Cheeky bird inspires book

Feathered friend has starring role

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012
Charlie the kea
PETER DRURY/Waikato Times

SPECIAL CHARACTER: Hamilton’s favourite kea is the star of new children’s book Cheeky Charlie, written by Kylie Martin.

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One of Hamilton Zoo's favourite feathered friends is now the star of his very own book, written by zoo keeper Kylie Martin.

The children's book Cheeky Charlie is aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds and tells the story of Charlie the kea's hatching, his special bond with zoo keeper Peter Smits and his silly kea antics.

All proceeds from the book are going to the Kea Conservation Trust. Charlie, 28, has been part of the Hamilton Zoo family since he hatched there in 1986.

Zoo keeper and author Miss Martin has worked at Hamilton Zoo for seven years and says she is very excited about the story and the potential to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.

"Charlie was the first ever kea egg to hatch at our zoo so he's a special member of the team," said Miss Martin.

"His cheeky antics provide our keepers and visitors with hours of entertainment so he is a perfect character for a children's storybook.

"The Kea Conservation Trust do such amazing work trying to protect this special species and the funds raised will allow research to be conducted on issues that kea are currently facing."

The book is $15 and available for sale through the zoo souvenir shop. The book will also be available at the Tamahere markets this Saturday.

"I always wanted to write a children's book because I love reading them myself. Pulling together this story has been incredibly exciting but it definitely wasn't a solo effort - there are so many people who have contributed to the project," Miss Martin said.

The Kea Conservation Trust aims to assist in the conservation of wild kea in their natural habitat and increase the husbandry standards in captive facilities within New Zealand.

angela.cuming@waikatotimes.co.nz

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