Year of the Snake & Pop up library at the Chinese New Year Festival & Market Day

Chinese New Year 2013 is coming up very soon, with this year’s celebrations starting on10 February. The new year marks the end of the Year of the Dragon and signifies the start of the Year of the Snake.
Ref: AWNS-19010517-1-2, Chinese parade for royalty in Melbourne, Photographer: J.R. Mann, 17 May 1901, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Chinese zodiac consists of twelve animal signs, traditionally starting with the rat and ending with the pig. This zodiac is also used in several East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

According to this system, a person's personality traits are shaped by the animal year that they were born in. For example, a person born in the Year of the Monkey is believed to be creative and intelligent yet opportunistic and mischievous. Some people also believe that the animal year also influences a person's romantic compatibility with others.

Ref: Footprints 02487, Photographer: Francis Alton, 1940s, Reproduced by kind permission of Diane Francis, South Auckland Research Centre
Auckland Libraries is celebrating the Year of the Snake in many different ways this year, with lots of events on offer, including sending the mobile library to the '2013 Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day - Year of the Snake'.

Ref: AWNS-19000706-5-3, Dowager Empress of China, Creator: Auckland Weekly News, 6 July 1900, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The festival and market day has been organised by the Auckland Chinese Community Centre Inc., a branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association Inc. The event is being held on Saturday, 2 February 2013 from 9.30am to 4.00pm at Halls 3 & 4, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane and promises to be a fun filled day. The mobile library will be parked near the children's play ground, so may sure you pay it a visit!

Ref: Poster for 2013 Chinese New Year Festival & Market Day, by kind permission of the Auckland Chinese Community Centre Inc.
There will be Chinese, Japanese and Korean books available on board for you to browse and borrow (including family history resources), give aways and the opportunity to sign up as an Auckland Libraries member.

Ref: AWNS-19010905-2-2, Photographer: Auckland Weekly News, 5 September 1901,  Sir George Grey Special Collections
Other things happening for Chinese New Year include a talk by Ruth Lam, co-author of 'Sons of the Soil'. This free event is being held on Friday 8 February, from 10.30am to 11.30am at Waiuku Library. Ruth will talk about her book, which focuses on the history of Chinese market gardening in New Zealand, told through the eyes of market gardening communities all around the country. Fliers about this event will be available from the mobile library at the market and festival day.

Ref: 7-A4653, Chinese market gardens in Newmarket, Photographer: Unknown, 1890s, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Auckland Libraries holds a large range of Chinese books and resources in both Chinese and English, including heritage resources in the research centres around the region and the Sir George Grey Special Collections, at the Central City Library.

Ref: Footprints 00474, Jack Chong, Papatoetoe, Photographer: Unknown, August 1982, Reproduced by kind permission of Fairfax Media, South Auckland Research Centre
Also of interest are the images in Auckland Libraries' online heritage databases - Heritage Images and Footprints. Footprints contains a small but rich selection of mainly contemporary portraits (see photo ref: Footprints 00474, 03334), capturing the Chinese communities down South from the 1980s and 90s.

Ref: Footprints 03334, Chinese market gardener in Mauku, Photographer: Unknown, August 1991, Reproduced by kind permission of Fairfax Media, South Auckland Research Centre
Heritage Images contains a more historical selection of images and illustrations taken from around the world, including New Zealand, Australia and China. Within this selection are wonderful portraits taken by Herman John Schmidt (see photo ref: 31-67576), images of the old China Town in Myers Park / Aotea Square CBD area (see photo ref: Footprints 02487) and market gardens in locations such as Newmarket (see photo ref: 7-A4653) and Epsom, as well as  informative illustrations and photographs full of historical information from the supplements of the Auckland Weekly News Supplement (see illustration ref: AWNS-19000706-5-3).

Authors: NB and Samantha Yee Yee Foo


  1. What a fascinating collection and past meeting present with the market gardeners still thriving in South Auckland.The Market Day should be a great day out for all.

  2. 'Sons of the Soil': For more information about the authors, photos audio clips and much more, check out this link:


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