• Kinsa Hays

I’m back again.

Where have I been? House sitting round the North Island of New Zealand. And writing.

As the song goes,”I’ve been everywhere, man…” Napier, Wellington, Levin and Katikati, Horowhenua by the beach, on a farm and over the Bombay Hills to Auckland.


I’ve trailed round the route that my character in my children’s story took on his coast to coast trek in the South Island to make sure I hadn’t got it wrong. Wiremu Weka, a flightless bird, had travelled 230 km, on his own two long-toed feet but also sneaking trips on local transport. I had to drive there and back, across the Alps via Arthur’s Pass and back via Lewis Pass. So beautiful.

There are only three routes across the Southern Alps which runs like a backbone down the South Island. all an engineering challenge. This is the Otira Viaduct.

So distressing to see mice run across the road and know that it was a beech mast year. That’s when in 2014 the beech trees fruited so heavily,and there’s so much food around that the mice numbers explode.

That would be followed by a plague of rats and then an upsurge in stoat numbers to eat the rodents. That’s when our birds get into trouble. When the food’s gone, the rats and stoats take the birds for dinner and populations can be wiped out. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has to fund and drop 1080 poison in pellets and carrots to save our vulnerable species.

This is the kea, a highly intelligent mountain parrot which stole my lunch.

I write children’s stories about conservation in a fun way, where they can meet the creatures and birds native to this land and unprotected against predation. My first chapter book has begun the process to publication with Wiremu Weka’s adventures, just like the ones I had years ago.

Wiremu Weka, about the size of a hen, feisty and curious with a great personality.

I’ll keep you posted about the birthing pains of getting a book published.

#writing #birds #NewZealand #conservation #photos

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