This exquisite children's book recounts one of the most remarkable natural history stories in New Zealand - the bond shared between the shining cuckoo (pīpīwharauroa) and the grey warbler (riroriro). The grey warbler nest is the only one in which a cuckoo will lay its egg, and it then manages to trick the warbler parents into hatching and raising the cuckoo chick as if it were one of their own. Yet despite this unique connection, the two species lead completely different lives, with the shining cuckoo migrating up to the Pacific Islands in the winter, while the grey warbler only flies a few kilometres around its nest in its entire lifetime. These two birds, over countless generations, have become an intrinsic part of each other's lives, and this consummately realised book evokes the extraordinary qualities of this unique New Zealand story.
Kennedy Warne co-founded New Zealand Geographic magazine in 1988 and served as editor for 15 years. He now writes for the magazine and for National Geographic, and gives a fortnightly report on the outdoors and the environment on Radio New Zealand's award-winning Nine to Noon programme with Kathryn Ryan. He has written books on the world's threatened mangrove forests, the Tuhoe iwi of Te Urewera and New Zealand's State Highway 1. He became enchanted by the story of pīpīwharauroa and riroriro in 2013 when he organised a 'Welcome back cuckoo' event for his local ecological restoration group, the Friends of Oakley Creek. The group sang cuckoo songs (including one written for the occasion), wore cuckoo face masks, and wrote messages thanking the warbler for its sterling service as a foster parent for the cuckoo, which were then posted into a large replica of a grey warbler nest.
Heather Hunt is an illustrator and exhibiting artist who has spent her life learning about the world by drawing it. Her characters and the scenes they inhabit emerge out of a research process that involves observing, photographing, reading, writing, conversations and, above all, hundreds of drawings. Heather's much-loved 'Backyard Kiwi' character is the face of one of New Zealand's most successful kiwi recovery projects and inspired the work for her award-winning picture book, Kiwi: The Real Story (Storylines Notable Book Award, NZ Post Book Award finalist and winner of the Children's Choice Award NF, LIANZA award finalist).