Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Principal’s Camp Fire Stories Spark Kids Reading

3 September 2019

Oturu School principal and author Fraser Smith, will launch a new junior novel Awatea and the Kawa Gang, which is a sequel to his acclaimed debut novel Awatea’s Treasure.

In the story, we meet up again with Awatea, on his grandparents’ farm and at the beach. Awatea has lots of freedom to explore, and he hangs out in a tree hut, fishes and cooks over a camp fire. He also has adventures with Carrot, the talking parrot, and together they solve a mystery.

Fraser lives in the Far North of New Zealand and has always chosen to be in remote rural areas close to the sea and the bush. His stories are inspired by his own childhood and experiences outdoors. ‘When I was young, kids were left to play outside all day if they wished. Our world of play was with our environment,’ he says.

As a principal with many years of teaching experience, Fraser believes there are not enough New Zealand fiction books to capture the attention of Māori students, especially boys. ‘At my school, we have a student population that is 98 percent Māori, and I need to work hard to hook them in. That is why I started writing; now I am hooked,’ says Fraser. ‘I don’t think there’s anything like Awatea stories,’ he says.

Fraser’s books grew from stories he told his students in the classroom and around the fire on school camps. There is suspense, humour and lively characters. Readers will be immersed in Awatea’s world in the bush and at the beach and his close friendship with Carrot.

A natural entertainer and talented guitar player, Fraser infuses his read-alouds with music, songs and sound effects to bring his stories to life. He was a guest author in the Storylines Story Tour in 2018 and performed at the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2019 where he introduced Awatea to over 1200 students.

Awatea and the Kawa Gang is great to read aloud, and it is particularly engaging for reluctant readers and children reading junior fiction. A book launch will be held on Thursday evening, 26 September 2019 at Marston Moor in Kaitāia.

About the author
Fraser Smith is principal of Oturu School in Kaitāia, a Green-Gold Enviroschool where the curriculum is delivered in a hands-on, practical way, supported by the community. The school has beehives, chickens, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and a registered kitchen. Fraser is a keen fisherman and sailor who knows how to live from the resources of the sea and the bush. He also writes stories and songs and plays and sings in a band.

About the publisher
Huia Publishers is an award-winning independent company producing wonderful and provocative books with a uniquely Māori and Pacific perspective.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Facebook Announces New Changes: Combating Hate And Extremism

Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement. More>>

Amazon Confirms: Lord Of The Rings Series To Shoot In NZ

Amazon Studios announced today that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. More>>


Birds: Dunedin's Bells Ring As City Celebrates Its Albatross

The city's churches, schools and public buildings bells would chime in unison from 1pm, in what has been a long-standing tradition marking the return of the birds - and a farewell to this season's albatross chicks. More>>

Oscar Buzz: Waititi's Jojo Rabbit Wins People's Choice Award At Toronto

Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit has nabbed the coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award at the close of Toronto International Film Festival. More>>


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland