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Auckland Libraries in New Zealand figured out why their books were going missing and came up with a win-win solution.

If you know how to read, you want to read, and librarians want you to read. But not everyone has easy access to books. That is why some readers in New Zealand were sneaking books.

Mark Molloy writes at the UK’s Telegraph, “A New Zealand library has finally solved the mystery of why some books were going missing from its shelves.

“Auckland Libraries staff were bewildered after finding some books were being hidden in random places. They initially thought kids playing pranks were to blame, but later discovered it was the city’s rough sleepers who were actually stashing the books so they could return the next day to continue reading.

“ ‘A lot of our street community were wanting to put them underneath the couches or underneath book shelves and kind of hiding them in various places,’ librarian Sean Taylor told TV NZ. … Without a permanent address they were unable to sign up for a library card that would allow them to take the literature away.

“As a solution, Auckland Library created a new section where books can now be left overnight and picked back up again the next morning. …

“ ‘They are really well read. We’ve got a guy who I’ve had a discussion about the meanings of words and we’ll talk about the reference section and it’s the kind of intellectual conversation you’d expect from an academic.’ …

“Auckland Library says it sees itself as a ‘home for the homeless’ and holds regular cinema screenings and a book club for those sleeping rough. …

“ ‘One guy told me he moved to the city several years ago, and that none of his family back home knew he was homeless,” [said Rachel Rivera, manager of Auckland Libraries]. He used our computers to keep in touch with them. It was his lifeline to his family,’ she said.

“ ‘They value our service, like many of our communities do, for different reasons. But they don’t always feel safe and welcome, and that is something we can and should take steps to address.’ ”

More at the Telegraph, here. And look: Everything at the Auckland libraries website is in both English and Maori.

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Photo: Birgit Krippner for the New York Times
Allan Tipene and his wife, Desiree Tipene, with their children and others in New Zealand. Ms. Tipene called “Moana” a “funny and beautiful” way for her children to connect with their culture.
 

The cartoon film Moana is playing a role in the push to preserve indigenous languages — one language in particular.

Charlotte Graham writes at the New York Times about the Moana translation being shown in New Zealand.

“The families lined up at the theater above a shopping mall here in New Zealand’s biggest city [for] a film unlike any they had ever seen — the Disney hit ‘Moana,’ translated into the indigenous language of New Zealand. …

“About 125,000 of New Zealand’s 4.7 million people speak the Maori language, or ‘te reo Māori,’ as it is widely rendered here. There are concerns that numbers are declining, putting it at risk of dying out. But with one in three Maori people in New Zealand younger than 15, experts said the chance for youth to see a wildly popular movie in their own words could turn the language’s fortunes around after more official efforts faltered. …

“ ‘Moana’ [is] the story of a Polynesian princess, Moana, on an adventure with her chicken, Heihei, and the demigod Maui …

“Many of those attending in Manukau, in southern Auckland, said they had never seen a film at the theater entirely in their language before.

“Several of the families there came from nearby Manurewa, a district usually in the news for unemployment, homelessness and poverty. Parents entering the theater said they relished the chance for their children to see themselves and their language reflected on the big screen, in a different kind of story that they hoped would instill pride in being Maori. …

“ ‘Language is the expression of a culture and a race of people,’ [Haami Piripi, a former head of the government body charged with the promotion of te reo Māori as a living language] said. ‘To retain your language is an emblem of survival through history. If you’ve still got your language now, you have the key to your culture.’ …

“Katarina Edmonds, a senior lecturer in Maori education at the University of Auckland, and one of three people who translated the film, said the team worked not only to find the exact equivalents of words in the Disney script, but also to remain true to the Maori language and tikanga, or cultural values.”

More at the New York Times, here.

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