• WHEN Saturday 4th June, 10:00am
    Sunday 5th June, 10:00am
  • WHERE Addison Stage, Baycourt
  • DURATION Sat 3 & Sun 4 June, 10am - 2pm

Wright Family Foundation present a very special event - one that reveals the true meaning of 'don't judge a book by its cover'...

What is a Human Library?
Visitors to this free event can check out a living ‘book’, who will tell their story through a Q&A session with a small group. These brave individuals may challenge your outlook on life, they may make you laugh or cry … but we guarantee you will leave the library richer for having met them. The Human Library is an international movement to encourage acceptance and has as its motto ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’.

Bookings can be taken from groups of ‘readers’ (four people per book maximum), for a duration of 30 minutes per session. To book, email laura@blinkpr.co.nz
The Human Library Timetable (daily, Sat 4 June, Sun 5 June):
10 - 10.30
10.30 - 11
11 - 11.30 MORNING TEA
11.30 - 12
1pm - 1.30
1.30 - 2pm

Who are the Human Library books?

Life Attack Specialist: Mike
Before that moment I was a loving dad, husband and outdoor enthusiast. After that moment, the way I experienced the world changed forever. My adventures had taken me to Mexico before sailing across the Pacific with my wife and nine-month-old son. I’d survived a week trapped in a snow cave, and climbed Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes.
Before the accident I was 6'1". Now my wife loses sight of me in a crowd. 

Sometimes I’m ambushed by anxiety, burden and despair. One minute I’m running for survival through the jungle we call life and the next – wham – out of nowhere I’m overwhelmed by the aftermath of that fateful day. 
After two long years of intense physical and psychological experience I’ve come to understand a few things about survival. I like to think of a Big Break as an opportunity for growth, awareness, and success. I've come to understand that to discover the great things that lie ahead we must take that first step into the unknown.
Musician: Dylan 
My parents split when I was seven, and my mother died when I was nine. My sister and I moved in with dad and his new partner and I lived with them until I was 16 when they bought a backpackers in Motueka.

Everything seemed to hit me at once, and I was very angry. At 14, I was suicidal and made an attempt on my life, which was a turning point. A backpacker made me a guitar out of two broken ones; I learned ‘E’ and ‘G’. I love Nirvana and learned how to play About a Girl - and I was away. I started a band. It was literally two weeks and my life was transformed. By the time I was 18 things were pretty much falling into place.

I try and communicate my truth through my songs. Sometimes all we see are the differences but we’re all the same. My songs give me insight and help me overcome all the dark stuff. I get to participate in the light. 

Journalist: John
I grew up on a Southland sheep farm. After School Certificate, I went home to the farm and saw my future contract. Telling my father I no longer wanted to be a farmer was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but, with his agreement, I went back to school to obtain University Entrance. A BA at Otago University followed (majoring in anthropology); then a career in journalism, broadcasting and film.

I have made an eclectic mix of programming – television series, live events, a late-night chat show, and drama. Documentaries include Flight 901: The Erebus Disaster, The Aphrodisiac Trail (the pioneers of exporting deer velvet to Asia), and Intersexion (about people born between male and female). I also produced the first 18-hour Anzac Day broadcast on Maori Television and On Top of the World (a live 50th anniversary celebration of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Everest).

It has been exactly the job that I wanted it to be, where you don’t have to look forward to knock-off time or smoko. You meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and every day is different.
Writer: Owen
I am a non-fiction writer, editor and broadcaster. Although I am a fourth-generation (white) Fijian, I did all my schooling in Whanganui and studied law at Canterbury University. I then went to drama school in London and acting was my career in the UK for nearly 20 years.

Returning to New Zealand in the early 2000s, I wrote a book, Deep Beyond the Reef, about my family and its association with Fiji. It was a story of colonialism, religion, controversy, war and the 2001 murder of my older brother John and his partner Greg. There were some saucy bits too,  mainly to do with my father who was a politician of some mana but also a marauding character.

Words matter – and in this case I tried to use them to help understand what had happened to my brother.

The book was the basis for Annie Goldson's film An Island Calling, which I co-wrote and presented. I also abridged the book for Radio NZ and read it myself over 15 episodes.
This was a start of my adapting a series of other books for RNZ.

Doctor: Saima
I grew up in Pakistan, in Karachi, in a middle-class family where the absolute priority was education. I received my medical degree in Pakistan. I love talking to people, and for two years I worked in a hospital in Karachi where I did my one-year training.
I’ve since moved to New Zealand with my husband and we’re raising our two children here. I’m working hard to register as a New Zealand doctor, and am about to complete my final exam.
I believe we’re all the same, no matter what religion we are from. My religion is Islam, which is about love, peace and respect for one another.
I’m looking forward to seeing myself among the good doctors in New Zealand.

Artist: Kristian 
I studied art at Ilam School of Fine Arts in the early 1990s, but I stopped painting to work as caregiver, life coach and farmhand.
In 2000, while working on the farm, I picked up the paintbrush again, depicting the land I saw in front of me. A full-time artist for the last 16 years, my work developed from landscapes, portraying the land I saw in front of me, to more abstract paintings today.
Diagnosed with severe depression in 2006 turned into an opportunity – a grant from the Like Minds, Like Mine foundation allowed me to travel the country and showcase my work.
From 2007 to 2013 I ran a community gallery in Rotorua, supporting other people in the community to develop and exhibit their art. In 2013 I transferred to Tauranga and The Incubator. I enjoy the cooperation and mutual support of this creative group of artists of all media.
My current exhibition at my The Incubator studio shows landscapes from my early years, and more recent paintings.

Transgender Teen: Andy
Growing up, I was always very tom-boyish and didn’t fit in with many of the other girls. I grew up in a moderately open household, with a brother roughly the same age as me, so I was exposed to both feminine and masculine objects and clothing throughout my life.
As I started puberty I looked at my body differently; at 13 I became jealous of boys that were growing facial hair and muscles, although I didn’t understand why. I started to look into chest binding because I didn’t feel comfortable with having breasts.
This is when I came across female to male transgender. I explored options for hormones and surgery, and things started to make sense in my mind. At 14 I cut my hair short and started exploring with clothing and names, and expressing myself the way I wanted too. By the time I turned 16, I was comfortable with myself and my identity.

Survivor: Anna
"Family violence is an enormous issue – one in three New Zealand women are victims of it in their lifetime. Hidden behind closed doors and at times, a veneer of respectability, violence can be physical, emotional and psychological.
I am a 40-something-year-old community builder, writer, musician, cyclist and gardener. Sixteen years ago, I ended my 10-year abusive marriage and have been committed to working on my recovery ever since.
I have worked in social services and in particular lend my strength to raising awareness of family violence and mental health, in Tauranga Moana.
I am a member of the Breakthru-Promoting Mental Health Awareness committee, an annual event in Tauranga, and have recently been the poster photographer for the Papamoa and Te Puke It’s Not OK anti-violence campaigns.
I am also one of the stories in Grim Tales, a collaborative book of real tales created by The Incubator for Tauranga Women’s Refuge. 
I am also a mother of three adult children and grandmother of two, who all still live with the ongoing ripples of family violence.”