Twin pas­sions for a teen au­thor

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

A Kerik­eri teenager has com­bined con­cerns about the en­vi­ron­ment and the need to pre­serve te reo Ma¯ori in a bilin­gual chil­dren’s book about plas­tic pol­lu­tion of the oceans.

Alex Ed­wards, 17, has just pub­lished Trevor the Trevally in a Plas­tic Ocean or A¯ rewa te Araara i te Moana Parahi­tiki.

The Year 13 Kerik­eri High School stu­dent wrote the book in English, il­lus­trated it with her own pho­tos, and had it trans­lated into Ma¯ori by her mum’s col­leagues in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Mark Scott (Whanga¯rei), Nora Rameka (Takou Bay), Tui Mathews and Te Ri­ini Henare (Kaikohe).

“I was be­com­ing con­cerned that there weren’t any re­sources in te reo about plas­tic in our oceans. I’m also con­cerned that we can lose the lan­guage if we only ed­u­cate kids about world is­sues in English,” Alex said. The keen swim­mer and spear fisher said the book was fic­tion be­cause chil­dren re­sponded bet­ter to sto­ries than to hav­ing in­struc­tions drilled into them.

The story fol­lows two chil­dren who are con­fronted by Trevor the Trevally, Guardian of the Bay, af­ter they dis­card ice block wrap­pers at the beach. Trevor, or A¯ rewa, then takes the chil­dren on an un­der­wa­ter jour­ney in which they see first-hand the ef­fects rub­bish has on marine life.

Be­fore print­ing the book Alex asked chil­dren to read it to make sure they liked the story and un­der­stood the mes­sage.

She pro­duced it un­der the Young En­ter­prise Scheme, where stu­dents learn about busi­ness by start­ing their own. She funded the first print run of 100 with pre-sales to friends, school li­braries and the pub­lic at a trade fair at Kerik­eri’s Pack­house Mar­ket.

The book costs $25, with $1 go­ing to Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Marine Re­serves, a North­land-based marine ed­u­ca­tion trust. She’s al­ready plan­ning a sec­ond print run.

Alex, who is Nga¯puhi through her fa­ther, is plan­ning a sec­ond book about over-fish­ing. She plans to study en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence and com­merce at Otago.

PIC­TURE / PETER DE GRAAF

Kerik­eri teenager Alex Ed­wards with her newly pub­lished bilin­gual book, A¯ rewa te Araara i te Moana Parahi­tiki / Trevor the Trevally in a Plas­tic Ocean.

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