Heather is an illustrator based in the beautiful Whangarei Heads in Northland, New Zealand. She has the enviable job of drawing and dreaming up beautiful children’s books.

But how did she get here and what else does she do? I went to have a chat and a peek in her sunny studio to find out.

Heather has always loved to draw.  She draws inspiration from her flourishing garden at home and the world around her. She enjoys attending a weekly drawing group with other like minded artists.  Recently Heather has recovered from surgery and used drawing as a way to beat the boredom of bed rest. A great way of honing a characters development too!

Researching and developing a new book takes time and is a process. It can involve photography, lots of reading and writing and then really nutting things out with hundreds of drawings. Sometimes until a ‘You’ve cracked it’ moment emerges!

Heather also does design work and was approached by a local landcare group to work up a kiwi bird.  The character is the face of one of New Zealand’s most successful kiwi recovery projects. The Backyard Kiwi character has become an ambassador for the Backyard Kiwi project.

Heather has developed the 6 characters as a set of art numbered prints, which have proven to be popular – prints are displayed proudly around New Zealand and sent as gifts all over the world spreading the wonderful story of the Backyard Kiwi project! Proceeds go back to the project so have been rewarding for Heather and the Backyard Kiwi.

 Both Heather and her husband Martin Hunt have been intrinsically involved in the recovery project over the years. This became the inspiration for Heather’s award wining Kiwi children’s books. Not only beautiful written and illustrated but with a great message too.

Development for these books involved conversations with Todd Hamilton the absolute guru on all things kiwi and the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum project manager. Heather has accompanied Todd on many local kiwi visits to get a first hand look at these incredible birds. Her drawings have been shaped heavily by her deep research and commitment to the backyard kiwi project.

Heather has three picture books published already.  KIWI the real story was developed with writer Annemarie Florian. it’s my egg (and you can’t have it!) and The Cuckoo and the Warbler were both worked up with writer Kennedy Warne (founding editor of NZ GEOGRAPHIC).

All three books have won national awards. The Storylines Notable Book Award and two have been finalists in the NZ Children Book Awards with Kiwi the real story winning the Children’s Choice Award.

There is another Kiwi inspired book in the works too. This one will be written and illustrated by Heather.

If you’d like to find out more about Heather Hunt or to purchase her books visit her website here.

If you’d like to find out more about the Backyard Kiwi project go here.