Kat’s Kuwi in book awards

Waikato News - - Front Page - — Te Awa­mutu Courier

Spoilt for choice, say this year’s judges of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults as they se­lected the 28 fi­nal­ists an­nounced ear­lier this month.

And among the fi­nal­ists, up for three awards, is Te Awa­mutu au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Kat Merewether.

In the pic­ture book cat­e­gory, Mrs Merewether’s Kuwi’s Huhu Hunt is up against Stripes! No, Spots! by Vas­anti Unka and The

House on the Hill by writer Kyle Mew­burn and il­lus­tra­tor Sarah Davis. And the Te Reo ver­sion of her first book— Kuwi’s First Egg— is a fi­nal­ist in the Te Reo Maori Te Kura Pounamu Award (Chil­dren’s Choice) and Te Reo Maori Award.

Te Hua Tu­atahi a Kuwi was trans­lated by Pa­nia Papa, Mrs Merewether’s col­league from work­ing at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

It was only a lit­tle over 18 months ago thatwe fea­tured Mrs Merewether’s story about her first book— Kuwi’s First Egg— the story of a con­fused first-time mother Kiwi who has found her­self alone with her new egg.

She ex­plained she was in­spired by her own strug­gles with the per­ils of be­ing a young mother.

“There is just so much to learn as amum and it’s easy to make mis­takes.

“I felt like Iwas pretty clue­less re­ally,” she says.

The book be­came a success and Mrs Merewether was in de­mand for book read­ings and other events — and in Oc­to­ber last year was signed up as an of­fi­cial am­bas­sador for Ki­wis for Kiwi.

That success re­sulted in many other un­ex­pected de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing the sec­ond 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults nom­i­nated

Kuwi’s Huhu Hunt, which fol­lows the kiwi mum as she searches high and low for a huhu grub to feed her beloved chick, Huwi.

Both books ap­peared on the 2015 Nielsen Over­all Best­sellers List for a com­bined to­tal of 29

weeks. Kuwi’s First Egg was re­leased in

Te Reo as Te Hua Tu­atahi a Kuwi and just last month she re­leased Kuwi’s Cre­ative Colour­ing Book at

Paper Plus Te Awa­mutu.

Mrs Merewether says it has been a bit of a crazy ride, but most worth­while. The Book Awards nom­i­na­tion and mak­ing the fi­nals is very ex­cit­ing— es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

Mrs Merewether’s books are self pub­lished by Il­lus­trated Pub­lish­ing and she says it is al­ways harder for the small player.

Even though she is a fi­nal­ist in three cat­e­gories, me­dia is con­cen­trat­ing on works from the es­tab­lished pub­lish­ers.

But she is also proud to be mak­ing in­roads into that world.

She says sup­port is fan­tas­tic. She likes to launch her books lo­cally and is al­ways sup­ported by Paper Plus Te Awa­mutu, as well as Otoro­hanga Kiwi House.

Her long as­so­ci­a­tion as il­lus­tra­tor for mu­si­cian and au­thor Aunty Bea means her work is in de­mand in Ro­torua, and as word spreads, in­de­pen­dent out­lets es­pe­cially like to carry her books.

Mrs Merewether says the success to date doesn’t mean she can give up her day job— de­sign and il­lus­trat­ing is still im­por­tant. But the ven­ture into pub­lish­ing has been re­ward­ing.

As part of be­ing a New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults fi­nal­ist she will be part of a fi­nal­ist au­thors’ tour which runs na­tion­wide from Au­gust 1-9, ap­pear­ing in schools, li­braries and book­shops.

The win­ners of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults will be an­nounced on Mon­day, Au­gust 8 at Circa Theatre in Welling­ton.

Triple 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults fi­nal­ist Kat Merewether in her De­sign on Q stu­dio at the Wal­ton Col­lec­tive.

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