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Wednesday September 27, 2017

Pukerua Bay inspires award-winning author By Glenise Dreaver

Gillian Candler with her collection of popular children’s books. PHOTO: Glenise Dreaver

Children’s author Gillian Chandler of Pukerua Bay combines her passion for the environment with writing top-selling books to bring New Zealand’s natural world alive for children. One of her recent books, From Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore and Discover Ancient New Zealand, published in 2016, saw her one of the top five finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards For Children And Young Adults. Whose Feet Are These? is one

of her guessing game series, with illustrations of feet that allow the child to turn the page to find the native animal to which they belong. Gillian is also excited that this month Up the River: Explore and discover New Zealand’s Lakes and Wetlands will become her eighth published book. It was in 2012 that she started writing and she is one of New Zealand’s relatively few full-time authors. A long-time resident of Pukerua Bay, Gillian remembers taking her now-grown son down to the

beach and wishing that there was a book that could have helped them identify and find out about what they discovered there. With her Explore and Discovery series, she is moving to fill that gap. “To have children understand about animals in their habitat is so very important.” Her “very talented” illustrators have been important in allowing her to achieve that she says. “I’ve been very lucky with them.” The colours chosen are true to nature and the children can recognise the animals based on the pictures.

Council grants support Wellington’s social good Council recently approved almost a $250,000 in grants to 48 diverse projects around the city – from underwater awareness to undergrowth activists. “Our long term plan has a strong focus on building on our cultural and creative identity, enhancing our way of life, engaging our communities, encouraging diversity,

and promoting healthy lifestyles – and these projects go a long way to contributing towards this,” Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, council’s arts and culture portfolio lead, said. The Social and Recreation Fund granted $107,600 to 13 projects including a pilot Wellington CBD Support Zone for

young people ($50,000) Shakti Ethnic Women’s Support Group Wellington ($8000) InsideOUT Koaro ($7,000), the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network ($10,000) and Nisa Clothing ($10,000). Nisa Clothing is a start-up with a social objective to provide opportunities for former refugees to get work experience, and build con-

fidence and community integration by making and selling garments. “It’s great to see Wellington City Council getting on board with social enterprises, and giving our refugee community a helping hand,” co-director Elisha Watson said. “This grant will make a massive difference to our fledgling

brand, with the goal to employ and empower women from a refugee background with sewing skills. “We will use the grant money to buy ‘raw’ materials like fabric and elastics, which will be transformed into beautiful organic cotton pieces by our former refugee seamsters.” The next application closing date for these funds is October 3, 2017.

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