Local Lives

Book a Human Book at the Ashburton Public Library, Sunday, September 25, 2022

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 25 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.

You are also welcome to call the Library to book on 03 308 7192 or using the alternative form here


A new place to call home

Haider Ahmadi is originally from Afghanistan and has been in New Zealand for 18 years. He lives in Ashburton with his family and works for the local Refugee Settlement Support Service. Haider can talk about his failed attempt to reach Australia 21 years ago, in a perilous journey by fishing boat. Hear about his rescue by the Tampa container ship, the years that followed in detention on Nauru Island and how he has found settling in New Zealand.


A Novel Idea

From an early age, Stacey Broadbent could be found with her nose in a book. It was only a matter of time before she would take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper herself.
With so many stories bouncing around her head, she chose to write them all, creating three separate names to publish under: Stacey Jayne for children’s books, Cyan Tayse for LGBTQ, and Stacey Broadbent for everything else.  With 30 titles under her belt, you might assume the process has come easily, but Stacey has had her share of trials and tribulations; learning to market herself, the hardest. It’s been six years since she first pressed ‘publish’, and though it hasn’t always been easy, she wouldn’t change a thing.

Anthony W

Antony’s Career Challenges

Although I have been an Accountant for 21 years now, it was not always plain sailing. Simply qualifying or getting experience in Accountancy was a battle. I had many setbacks and could well have gone down a different career path. I would like to share my journey of how I have got to where I am now.


Following my passion

Joining in with my sister’s Highland dance lesson from a young age has lead me on a discovery of my passion for ballet. It has been exciting with many amazing experiences, competing at the South Island ballet awards and being the youngest finalist, to dancing with the Royal New Zealand ballet. I was accepted to train as a scholar at the New Zealand school of dance, which involves travelling to Wellington but also 4 trips a week to train at Southern Ballet in Christchurch. I was recently offered a scholarship to dance at the Nervi festival in Italy so am very excited to continue my training and am very thankful for all of my friends, family and teachers who have supported me.

Come along and meet the talented Tāma.

Steve F

How the Apprentice became the Manager

Steve’s working career began as a 16 year old horticulture and gardening apprentice in New Plymouth which progressed into university study. Management roles at Duncan and Davies Nurseries and Palmers Garden Centres were followed by a period of self-employment in the landscaping sector. More recently Steve has been working in management roles in local government community services.

Come along and hear the story of Steve’s journey.


Imogene - Type-A Personality

“Give your friendships the magic you would give a romance. Because they're just as important. Actually, for us, they're way more important.”

- Alice Oseman, Loveless

I think of myself as a bit of a type-A personality. I push myself to do as many things as possible and experience everything life has to offer; however, it goes beyond that. I’m also Asexual and Aromantic, I don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction to any sex or gender which I can confidently say, for a 17 year old, gives me a bit of a different outlook on life. Our world, especially in the age of the internet, puts such an emphasis on romance; it’s in our movies, our books, our communities. Why did we decide romance was “the goal”? I make it a daily effort to remind myself and the world around me that love is so much more than romance, and that all forms of love should be nourished equally. Intrigued? Come along and chat to Imogene.

John McD

John’s stories of Adventure & Finance

As both son of a Scotsman, & early Otago settlers, the adventurous gene was present. From universities, one of which I had a brush with student politics; to government induced uncertainty in the industry entered, I was forced to leave NZ.  Applying my esoteric academic interest in the financial markets. Firstly, in Sydney, Chicago, NYC & London before Moscow my official residence for 18 years. Then back to NZ. Happy to talk about anything of interest, if financial markets defined topic: member of the Exchange, options broker/dealer, bank proprietary trader, inside a hedge fund, perspective of an academic heretic, insight of the current economic climate/ position today.

Mike F

Mud Glorious Mud

Mike finds his happiest place is throwing pots or hand sculpting with clay. This is something that he took up in the 1990’s and came back to six years ago. As Mike has discovered more about his Māori ancestry he has found some of his works influenced by this. Mike finds working with clay is very therapeutic and time passes quickly with clay in his hand. Come along and chat to Mike about his journey in creativity, the discovery of his Māori ancestry or perhaps be inspired to give throwing or hand sculpting with clay a go.


No Ordinary Life

Muriel, the oldest of 7 children grew up and became a teacher in Sydney. After teaching in Auckland she took up a wonderful opportunity which saw Muriel teaching and living in Yemen, Djibouti, Mali, Korea and Hong Kong. While teaching in South Korea, Muriel adopted two boys aged 10 and 7 as a single mum and so began another chapter. After raising her two boys she met and married an Ashburtonian which is why she now calls New Zealand home. Muriel is happy to share about her experiences and answer your questions.


People are our Greatest Asset

Ange believes communities are so very important and the beating heart of society in terms of leadership, support, problem solving and culture. The Oxford dictionary definition of culture is ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’ and Ange wonders … what culture do we want for our communities, here in Mid Canterbury? Is it Kaitiakitanga, stewardship of our land and water? Collaboration and creating pathways for working together? Do we value multicultural diversity, our youth and our elderly? Ange has been a champion of collaboration, of the environment and of the people of Mid Canterbury for many years. Come along and chat to Ange about her journey and her hopes for the future of our district. Ange looks forward to hearing your ideas too.



Bernard will share his encounters with people and some great yarns.

A collection of interesting, inspirational and often amusing tales which hopefully bring enjoyment to others.


What will I be when I’m no longer a Pup?

I wasn’t one of these people who wanted to be a police officer, fireman or farmer when I was young, like many teenagers I was just living and surviving the moment and not really thinking too far ahead

.A two-week career in banking, at my Dad’s request did show that I knew what I didn’t want to do.A few months later, again at Dad’s prompting I found myself in the blue uniform of the NZ Police and this was how it was to be for the next 38 years. I still wasn’t sure this was what I wanted to do but with a career full of “Better Work Stories” and working with and for people my future was set.

Now days I still work with people doing Suicide Post and Prevention. I still am not sure what I am going to do next, when I grow up, but something will happen. That’s the cool thing about Life.

Book in to hear more about Pup’s journey.

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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 *