Porirua’s own fairies

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Lor­raine Gray says she still be­lieves in fairies.

Her chil­dren’s book The Kowhai Fairy, il­lus­trated by fel­low Porirua res­i­dent Bar­bara Hef­ford, was launched at Sum­mer­set at Aotea last week. An­other cel­e­bra­tion fol­lowed on Satur­day at St An­drew’s Church in Plim­mer­ton, with plenty of fairy cos­tumes, mu­sic and face­paint­ing.

Ms Gray, who grew up in New Ply­mouth, says her grand­mother’s gar­den was a mag­i­cal place dur­ing her child­hood and in­spired her to pen The Kowhai Fairy.

‘‘ I can re­mem­ber sit­ting un­der a big tree, want­ing to catch a fairy in a match­box. I’m sure they were around in this place, full of trees and flow­ers.

‘‘I was an early child­hood teacher for many years and if you read them a story with some real life to it, you can make their faces light up. I just hope chil­dren will en­joy the story, I cer­tainly en­joyed writ­ing it.’’

Ms Gray has had po­ems and short sto­ries pub­lished be­fore, but re­leas­ing a chil­dren’s book was on her bucket list. An ini­tial run of 100 has been dou­bled due to de­mand – and this is be­fore out­lets like Pa­per Plus have be­gun stock­ing it.

She hopes it will get a wider re­lease in time, too.

Ms Gray ap­proached lo­cal de­signer Stephanie Drew late last year to put the project to­gether.

The story was writ­ten 12 years ago but re­fin­ing it has proved quite a chal­lenge, she says.

Il­lus­tra­tor Ms Hef­ford is Ms Drew’s mother so it has been very much a Porirua- based project.

‘‘I had a lot of fun draw­ing the but­ter­flies and fairies, I haven’t drawn any­thing like this for many years,’’ Ms Hef­ford says.

‘‘I had to go away and find out what a kowhai tree and a tamar­illo tree look like – there was a lot of va­ri­ety and chal­lenge in do­ing this.’’

Ms Gray says she deli­brately left the story’s end­ing open- ended, as she still be­lieves fairies are out there. Email Stephanie@drew.co.nz to pur­chase a copy for $15.

Dy­namic trio: Lor­raine Gray, Stephanie Drew and Bar­bara Hef­ford, the cre­ative tal­ent be­hind the Porirua-pub­lished chil­dren’s book The Kowhai Fairy.

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