches at Central Library on May 9 at 6pm.

Heart Stood Still is a record of Sharland’s journey towards finding healing in the world’s natural beauty, a beauty that we must fight to protect in the current climate crisis. It is both a memoir and a lyrical portrait of Manawatū.

Miriam Sharland is a writer and editor focusing on creative non-fiction, travel, biography/memoir and natural history. Based in England and Aotearoa New Zealand, her essays, reviews and features have appeared in numerous books, journals, magazines and newspapers, and online. Heart Stood Still is her first book.

Thanks to Miriam for being the first author to submit to our “Questions & Authors” segment! Here are her answers to some burning questions:

Q. What’s your favourite book right now? And what about when you were a child?

A. My favourite book is Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways. It’s a lovely combination of nature writing and travelogue that explores the connection between landscape and the heart. I especially like the sections about the English South Downs, close to where I come from, and Macfarlane’s exploration of the life of Edward Thomas, poet and WW1 soldier. Last year I followed the footsteps of my WW2 airman uncle around England and this book was influential on my writing that story.

As a child I loved Alice in Wonderland, and still do. We had a vinyl recording of it that we used to listen to as a family in the living room of my childhood home. Alice always takes me back to my childhood.

Q. What’s your earliest writing memory? Either something you wrote, or when you met an established author, etc.

A. My earliest writing memory is writing stories in English class at junior school in England. Specifically, feeling disappointed for getting a lower grade when I attempted to write comedy. I learnt my lesson, I think!

Q. Do you have a favourite font for writing in? And revising? (Or do you write by hand?)

A. I like Calibri – it’s nice and clean. I do sometimes scribble in a notebook but I find a keyboard a lot easier.

Q. Top tip(s) for aspiring authors?

A. I didn’t really start writing properly until I did my Master of Creative Writing at Massey. I learnt that writing is a craft that has to be worked at. I also had deadlines which were great because I tend to procrastinate. And, persevere – the first publisher I sent Heart Stood Still to turned it down.

Q. Heart Stood Still follows the seasons, do you have a favourite season?

A. I like all the seasons but my favourites are spring in Aotearoa, and summer in England.

Q. As a cyclist what is your destination of choice?

A. Girona – I visited last year for the first time and fell in love with it. Smooth wide roads, courteous drivers, masses of cyclists, beautiful scenery, fabulous history, great bike shops. It’s home to a lot of professional cyclists and is cycling heaven.

I also love Copenhagen. 98% of locals get around by bike – and the pastries are to die for.

Q. During Covid you explored places you had never been to or seen properly. What were some of the highlights?

A. Discovering fungi foraging sites was exciting! I became obsessed with mushrooms. The calming effect of sitting in a little bamboo grove by the Turitea Stream was another.

Mysterious Manawatū – Ngaio Marsh Awards author talk

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with the Palmerston North City Library, invites booklovers to a thrilling free event featuring four talented local authors.

2023 Ngaios finalist Riley Chance is joined by past Acorn Prize for Fiction shortlistee Gigi Fenster, and fellow 2024 Ngaio Marsh Awards entrants GB Ralph and Bing Turkby, for a criminally good conversation about the art of storytelling, how to craft memorable characters, the importance of setting and weaving in real-life issues, and what drew each of them to mystery and thriller writing.

WHEN: Friday 3 May 2024
WHERE: Central Library, Ground Floor
WHEN: 6pm for a 6.15pm panel

FREE entry, refreshments provided.

GB Ralph is an engineering consultant in Palmerston North and author of cosy mysteries and gay romcoms. The second novel in his Milverton Mysteries series, POISON AT PENSHAW HALL, was an #1 Audible category bestseller, and was nominated for Best Overall Mystery/Thriller in the 2023 Queer Indie Awards. GB Ralph’s books on the Library catalogue.

Bing Turkby is a Manawatū writer, librarian, and musician. He is the author of the ‘Guitar Store Mysteries’ series of cosy crime novels, set in a fictionalized version of Palmerston North. Bing writes stories with a 95% chance of guitars and a 45% chance of cats. Bing Turkby’s books on the Library catalogue.

Gigi Fenster is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and Massey University academic who has taught law and creative writing. Her latest novel, the psychological thriller A GOOD WINTER, won the 2021 Michael Gifkins Award, and was shortlisted for the Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2022 Ockham NZ Book Awards. Gigi Fenster’s books on the Library catalogue.

Riley Chance is an author and management consultant who’s been a Senior Lecturer at Massey University. He writes a near-future series of thrillers featuring journalist Grace Marks. His latest thriller THE DEMOCRACY GAME explores the growing threat of alt-right groups. Riley Chance’s books on the Library catalogue.

Hell Reading Challenge

The Hell Reading Challenge is back for 2024! Read 7 books to get a free kids healthy pizza. This challenge is for School Years 1-8, it’s free, and it runs at all Library locations, so you can pop into your nearest one to join the fun.

The HELL Reading Challenge is a well-established programme that has been hugely successful in getting
tamariki reading and enjoying the pleasures of stories. The Library provides the challenge for tamariki not already involved through their school.

There’s more information on the Hell Pizza website, or just ask at your nearest library.

‘Off The Page’ author series

Off the Page is back! The always popular Off The Page series is relaunching with a stellar line-up of local, national and internationally published writers. Off the Page will be bringing food writing, crime, historical fiction, romance and more to the Palmerston North City Library. The best of New Zealand writing is better than ever in 2024!

Off the Page will feature a popular writer in conversation with a local chair about their books, the writing life, and much more. As always, the events will also feature book sales and signings, snacks, and stimulating conversation. Everyone is invited and the events are free.

The writers in the Off the Page line-up are all acclaimed writers launching new books. They are the very best New Zealand has to offer! The writers you would pay to see at our national festivals, are free at your hometown library.

Launching the season, on April 19th, we have the award-winning crime writer Charity Norman in conversation with Gigi Fenster. Charity has published more than ten novels. Her book Remember Me won the Ngaio Marsh award in 2023 – an award which three of her previous books were finalists in. She is a wonderfully engaging speaker, and we are excited to be able to talk about her upcoming book as well as earlier ones.

On 24th May: Come and hear the wonderful Vanya Insull (VJ Cooks) in conversation with the library’s own Angela Rea. Vanya’s Everyday Favourites is a hit recipe book, and her blogs, courses and website are all hugely popular. If you’ve googled a meal for the family, you’ve probably cooked one of Vanya’s fabulous recipes.

On 21 June, Saige Vendome will be in conversation with Thom Conroy. Saige is an award-winning human rights journalist. Her new book The Seasonwife reveals aspects of our history previously hidden from mainstream education. Saige has a deep historical knowledge and understanding of the lives lived by her characters.

On 19 July, Catherine Robertson will talk about her TWO new books. Catherine is known for her wit, her vibrancy and her prolific writing career. She is a key figure in Aotearoa’s literary landscape. At least one reviewer has called her a ‘national treasure’. And she writes what she calls ‘Romcoms with heat and heart’!

On 20 or 27 September, Manawatū’s own Richard Shaw will be in discussion with Colin Bjork. Richard’s newest book, The Unsettled follows from his acclaimed memoir, The Forgotten Coast. In his latest, Richard offers readers the stories of Pakeha coming to grips with the truths of their family’s settler history – people who are unsettled but are doing something about it.

On 11 October, join us for Student Showcase. Massey University’s Gigi Fenster and Thom Conroy will host an evening featuring the emerging voices of Massey’s celebrated Creative Writing programme. The showcase is a rare opportunity to tomorrow’s biggest talent today.

Find all the Off The Page details here.

Quiet Hour – “Hoods Up, Volume Down”

This Wednesday 10th April, Te Pātikitiki Library will participate in #hoodsupvolumedown – the nationwide Quiet Hour to support the Autistic Community in Aotearoa.

From 10-11am, visitors to the library will be able to browse with reduced light, noise and other distractions where possible.

You can contact the local AutismNZ support person at

And you can find all sorts of resources by searching the Library catalogue for ‘autism’.

School Holidays

There is a wide range of offerings across all our library locations to spark imagination and play these April School Holidays:

  • Come to the KaRs Children’s entertainment group who will premiere their latest music video ‘One Earth’ on Earth Day (Monday 22nd April),
  • Get out and play as the library joins the return of the Pop Up Play series out in the community at Savage Crescent Park (Monday 15 April) and Ahimate Reserve (Tuesday 16 April)
  • Join the Comic Craze 2 Beanstack Bingo Reading Challenge
  • Create and make your own comic book character and enter the competition
  • Indulge your Dog Man fan by heading to Awapuni’s Dog Man day (Friday 19 April)
  • AND join in the usual fun with VR, craft, story telling sessions (including one where you get to wear your pyjamas!), the return visit of our favourite canine friends…AND THERE IS STILL MORE!

Here’s the complete list of activities across all Library locations.

Festival of cultures 

Join us in celebrating the diverse cultures we have in the community! 

The mobile library will be at the Festival of Cultures World Food, Craft and Music Fair.  There will be Community Language books to discover and check out. Talk to us about the digital resources in different languages available through the library! 

From the 15th of February Global Parents Support have a Traditional Costumes around the World display at Central Library. View special traditional garments and pick up an entry to their colouring in competition. Entries will also be available at the Community Libraries.  

There will be some cultural immersion book displays at the libraries and you can watch World movies and documentries for free through  

Beamafilm | Watch movies, series and more … 

Kanopy – Stream Classic Cinema, Indie Film and Top Documentaries 

Don’t forget you can share your photos from the Festival of Cultures on  Manawatū Heritage – Manawatū Heritage (   

Festival of Cultures 

Lantern Parade 

Friday 23rd February 


Te Marae o Hine- The Square 

World Food, Craft and Music Fair  

Saturday 24 February 


Te Marae o Hine- The Square 

Festival of Cultures World Food, Craft and Music Fair 2018: Photo by Rob Edwards accessed on Manawatū Heritage. 

Lunar New Year 2024

During Lunar New Year, communities all over the world participate in different celebrations. Lunar new year typically starts when the first new moon appears until the first full moon, the start date various between cultures. Lanterns, decorations, traditional food, fireworks and red envelopes are just a few traditions followed during this time hoping to bring prosperity for the new year.  

If you follow the Chinese zodiac you will know that the year 2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon. The characteristics of the Wood Dragon include confidence, creativity and determination and the Year of the Dragon is a symbol of strength, luck and success.   

This year Global Parents Support have a display about how the Lunar New Year is celebrated around the World! Come and see it on the First floor at the Central Library before the 12th Feb. 

Click on a book cover in the image below and it will take you to the Library catalogue record for that book.