Thursday, 5 October 2017

School Holiday Crafts - with a freshwater fishy theme

As my latest book is all about freshwater, I've come up with some freshwater fish crafts to keep kids busy on a rainy day. Readers of "Up the River" will know that two of our native fish are banded kokopu and tuna (long-finned eels). Here are some fun ways kids can create their own banded kokopu or make a fishy themed pop-up card.

You will need:

  • two pieces of rectangular origami paper
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • colour pens

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Out and About in Spring - clematis and other plants to see

A single clematis flower fallen to the forest floor
Out and about in Wellington in spring, it would be hard to miss the clematis in flower.

Clematis paniculata or Puawhananga is a native vine that festoons the forest. It's easiest to see on the edges of the forest or looking down on to the canopy.

My tramping group got curious about the clematis flowers looking different. So back home I did some research.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Win a copy of my new book

To enter this competition go to and enter before 9am Monday 18 September 2017. Note you need to have a New Zealand postal address to enter.

For more on my thoughts about writing Up the River, see my last blogpost

Monday, 11 September 2017

Up the River - learning about our freshwater in New Zealand

Up the River: explore and discover New Zealand's rivers, lakes and wetlands is the latest addition  to the 'explore and discover' books, following on from books about the seashore, ocean, garden, and forest habitats.
Up the River is the sixth book in the series

Six years ago I would have wondered how many people might be interested enough in our freshwater habitats to buy a book about them for their children or grandchildren, but now as we release this book, there is broad public interest. There's been much publicity about whether our rivers are swimmable, about polluted drinking water and about the loss of rivers to irrigation schemes.

As a nation we've woken up to the facts - that clean freshwater matters and that our freshwater is not as clean as we would like it to be. 

All of these events and debates were going on while I was researching and writing Up the River. The more I researched, the more I realised that the state of our freshwater was worse than I had imagined. I had to work hard to resist the temptation to make the dire findings and debates centre stage in the book. Why?