On to our Top 5. There is plenty to choose from when you consider the volumes of books and other resources on our shelves of Auckland and Aucklanders from the land, the air, the sea, at work and at play, yesterday, today and even into the future. In no particular order, here are five of my favourites.
- Tamaki-Makaurau : myths and legends of Auckland landmarks / Edith Phillips-Gibson ; illustrated by Loc Keokatavong. The Auckland area has many wondrous landmarks, passageways, caves and pa sites. Accompanying these formations are equally wondrous tales of how they were formed, whether it be by natural forces or by the ancient Maori people who lived in the area. The myths and legends in this collection are retold here as they might have been in earlier times. There are stories of enemies sworn, of taniwha roaring, of lovers forlorn, of courageous people and of landmarks that are today explored by many visitors and residents of New Zealand's largest city. I love the connection between the oral tales of yesterday with the places of today that myths give us. Despite, at times, New Zealand being quite a young country, we have a wealth of these tales if we just take the time to listen to them (or read them).
- Edible Auckland : foodie adventures from Pokeno to Mangawhai / Jennifer Yee. A glovebox-sized guide to the Auckland region's best foodie outlets. Each entry includes full contact details, range of products and trading hours and is listed in alphabetical order and can be found within its relevant chapter, i.e. central, north, east, west or south Auckland... Plan a gourmet weekend escape, day trip or just a few hours tasting your way around specialty food and cooks stores. With Edible Auckland in the glovebox you'll never be lost for where to shop for good food and produce - and you'll never have an excuse to go hungry! I can personally vouch for several of the entries in this book (and would like to have the time and opportunity to sample many more). I can't think of many better ways to get set about a tour of Auckland (unless it involved books or libraries).
- The life and times of Auckland : the colourful story of a city / Gordon McLauchlan. Since pre-European times, Auckland has been culturally different from the rest of the country. Today, it is culturally and ethnically diverging further. Its city life is a rowdy coming together of diverse people, implicit with opportunity and excitement. As Gordon McLauchlan describes in this book, Auckland's past is no different from its present. This lively people's history, packed with colourful stories about the place and its people, tells how it got to be where everybody seems to want to live. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to histories of the city. This is one of the 21st Century examples of a very readable non-fiction book. An honourable mention in the history category would go to From Tamaki-makau-rau to Auckland / R.C.J. Stone which covers the pre-European history of the region.
- City of volcanoes : a geology of Auckland / E.J. Searle ; edited and with geographic notes by R.D. Mayhill. Readable account of the development of Auckland's landscape and its remarkable collection of tiny volcanic sites. To this edition has been added material discussing the realtionships of landforms with other natural features and people. I find the idea that Auckland is built on a field of volcanoes fascinating and just a little disturbing. This book is adult non-fiction, but if you are looking for something a little lighter or for children, try Maria Gill's Rangitoto : te toka tū moana : the rock standing in the ocean.
- Hidden gems of Northland / Martin Robinson Whether you prefer a leisurely ramble through local museums, glow-worm caves or country churches, or if you'd rather hit the bike trail, scuba dive or lounge with the locals in the cosiest pubs, "Hidden gems of Northland" opens up a treasure chest of curiosities and activities to be discovered North of Aucland. Being an 'Aucklander' is quite a new thing to me. I started out as a North Aucklander and (just quietly) will probably still cheer for the Taniwha's of Northland over the North Harbour or Auckland rugby teams. So in this Top 5, I am not prepared to forget that it is also Northland's Anniversary Day. I can definitely recommend visits to lots of different parts of Northland, from the Kaipara Harbour where I grew up, to Ahipara up near the top of the country and back down to the East Coast to events such as the annual Jazz & Blues Festival in the Bay of Islands, stopping for chocolate at Makana on the way past. Unfortunately the weather forecast means this might not be the weekend to take a trip away, but raincheck it for later in the year.
If you want to find out about walks, museums, wine, golf courses, history, etc of Auckland or Northland, the easiest way is to do a keyword search in our new catalogue and use that as your starting point.
Have an awesome, safe (and dry) weekend everyone. Ka kite.