Writ­ing the his­tory of a high­way

Help­ing chil­dren un­der­stand the de­vel­op­ment of New Zealand’s road­ing

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By ROSALIE WILLIS

Shi­rani Wild­bore has cre­ated a chil­dren’s book ex­plain­ing the de­vel­op­ment of New Zealand roads in a way that chil­dren can en­joy and un­der­stand us­ing the Mack­ays to Peka Peka Ex­press­way as an ex­am­ple.

An avid reader, Shi­rani en­joys a va­ri­ety of books with spe­cial in­ter­est in his­tory — espe­cially war his­tory, ar­chi­tec­ture, and de­sign with His­tory High­way — A story of State High­way One be­ing Shi­rani’s first ven­ture into chil­dren’s writ­ing.

Grow­ing up in Is­land Bay be­fore mov­ing to Ka¯ piti at the age of 13, Shi­rani was liv­ing near State High­way 1 while the new road was be­ing built. Un­de­cided on what ca­reer path to take, Shi­rani was in­spired by all the ac­tion near her home to write His­tory High­way.

“On the day of the Ka¯ piti ex­press­way open­ing I thought how it would be neat to write a book about it. There is al­ready a lot of in­for­ma­tion avail­able to adults about the road projects in New Zealand but one of my aims was to pro­duce a book for younger chil­dren that cap­tured what was hap­pen­ing.

“I was able to write the book based on my first hand ob­ser­va­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences liv­ing near State High­way 1.

“As my ideas de­vel­oped the story be­came more of a gen­eral ac­count of the progress of State High­way 1 with a fo­cus on the Ka¯ piti area.”

And a year and a half later the book was com­plete.

The book is writ­ten for chil­dren be­tween the ages of five and 10 but has ap­peal for younger chil­dren as well.

Writ­ten in verse form with full-page wa­ter­colour il­lus­tra­tions, Shi­rani be­lieves it cap­tures the essence of progress and de­vel­op­ment of New Zealand roads over the last cen­tury in a way that chil­dren can re­late to.

“Pro­duc­ing the book in­volved more work than I had orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated but was still in­ter­est­ing and re­ward­ing.

“The ac­tual writ­ing of the the book was the eas­i­est part while the il­lus­tra­tions re­quired a lot more ef­fort and at­ten­tion.

“As well as re­search­ing I met up with peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and ap­proached var­i­ous busi­nesses for per­mis­sion to fea­ture them in my book.

“It has been a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for me.”

The book is on show in the art space at O¯ taki Li­brary un­til Au­gust 10 and will be at Waikanae Li­brary un­til Au­gust 30.wwwhis­to­ry­high­way.co.nz

PHOTO: ROSALIE WILLIS

Shi­rani Wild­bore hold­ing her pub­lished chil­dren’s book based on her ex­pe­ri­ences liv­ing near the ex­press­way de­vel­op­ment.

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