North Shore Times : April 24th 2015
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Friday, April 24, 2015 2014CANONMEDIAAWARDSCOMMUNITYNEWSPAPEROF THEYEAR Book censorship fight By KATASHA MCCULLOUGH A ‘‘WONDERFUL’’ book for teenagers is going to waste due to censorship, a former teacher says. Betty Robb, 76, borrowed Into the River by Ted Dawes from Glenfield Library and was told by staff it was restricted to readers aged over 14. Betty says the librarian then added insult to injury by telling her she was not allowed to lend it to anyone under 14. ‘‘It is probably easier to steal a car and go for a joy ride than borrow a restricted book,’’ Betty says. Into the River is a coming- of-age novel that sees a 14-year-old Maori boy struggling to find his own way while battling with his cultural identity. He moves from small-town rural New Zealand to a prestigious boarding school in Auckland after winning a scholarship. Into the River was named book of the year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book awards. But the Office of Film and Literature Classification determined it was not suitable for anyone aged under 14. Betty says teachers and writers have made great strides to engage boys in reading. ‘‘I would be happy to read this super book to any young man . . . boys mature a lot earlier these days and are more worldly wise than we ever were.’’ Libraries and information general manager Allison Push to protect kauri forest in Northcote A fulltime passion for a magnificent kauriforest has sprouted from five minutes of weeding a day for Helen Ferguson. The Northcote resident has plucked weeds and rubbish from Kauri Glen Bush Reserve since she moved to the area four years ago and now wants to create a community bush society to carefor it. ‘‘I decided five minutes a day wasn’t going to cut it, there’s just too much to look after –and we’reso lucky to have such a beautiful area in the heartof Northcote,’’ she says. Ferguson leads a group of volunteersfrom IHC who help hermaintain the bush, but says a formal organisation would give themmore power in lobbying government about what happensin the area. Heightened concerns over the kauri dieback disease, following the closureof Albany Scenic Reserve, have meantuninfected areas need extraprotection, Ferguson says. ‘‘It’s a well used track. Even though thereare no confirmed cases of dieback in the bush, there is still cause for concern,’’ she says. Ferguson has joined forces with RotaryNorthcote Glenfield to build a support networkfor the precious bush. ‘‘It’s about the community appreciating what we have, as well as protectingit for futuregenerations,’’ she says. Jubilee Projects coordinator for Northcote Glenfield Rotary, Graham Grant, says forming a local group of volunteers would be the best way of protecting the ‘‘hundreds of mature kauri’’. ‘‘It’s a magnificent piece of kauriforest. It would be a shame if futuregenerations didn’t get to experience it, because it hasn’t been taken care of,’’ he says. Grantis drummingup supportthrough Northcote and neighbouring suburbs to attenda meetingin May, where they can begin to create a formal group with interested people. He says the aim is to establish a local group of caring residents as an incorporated society with charitable status and then lobby for ensuring equitable fundingandcarefrom the governmentand Auckland Council. Ferguson says the group would identify areas that need urgent attention, includingparts of the track which she says should be board-walked. A public meeting will be held in the Northcote College Hall on May 5 at 7.30pm. The project is also supported by Kaipatiki Local BoardandNorth Shore Forest & Bird. GrahamGrantand Helen Ferguson in the Kauri Glen bush in Northcote – a piece of bush they say desperately needs protecting. Dobbie says Auckland Libraries agrees wholeheartedly with Betty. ‘‘Into the River by Ted Dawe is a book that should be easily available to young men to encourage their reading. This is specifically the audience that the book was written for.’’ She says a number of library organisations, including Auckland Libraries, disagree with the censorship and have recently filed papers to appeal the decision. Betty and her husband, both teachers, spent years teaching in isolated districts in New Zealand. She says whoever decided on the censorship has probably never lived and worked in the same kind of places as her and the author. ‘‘I would have been very disappointed if I had written the book with such great appeal, only to have a censorship slapped on it. What a waste of effort. ‘‘It seems to me that teenagers can access on the web far more rude material than they will ever find in Ted Dawe’s book Into the River.’’ Allison says due to the book’s classification libraries are not able to place copies on open shelves and the book has to be clearly labelled to make the restriction clear. ‘‘We are obligated to apply censorship decisions even though this is often difficult administratively and from a customer perspective, as penalties can be applied,’’ she says. Find neighbours to exchange garden goodies with Does anyone want to swap fruit or veg for lemons? We have heaps!
April 23rd 2015