Created by well-known children's writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is the story of a little white kiwi. When he is born his mother doesn't recognise him because he's not brown. Little Kiwi looks to the moon as his mother instead because it is white and bright and round.
In the background of this story we see the changing times of a nearby pa. Through illustrations only we see intertribal warfare, the death of the chief, English soldiers arriving and then the burning of the pa. This fire spreads and the two stories become one as the white kiwi's habitat is razed to the ground.
On the surface this is a very simple story but it also contains themes of intertribal warfare, European colonisation of New Zealand, Maori/Pakeha relations, and conservation. There is a lot to savour on each page - with Gavin's stunning illustrations of the main kiwi story, the on-going images of the pa, plus close-ups of insects and plants.
Gavin Bishop is a highly acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. Born in Invercargill, he spent his childhood in the remote railway settlement of Kingston on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Studying under Russell Clark and Rudi Gopas, Gavin graduated from the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts with an honours degree in painting. He taught art at Linwood High School and at Christ's College in Christchurch. He won the Margaret Mahy Medal in 2000, as well as numerous fellowships and national book awards. His book Weaving Earth and Sky won the non-fiction section and the Book of the Year Award of the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2003, and was shortlisted for the LIANZA Elsie Lock Medal in 2003. He has won the LIANZA Russell Clark Medal for Illustration four times: Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant (1981); Kiwi Moon (2006); Rats! (2008); and There was a Crooked Man (2010). Among his successful partnerships has been that with writer Joy Cowley, with whom he won the Best in Junior Fiction and Book of the Year at the 2008 NZ Post Children's Book Awards for Snake and Lizard. The Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Picture Book Illustration was established in 2009 to encourage emergent illustrators and to acknowledge Gavin's contribution to the writing and illustrating of children's picture books. In 2013 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and President of Honour of the NZ Society of Authors. Gavin's artwork has featured in exhibitions internationally, including Japan and Czechoslovakia. He has written and designed two ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company: Terrible Tom and Te Maia and the Sea Devil. In 2003 he shared the Ursula Bethell Residency with Catherine Chidgey. See more about Gavin at www.gavinbishop.com. Other award-winning titles include: Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant (Russell Clark Medal 1981); The Year of the Yelvertons (illustrator; the 1981 Esther Glen Medal; Mr Fox (Noma Concours 1984 Grand Prize); Hinepau (New Zealand Picture Book of the Year 1993); The House that Jack Built (Book of the Year and Best Picture Book at the 2000 NZ Post Book Awards); Friends: Snake and Lizard (with Joy Cowley, Children's Choice Junior Fiction, 2010 NZ Post Children's Book Awards); and Mister Whistler (written by Margaret Mahy, winning Best Picture Book at the 2013 NZ Post Children's Book Awards). Books that have been shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards include: Stay Awake, Bear! In 2000; Tom Thumb in 2001 (picture book category); Taming the Sun in 2005 (also a finalist for the Russell Clark Award in 2005); Riding the Waves in 2007; Rats! in 2008; Piano Rock in 2009 (which won the 2009 PANZ Book Design Award in the children's category); and Cowshed Christmas in 2010. Fourteen of Gavin's works have been listed as Storylines Notable Books, including four in 2010: Tom Thumb (2002); The Three Billy Goats Gruff (2004); Taming the Sun: Four Maori Myths (2005); Kiwi Moon (2006); The Waka (2006); Te Waka (2006); Riding the Waves: Four Maori Myths (2007); Snake and Lizard (2008); Rats! (2008); Piano Rock: A 1950s Childhood (2009); There Was a Crooked Man (2010); Cowshed Christmas (2010); Friends: Snake and Lizard (2010); and Counting the Stars: Four Maori Myths (2010). The judges of the 2006 Russell Clark Award said: 'Kiwi Moon has all the appeal and promise of a future folktale classic. It is an outstanding example of how text and illustrations can be interwoven to produce a marvellous whole.'