As we go into what New Zealanders hope will be the final 10 days of lockdown, it seems escapism and nostalgia have been front of mind for Aucklanders who like to get their nose in to a good book - and seek out a bit of theatre culture.

According to statistics from Auckland Council libraries, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K Rowling, has been the most popular title loaned from the city's catalogues.

From March 21 to April 8, almost 1000 e-book and e-audio downloads of the first in the fantastical series turned global phenomenon have been read by Aucklanders hunkering down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rowling's instant classic has been closely followed by Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum and classic novels Little Women and Pride and Prejudice.

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Two Jack Reacher novels also made the top 10 list, along with what some might see as a timely read: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.

The four most popular books loaned from Auckland libraries during the coronavirus lockdown period. Images / Supplied
The four most popular books loaned from Auckland libraries during the coronavirus lockdown period. Images / Supplied
The four most popular books loaned from Auckland libraries during the coronavirus lockdown period. Images / Supplied
The four most popular books loaned from Auckland libraries during the coronavirus lockdown period. Images / Supplied

Keeping cultured

Being unable to go out and be entertained also hasn't stopped New Zealanders keeping themselves cultured. The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) have reported huge livestream audiences during the lockdown period.

The APO has streamed four performances on Facebook and partner sites, entertaining a total audience of 439,325. It notes 75 per cent of its audience has come from the Herald's Facebook streams.

APO CEO Barbara Glaser says, "We have had fantastic feedback from people all over New Zealand and right around the world on the impact of our online streams and how they have brought comfort and solace in what is an extremely difficult time for everyone."

Glaser also says the APO is leading "a giant global orchestra" which musicians from around the world will be able to be part of.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

And during the lockdown, New Zealand's national ballet company has streamed three performances of Hansel and Gretel, to rave reviews.

RNZB publicist Jeremy Brick said the performances garnered 343,500 organic video views which Brick says "were really pleasing but it was the messages of appreciation that really hit home".

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