- Primary publisher
Des Hunt is an award-winning young adult fiction writer. He was a school teacher for more than 40 years and has published two textbooks. The strong environmental messages in Hunt’s novels emphasise the unique features of New Zealand fauna and geology. His first novel, A Friend in Paradise, combines action adventure with ecological themes and was a finalist in the 2003 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Hunt was also a finalist in the Junior Fiction section of the 2007, 2010 and 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards (now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults). Des was a 2016 HELL's Children's Choice Award finalist for his book Cool Nukes. Hunt's Sunken Forest was a finalist for the Esther Glen Award in the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hunt, Des (1941 –) writes young adult fiction. He was born in Palmerston North and worked as a school teacher for more than 40 years. He currently lives in Matarangi.
His novels are set in places that children can visit and recognise. They have a strong environmental care message that emphasise the unique features of New Zealand fauna and geology.
Hunt has published two textbooks Physics 2000 (Longman Paul, 1982) and Beyond 2000 (Longman Paul, 1986). His first novels, A Friend in Paradise (HarperCollins, 2002) and The Moa Cave (HarperCollins, 2005) are action-adventure thrillers, with ecological themes. A Friend in Paradise was a finalist at the 2003 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults), and was listed as a 2003 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book. The Moa Cave was also listed as a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book in 2006.
Frog Whistle Mine (HarperCollins, 2006) was a finalist in the Junior Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in 2007. Twelve-year-old Tony has lived all around New Zealand, travelling with his nomadic Mum, and desperately wants somewhere to belong. When they arrive in Charleston, a gold-mining ghost town 30km south of Westport, he is almost afraid to hope this might finally be the place, but is desperate not to be disappointed yet again. There are unique bush and coastal environments to explore, an interesting group of people to come to know, and a gathering mystery that starts from his very first night.
Where Cuckoos Call (HarperCollins, 2007) is set on the Coromandel Peninsula. It is the story of Ben Mansfield, who lives in a sheltered bay where shining cuckoos nest before they travel thousands of kilometres across the Pacific in their annual migration. Ben’s decision to raise an orphaned shining cuckoo takes him far from home and lands him in serious trouble.
Shadows in the Ice (HarperCollins, 2007) is based in the tiny township of Fox Glacier, and continues the story of Tony Hogan-White with another West Coast adventure that challenges Tony to his limits. The work was listed as a 2008 Notable Junior Fiction Book.
The Tooth (HarperCollins, 2008) was reviewed by Rosemary Tisdale in the May 2008 Magpies: "The action is fast-paced and the adrenaline pumps. . . Hunt manages to bring historical and conservation aspects into this story in an understated way.
Whale Pot Bay, The Secret of Jelly Mountain (Scholastic; republished as The Last Tuatara) and Cry of the Taniwha (HarperCollins) were both published in 2009. The Secret of Jelly Mountain was listed as a 2010 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book. Cry of the Taniwha was listed as a finalist in the junior 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 Adutls) and in 2016 received the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book.
In 2010, The Crocodile Nest (HarperCollins), was listed as a 2011 Storylines Notable Book. This was followed in 2011 by the publication of The Naughty Kid's Book of Nature (HarperCollins, 2010), The Peco Incident (HarperCollins, 2011), Cody's Unexpected Catch (HarperCollins, 2011) and Steel Pelicans (HarperCollins, 2012). The Peco Incident was a finalist in the 2012 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards and was also listed as a 2012 Storylines Notable Book.
In 2013, Hunt published Project Huia (Scholastic) and The Phantom of Terawhiti (HarperCollins). Project Huia was listed as a finalist in the junior fiction categories of both the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and the 2014 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. Both Project Huia and The Phantom of Terawhiti were listed as 2014 Storylines Notable Books.
Cool Nukes (Scholastic, 2015) was a Storylines Notable Book for 2016 and a finalist for the Children's Choice Junior Fiction Award in the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
In 2015, Skink Gully (Torea Press) was published. This was followed in 2016 by Sunken Forest (Scholastic) and Deadly Feathers (Torea Press).
In 2017 Hunt received the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal in recognition of his contribution to the world of literature for children and young adults. Read his Storylines Margaret Mahy lecture here. He has also received the Woolf Fisher Memorial Award for services to education and the New Zealand Institute of Physics Award.
Hunt's Sunken Forest is a finalist for the Esther Glen Award in the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The novel was reviewed on The Reader as a "fabulous read. . . a credit to an experienced writer well in his stride."
His book Broken Poppies, a novel in the Scholastic Kiwis at War series, was released in 2018.
Hunt's junior fiction novel Search for a Kiwi Killer was published by Torea Press in 2018, and To Trap a Thief was published by Scholastic in 2019.
Published by Scholastic in 2020, Hunt's exciting adventure for young adult readers Red Edge was a finalist in the 2021 Children's and Young Adults Book Awards, as well as the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Junior Fiction Awards.
In 2021, OneTree House published Hunt's illustrated non-fiction book Inside Bubble Earth: Climate Change, and in 2022, a companion book, Inside Bubble Earth: Recycling.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Des Hunt's website
- Interview with Des Hunt on the Christchurch City Libraries blog
- Interview with Des Hunt on Around the Bookshops blog
- Influencing Kids with Fiction article in the Taranaki Daily News
- Reviews in NZ Books Pukapuka Aotearoa
- Review of Phantom of Terawhiti on KidsBooksNZ blog
Updated January 2023.