Jackson pays tribute to young cancer victim

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 17:28 12/03/2014
Harriet Rowland

Harriet Rowland (centre) visited the Hobbit set and met admirer Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen.

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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 Rowland's blog, My Experience of Walking the Dog, as "funny and truthful and wise". He found the description also fitted Rowland after meeting her 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.

Rowland was from Paremata and grew up not too far from Jackson's own family home.

Starting her blog in August 2011, she 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 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.

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- The Dominion Post

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