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Release: Weka’s Waiata

Book News
Release: Weka’s Waiata
Media Release:
Nikki Slade Robinson

Weka’s Waiata

ww-coverTucked away in a corner of native bush near Opotiki is the birth-place of a number of award-winning picture books such as ‘The little Kiwi’s Matariki’ (Best Picture Book NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2016). With kereru, ruru, kiwi and weka on one side of the window and brushes, watercolours and art paper on the other, author-illustrator Nikki Slade Robinson has plenty of inspiration for creating each title.

Her new title, ‘Weka’s Waiata’, is the third in her little Kiwi and friends series. With up to 15 weka cavorting on the back lawn she has plenty of opportunity to observe the magic of weka antics and interaction. And to learn their incredible variety of calls, from a deep base ‘twang’, through to a high-pitched screech. ‘They’re just amazing birds, so much fun’, laughs Nikki, ‘we never get sick of having them around. Knowing that they are endangered makes us feel even more fortunate to be sharing our place with them. And it’s a bonus for our other native birds that they help keep rat numbers down.’

‘Weka’s Waiata’ is told through the little Kiwi, five weka chicks and their grandparents. ‘It’s all about cherishing those precious people in your life, in this case the chicks’ grandparents, Kuia and Koro.’ Nikki says, ‘something I feel strongly about. Those relationships are so important and are to be treasured.’ The story opens in a forest clearing, with five very excited weka chicks: their grandparents are coming to visit! The chicks want to show their aroha, their love, for their Koro and Kuia… but what’s the best way to do that? Fortunately the little Kiwi has a very special idea. English and Te Reo are carefully woven together throughout the book, and the illustrations depict our wonderful natural environments, from sea to heartland native bush. The story finishes with a waiata, or song. There’s even a musical score so readers can play the waiata to their own grandparents or significant whanau!

‘Weka’s Waiata’ is published by David Ling, Duck Creek Press. ‘David and I have been working together for a number of years now,’ said Nikki, ‘he’s fabulous to work with, it’s lots of fun.’ Coincidentally, the pair have since discovered that they have a common ancestor: William Nicholson, who also illustrated and authored childrens’ books including illustrating the much treasured ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’.

Nikki has illustrated well over 70 childrens’ books for a number of publishers. ‘Weka’s Waiata’ will be her 14th book as author-illustrator. Her titles are also being published in China, North America, Australia and the United Kingdom. ‘Weka’s Waiata’ is available through all good booksellers and online. Teachers Notes and activity sheets are also available at no cost by messaging Nikki on her Facebook page Nikki Slade Robinson: Illustrator/Author.