Return home boosts publisher
As Rachel Walker looks out over Hinuera Valley from her house on the top of Emerald Hill, a smile lights up her face.
‘‘This is just magic, I feel so connected to this place.’’
Mrs Walker knows this area and the house that her and husband bought two-and-a-half years ago well – she spent nearly every school holidays at her grandparents’ house when she was a child.
Her grandparents Jim and Molly Pond were well- known identities in the Matamata area.
Choosing to leave behind the busy life in Auckland was a nobrainer for Mrs Walker. She wanted her children Grace and Beth to grow up in the country.
When the opportunity to purchase the house her grandparents had owned came up, Mrs Walker said it was like it was meant to be.
‘‘Everything fell into place. My husband sold his business in Auckland and I asked him what he thought about moving back here,’’ she said.
The house on top of Emerald Hill also happens to be home to one of the most success- ful children’s books publishers in the country.
In 2004, Mrs Walker, who had a strong background in publishing, her mum Pam Holden and sister Sarah Ensor, with a marketing background, established Flying Start Books. They later came up with the brand name Red Rocket Readers.
They currently have 366 titles and their books are distributed to many countries. The titles are also available as ebooks.
Mrs Walker’s mum Pam was the instigator of the venture and leads a team of authors including Mrs Walker after spending her career as a reading recovery teacher and specialist.
A lot of the books written by Mrs Holden are true stories that are based on her upbringing on the farm on Pond Rd.
The Red Rocket Readers office is based in Auckland and Mrs Walker spends a couple of days a week there.
And when she isn’t working, Mrs Walker wanders around her farm and tends to the animals and relives her childhood.
‘‘ We are just so passionate about what we do and being able to be based here in this happy place is just magic.’’
Passionate about reading: Rachel Walker in her office at home. This is where her mum’s bedroom was when she was teenager.