Local Lives

Book a Human Book at the Ashburton Public Library, Monday, September 27, 2021

For Mental Health Awareness Week Ashburton Public Library and Keep Learning Mid Canterbury are collaborating to offer wellbeing events. There are 5 ways to wellbeing CONNECT, BE ACTIVE, TAKE NOTICE, KEEP LEARNING and GIVE. The Local Lives event has been designed to CONNECT you with people you may otherwise not meet.

Local Lives are interesting, inspiring and insightful stories from members of our Community who are happy to share their passions, achievements and struggles.

Book in to spend time one on one with as many "books” as you like.

The Local Lives books will be taking part in this FREE event at the Library on September 27 and you are able to book a 20-minute session to have a one-on-one conversation and CONNECT with them.

Simply browse the catalogue below, using the BOOK ME button as you go.

Alternatively if you want to read through the whole catalogue then make multiple bookings do so here Local Lives (jotform.com)

You are also welcome to call the Library to book on 03 308 7192


A voice for Nature

Edith became involved in Forest and Bird because she wanted to learn more about the nature and landscapes around her. As Edith’s knowledge grew she became a passionate advocate for dryland plants our rivers and their birdlife. Hear from Edith how she advocates for our remnant nature, why it is important and perhaps how you can become involved.


Culture Shock: City to Farm

Emigrating from Holland to NZ as a child and relocating from Wellington to Mid Canterbury in her forties had many similarities: different cultures, way of life, climate, yes, even language! From Corporate Finance Manager in CBD to life on the farm there was lots to learn. Throw into the mix giving birth to 2 girls between the ages of 43 and 46 and life has never been dull. Coby is always happy to talk about the challenges she faced, whether it be her relocations, becoming an "older" mum or even the sport of target shooting she is so passionate about and has seen her represent NZ in South Africa and Australia.


Drivers' License changed my life

As a migrant from Delhi, India, each new day in rural New Zealand brought different emotions for Ramandeep. She found it difficult to talk to others and to build trust. After becoming a parent in 2016 the real struggle began and she ended up moving back to India. Returning to her husband in NZ when her baby was 1 she soon conceived her second child. This time her mother came to NZ to help her. Having this support meant she had the opportunity to get her full drivers licence with the help of the Rural Drivers Licensing Scheme. Come and talk to Ramandeep about her migrant experience.


It's in the blood.....Long Range Target Rifle Shooting

From the first moment John shot at a target during his uni days he was hooked. Since then he has been the Ashburton Club's champion for 23 years, has won the NZ Championships (Ballinger Belt) twice and has a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal for the Pairs competition at the Delhi games in 2011. John would love to talk about his passion for his sport and the challenges facing sporting shooters; on and off the range.



Josie(they/Them) has been living in NZ for just over half of their life. They've been happily out as a member of the rainbow community since c.2014. They are: nonbinary, panromantic, ace-pansexual, quite knowledgeable about the LBGT+ community and the concept of the binary, and happy to answer any and all questions you may have.


Life's ups and downs

As a very green 16-year-old Christchurch city boy, Robin Burton came to Ashburton to begin what turned out to be a 60-year career in agriculture. His first farm job gave him a thorough grounding in farm life and ‘taking it on the chin’. Over time there were also dramas and tragedies – redundancy, ill-health and bereavement. Robin is open to talking about his life in agriculture over the years, the difficulties he has faced and how he's got through adversity.


Live Simple, Walk Humble & Sleep Soundly

While Robbie Shefford may not be a familiar name, you are likely to recognise his trademark ginger mutton chops and Gooserooter nickname. Robbie is driven to connect with people around the importance of mental health. Through his wildly successful social media channel Truck This and Truck That Robbie has been able to use his no nonsense personality and raucous sense of humour to connect with a diverse audience, from truckies and contractors to farmers and mechanics.


Living with Leukaemia

Marion Bartlett (Maz) is willing to tell her story of living through and with acute myeloid leukaemia/ blood cancer. She will share her journey from diagnosis to today, covering medical care, bone marrow transplant, whānau, finding a place of healing; physically, spiritually, mentally and beyond.


Musical Moments

Elaine will share her experiences of a lifetime of involvement in music education and musical theatre. Laugh and smile at the highs and commiserate with the lows!


No Ordinary Life

Muriel, the oldest of 7 children has led an adventurous life teaching and living in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. While teaching in South Korea, Muriel adopted two boys aged 10 and 7 as a single mum and so began another chapter. Now living in Ashburton, Muriel is happy to talk about her adventurous life, her highs and lows, and the challenges of being a long distance Mother and Grandmother.



Terry suffered a spinal cord injury 8 years ago which left him paralysed. This injury changed his life in so many ways like what he can physically do, his relationships with family and friends and especially his outlook on life. He believes, however, that this injury does not define him as a person. Come and talk to Terry and tell him what you think about his story


Putting the ART in Ashburton

For ten years now Shirin Khosraviani has been running the Ashburton Art Gallery and bringing innovative and exciting exhibitions to our town.  Shirin is passionate about imaginative expression, diversity and the power of art to bring communities together. She is keen to chat about building resilience, being different and sharing stories about escaping from the middle east.



Maria Jimenez has been through a lot - bad relationship break ups, loss of friends and career. She knows what it's like to start from rock bottom and is willing to talk about resilience and what got her through life's challenges.


Sharing encounters with people and some yarns.

Bernard has a wide collection of interesting, inspirational and often amusing tales which hopefully bring enjoyment to others.


Surviving Abuse through finding a Purpose

Sarah has been the victim of abuse and felt shame and guilt about her situation. She found a purpose and in the process discovered her true identity. Sarah is happy to talk about her experiences, the importance of speaking up, seeking help and the purpose that enabled her to survive.

  • Times I am available * (tick all that apply)

I will likely be bringing children with me who will be happy to play/read in the Children's library area *

First Name & Last Name

We will contact you via email

I understand that there are limited places so I may not be able to read all the books I want to. I understand that once I have been allocated times and books (closer to the time), I will show up on time or notify organisers that I can no longer attend *