Writing tips

A friend who helps me with the garden asked yesterday if I could give her some tips for writing a children’s story. ‘A chapter book,’ she said. I have never written a chapter book for children, but I made suggestions which have been made to me over the years and which seem to work whether... Continue Reading →

Godwits return

The godwits have arrived back in New Zealand. I love it that any church bells still surviving in Christchurch ring out when the first godwits arrive  from Alaska – usually in Rocking Horse Bay. Some years ago Laughton and I were transfixed, as were many New Zealanders, by the story, of a returning godwit which... Continue Reading →


I’ve been on tour promoting Harbouring these last few weeks. First a couple of appearances at the large Auckland Writers’ Festival and then, at the other end of the scale but just as exciting, at the Central Hawkes Bay Festival. My gig was at the amazing Gwavas Homestead out in the country far from towns.... Continue Reading →

The New Zealand death

Driving back from Upper Hutt recently after one of our many storms I marvelled at the way the usually placid Hutt River was bank-to-bank, rushing muddily toward the sea. Harbouring mentions some of those floods back when there were no stop banks to regulate the flow. In the early days death by drowning was known... Continue Reading →


This morning a family of five kākā were squabbling outside my window. Boy they were loud. There didn’t seem to be a fight on. Or sex. Just pure joy, it seemed, at making a racket. When we came to this house almost fifty years ago kākā were never seen or heard. They are large, browny... Continue Reading →

Stony ground

Today I planted a taupata seedling out on the park. First I used a sledgehammer to make an indentation in the rock below my fence. Then I added soil and mulch and lovingly planted the shiny-leaved little thing, staking it and piling some rocks back on to guard against the ferocious wind – and the... Continue Reading →


Welcome to my new web-page. I have avoided social media up to now, but perhaps at 85 years of age and a new book coming out – Harbouring – it’s time to dip my toe in! My tech-savvy daughter Lynn has set me up very competently. From time to time I’ll tell anyone who happens... Continue Reading →

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