Gill, Maria

Gill, Maria


Primary publisher
New Holland, Scholastic, and Potton & Burton
Rights enquiries
Email: or visit her website

In Brief

Maria Gill writes books for children and adults that draw on her interest in people, birds, and conservation. Two of her books were finalists in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, with New Zealand Hall of Fame winning the Children’s Choice in the Non-fiction category in 2012. Anzac Heroes, illustrated by Marco Ivancic, won the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults Non-Fiction Award and the Margaret Mahy Best Book Award. Five of her books have been shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award and also selected as top ten Non-fiction Notable Books by Storylines New Zealand. Her other titles for children include The Call of the Kokako, Running the Country and The Last of Maui’s Dolphins. Maria Gill is available for writer visits as part of the Book Council's Writers in Schools programme and is a Books in Homes Role Model.


GILL, Maria (1961 –) is an award-winning writer of non-fiction and educational books for children and adults, which incorporate her interest in people, wildlife, and the environment.

Born in Auckland, Gill’s family emigrated to Australia to tour the country in a caravan when she was in her teens. She has travelled widely across Europe and Asia since, and uses her diverse travel experiences as inspiration for her writing. She trained as a primary teacher at Auckland University and Auckland College of Education, and taught at both primary and intermediate level. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Journalism studies at Massey University. She now writes children’s books and educational material full-time in the seaside village of Port Wells. Gill taught the Writing for Children paper at Massey University, and co-wrote with David Hill the Writing for Young Readers MOOC for the Commonwealth Education Trust.

In 2004 Gill published two short stories for adults in the Cats and Jaws Anthology (Random), edited by Barbara Else.

Her first book for children, Bird’s-eye View: Through the Eyes of New Zealand Birds (Penguin, 2006), reveals how thirteen New Zealand birds see their natural habitat. Bird’s-Eye View was shortlisted for the Elsie Locke award by LIANZA and selected as one of the top ten non-fiction Notable Books for 2007 by the New Zealand Children’s Literature Foundation (Storylines).

Following soon after, Operation Nest Egg: Saving New Zealand's Kiwi (Reed Publishing, 2007) examines the important work Operation Nest Egg plays in preserving New Zealand’s national icon. In Dogs on the Job (Puffin, 2008) Gill interviews dog handlers and observes dogs on the job in this engaging and fun-filled non-fiction book for children.

Gill uses her training and experience as a teacher to write prolifically for the educational market. In 2007 she published Let's Make Pancakes and Clever Camouflage with Red Rocket Publishing. In 2009, Volcanic Eruptions, Under Your Feet, Amazing Water and, in 2011, What a Mess were published by South Pacific Press and were distributed worldwide. Gill published seven educational books with Learning Media for the American market in 2009. Gill wrote another eight books for Learning Media in 2012 (published in 2014), three articles for School Journal, and two articles for the Connected Magazine (2013, 2017).

Gill’s standalone work Save Our Seas: Continuing the Mission of Sir Peter Blake (New Holland, 2009), illustrated by Vivienne Lingard, is inspired by the environmental work achieved by the legendary sailor and explorer Sir Peter Blake, and told in the voice of Skipper L.B. Tross. The work was listed as a 2010 Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book.

In Rangitoto: Te toka tu Moana (Puffin, 2009) Gill tells the dramatic story of Auckland's most striking icon, the island of Rangitoto: its volcanic birth, the kaka's connection to it and the impact of humans on its fragile wildlife. It was a finalist in the non-fiction category of the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults).

In 2011 New Holland published The Call of the Kōkako (illustrated by Heather Arnold) and New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis (illustrated by Bruce Potter). Both books were named in the Storylines Notable Books List of 2012. New Zealand Hall of Fame was also nominated in the Non-fiction section of the 2012 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, and went on to win the Children's Choice Award in that category. The Call of the Kōkako was shortlisted in the illustration and non-fiction category for the LIANZA Awards, and was reviewed by Crissi Blair in the New Zealand Herald as a ‘truly stunning book.’

Eruption! Discovering New Zealand Volcanoes
was published by New Holland in 2012. It gives 8- to 12-year-olds in-depth information about volcanoes around New Zealand. It was shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award, administered by LIANZA, and was a Storylines Notable Book. It was reprinted again in February 2017.

In order to help children understand the New Zealand government and voting system, Running the Country: A look inside New Zealand’s government (New Holland), illustrated by Malcolm Evans, was published in 2013.

Pixel Book digitised one of Gill's out-of-print books, Rangitoto, re-named as The Rock Standing in the Ocean, and one creative non-fiction book called Operation Nest Egg Chick, with illustrations by Bruce Potter. They include videos, sliding picture galleries, voice-overs and activities. Gill published these books under her label Long White Cloud Books in 2015. South Pacific Books distributes the books in New Zealand.

Gill has also published seven teaching resource books for Essential Resources, and six comprehension books called ‘The Big Book of School Journals’ between 2008–2012.

In 2014, New Holland published Gill’s first picture book The Last of Maui’s Dolphins (illustrated by Bruce Potter), an underwater adventure about the world’s most endangered dolphin. In August, New Holland also published New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions (illustrated by Marco Ivancic), containing biographies, timelines, trophy boards, and text boxes about the sport the champion has succeeded in, and another text box about their training programme. It was shortlisted for the 2015 LIANZA Book Awards (non-fiction category) and the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.

Gill’s non-fiction picture book ANZAC Heroes was released in early 2016. ANZAC Heroes combines Gill’s biographical stories with Marco Ivancic’s resplendent illustrations to describe the lives of 30 Australian and New Zealand war heroes. ANZAC Heroes received the Elsie Locke Non-Fiction Award and was named the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year at the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Marion Dreadon on The Reader described the book as one which would ‘keep the spirit of the Anzacs alive for the generations to come.’

In June 2016, Dorling Kindersley (UK) published Volcanoes, as part of their findout! series. The book is packed with ‘explosive’ facts and over 200 photographs.

In October 2017, Gill will release Toroa’s Journey, illustrated by Gavin Mouldey and published with Potton & Burton. Toroa’s Journey is a creative non-fiction story about a famous little albatross chick that has a tracker attached to its body. In November 2017, Scholastic will release Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southland, illustrated by Marco Ivanic. Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southland is a creative non-fiction adventure story about Abel Tasman’s journey to Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands in the 17th century.

Collaborating again with March Ivancic, in February 2018 Scholastic will publish Anzac Animals. Anzac Animals uses the same successful format as Anzac Heroes, with biographies, text boxes, timelines, maps, historical photographs as well as Marco’s stunning action illustrations. A heart-wrenching tale about the mascots and working animals that were taken to the WWI and WWII frontline battlefields.

Writers in Schools

Maria Gill is available (by arrangement) to run writing workshops on planning and plotting picture books, writing biographies and creative non-fiction.


Updated June 2022.