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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.


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