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06 November 2023

Award-winning illustrator to inspire Whanganui schools

John Bisset/Stuff

Wellington-based illustrator and author Ned Barraud will be visiting Whanganui for four days this week on a Read NZ Te Pou Muramura tour of local schools and libraries.

Barraud is part of Read NZ’s ‘Writers in Schools’ programme, which sees around 40,000 tamariki in schools visited by hundreds of authors every year to inspire and encourage reading, writing, and creativity.

Ned has illustrated or co-authored over twenty titles that introduce children to the natural world around them and encourage them to explore it. This year, he released the exciting new titles Tuatara: A Living Treasure, working with author Katie Furze for Scholastic, and Mangō: Sharks and Rays of Aotearoa with Te Papa Press.

He holds a degree in illustration from Massey University’s design school, and previously worked at Weta Digital for over a decade. Working with writer Gillian Candler on the award-winning At The Beach (Potton & Burton, 2012) launched Ned into a whole series of books on wildlife.

Ned is excited to share his love for both nature and illustration with the schools.

“I always end up reading Watch Out For the Weka at school visits–it’s a super fun story to read aloud and has some funny pictures–or Tuatara: A Living Treasure, where it’s fun to make the ‘pop’ sound as the baby tuatara pops out of the egg.”

He also enjoys fielding questions and anecdotes from the students at the end of his sessions.

Ned draws on his own experiences as a father to shape both his work and the content presented in schools.

“Raising three of my own kids gave me a very good idea of what kids love and what fascinates them. Often my books have sprung from activities which enthralled my own kids: tramping, rock pooling, bird watching, insect hunts in the garden, river swims.”

“Kids naturally want to connect with nature; this is what my books are all about.”

He will visit Tawhero and Aranui Schools on Tuesday 7 November, Churton and Mosston School the next day before an after-school event at Whanganui District Library.

Ned heads north to visit Inglewood Primary, Ōakura School and Spotswood Primary in Taranaki, with visits funded by the Grassroots Trust, at the end of the week.

“The wonderful thing about a Read NZ Te Pou Muramura tour is seeing parts of the country you wouldn’t normally get to see. And visiting the lovely wee off-the-grid rural schools,” says Ned.

“I’ve been to Whanganui a few times and have had a very special time canoeing on the river. It’s a place I love and I’m very happy to be reconnecting with it.”