Pukaha Mount Bruce's rare white kiwi was upstaged, for once, yesterday (Wednesday).
Manukura has been the centre of attention at the national wildlife centre ever since the little lass was hatched in May last year.
But on Wednesday it was Joy Cowley who the crowds flocked to see, and listen to. The internationally-renowned author launched her book - Manukura, The white kiwi - to the delight of hundreds of children.
"It's not like you can go visit Hairy Maclary or Harry Potter after you've read the book - it's pretty neat for the kids,'' said Carolyn Francis, one of the parents attending the launch.
Pukaha Mount Bruce manager Kathy Houkamu, said the day was a resounding success with more than 600 children and parents attended readings by Mrs Cowley who was ''virtually mobbed by people wanting their Manukura books signed".
The story was beautifully told by Mrs Cowley during two sessions. She then stayed on to sign the books of the eager children. The story tells of how Manukura came into the world and her life at Pukaha and has a message that like Manukura and all kiwi, all children are special or 'taonga'- too.
Amy Rossiter-Stead said "It was a great opportunity to meet Joy. Her book is really lovely and having it here at Pukaha with Manukura is very special".
Erin Kerehi, age 8, summed it up by saying "The book's really good. I had a really fun day. Joy is really cool".
Mrs Cowley is donating all royalties from the book back to Pukaha Mount Bruce. The money will go towards restoring kiwi and other wildlife to the 940-hectare Pukaha forest. Each year, the Pukaha Board is tasked with raising more than $160,000 to maintain its predator control programme to protect kiwi and other endangered wildlife.
The book is available in bookshops and also on-line at www.pukaha.org.nz soon.
Manukura can be seen in the Kiwi House at Pukaha daily (except Christmas day) between 9am and 4.30pm, along with her new kiwi friend, Turua.
- Wairarapa News