Writing the history of a highway
Helping children understand the development of New Zealand’s roading
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
Shirani Wildbore holding her published children’s book based on her experiences living near the expressway development.