Jackson pays tribute to young cancer victim

03:46, Mar 12 2014
Harriet Rowland
Harriet Rowland (centre) visited the Hobbit set and met admirer Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen.

Sir Peter Jackson has paid tribute to a young Wellington writer who lost her battle with cancer last Friday.

The Hobbit director got to know 20-year-old Harriet "Hat" Rowland through her blog, which detailed her battle with bone cancer since her diagnosis at age 17.

Jackson described Ms Rowland's writing in the blog, named My Experience of Walking the Dog, as "funny and truthful and wise". He found the description also fitted Ms Rowland when she visited him on set.

Her funeral, held yesterday at Old St Paul's, was a beautiful service for a beautiful girl, Jackson said.

Ms Rowland was from Paremata, growing up not too far from Jackson's own family home.

Starting her blog in August 2011, her voice not only won over the film-maker, but a publisher who turned her writing into a book. The Book of Hat was released last month, a few days before Ms Rowland went into hospice care for the last time.

In her blog, she said the launch party put her on a massive high. "The night was out of the world spectacular."

She later discovered her ailing health that day had made her attendance touch-and-go - not that she agreed. "There was no way I was missing my own book launch," she said.


The Dominion Post