Island tour

Around the island with a weka

Two former school friends from North Canterbury have teamed up to produce a book that takes readers on a journey around the Chatham Islands, showcasing their endangered and endemic birdlife.

One Weka Went Walking, by Kate Preece and illustrated by Pippa Ensor, who both attended Fernside School, follows the adventures of a weka as he sets out to explore his island home.

During its journey, the weka interacts with other birds, most of which are endangered and found only on the Chatham Islands.

Kate says her book, which features rhymes and dialogue, is a book for children aged five to eight, but adults will also want to read it and add the multi-faceted book with its highlights to their libraries.

He was inspired on a trip to visit his family on the Chatham Islands with her husband Hayden, a Moriori.

“I was taken by the weka and its curious nature,” says Kate.

On each double page, the weka encounters another bird › a tui, the blackbird, the Forbes parakeet, the cormorants of Pitt Island and Chatham Island, the oystercatchers, the mollymawk and the snipe, as well as shiny cuckoo clocks, and the Chatham Island tomtit and petrel.

Each is beautifully illustrated by Pippa.

At the end of each page there is an interesting caption such as: ”In 1905, 12 weka buff were released on the Chatham Islands. Today, tens of thousands of people live there.”

The first draft of Kate’s book dates from 2014, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that she picked it up and decided to have a “crack” to get it published.

Bateman gave it an overnight boost, and the book has recently started appearing on bookstore shelves.

“I’ve been writing children’s books since my babies were born and since I was a kid at Christchurch School for Young Writers,” says Kate.

”There are a few on the shelves of family books, but this is the first in the world.” ”It was so much fun,” Kate said, despite feeling weirdly, she’s on the other side of the publishing world, with no control or input into what’s going on in that area. Kate studied journalism at the universities of Canterbury and Massey. His first opportunity came under the mentorship of the late Jon Gadsby. It was the start of a 14-year stint in the magazine industry that culminated in being Group Editor of Allied Press Magazines.

Over the years, she has held various positions, including editor for Kiwi Gardener, Kiwi Gardener Quarterly, Kiwi Gardener Journal and Style magazines.

This is the debut book by talented Rangiora-based illustrator, Pippa Ensor.

She studied architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, but always sketched whenever she could.