Saturday, July 5, 2014

iPad illustrated story book about our freshwater rivers

Two Fishy Friends Save Ngaruroro Awa by Arconnehi Paipper, illustrated by Sophie Blokker

Patiki and Tuna travel up river and encounter pollution from a river, miss getting stomped on by cows, and caught in a net. Who can help them survive this perilous journey? Read on to find out.

New Zealand's fresh waters are not so clean and green. Author Arconnehi Paipper has written the story to demonstrate the plight of our freshwater species.

It's a 32 page book with full colour illustrations on each double page spread, however, I wouldn't call it a picture book because each page has around 170 - 280 words. The book has been produced for digital media but has kept its traditional book format.

Middle school would find it a helpful resource when studying rivers and freshwater species.

A Q&A with Author Arconnehi Paipper
Her children’s book, Two Fishy Friends Save Ngaruroro Awa: The Story of Tuna and Patiki, is about a flounder and a tuna in New Zealand who work with the local people to save their river.

Q: Did you intend to make this story into a book?
I did not intend for it to be a book, actually, I was just putting down thoughts about the plight of these beloved species. A friend of mine then encouraged me to consider a book format, and here it is.

Q: What made you decide to write this book?
The river work was inspired by my Dad, Banjo. When he passed on, he left us with a responsibility to do what we could to ensure the Mauri (life-force) of the river and the endemic species that have fed the people who live here not for today only, but for the future as well.
Q: You work with a group of people on conservation projects along the Ngaruroro River. Talk about who this group is and what you are doing.
Operation Patiki is a small group of our family and friends from our ancestral and fishing area on the river Ngaruroro. We are actively engaged in a monitoring programme of the Black River Flounder and Tuna.

Our group works with regional councils, the Department of Conservation, Nga Whenua Rahui, Fish & Game, Forest & Bird, and the community to re-establish riparian growth that will assist the biodiversity of this system on the Heretaunga Plains and to ensure water quality is improved for recreation and as a food source.

Q: Why did you choose to write specifically about the Tuna and Patiki?

A: Tuna (Longfin Eel, Anguilla dieffenbachii) and Patiki (Black Flounder, Rhombosolea retiaria) are both endemic species (found only in New Zealand waters). They are both extraordinary species to Maori and New Zealand, and contribute to our health, our stories and our livelihood.

But both are under threat due to the change of land use: urban expansion, industrial growth, farming intensification and the increase of water allocations for irrigation, physical changes to the rivers (ex. gravel extraction), as well as pollutants affecting water quality.

The question moving forward is: How do we transition economically and sustainably into a changing environment with the demands of our human desires and basic need for survival being met? How do we live so that nothing is threatened and everyone is satisfied with supply and well being while sustaining the very source from which all life stems, our living environment?

What prevents us?

Q: What do you hope this book will accomplish in terms of your conservation work?
My desire for the book is that it will inform and inspire the young – as well as those who grew up when the rivers and waterways of Aotearoa [New Zealand] were in pristine condition – into action and be a cause for regeneration through the awareness of our natural inheritance. The Earth Mother needs and deserves our care. There is not a person in this country who cannot fulfill his or her role in this quest.


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